Biking can be a useful method of transportation, especially for commuters hoping to avoid traffic. Cyclists, however, have little protection from cars and other large vehicles, leaving them vulnerable to accidents.
If you were injured by a reckless driver while cycling, you should speak with a Tucson bicycle accident attorney about your legal options. You may hold the responsible parties accountable by filing a civil suit. Reach out to Zanes Law to discuss your case with a skilled personal injury lawyer.
Traffic Law For Bicyclists in Tucson
Arizona has established bike safety policies that it expects residents to abide by. According to these policies, pikers need to follow traffic laws and remain aware of their surroundings to avoid accidents. Cyclists must also:
- Wear a helmet if they are younger than 18 years of age
- Remain in the right lane except when turning left
- Use bike signals when turning or changing lanes
- Yield to the right-of-way to pedestrians
- Allow vehicles to pass on two-lane roads if five or more vehicles are behind them
When you abide by these laws, you indicate to insurance providers and other parties that you’ve taken steps to protect your own wellbeing. However, you are still at risk for an accident if other drivers fail to obey the law. Drivers who engage in reckless roadway behavior can subsequently be held liable for your bicycle accident losses.
Identifying Reckless Roadway Behavior
To establish another driver’s roadway liability, you must indicate that said driver engaged in reckless or negligent behavior while behind the wheel. These dangerous behaviors can include:
- Failure to stay out of Tucson’s bicycle lanes
- Opening car doors into bicycle lanes when those lanes are in use
- Driving while distracted
- Losing control of a vehicle while driving aggressively
- Making illegal right turns
- Misjudging the distance between a car and an active cyclist
For a free legal consultation with a bicycle accidents lawyer serving Tucson, call 866-499-8989
Naming a Liable Party in Your Bicycle Accident Complaint
You must prove the liability of a third party to recover compensation. To do this, Tucson bicycle accident attorneys can establish evidence of a named party’s negligence. More specifically, you can claim that:
- The driver or other negligent party had a responsibility to the biker
- The responsible party breached that duty
- The negligent person’s actions caused the crash
- The bicyclist suffered injuries in the accident
The best way to uphold these claims is to present evidence of them alongside your complaint. This evidence can include eyewitness testimony, pictures of the accident, and even accident reconstruction.
In most bicycle accident cases, it’s a driver who bears responsibility for a bicyclist’s losses. However, liability changes depending on an accident’s circumstances. Other liable parties can include the bicycle’s manufacturer, local construction crews, and even small businesses. When in doubt, follow the evidence, and you can more readily decide who to name liable in your claim.
Comparative Negligence’s Role in Tucson Bicycle Accidents
A.R.S. § 12-2505 makes it more likely for you to receive compensation after a bicycle accident, even if you bear some of the blame. You can even recover financially if you were more than half to blame for the accident. However, your possible settlement will be reduced by the amount of accident’s fault you can take on.
For example, say that a negligent motorist is assigned 80% of the fault for an accident. Comparatively, you may be considered 20% responsible. In this case, you can receive 80% of the damages award. Because it is difficult to prove liability, it is best to hire a bike accident lawyer who can help limit the blame assigned to the injured party.
Unfortunately, comparative negligence is a double-edged sword in any personal injury case. The insurance company may try to point a figure at you to reduce what they need to pay. You may need to justify and defend your actions in the lead-up to the accident. An experienced attorney can help you beat back any effort by the insurance company to blame you for the crash.
Tucson Bicycle Accident Lawyer Near Me 866-499-8989
Filing a Vehicular Suit vs. Filing a Pedestrian Suit
Motorists pose some of the most immediate threats to the safety of bicyclists on the road. That doesn’t mean that they’re the only danger to look out for, though. You can hold pedestrians and even other cyclists liable for your losses, depending on the nature of your accident.
The baseline of all these cases is “reasonable behavior.” All parties on the road must take steps to protect themselves and other parties from present dangers. For pedestrians, this means looking before crossing the street and obeying traffic signals. For cyclists, this means sharing bike lanes and communicating with other bikers.
If you want to take a pedestrian or cyclist to civil court, be prepared to present evidence establishing both the extent of your losses and the other party’s role in your accident. Because neither pedestrians nor cyclists need to have insurance to be on the street, you’ll need to be prepared to address comparative negligence to prevent a reduced settlement.
You Have Two Years to File a Bicycle Accident Claim
Bicycle accidents constitute personal injury accidents in the eyes of Arizona lawmakers. As such, you must submit your claim within the deadline the state has established for its personal injury claims.
A.R.S. § 12-542 gives you and a bicycle accident attorney in Tucson two years to gather the information you need to establish your case. You must file your complaint within this two-year period if you want a civil court to consider your losses. If you file your complaint outside of this deadline, your right to compensation may be waived.
You do not have to take the full two years to bring your complaint together. Instead, the sooner you contact an attorney about your bicycle accident, the sooner you can begin your legal proceedings.
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The Trial Process for Your Bicycle Accident Case
If a county clerk approves your claim, you will have the right to summon the party you named liable for your losses to a civil trial. This process begins with discovery. Your attorney can exchange information regarding your case with the defendant and vice-versa. You may even be questioned regarding your role in the accident.
Upon the conclusion of discovery, your civil court will gather a jury and set your first court date. Herein, your attorney can deliver your opening statement and prepare you for witness examination. If you are called to the stand, you can count on your attorney to coach you through the best responses to the defense’s cross-examination.
Once witness examination concludes and evidence is submitted to the court, your attorney can deliver your closing statement. From there, your jury will deliberate and determine whether or not you may receive compensation in return for your bicycle accident losses.
Negotiating for Bicycle Accident Compensation
You do not have to go to trial to win compensation for your bicycle accident. If the party you named in your initial complaint is amenable to talks, you can instead work out a settlement deal through negotiations.
Compensation negotiations let you and your bicycle accident lawyer in Tucson outline your losses directly to the party you named in your complaint. While you may have to negotiate for the support you want, particularly if you can’t back your claim with evidence, this process resolves more quickly than your average trial.
Negotiations are not inherently better than trials. Nor are trials better than negotiations. Instead, these processes tend to work in tandem with one another. If one doesn’t work, you can try the other to better fight for your bicycle accident financial support.
Zanes Law Helps You File Your Tucson Bike Accident Claim
When looking for legal assistance after a bike crash and injuries in the Tucson area, look no further than Zanes Law Injury Lawyers. We represent injured accident victims, including cyclists who should expect to safely share the road with drivers.
More specifically, we give you the room you need to recover while still building a legal case. We can recreate the scene of your accident and follow the trial of applicable evidence to the party liable for your losses. We can then name that party in your claim while backing your request for compensation with damage records.
Most importantly, we stand between you and an insurance provider’s attempt to intimidate you out of the financial support you deserve. We can bring half-hearted settlement offers into question and keep you from signing any documents that might limit your legal rights.
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Bicyclists can face severe injuries when involved in a crash with a motor vehicle. You don’t have to contend with the financial burden of medical care and recovery alone. Instead, you can reach out to a Tucson, AZ, bicycle accident attorney at Zanes Law Injury Lawyers.
Our team can provide you with the resources you need to pursue a case for compensation. Contact us over the phone or through our website to learn more about our personal injury services.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Receive Compensation for My Bicycle Accident Injuries?
You can receive compensation for your bicycle accident injuries in one of two ways. First, you can file an insurance claim against the driver’s auto insurance policy. This requires dealing with an insurance company, but it is where most injured bikers start. After the insurance company accepts liability, they will begin to negotiate a possible settlement.
Your lawyer might also file a lawsuit against the responsible driver. If your case goes to trial, a jury can decide whether you get compensation and how much you will receive. Filing a lawsuit does not mean that your case will go to a jury.
Usually, you will continue to negotiate a settlement right up until the time that your case goes to trial. Most cases will be resolved by a settlement, whether you have filed a lawsuit or not.
What does It Mean to Hold Someone Liable for Bicycle Accident Damages?
When you hold someone liable for your bicycle accident damages, you claim that their negligence was the cause of your losses. In turn, your complaint requests that their insurance provider cover your post-accident expenses.
A court will not automatically assume that you’re telling the truth when you assert liability, though. Instead, your initial complaint needs to include evidence backing your claim. Viable proof of liability can include:
- Police reports
- Footage from your accident
- Eyewitness statements
- Statements from professional witnesses regarding your condition
- Physical evidence, including skidmarks
If your case moves forward, you may be asked to elaborate on this evidence in court or during the negotiating process.
Can I Hold My Bicycle’s Manufacturer Liable for My Bicycle Accident Losses?
You can hold a bicycle manufacturer liable for your bicycle accident under certain conditions. If you can demonstrate that fault in the bicycle’s design, production, or advertising resulted in your losses, the manufacturer may have to meet you in court.
These cases are known as product liability cases. Product liability cases serve as a subset of personal injury cases in Arizona. With that in mind, the statute of limitations placed on product liability cases still confines your ability to take legal action for two years following your accident.
Can I Hold a Government Officials Liable for My Bicycle Accident?
There are certain circumstances under which Arizona state employees may be liable for your bicycle accident losses. If the road you’re biking on is in poor condition and does not have warning signs informing you as such, you can take legal action against government officials.
The lack of roadway signs helps your civil case maneuver around the government’s qualified immunity. Qualified immunity otherwise protects government officials and police officers from a wide swath of civil cases. That said, the time in which you have to file your complaint is sharply reduced.
A.R.S § 12-821.01 only allows Arizona residents 180 days to file a personal injury complaint against state representatives. You’ll want to reach out to an attorney as soon as you can after your accident if you believe that government negligence is to blame for your losses.
When Should I File My Bicycle Accident Claim?
According to A.R.S. § 12-542, you must file your bicycle accident claim within two years of the day your accident takes place. Failure to file your accident complaint within this time period can see you lose the legal right to pursue loss compensation.
What Happens If an Insurance Company Makes Me a Settlement Offer?
Chances are that the first settlement offer that the insurance company makes you will be for far less than the value of your case. If you have hired a bicycle accident attorney, you will know how much your case is worth.
The insurance company has this data too, and they are trying to get you to accept a settlement for pennies on the dollar. They do not care about your situation or your predicament. They only care about their bottom line.
Most often, you will end up rejecting the first settlement offer and maybe several more behind it. You always have the right to make a counteroffer. You can expect that you will exchange numerous sets of numbers with the insurance company before you can agree on a settlement.
An Insurance Provider Denied My Claim – What Should I Do?
The insurance company does not have the final say over your legal rights. That belongs to a court and jury. If the insurance company has denied your claim, you have the right to file a lawsuit in court.
In many cases, the insurance company will at least make you a settlement offer (although one that is worth far less than the value of your case). The insurance company usually only denies a claim if they think that you are so clearly at fault that a jury will rule completely in the defendant’s favor.
However, this is not a calculation that an insurance company always gets right. Their adjuster only has so much power. We can step in with our own calculation and negotiate for the financial support you need to attend to your accident losses. Should a provider prove resistant to negotiations, we can take your case to court.
What Do Bicycle Accident Attorneys Do?
A bicycle accident attorney takes on your legal challenges while giving you the space you need to recover. More specifically, the team with Zanes Law can:
- Moderate conversations between you and the defendant
- Gather evidence of liability on your behalf
- Calculate your possible compensation
- File your complaint within Arizona’s statute of limitations
- Prepare you for discovery and cross-examination
- Appeal court decisions that would deny you your financial support
You can learn more about the accident services that might benefit your case during an initial consultation with our team members.
How Much Will a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Cost Me?
Many people express concern about their ability to afford a personal injury lawyer. This should not be a worry of yours keeping you from getting an attorney. The truth is that legal services come at no risk to you. If we do not win your case, and you do not get money, we do not receive fees.
You do not need to write us any checks, nor do we send you hourly bills. If you win your case (meaning that you settle or get a jury award), we take our payment out of the proceeds of your case. This is called a contingency fee agreement, and it encourages you to get an attorney when money will otherwise be tight.
What Damages Can I Receive From a Bicycle Accident Claim?
You can receive both economic and non-economic damages for your bicycle accident injuries. Economic damages cover the money that has either come out of your pocket or money that should have come into your pocket. These include:
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Medical bills
Non-economic damages are those that are not as easily quantifiable with money. They pay you for how you have suffered in your life since the accident. They require subjective judgment calls on the part of the insurance company that will never go in your favor. Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
You can get damages both for what you have lost in the past and will lose in the future. With future uncertainty, there will likely be a large difference of opinion between you and the insurance company. We will help you negotiate an agreement that fairly pays you.