Bicycle Accidents Attorney


Tulsa Bicycle Accidents Attorney

Bicycles are ridden in the Tulsa area and throughout Oklahoma for recreation and exercise. Children and adults use them for fun as well as a means of transportation to school, to work, or to run errands. With higher gasoline prices in recent years, more and more people are turning to bicycles for commuting. This increase in bicyclists on the roads with cars, trucks, and other motorized vehicles means a rise in the number of accidents involving bike riders. Because bicycle riders have little protection against the impact when thousands of pounds of a car collides with them, these accidents often result in catastrophic injuries and death.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help With Your Bicycle Accident Claim?

An experienced bicycle accident attorney has the skill and legal team to research a claim and investigate the negligent party or parties. They will be able to gather evidence that will show liability and convince a court to hold the offenders accountable for their actions. Bike accident lawyers will also negotiate for fair settlements with insurance companies, including your own insurance and for those who wronged you.
Bike injury cases rely on the attorney building a strong case for their clients, using approaches such as the following:

  • Collecting statements from all witnesses
  • Obtaining all reports from police or other government agencies
  • Reviewing medical records and receipts to calculate the size of your losses
  • Making or obtaining photographs of the accident scene, damage to any vehicles involved, and of injuries sustained
  • Consulting with specialists and obtaining expert testimony from professionals such as doctors, therapists, and accident reconstructionists
  • Gathering the driving records for all parties involved.

A bicycle accident attorney will investigate every accident thoroughly and completely, with compassion for your suffering and trauma. The legal team can come to a decision on the best course of action for the most desirable outcome. Whether pursuing a settlement from insurance or another party, or escalating to a jury trial, a competent personal injury attorney works to secure maximum compensation for the client for their suffering and damage.

Frequent Causes of Tulsa Bicycle Accidents

Because bicycles are smaller, they are harder to see, making them difficult for most motorists to factor them into their driving behavior. Most bicycle accidents in the Tulsa area are caused by the negligence or recklessness of drivers who engage in dangerous or illegal behaviors, such as:

  • Texting while driving: Sending/receiving texts while driving takes a person’s focus from the roadway, putting others at risk, especially pedestrians and bicyclists. Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Violation Code designates this a charge of negligence..
  • Driving distractedly: Anything that takes a driver’s attention from the road can be distracting, such as listening to podcasts, applying makeup, making a phone call, or speaking with other passengers.
  • Driving under the influence: Drugs and alcohol seriously impair driving ability, causing serious injuries or death when a collision involves a bike rider.
  • Failure to yield: Bicyclists generally claim right-of-way in most situations, and drivers who fail to yield to them at stop signs or intersections risk causing serious accidents.
  • Failure to stop: Drivers in Oklahoma who do not stop completely at signs or stoplights are a major cause of collisions with bicycles. They also present a danger to other cars and pedestrians. Drivers who turn without looking thoroughly at stops frequently collide with bicycles.
  • Failure to leave an adequate buffer: Following a cyclist too closely or passing within less than 3 feet of a bicycle is extremely dangerous. Bicycle riders in these incidents have far fewer options to escape personal injury.
  • Speeding: A driver’s stopping time decreases as their speed increases. This means the faster they go, the more damage they can cause to bicycle riders. Cyclists risk trauma such as head injuries, broken bones, and even death.
  • Driving recklessly: Weaving through traffic or making unsafe lane changes means drivers are less likely to see cyclists in time to take evasive maneuvers and avoid a collision. Merging into a lane without ensuring the lane is clear could crush a bike rider against another car.
  • Driver Fatigue: According to the Sleep Foundation, driving while drowsy contributes to accidents nearly as much as driving while intoxicated. Driving early or late in the day, or after a long day at work can significantly impair your reaction speed and reflexes.

When a driver acts irresponsibly, recklessly, or illegally and causes an accident, they should be held accountable for their actions. Bikers who suffer from injuries, emotional distress, property damage, lost wages, and other damages can be eligible for compensation from those who are responsible.

What Happens If a Bicycle Rider Is At Fault?

Bike Oklahoma, an advocacy and education group that tracks information on bicycle accident statistics, reports that 45% of bike crashes are solo, meaning the biker themselves is at fault. Although an accident such as a fall or collision may be due to the cyclist’s negligence, this does not mean they cannot take legal action. Due to the comparative fault statutes in Oklahoma, a bicycle rider may still seek compensation from other parties who are responsible for the incident.

For an example of how this could happen, picture a scenario of a bike rider colliding with a parked car, which accounts for 4% of accidents. If the car owner parked in an unsafe or illegal manner, they could be held liable for injuries and damage suffered by the cyclist. In cases where a moving automobile is involved, of the 18% of crashes for bike riders, it is evenly split between whether the car driver is at fault or the bicycle rider is to blame.

Regardless of where the fault lies, it is helpful to have assistance to handle the details and paperwork when a rider is recovering from injuries after a bicycle accident. Working with a skilled legal team can make it easier to seek reimbursement for economic damages from insurance companies.

How to Seek Compensation After a Tulsa Bicycle Accident

It is critical to speak with someone as soon as possible after your bicycle crash. Tulsa bike accident victims need to understand their rights under the law for pursuing compensation from insurance companies and responsible opposing parties. A personal injury lawyer is frequently employed to thoroughly examine the circumstances of a claim and determine the best course of action.

The first step should be submitting a claim to all appropriate insurance carriers, which could include those of the bike rider and those of any other parties at-fault. Insurance companies are not particularly interested in paying out claims of any size and may offer a low amount of compensation as a settlement. They will employ accident investigators who will work to show the bicyclist was to blame and thereby deny payment.

If an insurance company offers a low settlement or none at all, the next step is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties. Filing this type of claim will allow a claimant to seek higher amounts of compensation than is usually covered under insurance policies. Damages might include injuries sustained as well as property damage claims, which would cover repairing or replacing a bike or vehicle.

When a case is escalated from insurance claim to a court trial, it opens up the opportunity to seek non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish. Documentation of medical treatment and repair bills can help build a monetary amount for economic losses. Calculating non-economic damages is more subjective and is best done with the help of a personal injury lawyer. In the very worst cases, your family may need help in filing a wrongful death suit if insurance does not pay out or settle.

Bicycle Accident Injuries Can Be Catastrophic or Deadly

Bicycle riders suffer the highest risk of fatality and long-term/permanent disabilities, predominantly due to the incidence of head injuries. Brain damage, loss of vision, loss of hearing, and other impairments can contribute to a seriously altered life after a crash. Wearing a helmet is not mandatory in many places, but it can be critical in preventing horrific injuries and even death.

Cyclists across Oklahoma are allowed to ride on public roads and must obey all traffic rules and laws for their area. They must take every precaution to be as visible as possible and exercise extreme caution to protect themselves and others. Wearing high-visibility clothing, employing flashing or other lights on the bicycle, and always making eye contact with other drivers at intersections can reduce the chance of a preventable accident.

The most common examples of injuries after a bicycle accident include:

  • Abrasions, lacerations, and contusions
  • Head injuries (brain bleed, traumatic brain injury, loss of senses)
  • Broken bones
  • Torn/damaged ligaments
  • Internal bleeding
  • Broken ribs
  • Bone bruises
  • Road rash/burn
  • Mouth or dental injuries

Most bicycle crash injuries are obvious at the time of the accident, but many may take time to appear. This is especially true for closed head injuries or trauma to the brain. A biker may seek immediate medical attention at the scene but may also need further treatment as new conditions arise over the course of the following days or weeks. It is important to track all records of medical bills, physical therapy expenses, and other monetary costs after an incident to ensure proper accounting for a settlement or lawsuit.

Finding an Experienced Tulsa Bicycle Accident Attorney

Contact the law offices of Graves McLain Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to speak with a Tulsa bicycle accident attorney to discuss your case. Reach us online or by phone at 918-359-6600.

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    OKSubmitted December 22nd, 2021

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