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Colburn Law

Bellingham Bicycle Accident Lawyer

 Arm Injury

Bicycle accidents can lead to severe injuries, lengthy periods of recovery, and a host of additional physical, emotional, and financial consequences. If you suffered an injury in a bike accident, you can collect compensation for your damages through a lawsuit or insurance claim — but you will need an experienced Bellingham bike accident attorney by your side.

Bicycle Accident Resources:

Why Choose Our Bellingham Bicycle Accident Attorneys

Colburn Law can help. Our firm has significant experience assisting thousands of Washington clients with their personal injury lawsuits, including bicycle accident claims. We will work closely with you to identify your damages and to build a compelling case in your favor.

  • Our personal injury law firm operates on a contingency fee basis to limit your out of pocket costs. If we secure compensation on your behalf, we will take an agreed-upon percentage of your settlement as payment.
  • Our lead attorney, Greg Colburn, was a victim of negligence and understands deeply how personal injury can affect your life. We will apply this empathy and understanding to each stage in your lawsuit or insurance claim.
  • We understand how difficult it can be to travel after a bike accident. We will gladly visit you at your home, hospital room, or another agreed-upon location upon your request.

Dangerous Bicycle Accident Hotspots in Bellingham

While Washington attracts many cyclists, bicycle accidents do occur on a regular basis throughout the state. Our firm’s research of the most dangerous places for cyclists in Washington discovered that there are several areas within Bellingham where cyclists are at a higher risk of an accident than others.

  • East Magnolia Street and Cornwall Avenue: This busy intersection is the most dangerous for cyclists in Bellingham. 16 crashes occurred there over a five-year period, resulting in 13 injuries.
  • Northwest Avenue and Maplewood Avenue: This intersection in Bellingham saw 6 crashes, resulting in 4 minor injuries and 2 major injuries.
  • East Champion Street and North Forest Street: At this intersection, Bellingham cyclists suffered 5 crashes, resulting in 4 minor injuries.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Bike Accidents?

Bellingham is home to many cyclists, many of whom rely on bicycles to go to work or run errands. Motorists must drive carefully to avoid colliding with cyclists, but not all drivers uphold their duty of care.

Bicycle accidents can occur due to a number of negligent behaviors.

  • Unsafe lane changes: A driver may change lanes without looking to see if the road is clear, leading to a collision with a cyclist already in the lane.
  • Failure to stop or yield: Drivers may run a red light, fail to yield, or drive through a stop sign, colliding with a cyclist who has the right of way.
  • Turning without looking: Although a driver may have a green light to turn at an intersection, he or she must yield the right of way to cyclists crossing the street. Failure to check the intersection before turning can lead to an accident.
  • Road hazards: The government may not properly maintain Bellingham roads, leading to avoidable hazards that can cause severe injuries. Potholes, fallen trees, and loose gravel can lead to a bicycle accident.

Common Bicycle Accident Injuries

Cyclists are in a more vulnerable position than motor vehicles due to the size, weight, and protection differences between these two modes of transportation. Collisions can result in severe injuries that require significant treatment, including the following.

  • Spinal cord damage
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Cuts, bruises, and lacerations
  • Facial injuries
  • Dental fractures

How to Report a Bicycle Accident in Washington State

The steps you take immediately after your bicycle accident can impact the outcome of your case significantly. Reporting your accident helps establish a record of the collision, which can be valuable in proving your future claim.

Take the following steps after the collision to seek help and begin collecting the evidence for your claim.

  • Do not admit fault, apologize for the accident, or say you do not have any injuries to the officer or the other driver. This can prevent you from claiming compensation later on.
  • Call 911. This will bring law enforcement to the scene, and the responding officer will ask you questions about the accident and your injuries.
  • When speaking to the officer, state only the facts you know to be true and refrain from guessing. Ask the officer for his or her name and badge number to find the report later.
  • Seek medical attention immediately, even if you do not feel like you have any injuries. Delaying treatment may lead the insurance company to believe you do not have serious injuries. You will also receive valuable records to use in your future claim.
  • Contact your attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will advise you on your next steps and help you file your claim. Do not speak to an insurance adjuster until you speak to your lawyer.

How Do You Recover Compensation for a Bicycle Accident?

In regard to motor vehicle accidents, Washington follows a traditional fault-based system where the driver responsible for the collision is liable for the damages that the other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians involved in the crash experience. After a bicycle accident, you have two main options to recover compensation.

  • You can file a claim through the at-fault party’s insurance company.
  • You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in Washington civil court.

What If The Insurance Company Denies My Claim?

In most cases, cyclists file an insurance claim first. If the insurance company refuses to provide a settlement or only offers a lower settlement than what they need to recover, cyclists will often proceed to the lawsuit process. However, each case is different, and speaking to an attorney at Colburn Law can help you determine which course of action is appropriate for your case.

Determining Fault in a Bike Crash

If you are filing a lawsuit against the person responsible for your bicycle accident, you and your attorney will need to work closely together to prove that an act of negligence occurred. Washington requires you to establish the following four elements to successfully prove negligence.

  • Duty of care. The first fact you must establish is that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident. All drivers and cyclists owe each other a duty to operate their vehicles safely on the road and to obey all traffic laws.
  • Breach of duty. Once you’ve established the at-fault party’s duty, you must show that he or she breached that duty in some way. This can include disobeying traffic lights, failure to honor the right of way, or driving under the influence.
  • The at-fault party’s breach of care must be the direct cause of your injuries. You can prove this element through medical records, witness statements, surveillance footage, and other pieces of evidence.
  • To successfully win a lawsuit for a bicycle accident, you will need to prove that you suffered damages that you can receive compensation for. Your attorney can help you determine which damages you can claim.

How Will Fault Affect Your Settlement?

While the at-fault party in your case may be mostly responsible for the accident, any fault that lies with you may also affect your settlement. Washington follows a contributory fault rule that can reduce your settlement based on the percentage of fault you share. For example, if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of your bicycle accident, the court may find you at fault for 40% of the accident. If your final settlement is $100,000, you will only receive $60,000.

Contact a Bellingham Bicycle Accident Attorney Today

Do you need an attorney to assist you with your Bellingham bicycle accident case? Colburn Law can help. Our attorneys can guide you through the lawsuit or insurance claims process step-by-step to help you claim the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and to discuss your next steps.