Phoenix Bicycle Accident Lawyer

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Phoenix Bicycle Accident Attorney

Whether they bike for recreation, exercise, or transportation, biking affords cyclists the opportunity to get outdoors. Unfortunately, though, it’s not an activity without risk. Often, cycling takes place in close proximity to motor vehicles. The results of an accident can often have a huge impact on the cyclists, but with a skilled Phoenix bicycle accident lawyer representing you, there’s a strong opportunity to get what you’re owed.

The victims of a bicycle accident will regularly suffer significant injuries. They have a variety of medical bills and possibly lost wages from having to miss work. These costs should be compensated by those at fault for the accidents, and they are legally required to cover them. However, it’s typically their insurance company that will pay, and they often need the threat of going to court to pay as they should.

At the Bleaman Law Firm, we’re ready to handle your bicycle accident claim with compassion and tenacity. With Marc Bleaman on your side, you can be sure that every action necessary to get the compensation you need will be taken.

What Does a Phoenix Bicycle Accident Lawyer Do?

A Phoenix bicycle accident lawyer is responsible for representing you and seeking the compensation that you deserve. Your lawyer will perform a variety of different tasks to seek that end.

Often, our process will begin with an investigation of your accident in Phoenix, AZ. This is critical because it allows us to understand who and how many possible parties may be liable for the accident. We can work on gathering facts that can be helpful in proving the case and demonstrating why you need compensation for your injuries.

A case may eventually go to trial, but before that happens, there is often some attempt at negotiating a settlement. There are many potential benefits to allowing your lawyer to represent you in these negotiations.

Far too often, insurance companies will try to take advantage of the inexperience of bicycle accident victims and present a low offer. After all, most cyclists haven’t spent a lot of time negotiating with insurance companies. However, when an insurance company negotiates with a lawyer, they know that they can’t get away with the same low offer.

Having a lawyer represent you in negotiations has another benefit as well. When a lawyer negotiates, there is a clear possibility of the case going to court. If the purpose of a settlement is to avoid court, then that legitimate possibility can lead to more substantive discussion.

Lastly, if the case does need to go to court after an acceptable settlement couldn’t be found, then your lawyer is responsible for representing you through that process. We make the case for negligence on the part of the liable parties and the compensation that you should receive from them. We fight any challenges to the compensation that you deserve.

Who Could Be Liable in a Phoenix Bicycle Accident?

Liability in a bicycle accident belongs to anyone whose negligence caused or allowed the accident to occur. In other words, without their mistake, it’s likely that the accident wouldn’t have happened. In many bicycle accidents, this applies to the operator of a vehicle in a car accident that includes the cyclist.

However, there are many other potentially liable parties, and in some cases, multiple parties may have been liable for what occurred. Some of the possible liable parties include:

  • A Driver of a Vehicle – In many cases, the driver of a vehicle is at fault for an accident. Their negligence, whether failing to follow traffic laws, driving recklessly or another error, could lead to a collision with a cyclist. A driver not directly involved in the accident could also be at fault if people trying to evade their negligent driving caused a collision in their wake.
  • Another Cyclist – In some accidents, two cyclists end up running into each other and causing an accident. If that’s the case, fault may apply to the other cyclist. Additionally, a cyclist could ride erratically and cause a car to run into a different cyclist, much the same as reckless drivers could cause problems for others trying to evade them.
  • A Driver’s Employer – If the driver who hit you in an accident is a delivery driver or was involved in some other commercial activity for their employer, their employer could be liable. This is especially the case if something about their policies increases the likelihood of an accident.
  • A Part’s Manufacturer or Installer – There are some situations where the failure of a part on either a vehicle or a bicycle leads to an accident. When that happens, those who are involved in the making or installing of the part could be liable. If the part itself fails, then it could be the fault of the manufacturer. However, if the part was fine but was improperly installed, then whoever was involved with that process may be the liable party.
  • Government in Charge of the Roads – Sometimes, an accident is a product of a problem with the roads, traffic lights, or signs on the road. When this is the case, it may be the government in charge of the roads that is liable for the accident.

What Does a Bicycle Accident Claim Compensate?

Compensation in a bicycle accident claim will cover those things which are directly related to the accident. They must be costs related to injuries, property damage, or psychological impacts that stem from the accident and nothing else. This connection will need to be proven by the plaintiff’s lawyer.

The legal designation for compensation in a civil claim is damages and comes in three different forms:

  • Economic Damages – The simplest form of damages is economic damages since they cover everything that is easy to calculate because of a clear financial component. Medical bills, such as doctor’s visits, medication, surgeries, testing, and physical therapy and rehabilitation, are addressed and compensated through economic damages.

The cost to repair or replace the bicycle and any other property damage is also included. If the injuries were severe enough to cause you to miss work, those lost wages are a part of economic damages. It even includes future medical bills and lost earning capacity if your injuries were significant enough to create those costs well into the future.

  • Non-Economic Damages – In addition to those clear, tangible costs, injuries from a bicycle accident can also cause pain, suffering, and emotional and psychological issues. Depending on the severity and type of injury, there can also be issues like anxiety, depression, loss of enjoyment in life, and other issues.

These things aren’t solved by money, of course, but money reducing the burden in other parts of life may make them more manageable. That’s why these things are given a financial value and compensated through non-economic damages.

  • Punitive Damages – A third kind of damages is less frequently awarded. It’s not based on an assessment of what you have suffered but rather an assessment of the actions of the defendant. Punitive damages are meant to serve as more of a punishment for reprehensible behavior. To be awarded these damages, something about the defendant’s behavior will need to have been malicious or particularly egregious.

Is There a Cap on the Damages That Could Be Awarded?

Arizona does not have any caps on the damages that could be awarded in a civil claim. However, this does not necessarily mean that your damage award couldn’t be reduced in some fashion. Arizona operates under the doctrine of comparative negligence for civil cases. This could potentially reduce a bicycle accident victim’s damages award.

The way comparative damages work is that the defendant is given the opportunity to argue that the plaintiff bears at least some responsibility for their own injuries. When this happens, the burden of proof will shift from the plaintiff’s side to the defendant’s side, and they will be responsible for proving all the necessary components of negligence on the part of the plaintiff.

If it’s determined that the plaintiff is also at fault, the court will assess what share of fault the different parties are responsible for. The plaintiff will then have their damage award reduced proportionately to their share of fault for the injuries. If, for instance, the plaintiff is found to be 40% at fault on a damages award of $100,000, then they will receive a compensation package of $60,000.

Arizona is a pure comparative damages state. While some states bar plaintiffs who are more than 50% responsible for their injuries from collecting any damages, Arizona has no such limitation. Even someone found to be 99% at fault may still collect 1% of damages.

Should You Settle Your Claim or Take it to Court?

For those with a bicycle accident claim, there will likely come a point at which they need to decide whether they would rather settle the case out of court or take it to trial. There’s no way to know for certain what the better option is in your case because so much of that decision is specific to the circumstances that you find yourself in.

Another significant factor will be your own personal interests and tolerance in the given situation. However, there still are some general things that can be said about the two options.

It’s helpful to recognize that a settlement is a compromise. This means that each party is probably giving up a little something in order to gain some benefit. In the case of the defendant, they will be giving up the option to have the trial go their way and not have to pay anything.

What they gain, though, is what the plaintiff’s side must concede, which is the possibility of an even greater damage award if the case goes to court. Therefore, the plaintiff will likely be agreeing to less than they would receive if the court case went perfectly in their favor.

There are, though, some significant advantages for the plaintiff in choosing to settle. One of these is the elimination of risk on their side. While it is possible that in a world where everything goes perfectly, they may be able to receive a greater payout, it is also possible that the trial could end up going very much against them, leading to a very minor or non-existent compensation package. By reaching a settlement, the plaintiff guarantees that they will receive the agreed-upon amount.

Another real advantage is the element of time. A trial can take a significant amount of time. It’s not uncommon for the process to last months or even years before there is finally a settlement. For those who want their funds sooner, choosing to agree to a settlement can be an option that works in their favor.

Whether or not a settlement is right in your situation is something you’ll have to decide with help from your lawyer. In some cases, the stress and uncertainty of going through a trial can be enough of a factor for people to decide to opt for a settlement. You’ll have to decide, based on what’s most important to you, whether or not a settlement is right for you.

How Do You Win a Phoenix Bicycle Accident Claim?

Winning a bicycle accident claim follows the same process as most any personal injury claim. It hinges on proving negligence on the part of the defendant. The plaintiff’s lawyers will use whatever evidence their investigation has turned up to prove the elements of negligence. They could rely on things like photos and videos, eyewitness testimony, expert witness testimony, and any other facts that are relevant to the case that they are trying to make.

The first element the plaintiff’s team will need to prove is that the defendant had a “duty of care,” which means that they had a responsibility to others to not put them in an unnecessary risk or danger. If the defendant was in any way involved with a motor vehicle, this is generally an easier element to prove.

Given the size, power, and danger inherent to the operation of motor vehicles, the need for reasonably careful behavior is well understood. Even if the accident just involves bicycles, again, the inherent risk makes a duty of care understandable.

Proving a Breach of Duty and Connecting It to Your Injuries

Next, the plaintiff’s side must show that there was breach of this duty. There must have been something about the defendant’s behavior and actions that failed to meet the duty present in the situation. This could be going too fast, failing to follow traffic laws, driving recklessly, or some other form of error.

For other kinds of defendants, it must be something related to not meeting what was reasonably expected of them in the situation, such as not enough care in producing a functioning part or in the upkeep of the roads.

To prove a breach, a lawyer must both prove what action was taken or not taken and then prove why that action or inaction did not meet the duty of care. In the case of a bicycle accident, particularly if there was an automobile involved, an expert car crash witness may be helpful in explaining to the court the nature of the accident and why the fault lies where it does.

Once a breach is established, the last element is that the breach must be shown to be the direct source of the plaintiff’s injuries. This will often be a two-part process in the case of a bicycle accident, as it will need to be shown that the breach led to the accident and that the accident then led to the injuries.

There are some cases where someone may have breached their duty, but it was not the fault of an accident. Additionally, someone may attempt to pass off injuries that were pre-existing, or that happened after the accident as related to the accident. As long as connections can be shown, then negligence on the part of the defendant is established, and damages may be collected.

Those Injured in a Bicycle Accident Deserve Compensation, and We Help Them Seek It

The exposure that comes with cycling, the speed at which you can travel, and the bulk and mass of automobiles can create a dangerous combination. It’s always a shame when someone seeking fresh air and exercise is left with medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Often, these accidents are the product of careless, negligent drivers or someone else with a duty to the road. The costs that the cyclist bears are the responsibility of those who caused the accident and injuries. In most cases, it will be the negligent party’s insurance provider that is responsible for paying for these losses.

It often becomes necessary to use the legal system to seek what you need. Sometimes, just the legitimate threat of going to court is enough to inspire a reasonable offer. On other occasions, though, it’s necessary to court.

Whatever the situation, your strongest chance at getting the outcome that you deserve is by working with a skilled Phoenix bicycle accident lawyer like Marc Bleaman of the Bleaman Law Firm. If you’ve been hurt in a bicycle accident, we’re ready to represent you and fight for everything that you deserve. Contact us today.


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