If you or a loved one was involved in a bicycle injury caused by a negligent driver, you need an experienced Phoenix bicycle accident attorney on your side to stand up for your rights.
The personal attorneys at Hutzler Law know that many injured cyclists face a long and uphill battle when recovering from their accident but also when seeking compensation. That’s why we work quickly to build a case for them. Our personal injury law firm knows how to negotiate with insurance companies and fight to get you justice.
With mild winter weather and often-congested roadways, many people in Phoenix rely on their bicycles for exercise and enjoyment and as a more affordable and easier way to navigate the city streets.
The city’s Street Transportation Department has tried to improve bicycle roadway conditions by adding bike lanes and education on the hazards facing bicyclists. Unfortunately, the number of bicycle accidents in Phoenix remains high, with more than 375 collisions involving bicycles in a given year, resulting in nearly the same number of injuries to bicycle riders and a handful of fatalities.
If a negligent driver who was supposed to share the road with you injured you instead, an experienced Phoenix bicycle accident attorney from Hutzler Law can help you recover compensation for your injuries.
Why Work With Hutzler Law
If someone else’s recklessness caused you pain, we’re standing by to help you recover the maximum compensation available. To do this, we approach every case as though it will go to court.
Though most personal injury cases end in settlement negotiations, we are always ready to fight for more by building strong cases backed by medical experts, forensic accounts, and accident reconstruction experts. We leave no stone unturned so we can pursue the best possible outcome every time for your personal injury claim.
About Bike Accidents in Phoenix
According to the Phoenix Street Transportation Department, more than 80 percent of bicycle accidents in the city happen within 150 feet of an intersection. This information is in line with other statistics that indicate that one of the most common causes of all traffic-related collisions in the city involves a failure of a roadway user to yield the right-of-way at red lights and stop signs.
Furthermore, around 40 percent of bicycle accident collisions occurred while a motorist was making a right-hand turn. Right-turning drivers are a hazard to bicyclists as they are required to ride within a bike lane if one is available or, if not, on the far right-hand edge of the road. If the turning driver has failed to notice the bicyclist on the road’s edge, there is an extreme risk of a bike accident.
In recent years, the Phoenix City Council has approved around $4.5 billion in spending to provide enhanced safety features to three of the city’s most dangerous intersections, including:
- 75th Avenue and Indian School Road
- 16th Street and Camelback Road
- 19th and Southern Avenues
However, regional bicycle advocates warn that placing a bike lane alongside a six-lane roadway is not enough to protect bicyclists, as they’re still riding right alongside six lanes of traffic.
Instead, they say, the city’s leaders should also focus on educating drivers on the little-known rules about sharing the road with vulnerable roadway users, including bicyclists and pedestrians. These include allowing 3 feet between a vehicle and a bicycle when overtaking a bicycle in the travel lane, and the dangers of distracted driving, which is often why Phoenix drivers fail to notice the rider on the right-hand edge of a busy roadway.
How Drivers Cause Injuries to Bicyclists on Phoenix Roadways
Distracted driving involves anything that causes the driver to:
- Take their hands from the wheel;
- Avert their eyes from watching the roadway; OR
- Focus their attention on something other than driving safely.
One of the most common and dangerous driving distractions in Phoenix and anywhere else in the U.S. is texting. It is simultaneously a manual, visual, and cognitive distraction that can result in a driver failing to yield for a bicycle. More than a quarter of Phoenix bicycle accidents result from failure to yield.
Other common causes of bicycle accidents in Phoenix include:
- Speeding, which deprives the driver of the time needed to see the bicyclist in their path and respond by depressing the brakes. Speeding also makes it difficult for a bicyclist to determine a safe gap in traffic in which to enter a roadway.
- Left turns, in which the driver must judge a gap in traffic traveling straight through the intersection before completing their turn and can fail to see the approaching bicyclist.
- The driver’s failure to stay in their lane due to alcohol impairment, fatigue, or distraction, causing them to collide with the bicycle.
The Types of Injuries Commonly Suffered in Bicycle Accidents
Despite ample studies showing the prevention of deaths and serious brain injuries in bicycle accidents through helmet use, there are no federal or state laws requiring Arizona bike riders to wear helmets. Only a handful of the state’s cities have laws requiring riders under 18 to use helmets, including Tucson, Flagstaff, Sierra Vista, and Oro Valley, in addition to Pima County.
Traumatic brain injuries are one of the most serious injuries resulting from bike accidents. These injuries can cause permanent damage to the brain and result in disabilities such as memory loss, difficulty speaking or understanding spoken language, difficulty moving in a balanced and coordinated manner, and the inability to control one’s emotions or impulses.
Serious head injuries are considered catastrophic injuries, which means there is a high likelihood of permanent disabilities resulting from the injury that will impair the sufferer’s ability to earn an income. Another type of catastrophic injury from a bicycle accident is a spinal cord injury, which generally results in paralysis, which is the partial or total loss of sensation and function beneath the site of the injury.
Other injuries commonly experienced in bicycle accidents include:
- Broken bones, particularly in the legs, often the site of impact with a motor vehicle, and the arms and wrists due to the rider outstretching their arms to break a fall.
- Road rash, which is a type of deep skin abrasion caused by contact between the bicyclist’s skin and a rough surface such as a roadway.
- Internal injuries resulting from a violent collision with a vehicle or other obstacle.
- Deep cuts and bruises.
The Process of Seeking Compensation After a Bicycle Accident
Being injured in a bike accident can impact all facets of your life, causing you to incur profound expenses and impacts. In Phoenix, most bicycle accident injuries and deaths occur to individuals between the ages of 26 and 35, which is when many riders are establishing careers and focused on supporting their families and have much to lose if they miss work because of an injury.
Through Arizona’s personal injury claims process, victims of bicycle accidents can seek compensation for the costs and quality-of-life impacts resulting from the injury. This process generally involves seeking compensation from the at-fault party’s liability insurance policy through a personal injury claim made to the insurance company that carries the policy. If the insurance provider fails to compensate the claim, it can be filed as a personal injury lawsuit for the court to determine liability and damages. An experienced bike accident attorney can review the circumstances surrounding your accident to determine if you have a valid bicycle accident case.
To have a successful outcome to a bicycle accident claim in Phoenix, you and your attorney must establish liability. In other words, you will need to prove that someone else’s negligence caused the accident which resulted in your injuries. This is achieved by showing the following elements:
- The at-fault driver had a duty of care to protect others from harm by taking reasonable actions, such as driving safely and legally.
- The driver breached the duty of care by engaging in unsafe actions, such as drunk driving or distracted driving.
- The breach resulted in the accident that caused your bicycle injuries.
Bicycle accident claimants in Phoenix can seek compensation for their injury’s expenses, known as economic damages.
This compensation includes payment for:
- The cost of medical bills and other expenses to treat your injury, including future medical expenses.
- Lost income or lost wages from being too injured to work.
- Loss of future earning capacity due to permanent injuries.
- Property damage you suffered in the accident, such as damage to your bike or helmet.
Claimants can also seek compensation for the impacts that their injuries have had on their life, including:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life.
One of the important services a bicycle accident attorney provides to a claimant injured in a bike accident is a valuation of their case. The claim is not generally valued until the claimant has reached maximum medical improvement, which occurs when their doctor determines that they are unlikely to make any additional recovery from their condition, even if they were to continue treatment.
In addition to the actual expenses incurred by the claimant because of the injury, the value of a claim also depends on the amount of insurance available to compensate the claim, the severity of the injury, the presence of permanent injuries that affect the ability to earn an income, and the level of carelessness or recklessness the at-fault party displayed.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bicycle Accidents
A hit-and-run bicycle accident injured me. Can I seek compensation?
Being injured in a hit-and-run accident doesn’t negate your right to seek compensation for your injury, but it does make a claim harder. Because you will most often file your bike accident claim against the at-fault party’s auto liability insurance policy, not having the name of the driver who hit you (let alone the name of their insurance provider) means you either have to wait until law enforcement locates the driver or you must find additional sources of liability with insurance to compensate the claim.
How long do I have to file a Phoenix bicycle accident claim?
In most cases, individuals seeking compensation for the expenses or impacts of the injury or family members seeking compensation for the accidental death of a bicyclist have two years of the accident or death to file their claim as a lawsuit in court. You must adhere to the deadline, as failing to meet Arizona’s two-year statute of limitations can result in losing your right to seek compensation.
Is there compensation available if my loved one died in a bicycle accident?
If you are the decedent’s spouse, child, parent, or the executor of their estate, you can seek compensation through Arizona’s wrongful death claims process for:
- Medical expenses from treating the bicyclist’s injuries.
- The cost of the funeral and burial or cremation.
- The loss of financial support provided by the decedent to their family.
- The loss of the inheritance family members would have likely received if the decedent had survived the accident and finished their career.
- The loss of comfort, care, and guidance provided by the deceased to their family.
Injured in a Bicycle Accident? We Can Help
The legal team at Hutzler Law addresses every claim as if it is the highest value case we have and the one most likely to go to court. While most Phoenix bicycle accident claims will resolve through a negotiated settlement, we believe that preparing the claim for court right from the start allows us to gather the strongest evidence to support the claim. Our staff meets daily to discuss the cases we’re working on and ensure we’re on the same page as a team.
We also believe that we must guide our clients in addition to the legal services we provide to assist them with their claims. An attorney cannot make important decisions on matters involved in the case, such as whether to accept a settlement or file a lawsuit—those decisions belong to the claimant alone. What we can do, however, is provide our clients with the information they need to make informed choices about their claims.
Get Help from the Phoenix Bicycle Accident Injury Legal Team at Hutzler Law
If you have suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident in Arizona, you should contact Hutzler Law as soon as possible.
Call our law firm today to request a free consultation at (480) 841-9761.