3 Legal Options for Cyclists Hit By a Car

cyclist hit by car
If you are a cyclist hit by car, what are your options? Find out what you need to do next and what to do if you are at fault or partially at fault.

If a driver collides with and injures a cyclist, the driver could be held liable for the damages that they caused, and the cyclist can qualify for compensation.

Below, we’ve compiled information for cyclists injured by a car accident. Additionally, we’ll discuss what to do if you are partially at fault for the accident.

Keep reading to learn your next steps!

What Should You Do as a Cyclist Hit By a Car?

1.Get Medical Assistance

If you are a bicyclist hit by a car, your wellbeing is the #1 priority. Call 911 if needed and go to the hospital.  Once there, ensure an emergency responder documents your injuries, which can be vital if a claim is later made.  Also follow-up with your own doctor and any specialists as necessary.

In many (but not all) circumstances, you will also want to give a statement to the police and note any documentation that is taken. Documentation like a traffic violation ticket against the driver can help establish fault, which is helpful to making a successful insurance claim.

2. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney 

After you have made a statement, it may be in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney. The attorney will help you get the maximum compensation.

Furthermore, if you are partially at fault for the accident, you will need a lawyer to help you get compensation for your injuries.

3. Make an Insurance Claim

You can get compensation for your injuries by filing a claim with the driver’s insurance company. Among other things, you may be able to recover compensation for medical treatment, lost income, and repair/replacement of your bicycle.

With the help of your attorney, you can create a demand letter that describes all of your accident-related losses, increasing your chances of a successful claim. 

If the driver’s insurance company offers a settlement that is lower than you expected, your attorney can help you negotiate more favorable compensation.

However, if you are partially at fault for the accident, the amount of money you claim from the insurance company can diminish proportionally to your contributory fault (RCW 4.22.005). 

In other words, even though you were hit by the car and you suffered the injuries, the amount awarded to you will be less if you have any fault in the accident.

Keep reading to learn why fault may be placed on the bicyclist and not the vehicle driver.

Do You Share Fault in the Accident in Washington?

It is possible that you are at fault or partially at fault for a bicycle-car accident.

According to Washington law, bicyclists are subject to all traffic laws and have the same rights and duties of a vehicle driver. (RCW 46.61.755). If you don’t abide by driving regulations while on a bike or you violate a bicyclist law, and you are then hit by a car, you could be deemed partially at fault for the accident (RCW 4.22.070).

Learn more about bicycle laws below to see if you might be partially at fault for the accident. 

An Overview of Bicycle Laws in Washington

Bicyclists aren’t exempt from the law. 

In addition to being assigned fault in the event of a crash, a bicyclist can be charged with a traffic infraction (RCW 46.61.750) if traffic or bicycle laws are violated. A traffic infraction will be given a monetary penalty not exceeding $250 unless otherwise authorized (RCW 46.63.110).

Review our general overview of bicycle laws in Washington to determine if and why you may be at fault in a bicycle-car accident.

  • A person must sit on the designated bicycle seat when cycling, and the number of people on the bicycle is limited to the number of people the bicycle is designed to support (RCW 46.61.760). In other words, someone cannot ride on the handlebars or pegs of the bike.
  • You cannot cling to a vehicle when riding on a bicycle (RCW 46.61.765).
  • You must use hand signals when turning right, turning left, stopping, or decreasing speed (RCW 46.61.758).
  • If you are riding a bicycle on a roadway at a speed less than the flow of traffic, you should ride as near to the right side of the road as possible. However, if you are turning, overtaking and passing another cyclist or vehicle moving in the same direction, or avoiding unsafe conditions, you don’t have to stay too close to the right side of the road. Cyclists may also use the shoulder of a roadway or a designated bicycle lane (RCW 46.61.770).
  • If a bicycle is used when it is dark outside, your bicycle must have a white light attached to the front that is visible by a distance of at least 500 feet. You must also have a red reflector on the rear of your bike that can be seen from a distance of at least 600 feet. Your bike must also have working brakes (RCW 46.61.780).
  • You cannot carry any package, bundle, or article that prevents you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars at all times (RCW 46.61.775).

Precautionary measures should be taken to reduce the risk of collision. Nonetheless, even when you abide by the law, there is an possibility of a crash. If this happens, call a personal injury lawyer promptly.

Were You a Cyclist Hit by a Car? Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Whether you have contributory fault for the accident or not, a personal injury attorney will help you claim the money you deserve. 

Will & Will is a personal injury law firm serving the Seattle area. Run by a husband and wife team, Court and Michelle Will are dedicated to helping individuals who have suffered an injury as a result of getting hit by a car while riding a bicycle. These caring advocates promise to work tirelessly with you so you can receive the best possible outcome in your unique case.

Contact Will & Will today for more information!

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