Our Pittsburgh Bicycle Accident Attorneys Are Here to Help
In the past two decades, biking as a means of commuting has become increasingly popular across the United States. In fact, from 2000 to 2019, the number of Americans who bike to work increased by 61 percent. This trend certainly rings true in Pennsylvania, which is in the top half of states ranked by the number of bike commuters.
Biking, whether as a means of getting to work, a form of exercise, or a hobby, has so many benefits. However, the unfortunate reality is that cyclists are at risk of injury when biking on roads that also permit cars. Unlike a car driver or passenger, who is shielded to some degree by the vehicle itself, cyclists have very little protection when an accident occurs. If a car and a bicycle collide, it’s likely that the cyclist will experience far more damage.
If you or a loved one has experienced a Pittsburgh bicycle accident, you are very likely entitled to compensation. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless after a traumatizing accident, but our Pittsburgh bicycle accident lawyers have decades of experience protecting and fighting for people just like you. Munley Law’s Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers are on your side and will work tirelessly to ensure justice is handed out. Don’t wait: contact us today for a free initial case evaluation.
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What Causes Bicycle Accidents?
We know that bicycle accidents are an all too common occurrence; in fact, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were 15 bicycle accident deaths in the state in 2022, and 801 total bicycle accidents. But what exactly causes them? Like any type of road accident, there are many different factors that can cause and contribute to a bicycle accident in Pittsburgh. However, there are some causes that appear across a great number of accidents.
The most common cause of a bike crash is getting hit by a car. A car may collide with a bicycle due to factors like:
- Low visibility: Weather conditions may lead to low visibility, making it difficult for cars to see bicycles on the road.
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving refers to any behavior that causes a driver’s hands to leave the wheel, or their mind or eyes to wander from the road. When a driver is distracted, their chances of causing an accident are much higher.
- Drunk driving: An intoxicated driver’s reaction time is much slower than that of a sober driver, which may mean that even if they see a bicycle on the road, they may not be able to react in time to prevent a collision. Drunk drivers are also more likely to swerve, which could cause a collision.
- Failure to yield: Accidents can occur when the driver of a motor vehicle fails to yield when they should.
- Dangerous roads: Roads that are poorly maintained can be extremely dangerous and can cause an accident.
What Kind of Injuries Can a Bike Accident Cause?
Bicycle accidents often result in injuries, ranging from minor to severe. Many areas have unsafe or insufficient bike lanes; other areas have no bike lanes at all, forcing bikes to share a space with vehicles many times their size. Additionally, if a car and bike do collide in an accident, the cyclist has little to no physical protection from injury.
Some of the injuries that bicyclists may receive include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: A traumatic brain injury usually occurs from a violent jolt or blow to the head or body, causing damage to the brain. These injuries are unfortunately a common result of a bike crash. TBIs can range in severity from mild to severe.
- Facial injuries: Facial injuries can include things like scrapes and cuts to the face, as well as broken facial bones, road rash, damage to the eyes that results in vision loss, and more.
- Bodily trauma: Bodily trauma encompasses a wide variety of injuries, including all manner of soft tissue and musculoskeletal injuries. This includes injuries such as whiplash, sprains, broken bones, ligament tears, and more.
- Back injuries: When a cyclist is thrown from their bike, they may land hard on their back. This can cause severe damage to the back and spine, causing injuries like herniated discs or even paralysis.
- Death: The devastating reality is that bike accidents can and do result in death. If a loved one of yours lost their life in a Pittsburgh bicycle accident, you may consider speaking to our injury lawyer in Pittsburgh about filing a wrongful death suit.
One important preventive measure cyclists can take to reduce serious injuries is wearing a helmet. In Pittsburgh, the law requires anyone under the age of 12 to wear a helmet while riding a bike. However, people of all ages can benefit from the use of a helmet. In fact, research from the National Institute of Health revealed the following data: “the use of bicycle helmets was found to reduce head injury by 48 percent, serious head injury by 60 percent, traumatic brain injury by 53 percent, face injury by 23%, and the total number of killed or seriously injured cyclists by 34%.” Wearing a helmet is always a wise choice when biking.
What Does an Accident Attorney Recommend I Do After a Bicycle Crash?
The aftermath of experiencing any kind of road accident can be incredibly traumatic and overwhelming. There is so much to consider — what kind of medical treatment do I need? How am I going to pay for this? Does insurance play a role? As soon as you begin working with a Pittsburgh bike accident lawyer at Munley Law, you can rest easy knowing you’re in the best hands — you can focus on recovery while we handle the rest.
That being said, there are some steps you can take in the immediate aftermath of an accident that sets you up for a safe recovery and a successful claim. Here are some things you should do after experiencing a bicycle accident:
- Seek medical care. If you have any serious injuries, seeking medical care should of course be your number one priority. Nothing is more important than your health and safety.
- Call the police. Even if the driver or drivers involved tell you calling the police is not necessary, it is always wise to call the police to the scene of the accident. They will write up a detailed report that serves as an official account of what happened, which can be very useful down the line as you pursue legal action.
- Exchange information with the driver. Remember: you want to keep all communication with the other parties involved in the accident brief and to the point. Exchange contact and insurance information, and keep things polite, but refrain from any conversation beyond this. Your words could later be taken out of context and twisted as an admission of fault.
- Gather evidence. The police will gather evidence, but it’s useful to gather evidence yourself as well. You can take pictures of the scene and the vehicles and bicycles involved, document your injuries, and more. If there were any witnesses to the accident, you can also speak to them and ask if they’d be willing to provide their contact information.
- Contact an attorney. It’s always wise to contact an experienced attorney as soon as you can after the accident. It’s very possible for the driver’s insurance company to begin contacting you and attempting to negotiate with you just days after the accident — you’ll want to ensure that all of this communication goes through your attorney. The sooner you start working with a lawyer, the better chance you have of building a strong and successful case.
What Kind of Compensation Can an Accident Lawyer Recover For My Bicycle Accident Claim?
The amount of compensation a victim can receive from bicycle accidents is highly dependent on the details of the accident itself. It’s difficult to provide any estimate without thoroughly knowing the case, but there are some areas that are always accounted for when attempting to settle a personal injury case.
Your Pittsburgh personal injury attorneys will review your case in great detail, looking at all the ways in which you were harmed and had to pay a literal or more abstract price for your suffering. Firstly, your attorney will look at all the economic damages for which you may be eligible. These are all the costs that have a clear and distinct dollar value, things like medical bills and expenses, property damage, rehabilitative services, and more. Then your lawyer will look at all of the non-economic damages relevant to your case. These are all the ways in which your accident has caused suffering or loss, even though these areas might not have an obvious monetary value. Things like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life will be accounted for here.
Once they’ve taken all this into account, your lawyer will come up with a number that represents the value of your case. This number is the amount of money you’re asking the other party to put forward in order to settle the case and avoid going to trial. Ideally, the other party and their legal team will accept the first settlement offer, but it’s very likely they’ll counter with an offer of their own. Your lawyer will negotiate with them until both sides agree on a satisfactory number.
Working with an experienced attorney gives you the best possible chance of securing a strong settlement. Without a legal background, it can be difficult to know exactly how much your case is worth, and what a fair settlement offer looks like. When you work with a Pittsburgh bicycle accident attorney, you can rest easy knowing someone is fighting on your behalf.
How Lawyers Discover Fault in a Bicycle Accident
After your bike accident, one of the first things your lawyer will look at is whether or not you have a valid claim. In order to have a valid claim, you must be able to show that:
- The at-fault party (for instance, the driver that hit you) owed you a duty of care
- That they breached this duty of care, perhaps by driving recklessly or breaking a law
- That this breach of care caused your accident
- That your accident results in measurable losses
In some cases, the fault is clear. If a drunk driver swerved into the bike lane and hit a cyclist, it’s fairly obvious to all involved that the driver is at fault. In other cases, it can be more complicated, and multiple parties can be liable for the same accident.
In order to prove the validity of any personal injury claim, and to establish the other party’s fault, your lawyer will work with you to gather evidence. Some forms of evidence that can be useful are:
- The accident police report: In the state of Pennsylvania, the parties involved in the accident are allowed to obtain a copy of the report. The reports are usually available 15 days after the accident.
- CCTV footage
- Witness testimony
- The driver’s phone records
- Images from the accident scene
- And more
Your attorney will dedicate themselves to finding and organizing all evidence that can help to prove your case. It is important to remember that in the state of Pennsylvania, there is a statute of limitations on filing a claim after an accident. You have two years from the date of the incident to file, but it’s best not to wait that long. Contact a Munley Law bicycle accident lawyer today to begin the process of receiving your rightful financial compensation.
How Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
We here at Munley Law are so deeply sorry that you or a loved one has experienced a Pittsburgh bicycle accident. At Munley Law, we believe that no one should have to endure the aftermath of a traumatizing accident alone. Our experienced and dedicated attorneys are here to support you and help you secure your rightful financial compensation and justice.
The attorneys at Munley Law are experts in all things personal injury and have a highly impressive track record when it comes to settling personal injury cases of all kinds. Our incredible team of experienced lawyers and legal support staff work tirelessly on behalf of all of our clients. When you work with Munley Law, you know you’ll be treated with the compassion you deserve.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Munley Law to meet with one of our incredible Pittsburgh bike accident attorneys. We know that you or your loved one has been through a traumatic experience, and we’re ready and waiting to provide the support you need. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and learn how we can protect your interests and help you recover compensation.
Pittsburgh Practice Areas
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys
510 Third Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219