Hiring an attorney for any legal problem is a daunting task. When you have been injured in a bicycle accident by a negligent motor vehicle operator, it becomes even more important that you carefully select a bicycle accident attorney who can help you receive fair and just compensation for the harms done to you, and who can restore you to the life you were living before your injuries, and the life you deserve. There are some things you should consider before you entrust your bicycle accident injury claim to an attorney. Let’s review some of them.
What experience has your potential attorney had in recovering compensation for bicycle accident injuries?
Every bicycle accident is different and each bicyclist may suffer different injuries when a negligent motor vehicle operator causes harm. But it is invariably true that when a negligent car or truck driver collides with a bicyclist, the cyclist loses, and often to his or her extreme injury. It is fair, and reasonable, that you inquire of any attorney you may retain to protect your interests, about his or her experience in obtaining full and fair compensation for other bicyclists who have been similarly injured. Clifford & Raihala is proud that its bicycle accident attorneys have years of experience providing proven results to bicyclists injured through no fault of their own. Here are some examples:
In a recent, and tragic, Madison collision, a tow truck turned left in front of a bicyclist’s right of way, taking the cyclist’s life. The cyclist had no warning that the tow truck would pull in front of him, invading his right of way. Our bicycle accident attorneys in Madison investigated the collision and discovered that the police determined that the tow truck’s turn signal light was not operative, eliminating any claim that the bicyclist could have avoided the fatal collision. Clifford & Raihala’s bicycle accident lawyer team, led by Attorney John Raihala, successfully resolved this claim for $2,000,000.00, without even filing a lawsuit and allowing the family to resolve the matter peacefully and without trial.
In another recent case, our client was severely injured when struck on his bicycle through no fault of his own. Thankfully he survived, but his injuries were severe and some were permanent, causing physical pain and suffering and significant economic losses, established by opinions of an Illinois physical rehabilitation expert retained by our bicycle accident attorneys. Clifford & Raihala’s bicycle accident attorneys established the severe harms done to our bicyclist client and his family, and recovered $1,925,000.00 from those responsible to compensate him for his injuries.
Does the attorney understand and keep up to date with the law regarding bicycle accidents?
The law changes. Often dramatically. In one recent case, our client was injured not when struck by a moving vehicle, but by a parked car’s driver opening the car door into our client’s right of way. This is known as “dooring,” for obvious reasons. Not long before this event, the law provided that it was the bicyclist’s responsibility to avoid a collision when this happened. The car operator was exonerated. However, Clifford & Raihala’s bicycle accident lawyers knew the law had changed before the collision and successfully asserted the new law to obtain a $575,000.00 recovery for our client’s injuries knowing that the law, now, appropriately places responsibility for “dooring” on the car operator who is, after all, “in control of the instrumentality of injury.” When you hire a lawyer for your bicycle accident injuries, be sure that lawyer knows the law and any changes to it.
Is the attorney familiar with the uniqueness of bicycle accidents?
Bicycle accidents are unlike other car, truck and motorcycle collisions. They are unique and often occur under circumstances that other vehicle crashes do not. You should be comfortable in knowing the bicycle accident attorney you hire to handle your important case is experienced in and familiar with the unique circumstances of bicycle crashes. An awareness of the unique aspects of bicycle accidents, and experience in resolving such claims, is a minimum requirement.
In one recent case, our bicycle accident client entered an intersection from a designated bike path with a green light but was struck by a pizza delivery vehicle which turned right on a red light into her right of way. Our bicycle accident attorneys understood that Wisconsin law provided that, if turning right on a red light, a car driver must yield right of way to a bicyclist lawfully entering the intersection even if on a bike path. As well, our bicycle accident lawyers inspected the intersection and found that there were two – yes, two – separate “no turn on red” signs at the intersection, and that our client had yelled a warning to the pizza delivery driver before impact. Clifford & Raihala’s bicycle accident lawyers recovered $190,000.00 for our client’s injuries because we understood the unique circumstances of this bicycle collision.
In another unique bicycle accident case, our client was a college student athlete riding his bicycle in an eastward-bound dedicated bike lane on University Avenue in Madison, Wisconsin. A car driving in one of four west-bound vehicle lanes turned left into his right of way, crashing into his side causing severe leg fractures. The car operator claimed she was blinded by the setting sun and didn’t see the bicyclist. This common claim ignores the driver’s duty to not proceed if blinded by anything. Clifford & Raihala’s bicycle accident lawyers knew the right of way established by our client’s bike lane, and knew that being blinded by the sun was no defense, and recovered $245,000.00 in compensation for our bicycle client.
Numerous factors can make bicycle accidents unique and deserving of special considerations not applicable to motor vehicle collisions, including “dooring” cases as mentioned above and even a case we have undertaken involving a bicycle striking another bicycle on a bike path where our bicycle accident attorneys have established insurance coverage from the negligent bicyclist.
If you or a family member or loved one have been injured while riding a bicycle as a result of the negligence of another — a motor vehicle operator or even another bicyclist — consider the above factors in selecting an attorney to vindicate your rights, and helping to make you whole again. Clifford & Raihala’s experienced and dedicated bicycle accident attorneys stand ready to assist you. Contact us at 608-257-7900 (or toll free at 888-791-8422) or click https://myjustice.com to connect right now. There is no charge for the consultation and no obligation. We will be honored to help you.
When you have been injured by a negligent motor vehicle operator – whether while riding a motorcycle or bicycle, walking as a pedestrian, or driving another car – you may be overwhelmed by the emotional impact of what you’ve endured, or by physical injuries, or by concerns over how you will recover financially, physically and emotionally. Obtaining financial compensation for your losses may initially be far down on your list of needs following the collision.
But, what you do to protect yourself from further harm in the first days after a collision is key to assuring that you are fairly treated by the negligent driver’s insurance company and by our justice system. Clifford & Raihala’s personal injury attorneys in Madison, Wisconsin have decades of experience protecting personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin and Illinois; we want you to know how you can act to vindicate your rights and protect your claims for fair and just compensation, in the hours and days following a collision.
First, be aware that insurance companies require car drivers they insure to promptly report any collision they have caused. That means that the insurer of the driver who negligently injured you – and who may owe you compensation for the injuries its insured caused you — will know about the collision almost immediately after it happened. That insurance company will immediately begin to mount its defenses against you, to claim its insured was not responsible, to claim you were completely or partially responsible, to convince witnesses that you were the negligent party, and so on. That insurance company may even come into your hospital room to interview you. Be aware, they have no right to do so, and the interview is designed to make you admit that you might be responsible, and that your injuries really aren’t that bad.
During these important days immediately following the collision, you have no one on your side, but the negligent driver’s insurer is mounting a campaign against you while you are completely unaware of their activities and tactics. You need someone on your side. At Clifford & Raihala, our personal injury attorneys know that steps taken immediately after a collision can assure you will receive fair and full compensation for your injuries and financial losses.
When our personal injury lawyers are retained shortly after a collision, we will immediately begin obtaining information needed to prosecute your claim, information including the motor vehicle accident report from the police, medical records and bills, police and client photos of the accident scene, interview statements from witnesses named in the accident report, ambulance reports, applicable insurance policies, and other case specific information.
But the first days of representation create a unique opportunity for Clifford & Raihala’s personal injury lawyers in Madison to obtain evidence that may control the outcome of your case. Nothing is routine for our personal injury attorney team. We are creative in seeking information from new sources and unexpected places. Several examples are worth considering.
Highway Videos: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) operates over 250 traffic cameras throughout Wisconsin. These cameras monitor and record traffic mainly on heavily traveled highways. The DOT has a website which shows camera views and maps showing the location of traffic cameras. So, we can quickly determine if a DOT camera video has captured the actual collision in which our client was injured. However, these videos are routinely kept for only 72 hours, so fast action is imperative. As well, many municipal street videos are available at key intersections, as are videos for commercial establishments. Clifford & Raihala personal injury attorneys may seek these videos to demonstrate exactly what happened to cause our client’s harm. In one recent car-pedestrian case, we obtained a video showing our client hit in a crosswalk by a turning car and being thrown over the car causing significant injuries. The video eliminated any defense claim that our client was not in the crosswalk, did not have the right of way, and that the driver was not negligent.
911 Transcripts: Most 911 centers have detailed reports available for every incident or collision. These provide valuable information regarding time and duration, names and telephone numbers of witnesses and damages. In one recent case, Clifford & Raihala personal injury attorneys in Madison, Wisconsin obtained the 911 transcripts of multiple callers who observed different views of a tragically fatal rear-end collision with our deceased client who had stopped in traffic “due to an object in the roadway,” as the accident report described it. We found a 911 caller’s report that the object had fallen off a truck, which meant that “another vehicle” was involved and triggered our client’s own insurance policy’s “uninsured motorist” coverage of $100,000.00 which we recovered. When added to the insurance coverage of the driver who hit her, our personal injury attorneys obtained a total recovery for her family to $310,000.00 for their tragic loss.
Witness Interviews: Clifford & Raihala personal injury attorneys understand the importance of interviewing witnesses promptly in the appropriate case to secure evidence establishing our client’s lack of fault and the negligence of the other driver. In one recent case, our pedestrian client was struck by a negligent driver. The driver’s insurance company claimed our pedestrian client was at fault and was responsible for the collision. Clifford & Raihala’s partner John Raihala, who heads our personal injury lawyer team, had promptly obtained an affidavit from a witness who swore that our client was “entirely within the crosswalk,” and that the driver was “not slowing down” and was “100% responsible for causing the collision.” When he presented the affidavit to the insurer, it settled the claim for $640,000.00. The settlement was secured by promptly obtaining the witness’ statement.
There are many reasons to promptly seek competent legal representation immediately after you have been injured, or after a loved one has been fatally injured, in a motor vehicle accident. These are just a few. But, know this: when you have been injured through the fault of another, Clifford & Raihala’s personal injury attorneys in Madison stand ready to promptly come to your assistance. Call us at 608-257-7900 (or toll free at 888-791-8422) or click https://myjustice.com to connect with us now. There is no obligation and no fee unless we recover compensation for your injuries.
One bicycle safety policy that has gained significant interest and activity in state legislatures across the nation is “3-feet” or “safe passing” laws. These laws try to achieve a goal that, when passing bicycles, motor vehicles allow adequate space to avoid dangerously sideswiping bicyclists or causing a bicyclist to “overcorrect” to avoid the vehicle. In fact, Wisconsin became the first state in the nation in 1973 when it enacted Section 346.075 of the Wisconsin Statutes which requires a motorist to exercise due care, leaving a safe distance of no less than three (3) feet clearance when passing a bicycle. The statute requires the motorist to maintain that clearance until it is safely past the overtaken bicycle.
As of September 2021, 35 states have followed Wisconsin’s lead with three (3) foot clearance requirements. Several other states have adopted stricter requirements (e.g., 4-foot passing laws or requiring a motorist to completely change lanes when passing if another lane is available.) Others have adopted more general standards requiring motorists to pass bicyclists at a safe distance or speed, without defining a minimum clearance.
These relatively recent law changes follow a developing awareness of motor vehicle risks to bicyclists. Studies have shown the relationship between bicycle accident occurrences and motor vehicle operator patterns of conduct. Analyses of causes of bicycle accidents have produced data demonstrating that a large number of bike accidents happen when a motor vehicle is overtaking and passing a bicycle.
The bicycle accident attorneys at Clifford & Raihala understand the legal responsibilities and duties motor vehicle operators owe bicyclists on our roadways. Wisconsin’s “3-foot” law is an important tool in assessing fault of the car driver who sideswipes a bicyclist. But, the evaluation of the negligence of the driver doesn’t stop there. Our bicycle accident lawyers also investigate whether the circumstances of a given bike accident might show the driver still didn’t exercise due care, even where the driver gives three feet of clearance. While mandatory, the “3-foot” rule is just the minimum requirement. If the driver failed to exercise due care and was otherwise negligent (e.g., was distracted, using a cell phone, inattentive, intoxicated, etc.), that driver may still be responsible and owe the bicyclist compensation for injuries and harms he caused.
Some are skeptical about the “3-feet” or “safe passing” laws, doubting whether they can actually be enforced or whether they provide sufficient space for bicyclists. Many bicyclists feel that laws dictating that they must ride to the far right of a lane are of more concern because they often encourage too-close passing, leaving bicyclists vulnerable to being “doored” by a parked car. Those concerns may very well be right and deserved to be taken seriously. The safe passing laws, however, at least provide a less arbitrary legal framework to protect bicyclists who are injured in a bicycle accident caused by a passing car. They are helpful tools for our bicycle accident attorneys in vindicating the rights of our clients who have been injured in a bicycle accident.
The bike accident lawyers at Clifford & Raihala are skilled and experienced in using these and other available tools to make sure that our clients who have been injured by a motor vehicle driver receive fair and full compensation for their injuries. That’s why our bicycle accident attorneys have recovered $2,000,000.00 in one recent, tragic fatal truck-bicycle crash; $1,925,000.00 for a severely injured survivor of a car-bike collision; $575,000.00 for a client who had been “doored” while riding his bicycle; and hundreds of thousands of dollars for other clients injured on bicycles by negligent motor vehicle operators. Every case is different and these examples are unique to the circumstances of those cases, but may give you some idea of the broad experience of our bicycle accident attorneys.
If you or a family member have been injured in a bike accident, contact Clifford & Raihala to see if our bicycle accident attorney team can help. There is no obligation and no fee for the consultation. Call 608-257-7900 (or toll free at 888-791-8422).
In a recent 3-year period, there were almost 3,400 reported vehicle-bicycle collisions throughout Wisconsin. Ten percent (10%) of these bike accidents resulted in either the death or incapacitating injury of the bicyclist. Incapacitating injuries include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, serious and often multiple fractures, and more.
The bicycle accident attorneys at Clifford & Raihala have decades of experience obtaining successful recoveries for persons injured in bicycle crashes. Indeed, Clifford & Raihala has been protecting those injured by the negligent conduct of others for almost 50 years. In bicycle accident cases, we have sought and obtained full and fair compensation for our bicyclist clients for injuries and harms caused by a negligent motor vehicle operator.
Our bicycle accident attorneys understand that these crashes often have similar causes and characteristics. For example, in the three-year period reported above, 70% of the fatal crashes occurred on roads where the speed limits were 35 miles per hour or greater – speed does kill. Two-thirds of fatal crashes were in urban areas. Alcohol was involved in 27% of the fatal bicycle crashes. Surprisingly, almost 40% of the fatal crashes involved a motorist striking a bicyclist from behind. Another analysis showed that, in 78% of bike fatality collisions, the cyclist was struck by the front of the vehicle. These statistics tell an important story: fatal bike crashes occur when a motor vehicle operator is speeding, has been drinking, or is not properly maintaining lookout to observe a bicycle in the road. Experienced bicycle accident attorneys are aware of these common bicycle accident patterns, and use that awareness to assure their bicycle accident client can advance his or her claim accordingly.
These statistics are stunning. They suggest that most bicycle accident fatalities occur when the motor vehicle operator does not even see the bicyclist he or she is about to crash into. If the statistics prove true, most bike accident fatalities occur when a vehicle driver strikes the bike from behind, leaving the bicyclist totally helpless and completely unable to avoid the collision. The results are awful, and wholly unavoidable by the bicyclist. Clifford & Raihala’s bicycle accident attorneys are familiar with the causes of bicycle crashes and understand the factors which contribute to those causes. We have had years of experience in evaluating car-bike collisions and proving how a driver’s negligence caused such crashes. It is important that an injured cyclist, or his or her family, contact us as soon after the collision as possible so that we can begin gathering available evidence promptly. As experienced bicycle accident attorneys, we apply this data to assure our clients receive the full compensation they deserve.
For example, our bicycle accident lawyers have obtained videos of collisions from the state Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or nearby commercial or residential security cameras. These are becoming commonly available. Urgency, however, is importantly since these videos are frequently erased after a short while. In one recent case, we obtained a street video showing our client being struck by a vehicle and being thrown over the car. The video showed him being struck from the front end of the vehicle, tossed into the air, flying over the car and landing on the street at the back of the vehicle. This evidence is invaluable. We also try to identify and interview eye witnesses to a collision. Memories fade, so doing this promptly can be important.
If you or a loved one has been injured or suffered loss from a bicycle collision, contact a Clifford & Raihala bicycle accident attorney to protect your rights. Call 608-257-7900 (or toll free at 888-791-8422) or click https://myjustice.com for a free consultation with no obligation. If you hire us, there will be no fee at all unless we recover compensation for you.
If you or a family member has been injured in a car-bicycle collision, you deserve lawyers who have the experience and understanding of bike crashes to make sure you are fairly and fully compensated for your injuries. Clifford & Raihala’s bicycle accident attorneys in Madison, Wisconsin have been representing people injured in car crashes for almost 50 years. We are experienced bicycle accident attorneys and have handled bike crashes of every kind, from tragically fatal injury to serious fractures, traumatic brain injury, and more.
We understand the serious nature of bike crashes, and their causes. In 2019, almost 850 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles. Another 49,000 cyclists were injured, a 5% increase over the preceding year. Almost 80% of those bike crashes were in urban areas. Alcohol involvement was reported in 34% of all fatal bike accidents. Almost 70% of the fatalities happened during weekdays, with one in five occurring between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Clifford & Raihala bicycle accident attorneys research these statistics (see, e.g., in the “Traffic Safety Facts” report published annually by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at https://www.nhtsa.gov and other sources) because that data helps us understand how and why our bicycle accident client was injured.
Clifford & Raihala bicycle accident attorneys in Madison, Wisconsin believe having an understanding of how, and when, and why motor vehicle-bicycle crashes happen is an important background to providing our bicycle accident clients with capable legal representation, and assuring they receive full compensation for their injuries. That’s why we have recovered millions of dollars of compensation for our bicycle accident clients. Some of those results can be reviewed here: LINK
Our law firm has handled bicycle accident cases where the motor vehicle operator has violated some of the most basic, but important, duties to the bicyclist. Motor vehicle operators need to share the road with bicyclists. They need to allow at least 3 feet of clearance when passing a bicycle on the roadway, to look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling from a parking space, and to yield to bicyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals. Bicyclists are considered vehicle operators and have the same responsibilities – and rights – as motor vehicles. All too often, car drivers don’t recognize the rights of bicyclists on our roadways. And the results can be devastating.
Frequently – all too frequently – bicyclists suffered sever and life altering injuries when a car or truck crashes into them. Our bicycle accident lawyers have represented clients who have been struck by a negligent motor vehicle operator resulting in injuries from severe fracture requiring multiple surgeries and long-term rehabilitation and therapy to injuries to multiple organs to fatalities. The injuries are rarely mild. The consequences are frequently awful. Unfortunately, our bicycle accident attorneys have had to resolve claims where the bicyclist has succumbed to fatal injuries, and the survivor family members should be compensated for not only their economic losses of support but their loss of the society and companionship of their loved one.
Our bicycle accident attorneys have obtained millions of dollars of compensation for our bicycle accident clients. If you or a family member have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact us at 608-257-7900 (toll free at 888-791-84220 or click https://myjustice.com. There is no charge and no cost for this consultation, and no obligation. Our bicycle accident attorneys will be pleased to answer your questions about our experience in representing bicyclists. We think you will be impressed, comforted by our experience and successful results, and convinced that we can help you, too. If you retain Clifford & Raihala to represent you, there will be no fee charged unless we recover compensation for you.
“I didn’t see the bike.” “The bicycle came out of nowhere.” “I don’t know how the bike accident happened.”
Each Wisconsin personal injury lawyer at Clifford & Raihala has heard comments like these over and over again from motor vehicle operators who have negligently crashed into our cycling clients. Bicycle accidents, like most crashes, can and should be prevented. Over 90% of bicycle accidents are caused by operator error, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
Sadly, when a motor vehicle-bicycle crash occurs, the bike always loses. DOT records show that the bicyclist is injured, or killed, in almost 95% of bike crashes with motor vehicles. The most common serious injury in bike accidents is head injury, or traumatic brain injury. Other serious injuries include spinal cord injuries and paralysis; fractures of the legs, ankles, arms, ribs or vertebre; organ damage and soft tissue muscle or ligamentous injuries. Any of these injuries can be devastating, making it difficult or impossible to enjoy normal life’s normal activities.
When a cyclist is injured by a negligent car or truck driver, the law says she or he is entitled to be compensated for all injuries, physical pain and suffering, and economic losses including medical bills, lost wages, property damage and more. An experienced bike accident attorney, like those at Clifford & Raihala, can help evaluate your injuries and get the compensation you deserve.
If you have been injured in a bike accident, Clifford & Raihala will provide a free consultation to advise you of your rights, with no obligation. If you hire a Clifford & Raihala bicycle accident attorney, our fee will be a percentage of the amount we recover for you. There will be no fee unless there’s a recovery for you. We advance all costs for medical records, consulting with your doctors, filing and other fees, reimbursed only if you win your claim.
It is important to speak with a bicycle accident attorney as soon as feasible after a bike crash to obtain motor vehicle accident reports and physical evidence of the scene including photographs or videos from DMV roadway video cams and nearby commercial security cameras. As well, some insurance payments may be available to you almost immediately to help deal with the economic difficulties for you and your family from your injuries. Often these go unpaid without the help of an experienced bicycle accident attorney.
Motor vehicle operators owe a duty to drive with due regard for the safety of bicycles sharing our roadways. If motor vehicle operators comply with that duty, serious injury from vehicle-bicycle crashes can often be avoided.
Given the severity of injuries often caused when a motor vehicle crashes into a bicycle, motorists should be even more cautious and exercise even greater care when bicycles are present on the roadway. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reports that over 90% of bicycle accidents are caused by operator error. Most of those errors, and the resulting crashes, are preventable.
Generally, when an operator commits an error and causes a bike accident, he or she is legally negligent and may be responsible for compensating the bicyclist injured in a crash. Even when there is no actual physical contact between the bike and motor vehicle, the driver of the vehicle may be responsible, and should be held accountable. For example, the bicycle accident lawyers at Clifford & Raihala have represented cyclists who were thrown over the handlebars when braking for a car that pulled out in front of the cycle, but the bike and car never actually collided. The car driver negligently failed to yield to the bicyclist’s right of way and was legally responsible for compensating the cyclist.
Negligent driver conduct causing bicycle accidents often involve the following:
Motor vehicle operators owe a duty to drive with due regard for the safety of bicycles sharing our roadways. Drivers can prevent bicycle accidents by taking a few reasonable, and required, steps:
When a bicyclist is hit by a motor vehicle, she or he is likely to suffer not just physical injury, but the emotional pain and suffering that accompanies that traumatic event. The cyclist will likely suffer economic losses including lost wages, property damage and significant medical expenses. If you have suffered any losses or injuries in a bike accident, your attempts to seek compensation will involve fighting against in insurance company with large resources to fight your claim. Personal injury laws vary by state so it’s important that you choose an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you.
If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, protect your rights by contacting a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer experienced and skilled in helping bicycle accident victims. Contact the bike accident lawyers at Clifford & Raihala for a free consultation.