Bicycling is great for getting some exercise, getting around town, or simply enjoying some nice weather outside. Unfortunately, it also puts you somewhat at the mercy of motor vehicle operators, since one mistake by a reckless or careless driver could result in a collision that leaves you with serious physical injuries.
After a bike wreck caused by a negligent driver or any other reckless individual, you should strongly consider reaching out to a Bellevue bicycle accident lawyer to discuss your options for legal action. Once retained, a qualified attorney with experience handling personal injury litigation could work on your behalf to recover fair compensation for your injuries.
Much like civil claims based on accidents between two motor vehicles, bicycle accident cases tend to revolve around an injured party proving that their damages stemmed directly from another person’s misconduct. Negligent actions that could lead to a bicycle crash in Bellevue range from failing to stop at crosswalks to following too closely, to a driver simply not paying attention to their surroundings.
No matter what specific circumstances lead up to a bike wreck, a bicyclist injured as a result can recover compensation for any damages they can trace directly back to the accident in question, provided they can show those damages would not have occurred but for the defendant’s recklessness or carelessness. Since recoverable damages can be economic or non-economic, a comprehensive settlement demand or lawsuit may factor in medical expenses, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, physical pain and suffering, and more.
However, anyone who wishes to recover compensation following a bike crash in Bellevue generally must file their claim themselves or have an attorney do so on their behalf within three years of the incident, in accordance with Revised Code of Washington §4.16.080. Failing to adhere to this statute of limitations will almost always leave a plaintiff unable to recover any compensation at all.
Another legal concept that is important for bike accident victims to be aware of is the pure comparative fault system that Washington State civil courts follow. As per RCW §4.22.005, civil courts have the authority to assign a civil plaintiff a percentage of fault for the circumstances leading up to their injuries. Subsequently, the court may reduce that plaintiff’s final damage award by the same percentage—for example, a plaintiff found 20 percent to blame for an accident would be able to recover for only 80 percent of their total damages.
Fortunately, Washington diverges from many other states in that it does not prohibit plaintiffs who bear a majority of the fault for their injuries from seeking at least some compensation for those injuries. However, comparative fault can still significantly hinder a plaintiff’s ability to get the compensation they need for past and future losses, so it is often crucial to have help from a bike accident lawyer in Bellevue when contesting accusations of contributory negligence.
Even if you have a strong case against the person responsible for your bike accident, you may have a tough time achieving a positive outcome without professional legal help. Civil litigation can be procedurally complicated and time-consuming under even the best of circumstances, and defense attorneys and insurance companies both are all too willing to put unfair pressure on unrepresented plaintiffs so they cannot recover what they truly deserve.
Assistance from a skilled Bellevue bicycle accident lawyer could make a world of difference in your prospects for case success. Call today to learn more.