When a car collides with a bicycle in Washington or anywhere else in the country, the bicyclist usually suffers the most severe injuries. Even if you’re wearing protective gear like a helmet, you could suffer from fractures, broken bones and spinal cord injuries. However, the driver of the vehicle isn’t automatically liable for the accident.
Who’s liable for a bicycle accident?
While bicycle accidents are usually hardest on the bicyclist, you’ll still have to prove that the driver was at fault to receive compensation. Your personal injury attorney might point out that the car was speeding, making an illegal U-turn, drinking and driving or engaging in other dangerous behavior. They might also point out that the driver has a responsibility to watch out for bicyclists and pedestrians.
However, the other party could argue that you showed negligence during the case. If you broke the law, acted irresponsibly, pulled out in front of the car without warning or did anything else that could endanger you on the road, a judge might conclude that you were responsible for the accident. Even if you weren’t entirely at fault, the jury might rule that you were partially responsible and award you a smaller settlement.
Should you hire an attorney?
A bicyclist accident might seem like a fairly straightforward case. However, there’s no guarantee that the judge will rule in your favor. If you make a mistake during the trial, you might end up losing your settlement. Additionally, it’s likely that the other party will hire an attorney who might take comments that you’ve made and use them to their advantage.
An attorney could gather facts that prove that the driver is responsible for the accident. They might also bring up the severity of your injuries. While the driver probably suffered from minor injuries, a car accident can be devastating for bicyclists.