Whether you ride a bike for exercise, your daily commute, or simply for recreation, you likely understand the risks of sharing the road with motorists. In fact, most bicycle accidents happen because of the negligence or wrongdoing of vehicle drivers, and bicyclists can suffer severe, life-altering injuries in bicycle accidents—even at relatively low speeds.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one because of a Nebraska bicycle accident a careless or reckless motorist caused, you may receive compensation from those responsible. You need an experienced bicycle accident attorney to explain your rights and options to pursue compensation, navigate the complex and challenging bicycle accident claims process, and represent you in settlement negotiations and, if necessary, a civil trial.
What Injuries Can Cyclists Sustain in Bicycle Accidents?
Bicyclists are at a distinct disadvantage if a motor vehicle strikes them. Bicycles are much smaller than cars and do not offer the same protections as other vehicles. Bicycles don’t have side panels, bumpers, or fenders, and a cyclist can suffer serious injuries in a bicycle accident while the car driver walks away unscathed.
Some common injuries bicyclists can suffer in bicycle accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: Many bicycle accidents result in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and other head injuries. Although wearing a helmet can reduce these injuries, a cyclist can still suffer a TBI even while wearing a helmet.
- Broken bones: Cyclists can sustain fractures to their legs, arms, and other extremities. They can range from relatively simple fractures to compound fractures that break the skin.
- Road rash: This injury occurs when a person’s skin scrapes against the road or ground. Road rash can range from minor abrasions to deep lacerations that require extensive medical treatment.
- Spinal cord injuries: Cyclists can suffer spinal cord and other back injuries in a bike crash. These injuries can result in paralysis and other debilitating conditions.
- Soft tissue injuries: Bicycle accidents can strain, sprain, or tear muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These injuries can cause intense swelling and pain along with limited mobility.
- Facial and dental injuries: Injuries to the face and mouth are common in bicycle accidents, especially if the cyclist’s face strikes the handlebars, the vehicle that struck them, or the road. Some facial injuries require reconstructive surgery to repair.
- Nerve damage: Bicycle accidents can cause severe nerve damage. This can result in chronic pain, numbness or tingling, and loss of function in a body part.
- Crush injuries: A vehicle’s tires could roll over a cyclist during a bicycle accident, or the cyclist could fall and get caught under the car. Crush injuries can affect the limbs, abdomen, and chest cavity. Catastrophic crush injuries that may require limb amputations or may result in death.
- Internal injuries: Cyclists can sustain serious internal injuries in bicycle crashes. These can occur due to the impact on the vehicle or ground or because the car rolled over the cyclist’s chest or abdomen.
- Dislocations: A bicycle crash can dislocate a cyclist’s joints, including their shoulders, hips, and knees. Dislocations cause excruciating pain and limited mobility.
Along with physical injuries, cyclists can also suffer from psychological injuries because of the trauma of the accident and from dealing with their injuries. Some conditions include depression, anxiety, and PTSD. In worst-case scenarios, cyclists die because of their injuries.
You can also sustain other injuries in a bicycle accident, and the severity of injuries depends on the nature of the accident, the force of the impact, and whether you wore a helmet, among others.
Contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney if you suffered injuries in a bicycle accident someone else caused to learn of your options for pursuing compensation from the at-fault party.
What Compensation Can I Get from a Bicycle Accident Claim?
If a negligent driver caused a bicycle accident that injured you or a close family member, you may qualify to receive various forms of compensation.
In most personal injury claims, you can recover both economic and non-economic damages, which can help compensate you for:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Related out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In certain rare cases, you may also receive punitive damages from the court. Courts impose punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer and deter that behavior. Courts usually only award these damages in cases of egregious negligence, wanton recklessness, or unlawful misconduct.
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How Can I Obtain Compensation for My Bicycle Accident Injuries?
To obtain compensation for your bicycle accident injuries through a personal injury claim, you must first seek medical attention for any injuries you suffered. This ensures your health and well-being but also documents that you sustained an injury and received treatment, which you need for your personal injury claim.
As soon as you can after receiving medical care, contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney for help. A lawyer can review your case at no cost and inform you whether you have a valid claim. If so, an attorney can gather the necessary evidence to support your claim and represent you throughout the claims.
After getting the necessary evidence and documentation, your attorney can submit your injury claim to the at-fault party’s insurance company. When they submit your claim, your lawyer will include the details of the accident, including how the accident occurred based on the official police report and any other evidence, such as the accident reconstruction report. They will also submit a detailed list of your injuries, medical costs, and other damages you incurred because of the crash.
The insurance company will send an adjuster to investigate the accident. The adjuster works for the insurance company and may shift blame away from the policyholder and onto you. They may also undervalue your injuries and reduce your claim.
In the best-case scenario, the insurance company will determine the evidence is strong enough to support your claim and will pay the money you ask for. However, this is rarely the case.
In many cases, the insurance company will likely send you a settlement offer that is too low to cover all of your injuries and losses. Your attorney can negotiate with the insurer to get them to pay a fair settlement that compensates you for everything.
If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement or denies your valid claim unjustly, your attorney may recommend taking them to court to recover the money you need.
Your lawyer can file a bicycle accident lawsuit for you in civil court if necessary. Trials are time-consuming, expensive, and stressful, but you may need to go to court to get the full and fair compensation you deserve. Your attorney can prepare a strong base on your behalf and present it at trial to help sway the judge or jury’s decision in your favor.
How Long Do I Have to Sue the Driver Responsible for My Bicycle Accident?
Each state has its own statute of limitations on when you can sue someone in court who hurt you or someone you love. In Nebraska, for instance, you have four years from your injury to file a lawsuit in civil court. If you don’t have an attorney file for you within that time, you will forfeit your rights to pursue compensation.
Some exceptions can extend, or toll, the statute of limitations, such as if the victim was a minor at the time of the crash. However, claims against government entities can face very short deadlines for filing and a lot of red tape you must cut through to file. If you believe a government agency contributed to your bike accident, consult an attorney immediately.
In fact, contact an attorney as soon as possible no matter who or what caused your bicycle accident. You do not want to lose out on compensation because of missed deadlines, and an attorney can explain how the statute of limitations applies to your case.
Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
Regardless of who caused your bicycle accident or how severe your injuries, you no doubt have questions regarding your options for pursuing compensation.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Berry Law have decades of experience successfully handling bicycle accident claims throughout Nebraska.
Contact us today for a free consultation and get answers to your questions and a comprehensive evaluation of your claim at no cost. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t pay us anything upfront to represent you, and we will only accept a fee if we recover compensation for you.