Can You Sue Someone for Hitting You While You’re on a Bicycle?

By June 12, 2023July 26th, 2023Bicycle Accident
Woman driving car and texting about to hit man on bicycle

Yes, you can usually sue someone who hits you with their motor vehicle while you’re riding a bicycle. Motorists have a special duty to ensure the safety of cyclists. If they hit a bicycle with their car, truck, or bus, they typically must compensate the injured rider.

If a motor vehicle collided with your bike and harmed you, speak with a bicycle accident attorney right away. You may receive significant monetary damages. An experienced bike accident lawyer can make sure you receive every penny you deserve.

Drivers Owe a Duty of Care to Bicyclists

Bicyclists rank among the most vulnerable of all road users. They typically wear almost no protection, other than a helmet, to cushion the impact of an accident. A collision with a motor vehicle stands a good chance of throwing a rider to the ground and inflicting severe, potentially fatal, injuries.

For that reason, the rules of the road in every state require drivers to take special care when sharing the road with bicyclists.

Among other precautions, drivers usually must:

  • Treat bicycles as vehicles with the same rights to use the road and occupy a traffic lane as any other
  • Leave a wide berth when passing bicycles
  • Pass bicycles at safe speeds
  • Never tailgate or unnecessarily crowd bicycles
  • Yield to bicycles in the same manner as motor vehicles
  • Pay attention to cyclists in dedicated bike lanes
  • Never block, park in, or intrude on bike lanes
  • Avoid opening car doors into the path of bicycles

These rules reduce the risk of a collision between a vehicle and a bike. Unfortunately, though, accidents still happen because drivers frequently fail to live up to their duty of care to cyclists.

Your Rights as an Injured Cyclist

Bike accident victims like you usually have the right to receive compensation from the drivers who collided with them. They may also have a claim against other parties whose actions contributed to the collision.

Through a lawsuit or insurance claim filed on their behalf by a skilled attorney, injured bicyclists can often recover:

  • The cost of medical care necessary to treat their crash injuries and related health complications
  • Other expenses directly resulting from the accident or the injuries it caused
  • Lost income and job benefits due to missing work while healing
  • Lost future earning opportunities because of a temporary or permanent disability caused by the collision
  • Compensation for their physical pain and emotional suffering
  • Compensation for their loss of quality of life
  • Compensation for scarring, disfigurement, or loss of bodily function they suffered

Sometimes, a skilled lawyer can also secure punitive damages, which punish the at-fault party for extreme or intentional misconduct. The amount the victim of a bicycle accident might receive because of the lawyer’s efforts can depend on the strength of the case the lawyer builds and the financial resources of the parties with liability.

Payments related to severe bike accident injuries can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, especially if the at-fault party carries significant insurance and the cyclist incurred severe injuries.

Who Can You Hold Responsible When You Get Hit on a Bike?

As a general matter, you can take legal action through your attorney against anyone whose wrongful decisions or actions led to a vehicle hitting you on a bike. You may also have the right to hold others financially accountable for your injuries if they have a legal obligation to answer for an at-fault party’s conduct.

wrecked bicycle laying in road, car in background

What do those general principles mean in practice? Typically, they mean that your attorney can take action on your behalf against the driver of the vehicle that hit you and the driver’s liability insurance policy. After all, cars and trucks should never hit bicycles, and when they do, it’s usually a sign that the driver violated a duty of care to a cyclist and owes them damages.

However, the driver isn’t the only person or entity that may owe you compensation. Other parties and their insurance companies could also share that liability or bear it entirely.

For example:

  • The driver’s employer, if a commercial vehicle hit you
  • The manufacturer of the vehicle that hit you if it malfunctioned because of a defective part or onboard system
  • A bar, restaurant, or social host who served alcohol to an underage drunk driver who hit you
  • A government agency responsible for unreasonably dangerous road conditions played a part in causing the collision

These are just a few examples. The point is you may have the right to take legal action against numerous individuals, businesses, or entities, not just the driver who hit you. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer can work hard to identify as many liable parties as possible in your case to maximize your odds of receiving full, fair compensation for your losses.

The Role a Lawyer Plays in Getting You Money

A lawyer’s job is to take all steps necessary to secure compensation for the losses you suffered when you got hit on a bike. A skilled attorney can also serve as your advisor and advocate during this difficult time of your life.

The steps a lawyer may take on your behalf depend on your unique circumstances. No two bike accidents are identical. You deserve to have a lawyer on your side who gives your case personal attention so that you can achieve results that meet your particular goals and priorities.

Obtaining money for you might not require filing a lawsuit. Sometimes, a lawyer can get you compensation by sending an informal demand for payment to the at-fault driver or by submitting a third-party claim to the driver’s (or someone else’s) insurance company. But there are no guarantees. In many cases, the only way to secure fair compensation is to take a bicycle accident claim to court and, if necessary, present it to a judge and jury at trial.

For that reason, it’s always preferable to have an attorney in your corner who has the experience, skill, and resources to overcome any challenge your case presents.

The right lawyer for your bicycle crash case should have:

  • Years of experience representing bike accident victims like you
  • A track record of success in cases like yours
  • An all-star team that has what it takes to go the distance to get you results
  • Numerous satisfied former clients who sing their praises

Your lawyer should also meet with you in person or remotely (at your convenience) for a free initial consultation or second opinion. Additionally, the lawyer should represent you on a contingent fee basis. This means you pay nothing upfront or as your case progresses, and the lawyer only gets paid for getting you results.

The Importance of Connecting With a Lawyer Immediately

Do not wait to contact an experienced bike accident attorney. You have no time to lose if you want to secure full compensation for your losses. The sooner you have a skilled lawyer in your corner, the better your chances of achieving a favorable outcome in your case.

It’s important to take prompt action because:

  • First, the more time passes, the more difficult it may become to locate and preserve evidence to support your claim. Immediately hiring a lawyer increases the odds of finding witnesses before their memories fade and securing documents, video, and other tangible evidence before they get lost, deleted, or thrown away.
  • Second, retaining a lawyer right away protects against missing a critical deadline for asserting your claim. Your rights to compensation come with an expiration date called the statute of limitations. You must take legal action on your claim before this deadline or risk losing your rights. Other time limits may also apply to your claim, such as if a government entity owes you compensation.
  • Third, as the victim of a bicycle collision, you have a lot on your plate. Many people in your situation need help making big decisions or knowing who to trust. Hiring a lawyer gives you access to a trusted advisor who has seen others confront and overcome the challenges you currently face. A lawyer can guide you, look out for you, and ensure you take all necessary steps to preserve your rights.

Tips for Protecting Your Rights After Getting Hit on a Bike

The days, weeks, and months following a bike accident can feel chaotic and overwhelming. As mentioned, hiring a lawyer right away can return some stability to your life and give you the peace of mind of knowing your rights are protected. Other tips to follow to ensure you protect yourself and get the compensation you deserve include:

Get Medical Care

Always seek immediate medical care after getting hit on a bike, even if you think you escaped major injuries. Some trauma common to bike collisions may not show symptoms right away but could worsen if you don’t begin treatment ASAP. Ask a medical professional to examine you immediately to avoid potentially devastating consequences. Then, follow your doctor’s advice by, for example, keeping follow-up appointments, taking your medication, and doing your physical therapy.

Getting medical care protects more than just your health. It also safeguards your legal rights. The records a doctor makes of your treatment can serve as valuable evidence to support your compensation claim. They can also demonstrate to a defense lawyer or insurance company that you took appropriate care of yourself, which can help to preserve the value of your claim.

Protect Yourself From Insurance Tactics

Most bicycle accidents involving a collision with a motor vehicle trigger coverage under at least one insurance policy. The at-fault driver’s liability insurance should cover at least some of your losses, for example. You may also carry health or personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that pays for some of your care and other expenses.

However, having a valid insurance claim doesn’t always guarantee payment. Insurance companies try to avoid paying compensation whenever possible and employ tactics to give them an excuse to reject a claim. For example, an insurance adjuster may pressure you to give a recorded interview about the accident. If you agree, the adjuster will use it to ask you loaded questions designed to trick you into saying something damaging to your claim.

Do Not Accept an Initial Lowball Settlement Offer

An insurance company that knows it owes you compensation may also offer a quick settlement of your claim before you’ve had a chance to hire or consult with a lawyer. You might feel tempted to say yes, but be careful: chances are the offer falls far short of the amount you deserve to receive. Agreeing to it could prevent you from obtaining full compensation for your losses.

Speak with an Bicycle Accident Attorney

Don’t risk getting taken advantage of by an aggressive insurance company. Leave all insurance issues related to your bike accident claim to a skilled attorney to handle on your behalf. A lawyer knows how to shield you from making mistakes when dealing with insurance companies and can take the actions necessary to force insurers to pay the full amount they owe for your losses.

Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today

Getting into a bicycle accident can disrupt your life in many ways. It can leave you in severe physical pain and struggling with a temporary or permanent disability. It can cause lasting emotional trauma that prevents you from working or living a fulfilling life. And it can carve a hole in your finances that feels impossible to escape.

You don’t deserve to face these challenges alone, and you don’t have to. While you focus your energy on healing, an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer can handle seeking compensation on your behalf. Whether you need to sue the at-fault driver or another party or file an insurance claim, an attorney can take care of all the filings, negotiations, and details to get you the maximum payment. To learn more, contact a skilled bike accident lawyer today for a free consultation.