With the increase of bicyclists on the road, the number of bicycle accidents has also increased. Bicyclist deaths due to traffic-related bicycle accidents have gone up 44% over the last ten years and increased by 16% in 2020 alone. If you or a loved one are injured or killed in a Detroit bicycle accident, you deserve to be fully and fairly compensated for your pain, suffering, and other damages. At The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, our Detroit bicycle accident lawyers are dedicated to helping injured victims and their loved ones navigate their claims and get the high-value settlement they deserve.
Don’t hesitate. Reach out to one of our Detroit Bicycle Accident Lawyers today!
Common Causes of Detroit Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can happen just about anywhere at any time. Any number of things could cause a bicyclist to get into an accident and become injured. However, most Detroit bicycle accidents happen as a result of driver negligence.
Motorists often do not like having to share the road with bicyclists, even though it is the law to do so. And even if a driver doesn’t mind sharing the road, they often don’t pay much attention to bicyclists as they are distracted by other things while driving.
Either way, whether a driver is purposely not sharing the road or is distracted and not paying attention to bicyclists, this is considered negligence and is the most common cause of bicycle accidents.
Specific examples of Detroit bicycle accident causes can include:
- Drivers turning right in front of a bicyclist that was continuing straight
- Drivers running into bicyclists that were turning left at an intersection
- Drivers failing to give bicyclists enough room as they pass them
- Drivers failing to check their blind spots for bicyclists
- Drivers speeding or running red lights and stop signs
- Drivers using their cell phones while driving
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Head injuries from bicycle accidents are the most common type of bicyclist injury. This is because bicyclists don’t have seatbelts keeping them from flying off their bikes when they are hit. They also don’t have anything else shielding their body or head, like the metal frame of a car. So when they are struck, their body sustains direct impact in most bicycle accident cases.
And not only can their heads and bodies be directly struck, but they might also then sustain additional injuries when they fall to the ground and hit their head or if they are thrown off their bike and hit something else.
Head injuries, however, are not the only injuries a bicyclist can sustain. Other common bicycle injuries can include:
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage and internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
- Crushed limbs
- Puncture wounds
- Road rash
- Neck injuries
Your Rights as an Injured Detroit Bicyclist
Michigan law treats bicyclists similarly to motorists. This means if you are injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you have a right to file a claim against the guilty party to recover compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Michigan law also requires motorists to share the road with bicyclists and treat them as if they were other drivers. This includes:
- Maintaining three to five feet of distance (depending on the municipality) when passing a bicyclist
- Yielding the right-of-way to bicyclists just as you would with other drivers when required to do so
- Checking blind spots for bicyclists before backing up, making turns, and proceeding through intersections
- Being mindful of not opening your door in the path of an oncoming bicyclist
Michigan law does NOT require bicyclists to wear a helmet, with one exception. If the bike is considered a Class 3 e-bike, then all riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet.
So, if you are involved in an accident while riding your bike, whether or not you were wearing a helmet will not affect your claim. However, not wearing a helmet can mean that you will sustain more severe and life-threatening injuries, such as traumatic brain injury.
Even though it is not the law in Michigan to wear a helmet, most traffic and transportation experts, such as the NHTSA, recommend riders wear a helmet for their safety.
Detroit bicycle accidents can be scary and traumatic, but it’s important to remain calm and take certain steps to ensure your bicycle accident case goes as smoothly as possible. So, after a bicycle accident, the following steps are what you should expect to take or deal with:
- See to your injuries: Your health is your number one priority. So always make sure you call for an ambulance or have someone take you to the ER as soon as possible if your injuries are severe and life-threatening.
- Call the police: Always call the police when you have been struck by another vehicle as a bicyclist. Even if your injuries don’t seem that bad, you never know how they might progress down the road. So you always want to make sure a police report is filed in case you do need to file a personal injury claim.
- Gather evidence: If possible, evidence from the scene of the accident can also help you win your case and get the best possible outcome. This includes pictures of your injuries, your bike damage, car damage, or anything else that seems relevant to the accident and what happened.
- Witness information: In addition to evidence, it can also be helpful for you to collect witness contact info. If there is a disagreement over what happened, witnesses may be called upon to give a statement to help corroborate your story about what happened.
- Consult a Detroit bicycle accident lawyer: A lawyer can help you navigate your claim and ensure everything is taken care of so you receive the best outcome. They can help you with paperwork, defend your rights, deal with difficult insurance companies, and help you get a high-value settlement.
Under Michigan law, you have a right to recover compensation for damages if you were injured due to someone else’s negligence. The damages for which you can recover compensation include:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damages
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent impairment or disability
- Loss of consortium
If you are partially at fault for the bicycle accident, meaning you as the bicyclist may also have acted negligently in addition to another party, it can affect your claim. However, Michigan is a no-fault state, so you could simply go through your own insurance company to recover no-fault benefits, which are available no matter who was at fault.
In many cases though, no-fault benefits are often not enough. If you want to recover compensation for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, and emotional distress, you will need to file a claim against the other at-fault party. But this is where your partial fault could affect your claim.
Michigan is a comparative fault state. This means that so long as you are no more than 50% at fault, you can still file a claim against the other party. Your percentage of fault, however, will affect how much money you can recover.
For example, if you are determined to be 20% at fault for the bicycle accident, you will only be able to recover 80% of your settlement award. So if you were initially awarded $100,000, you will only be able to receive $80,000 since you were 20% at fault.
Why You Need a Detroit Bicycle Accident Lawyer
It’s crucial to understand that just because you have the right to file a claim and receive compensation as an injured bicyclist, this does not automatically guarantee you will receive the settlement you deserve.
Insurance companies often make it difficult for injured parties to recover a full and fair settlement. They will do whatever they can to avoid having to pay high-value settlements. As such, it is important that you work with an attorney.
With a lawyer on your side, you can provide sufficient evidence, ensure you get the medical care you need, make the right decisions, build a strong case, and handle difficult insurance companies. All of this means you are more likely to be able to argue for a higher value settlement that fully compensates you for all that you have suffered and lost as a result of the bicycle accident.
One of the Best Detroit Bicycle Accident Lawyers
For over 40 years, The Lee Steinberg Law Firm has helped injured victims win their cases to collect the compensation they need and deserve. We care about the health and well-being of our clients. The results of a Detroit bicycle accident can be traumatic—let us help you get the compensation you need to recover and move on as comfortably as possible.
Please call Lee Steinberg and the Detroit bicycle accident lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form so we can answer any questions you may have about your accident. You pay nothing until we settle your Detroit bicycle accident case.