Were you recently injured in a bicycle accident in Salt Lake City? The bicycle accident attorneys at Esquire Law will fight for your rights to get the compensation you deserve. Our field expertise and track record of success make us the trusted bicycle accident lawyer among Salt Lake City residents. Contact us today to see how much you can win.
Everything You Should Know About Bicycle Accidents in Salt Lake City
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
While bicycle accidents can occur for various reasons, some factors are more likely than others to cause them. If you ever go cycling in Utah, be aware of these risk factors.
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Poor weather or road conditions
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- A cyclist travels on the wrong side of the road
- A cyclist rides into a car’s path
- A motorist opens their door as a cyclist approaches
- Cyclist weaves in and out of traffic
- A cyclist fails to use a headlight or reflectors in the dark
The Impact of Bicycle Accidents on Victims
Bicycle accidents impact victims not only physically but also psychologically and financially. If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you might be suffering from one or more of the effects described below.
Injuries sustained by bicycle accident victims can range from mild to severe. In more serious cases, they can even be fatal.
Victims often experience mental and emotional trauma for weeks, months, or even years after their accident. These psychological effects can be difficult to cope with, requiring some to seek professional mental health treatment.
From medical bills to lost income from time off work, bicycle accidents take a toll on your finances. Without financial compensation, victims can be left with mounting out-of-pocket expenses.
Legal Rights & Responsibilities of Cyclists in Utah
Cyclists have a right to share the road with motorists. With that right comes some responsibilities. Let’s take a look at the rights and responsibilities of Utah cyclists.
General Rights & Responsibilities
- Cyclists share the same rights and responsibilities as motorists.
- Cyclists must ride with caution to avoid hitting motorists, pedestrians, and fellow cyclists.
Rights & Duties on Sidewalks, Paths, Trails, & Crosswalks
- Cyclists who are under 18 years of age have a right to ride on sidewalks, paths, trails, and crosswalks. Cyclists who are 18 years and older might be restricted by certain regulations.
- Cyclists should travel at a safe speed.
- Cyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians.
- Cyclists aren’t legally required to use designated bike lanes or trails.
- Cyclists should not carry more passengers than what the bicycle can safely carry.
- Cyclists should not race motorists or other cyclists on public roads.
- Cyclists should not place anything on the handlebars that inhibits proper use.
- Cyclists should keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.
- Cyclists should not use a siren or whistle while riding.
Where You Should Ride
Cyclists are legally required to travel in the direction of traffic. If a cyclist travels slower than the surrounding traffic, they should ride as close to the right-hand side of the road as possible. Exceptions to this rule include:
- Cyclists who pass a car traveling in the same direction
- Cyclists who are preparing to turn left
- Cyclists who travel through a junction that has a right-turn-only lane
- Cyclists who must avoid hazardous road conditions
- Cyclists traveling in a bike lane that’s too narrow for safely passing a motorist
When to Seek Legal Help for a Bicycle Accident
When Legal Assistance Is Crucial
You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after a bicycle accident in Salt Lake City. It’s especially important to hire an attorney in the following scenarios.
- Multiple parties are involved
- Fault is uncertain
- Your injuries are severe
- Another party filed a lawsuit against you
- Your insurance company denied your claim or provided a lowball offer
- You have questions about your case
The Role of a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
A lawyer plays an essential role in a Salt Lake City bicycle accident case. This skilled professional will help:
- Review your case
- Launch a formal investigation
- Gather evidence
- Consult medical and other experts
- Determine fault
- Calculate damages
- Negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement
- Communicate with the opposing party’s legal counsel
- Submit paperwork
- Represent you in court, if necessary
How a Lawyer Can Help After a Bicycle Accident
Your bicycle accident attorney is your trusted legal advocate. They’ll make sure you understand the details of your case and explain your legal rights and options. But lawyers provide more than just legal counsel. They also provide you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing someone is in your corner and will advocate on your behalf.
Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
Common Injuries Sustained in Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can have particularly devastating effects given the vulnerability of cyclists. Unlike motorists, they don’t have doors or a windshield to protect them from various hazards. These are the most common injuries people sustain in bicycle accidents.
- Head injuries like contusions, concussions, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
- Road rash
The Long-Term Impact of These Injuries
Injuries sustained in a bicycle accident can have lasting and even lifelong effects. Victims might suffer from physical or mental disabilities, experience limited mobility, or require long-term rehabilitation. Some victims also have a reduced earning capacity due to their limited ability or inability to work.
The Importance of Medical Documentation
Documenting your injuries is crucial. To secure compensation, you have to prove the defendant acted negligently and that their negligence caused your injuries. Seeking medical care immediately after your accident and documenting all treatments provided can help tie your injuries directly to the accident. It can also help you keep track of out-of-pocket expenses, which will help your lawyer calculate damages accurately when building your case.
Navigating Insurance Claims & Settlements
Dealing With Insurance Companies After an Accident
Dealing with insurance companies is one of the biggest frustrations cyclists face after an accident. Insurers employ bad-faith tactics like lowballing and delaying claims to protect their bottom line by minimizing your payout. Without a skilled attorney on your side to negotiate a fair settlement, you could end up accepting the first offer when you deserve more.
Understanding Insurance Claims & Settlements
After notifying your insurance company about the accident, you can file a claim. This is a formal request from a policyholder to their insurer asking for compensation for a loss that’s covered under their policy.
Once your claim has been filed, you and your attorney will meet with your insurance company to negotiate a settlement. Ideally, both parties will reach a fair settlement and avoid litigation. This is the case for most bicycle accident claims. But, if a settlement can’t be reached, your lawyer will take your case to court to get the compensation you deserve.
Proving Liability & Building Your Case
How Liability Is Determined
Liability must be established before the plaintiff can seek compensation from the defendant. These are the four criteria that must be met to establish fault in a bicycle accident case.
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached their duty of care
- The breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries
- The plaintiff suffered some form of identifiable harm—either physical, financial, or both—as a result of their injuries
Gathering Evidence to Build a Strong Case
Your lawyer will gather evidence such as medical records, eyewitness statements, and a copy of the police or accident report to start building your case. The more evidence there is, the stronger your case will be.
Compensation & Damages in Bicycle Accident Cases
Types of Compensation Available for Victims
The main reason bicycle accident victims pursue claims and file lawsuits is to recover compensatory damages, or compensation. That’s because accidents are financially and psychologically costly. Victims often suffer severe bodily harm and significant property damage, both of which are difficult to pay out-of-pocket. Not to mention time away from work, which requires the use of paid or unpaid time off and could result in lost income.
Compensatory damages help victims recover financially after an accident so they can focus solely on their physical and psychological recovery. If you were injured while riding a bicycle, these are the damages you could secure compensation for.
Economic damages are tangible losses that have a calculable, monetary value. Common examples include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Rehabilitative care
Non-economic damages are intangible, incalculable losses that can’t be assigned a monetary value. Here are some examples:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability
When you trust Esquire Law with your bicycle accident case, we’ll fight tooth and nail to secure maximum compensation on your behalf so you can make a full recovery.
How Damages Are Calculated
The amount of compensation you receive depends on several factors, such as the severity of your injuries, who caused the accident, and whether both parties are willing to settle. Let’s take a look at one key element in calculating damages.
It’s common for two or more parties to be responsible for the events leading up to a bicycle accident. But if more than one person is to blame, how is compensation calculated?
Utah practices modified comparative negligence. This legal principle allows the plaintiff to seek compensation from the defendant even if the plaintiff shares up to 49% of the fault. Their compensation is simply reduced by the percentage of fault they share. Here’s an example: if a settlement amount is $50,000, but the plaintiff contributed 10% of the fault, they would receive $45,000.
Safety Tips for Cyclists in Salt Lake City
Best Practices for Cyclist Safety
Thanks to its pleasant climate and scenic views, cycling is a popular activity among Salt Lake City residents. But with more cyclists on the roads, more accidents are likely to occur. Here are some practical steps you can take to stay safe while cycling in Salt Lake City.
- Wear protective gear, such as a helmet, gloves, and glasses
- Wear reflective gear if cycling in the dark
- Don’t ride in traffic
- Ride in designated bike lanes
- Look both ways before turning at an intersection
- Use appropriate hand and arm signals when stopping, turning, or merging
- Maintain a safe distance from motorists, pedestrians, and other cyclists
- Stay visible
- Be alert
- Avoid hazardous conditions
- Don’t ride distracted or while under the influence
- Perform routine bicycle maintenance to ensure the proper function of brakes, wheels, and other components
Taking these precautions will lower your chances of getting in an accident and reduce the severity of your injuries if you do get in one.
Want some more cycling safety tips? Check out this helpful resource.
The Legal Implications of Violating Cycling Safety Guidelines
Utah takes cyclist safety seriously. The laws and regulations in place are designed with your safety and well-being in mind. If you break one of these laws, you could face legal and/or financial penalties.
Why Choose Esquire Law for Your Bicycle Accident Case
Here’s why Esquire Law is the go-to bicycle accident lawyer in Salt Lake City.
- We’re Experienced: We have years of experience representing bicycle accident victims like you.
- We’re Successful: Our bike accident attorneys have a track record of winning the bicycle accident cases they represent. Our client reviews speak for themselves.
- We Care: The aftermath of a bicycle accident is taxing. Thanks to perks like 24/7 support and virtual consultations, we help simplify the process and lighten the load.
- We’re Affordable: Legal representation shouldn’t cost a fortune. That’s why we provide every client with a free case evaluation and work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t pay until we win.
- We Fight for You: From providing support every step of the way to advocating for maximum compensation, we’ll always have your back.
We’re Ready to Fight for Your Rights
Esquire Law is the name you can trust to get the results you want. In the aftermath of a bicycle accident, there’s no time to waste. Don’t miss out on the chance to secure compensation for your injuries. Contact our team today to get started with a free case evaluation. A lawyer will review the details of your case and help you take the next step toward justice.