Bicycling is an activity that’s becoming more and more popular in Seattle and throughout Washington state. Unfortunately, due to the nature of riding at high speeds with limited protection, a lot of bicyclists are often exposed to serious accidents and injuries. According to recent statistics from the Washington State Department of Transportation, there were 2,383 total crashes involving bicyclists or pedestrians statewide in 2020. Unfortunately, the cyclist often sustains the most injuries in traffic accidents.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent party, you have the right to pursue fair compensation for your injuries. Here at my firm, The Law Office of Dan N. Fiorito III, I have devoted my career to assisting and representing individuals in their bicycle accident claims. As an experienced Seattle personal injury attorney, I will review and investigate every aspect of your case and explore all available legal avenues to recover damages.
I will fight vigorously to protect your rights and help you pursue fair financial compensation for your injuries, damages, and any additional pain and suffering you’ve been forced to endure. My firm is proud to serve bicycle accident victims across Seattle, and all of Western Washington, including Tacoma, Bellevue, Everett, and the Puget Sound Area.
Knowing what to do after an accident can be difficult, especially if you’re the victim. However, the decisions you make in the immediate aftermath of an accident can have a significant impact on your personal injury claim. If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, here are a few things you can do to help protect yourself and preserve your case:
If you are able to, leave your bicycle and quickly get to safety.
Call the police so you can file a police report.
Get emergency medical assistance for your injuries and injuries to other victims.
Gather necessary information about the other driver, such as their phone number, address, driver's license information, and insurance information.
Collect and document police reports, accident scene photos, witness statements, and testimonies.
Document any medical reports, doctor's appointments, treatments received, and your personal account of the accident.
Inform your insurance carrier about the incident.
Hire an experienced lawyer to help negotiate an injury settlement with the insurance provider or file a personal injury claim.
With more people riding bicycles in Washington State, it is important to always adhere to the rules of the road. Here are a few laws that bicycle riders in the state of Washington should be aware of:
There is currently no state-wide law that requires the use of a helmet. However, many cities and counties — including Seattle, DuPont, and King County — require the use of helmets by bicyclists of all ages when riding.
Cyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of a vehicle driver when riding on the road. A bicyclist is expected to obey all traffic laws, rules, and regulations of the road. Violating a traffic law may lead to getting a riding ticket.
Cyclists are allowed to ride side by side if the road is wide enough, but no more than two riders can ride side-by-side.
In order to ride at night, your bicycle must have a white front light that is visible from 500 feet and a red rear reflector. You may also use a red rear light in addition to the reflector.
Depending on their safety needs, bicyclists may ride in a designated bike lane, path, shoulder, or travel lane. For the purpose of the law, all bicycles are treated as vehicles in Washington State.
Washington is considered an at-fault state. Under Washington's at-fault system, when a bicycle accident occurs, the driver who caused the accident (the at-fault party) will be held liable for any injuries and damages suffered by the accident victims. The bicycle accident victims can proceed by:
Filing an injury claim with their own insurer.
Filing a third-party claim directly with the insurance company of the at-fault party.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in civil court.
Additionally, Washington operates using the "pure comparative negligence" rule. Pursuant to the Revised Code of Washington Section 4.22.005,
"In an action based on fault seeking to recover damages for injury or death to person or harm to property, any contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as compensatory damages, but does not bar recovery."
This essentially means that if you are assigned a percentage of fault, even as the victim, any compensation you collect will be reduced by a percentage that is equal to your level of fault. For example, if the judge awards a $100,000 settlement against the at-fault driver, but finds that you were 10% at fault for the bicycle accident because you were not using a rear reflector, your damages will be reduced by 10%, or $10,000. This means that you will only be eligible to receive $90,000 in damages.
Additionally, under Washington State's pure comparative negligence principle, an injury victim may still recover damages even if they were 99% responsible for their injuries.
According to the Revised Code of Washington Section 4.16.080, any action for injury to the person or rights of another shall be commenced within three years of the accident occurring. This means that bicycle accident victims have up to three years from the date of the accident or injury to commence an action to recover damages. This means that the clock for pursuing a personal injury claim or lawsuit begins from the date of the accident, not from the date you discovered your injuries or received treatment.
Getting injured in a negligent bicycle accident can be an extremely difficult challenge to overcome, especially when it leads to severe injuries. Such an incident can affect you financially, emotionally, and physically. The good news is that you don't have to face these challenges alone. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, you can have an advocate in your corner to protect your rights and help you seek fair compensation for your injuries.
Here at my firm, The Law Office of Dan N. Fiorito III, I have the required experience and resources to help you fight for the justice you deserve and hold those responsible for your injuries accountable. As your attorney, I can
Review and investigate the surrounding details of your case
Gather all necessary information, police report, pieces of evidence, and other required documentation
Seek to establish fault and determine case-value
Help negotiate a fair financial settlement with the insurance companies involved
If necessary, file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit
Through it all, I will represent your best interests from start to finish. My top priority is to help you recover fair financial compensation that can cover medical bills, lost wages, future medical treatment, and any additional pain and suffering. So if you or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle accident, don’t wait. Call or reach out to my firm today for help!
If you were injured in a bicycle accident involving a negligent party, you may be able to recover damages. Contact my firm — The Law Office of Dan N. Fiorito III — today to schedule a free consultation. I can offer you the comprehensive legal guidance, support, and compassionate representation you need. My firm proudly represents clients across Seattle, and all of Western Washington, including Tacoma, Bellevue, Everett, and the Puget Sound Area. Call my office today!