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We Represent Bicycle
Accident Victims in Eugene and
EUGENE Bicycle & Pedestrian Accidents
Using a bike to get around is better for the environment, and it provides a fun way to get around. In Eugene, the officials responsible for infrastructure and residents clearly know this. Eugene boasts world class bike infrastructure. The city has been certified as a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community and was ranked third in the country in the 2019 PlacesForBikes City Ratings. Unfortunately, even the best infrastructure cannot always prevent bike accidents.
Cyclists in Eugene know the risks they face while on the road, which is why most of them are very cautious while on their bike. Motorists, on the other hand, do not always realize the dangers they pose to cyclists. Drivers sometimes fail to respect cyclists, or give them the proper amount of space they need. If you or someone you love has been hurt by a negligent driver, you can file a claim for compensation. Our Eugene bike accident attorney can help ensure you receive the full and fair damages you deserve.
We Handle a Full Range
of Bicycle Accident Injury Claims
We represent clients who have been injured in a broad spectrum of circumstances involving bicycles. Whether you have been hit by a truck, car, motorcycle or another motor vehicle, we invite you to reach out to our experienced team. We also represent the surviving families of bicyclists killed in fatal accidents.
Your Bicycle Accident Injuries
Under the auto insurance law in Oregon, all motorists must carry a certain amount of personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. These benefits provide compensation for a person’s medical expenses after an auto accident. Even when you are involved in a bicycle or pedestrian accident, if you have your own auto insurance policy, you can still claim PIP benefits from your own insurer.
Of course, many people bike around Eugene because they do not want to, or they cannot, drive so they do not have auto insurance. In these instances, it is possible to file a lawsuit directly against any negligent party that caused your injuries. For example, if a driver did not see you because they were texting while driving and they crashed into you, it is possible to file a claim against them for their negligent actions. A personal injury lawsuit will provide more compensation than PIP benefits because you can pursue damages for non-economic losses as well, such as pain and suffering.
of Bicycle Accidents In Eugene
Oregon is home to the most bike riders per capita and the most bike commuters (6 percent of commuters) than any other state in the country, and bicycle accidents are unfortunately common. They are often the result of the reckless actions of motorists, such as speeding, running red lights, and driving distracted or impaired. Serious and potentially life-threatening injuries often occur as a result.
In order to protect themselves, it is important for bicyclists in our area to be aware of how crashes and collisions typically happen. Common ways these accidents typically happen include:
What Causes Bike Accidents in Eugene?
- Careless drivers: Negligent, or careless, drivers are by far the main cause of bike accidents in Eugene. Motorists who do not properly check their blind spots or who do not pay proper attention to the road can easily cause a crash. Sometimes, bike accidents are caused by the intentional actions of the driver, such as speeding or impaired driving. Drivers are usually aware of these bad behaviors so they are not negligent, but they can still be held liable for their reckless actions.
- Poor road conditions: Even though Eugene is known for its cyclist-friendly bike paths and lanes, there are still times when poor road conditions cause a collision between a bike and a car. Potholes, gravel roads, and uneven road surfaces are just a few examples of improperly maintained roads that are extremely dangerous for cyclists who are riding a bike that is not as stable as other vehicles.
- Crashing into fixed objects: There are many reasons cyclists crash into fixed objects but these accidents are usually caused by the negligent actions of another party. Debris on roadways can cause a cyclist to crash unexpectedly and when motorists open the door of their parked vehicles into the path of an oncoming cyclist, it can result in a dooring accident.
Don’t miss out on these common personal injury mistakes.
to Take After a Bike Accident in Eugene
Even the most cautious and experienced cyclists can find themselves involved in a bicycle accident in Portland. Despite wearing a helmet and taking other precautions, serious and potentially life-threatening injuries may occur as a result. What do you need to know and do following a bicycle accident?
- Seek medical attention: If an ambulance visits the accident scene, ask the paramedics to examine you and treat any immediate injuries. If an ambulance is not called to the scene, visit an emergency room as you leave the scene to receive treatment for your injuries. This is a crucial step even if you think your injuries are minor, or you believe you did not sustain any at all.
- Report the accident: You likely sustained serious injuries during the crash and so, by law, you are required to report the accident. Wait for police to arrive on the scene so you can provide them with a statement they can include in their police report.
- Take notes: As soon as possible after an accident, write down anything you remember about the accident. Include a description of the driver who hit you, a description of the vehicle, the driver’s license plate number, and the date, time, and location of the crash.
- Collect evidence: If you are able to, take photographs of the accident scene as a whole, damage to any vehicles involved, and your injuries. Video footage can also help capture the entire accident scene. If anyone saw your accident, locate them and ask for their contact information, as eyewitness statements can provide strong evidence in your case.
- Obtain a copy of the police report: The police report written at the scene of the accident will be available to you in the days following the accident. You should obtain a copy of this report, as it can indicate which party was negligent, which can help strengthen your case.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to seek compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurer. Before making any statements or accepting any settlements, speak with our Portland bicycle accident attorneys. It is not uncommon for insurers to either deny or downplay claims. We aggressively negotiate with these companies on your behalf to ensure you get the maximum amount you deserve.
If your injuries are severe or the driver is uninsured, we can guide you in filing a personal injury lawsuit against them. Under the Oregon Revised Statutes, damages you may be entitled to include coverage of current and future medical expenses, reimbursement for lost wages and future losses in earnings, and compensation for the pain and suffering your bike accident causes.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
Even with protections such as helmets in place, bicyclists are among the most vulnerable road users. As bikes offer little in the way of personal protection, bicycle accident injuries are often severe. The latest statistics from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) are alarming:
- As many as five or more bicyclists are killed in bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles each year.
- More than 20 bicyclists suffer what PBOT terms “serious injuries” as a result of bike accidents. These are defined as injuries that prevent the victim from walking, driving, or engaging in other normal daily activities.
- Dozens more victims suffer personal injuries that are considered less severe, but can still prevent them from working or engaging in their favorite hobbies while resulting in mountains of medical expenses.
Even a minor crash while riding a bike can end up resulting in serious personal injuries. Among the most common include:
- Cuts, lacerations, and road rash: Cuts and lacerations from contact with the road, glass, vehicle parts and other objects may be serious enough as to require stitches and put you at risk for infection while rod rash can result in permanent scars.
- Burns: Contact with hot engine oils or parts can cause major injuries for cyclists in even relatively minor bicycle accidents.
- Soft tissue injuries: Sprained, strained, and torn muscles are among the most common types of bicycle accident injuries. Unfortunately, it can take months to recover. Additionally, bicyclists are in danger of suffering facial or dental fractures as a result of crashes, as well as eye injuries that can permanently impact their vision.
- Broken bones: Broken bones, dislocated joints, and torn muscles or tendons are all common.
- Back, neck, and head injuries: Injuries such as concussions, fractured skulls, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are common among cyclists. Depending on the severity, they can result in permanent impairments.
- Crushing injuries: This includes fractures ribs and potentially life threatening lung injuries.
- Abdominal injuries: Fractured spleens, renal contusions, traumatic hernia, and other types of internal trauma can happen as a result of being thrown from a bike or due to crushing injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries: As one of the most serious types of bicycle accident injuries, these can result in partial or complete paralysis.
and Protection for Cyclists
When it comes to crashes and collisions, Oregon is one of the most deadly states for bicyclists. An average of one fatal bike accident happens per month while dozens of other victims suffer serious personal injuries.
With all the bikes on the road, cars need to be extremely attentive, check their blind spots before making any turns or changing lanes, be observant of bike lanes and remember that cyclists share the road with the same rights and privileges as motor vehicle drivers. That being said, to protect yourself, it is important to be aware of factors that put you at risk:
- Lack of safety precautions: Not wearing a helmet, not properly maintaining your bicycle, and not riding in designated bike lanes increase the likelihood of bike accidents and injuries.
- Dangerous roads: Riding in road construction areas, places where there are a lack of traffic signals, and in sections of the city that experience heavy traffic increase the odds a bike accident will happen.
- Reckless drivers: Always be on the lookout for motorists engaged in dangerous behaviors such as speeding, running red lights, and driving while impaired.
Regardless of the factors involved in a bicycle accident, our aim is to develop the strongest case we can based on our knowledge of the law and its application to the facts of our clients’ cases. To do this we use years of successful trial results, and the experience we have gained in handling more than 1000 personal injury cases.
Questions About Bicycle Accidents
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, you may have numerous questions about your rights and options after the crash. Some of the most frequently asked questions our bicycle accident lawyers hear from our clients include:
It can be difficult to know what to do immediately after a bicycle accident, especially if you have been seriously injured and are severely traumatized by the crash. It’s important that all of the following happen after a crash. Whether or not you, specifically, are the one to do the following things, though, will likely depend on the severity of your injuries.
- Your accident needs to be reported to the police. It’s very important that your bicycle accident is reported to the police, that the names of all those involved are recorded, and that you get a copy of the police report. If your accident is reported to the police, it will be difficult to create a connection between the accident and your injuries when you are seeking damages from your insurer.
- You need medical care. Getting medical care after an accident is incredibly important. Most importantly, getting medical care improves your chances of healing to the maximum extent possible – what’s known as reaching Maximum Medical Improvement. But getting medical care, just like filing a police report, helps to establish a connection between your damages and the accident. After you are released from the hospital, it’s also very important that you follow your doctor’s medical orders. If you don’t, then you may not heal to the extent possible, which can be used against you during settlement negotiations.
- Your crash needs to be investigated. Your crash needs to be investigated in order to determine what happened, how the accident could have been prevented, whose negligence caused the accident, and who’s to blame. Conducting an investigation on your own is difficult, especially if you’re seriously injured. As such, it’s smart to hire an attorney who can travel to the accident scene, track down eyewitnesses, take pictures, bring in accident reconstruction experts, and more.
- You need to file an insurance claim. If you have insurance, you should give your insurance company notice of your accident, even though you were hit while riding your bike. You should also make sure that the at-fault driver’s insurance is notified of the crash, too. Eventually, you’ll need to go through the formal process of filing a claim in order to recover compensation – our lawyers can help.
Being hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance is one of the worst possible things imaginable – even worse than the fact of being hit alone. If the driver who hit you doesn’t have insurance, though, there may still be some sources of compensation. These include, but are not limited to, your own policy’s PIP or uninsured/underinsured insurance, the insurance of a third party, a lawsuit directly against the at-fault party, your health insurance, and more.
If a person is under 16 years of age and they are riding a bicycle, they are required to wear a helmet. That means that you do not have a legal obligation to be helmeted while riding in Portland. That being said, wearing a helmet is always a good idea. If you are in a crash, wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury – a leading cause of death in bicycling crashes. If you weren’t wearing a helmet and you suffer a traumatic brain injury, the insurance company may make an argument that you could have prevented the brain injury by wearing a helmet, and therefore that specific injury is partially your fault.
In some cases, both the cyclist and the driver are partially to blame for an accident. For example, perhaps the driver was distracted, but the accident occurred at night and the cyclist didn’t have lights on their bike. If you are found to be partially to blame for your accident, you should know that your fault is not a bar to your recovery. However, if you are found to be partially to blame, then your damages will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. So, if you’re found to be 10 percent at fault and your claim is worth $100,000, you can only hold the other party liable for 90 percent of that, or $90,000.
Determining the value of your claim is something that cannot be done in an instant – any attorney who tells you otherwise or makes grand promises about how big of a settlement they can get for you should be approached with caution. The value of your case depends on numerous factors, including the degree of your injuries, whether or not you contributed to the case, and other damages you’ve suffered. What’s more, even if you deserve to be paid a certain sum, what you’ll be able to recover is dependent on the amount of compensation that’s available through insurance policies.
While you don’t have to work with a bicycle accident attorney, doing so is a smart decision. When you work with an attorney, your attorney can handle all of the most important elements of your case, like opening an investigation into your accident, talking to the insurance adjuster on your behalf, and making a determination about fault and the value of your claim. Your attorney can also negotiate a settlement offer, and represent you in court if need be. Throughout the process, an attorney will be available to answer any questions that you have and make sure that your case is on track.
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Mr. Johnston and his firm were incredibly thorough in getting us a fair settlement from our insurance company with little to no pressure. We really appreciated having someone who truly cared about us every step of the way. I would highly recommend the Johnston Law Firm to anyone in need of personal injury representation.
Our Bike Accident Attorney in Eugene Can Help You Claim Damages
A bicycle accident will leave you with severe injuries that may take months, and even years, to recover from. When the crash was due to another person’s careless actions, you should not have to pay for costs associated with the accident in addition to the pain and suffering you are feeling. At the Johnston Law Firm, our Eugene bike accident attorney is dedicated to helping accident victims after a crash and we want to help you, too. Call us now at 503-713-6893 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case review.
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