“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.
In spring of 2014, Attorney John Raihala settled a case for the wrongful death of a 47-year-old bicyclist. The man biking in a designated bike lane in Madison when a flatbed tow truck made a left turn in front of him. Despite efforts to resuscitate him at the hospital, the collision was fatal. During the investigation, police discovered that the left turn signal of the tow truck was not working at the time of the accident, meaning the bicyclist had no time to react.
The case was settled before filing suit and the client received a $2,000,000 settlement. “This was a wrongful death and it was important that the family received compensation for their tragic loss,” commented Raihala.
Attorney Keith Clifford and John Raihala obtained a $575,000 settlement to compensate their client who was injured in a bicycle accident. The client was in the bike lane when a woman opened her car door, obstructing the client’s path. The client was thrown into the air, collided with another vehicle and landed in the street. As a result, the client suffered from fractures to his cervical spine, clavicle, pelvis and seven ribs, as well as lacerations to his kidney and a collapsed lung.
Clifford and Raihala successfully resolved the case in mediation. “We felt that it was important to settle this case without a trial so that our client could receive compensation and begin to move forward with his life,” commented Clifford. The total settlement amounted to $575,000 including $39,000 for lost wages and consulting contracts and $75,000 for medical expenses.