Riding a bicycle is a great activity that many people enjoy. However, sharing the road with cars and other vehicles can also be dangerous, especially when drivers are not paying attention or following traffic laws. If a car hits you while riding your bike, you may wonder whether you have any legal recourse against the driver who caused the accident.

The short answer is yes, you can sue someone for hitting you on a bike if their negligence or wrongdoing caused the accident. However, the specific circumstances of your case will determine whether you have a valid legal claim and how much compensation you may be entitled to. Have a bicycle accident lawyer assess your options today.

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Determining Liability in a Bike Accident

The first step in any bike accident case is determining who was at fault for the crash. In most cases, this will come down to whether the driver of the car was negligent in some way, such as:

  • Failing to yield the right of way to the cyclist
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Speeding or driving recklessly
  • Driving while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Failing to check for cyclists before turning or changing lanes
  • Opening a car door into the path of a cyclist (also known as “dooring”)

If the driver’s negligence caused the accident and your injuries, you may have a valid legal claim against them. However, you must prove that the driver was at fault to recover compensation.

This is where evidence comes in. Some of the most important types of evidence in a bike accident case may include:

  • Police reports and accident scene photos
  • Witness statements
  • Medical records and bills documenting your injuries and treatment
  • Surveillance footage or dashcam video of the accident
  • Damage to your bike and other property
  • The driver’s statements or admissions of fault

An experienced bike accident attorney can gather and preserve this evidence and build a strong case for liability against the driver.

Types of Compensation Available in Bike Accident Cases

If you can prove that the driver was at fault for your bike accident, you may be entitled to various compensation for your injuries and losses. Some of the most common types of damages in bike accident cases include:

Medical Expenses

Lawyer working on a case with laptop, gavel in foreground, focused.

Medical expenses are often among the most significant damages in a bike accident case. If a car hits you while you’re riding your bike, you may have suffered serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment. This can include everything from emergency room visits and hospitalizations to ongoing physical therapy and rehabilitation.

You can recover compensation for all of your medical expenses related to the accident, including:

  • Ambulance and emergency room fees
  • Hospital bills for surgeries, procedures, and inpatient care
  • Doctor’s visits and follow-up appointments
  • Diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation services
  • Chiropractic care and massage therapy
  • Prescription medication and medical equipment such as crutches or a wheelchair
  • Home health care services if you require assistance with daily tasks
  • Modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate a disability caused by the accident

In addition to your current medical expenses, you can recover compensation for any future expenses due to the accident. This is especially important if you have suffered a permanent or long-term injury that will require ongoing care and treatment.

An experienced bike accident lawyer can document all of your medical expenses and collaborate with medical professionals to estimate the cost of your future care needs. This can help ensure that you receive full and fair compensation for all of your medical expenses related to the accident.

Lost Income

If your injuries from the bike accident prevent you from working, you can recover compensation for your lost income and income.

This can include:

  • Income you have already lost due to time off work for medical treatment and recovery
  • Vacation days, sick days, or personal days you have used up due to the accident
  • Bonuses, commissions, or other income you have missed out on due to your injuries
  • Any future lost earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from returning to your previous job or earning potential

Calculating lost income can be difficult, especially if you are self-employed or have an irregular work schedule. An attorney can gather income documentation and collaborate with financial professionals to estimate your lost earning capacity.

Property Damage

In addition to compensation for your medical expenses and lost income, you may also receive compensation for any property damage from the bike accident. This can include:

  • Damage to your bicycle, including repairs or replacement costs
  • Damage to any accessories or gear you were using at the time of the accident, such as a helmet, clothing, or bike lights
  • Damage to any personal items you were carrying at the time of the accident, such as a phone, laptop, or backpack
  • Any other out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident, such as transportation costs or childcare expenses

To recover compensation for property damage, you must provide documentation of the value of the damaged items and any repair or replacement costs. An attorney can gather this documentation and negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering are non-economic damages that can be more difficult to quantify than medical expenses or lost income. However, it is an important component of many bike accident cases, as the physical pain and emotional trauma of an accident can have a significant impact on your quality of life.

Pain and suffering damages may include compensation for:

  • Physical pain and discomfort caused by your injuries
  • Emotional distress, anxiety, or depression related to the accident and your injuries
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, such as the inability to participate in hobbies or activities you enjoyed before the accident
  • Scarring, disfigurement, or permanent disabilities caused by the accident

The amount of compensation you can recover for pain and suffering will depend on the severity of your injuries, the duration of your recovery, and the impact of the accident on your daily life.

An experienced bike accident attorney can document the full extent of your pain and suffering and negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you receive fair compensation for these non-economic damages.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are a special type of damages in rare cases where the driver’s actions were reckless, egregious, or intentional. Unlike compensatory damages, which aim to make you whole for your losses, punitive damages punish the driver and deter similar behavior in the future.

Situations where courts may award punitive damages in a bike accident case include:

  • The driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident
  • The driver was engaged in street racing or other reckless behavior
  • The driver intentionally hit you with their vehicle
  • The driver fled the scene of the accident without providing assistance or information

Recovering punitive damages in a bike accident case can be challenging, as you must prove that the driver’s actions were more than just negligent. An attorney can gather evidence to support a claim for punitive damages and advocate for your rights in court.

Even if a court does not award punitive damages, you might still receive compensation for medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering. An experienced bike accident attorney can help you understand the full value of your case and strive to recover maximum compensation for all your damages.

What to Do If You Are Hit by a Car While Riding Your Bike

If you are involved in a bike accident with a car, there are several important steps you should take to protect your health and legal rights:

Seek Medical Attention Right Away

Your health and well-being should be your top priority after a bike accident. Even if you don’t think you’ve suffered a severe injury, getting checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible is important. Some injuries, such as concussions or internal bleeding, may not be immediately apparent but can still be serious and even life-threatening.

If you can do so safely, move yourself and your bike out of the roadway and call 911 for emergency medical assistance. If you cannot move or are experiencing severe pain, stay where you are and wait for help to arrive.

Once you are in the care of medical professionals, be sure to follow their instructions and attend all follow-up appointments and treatments. This is important not only for your physical recovery but also for documenting the extent of your injuries and the medical expenses you incur as a result of the accident.

Suppose you delay seeking medical treatment or fail to follow the recommended care. In such instances, the insurance company might contend that your injuries are less severe than claimed or resulted from a cause unrelated to the accident. This can make recovering full and fair compensation for your damages more difficult.

Call the Police and File an Accident Report

After taking care of your immediate medical needs, the next step is to call the police and file an accident report. This is important for several reasons:

  • It creates an official accident record, including the date, location, and parties involved.
  • It documents the circumstances of the accident, including any traffic violations or other factors that may have contributed to the crash.
  • It provides contact information for the driver and any witnesses who may have seen the accident.
  • It can be used as evidence in your legal case to help prove liability and damages.

When the police arrive at the scene, give them a clear and accurate account of what happened. Stick to the facts and avoid speculation or admitting fault, even if you may have contributed to the accident in some way.

Be sure to get a copy of the accident report for your records. In the days following the accident, you may need to request this from the police department.

Get the Driver’s and Witnesses’ Contact and Insurance Information

In addition to filing a police report, collecting contact and insurance information from the driver who hit you is important. This should include:

  • Full name and contact information
  • Driver’s license number and state of issuance
  • Vehicle make, model, and license plate number
  • Insurance company name and policy number

If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their contact information. Witness statements can be powerful evidence in your legal case, as they can help corroborate your account of what happened and provide an objective perspective on the accident.

If the driver is uncooperative or leaves the accident scene without providing their information, do not try to chase them down or confront them yourself. Instead, report this to the police and let them handle the investigation.

Avoid Giving Statements to the Driver’s Insurance Company

After a bike accident, the driver’s insurance company may contact you for a statement about what happened. Be very cautious about giving statements to the insurance company without consulting an attorney.

Traffic officer investigates car and bicycle accident, injured cyclist in background.

Remember, the insurance company aims to minimize liability and pay as little as possible on your claim. They may use your words against you or twist your statement to make it seem like you were at fault for the accident.

Even if the insurance adjuster seems friendly or sympathetic, do not provide recorded statements, sign documents, or accept settlement offers without first speaking with an attorney. Your attorney can communicate with the insurance company and protect your rights throughout the legal process.

If you do speak with the insurance company, keep your statements brief and factual. Do not admit fault, speculate about what happened, or downplay the severity of your injuries. Simply state that you have been in an accident and seek legal representation.

By consulting an experienced bike accident attorney before giving any statements to the insurance company, you can best protect yourself and have the best chance of recovering full and fair compensation for your damages.

Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney

If you have suffered an injury in a bike accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can seek compensation for your losses. An experienced bike accident attorney can help you understand your legal options, gather evidence to support your claim and strive for the maximum compensation you deserve.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer now.

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