According to the Traffic Safety Commission of Washington State, the number of injuries sustained by walkers and bicyclists was 2,351 between 2013 and 2017. While Washington is considered a safe state to ride a bicycle in, accidents happen. When they do, you need to be prepared.
If you or someone you know has been in a bicycle accident, reach out to an experienced attorney. You may be entitled to financial compensation to help pay for medical bills, lost wages, and more. Attorney Scott Terry is proud to offer skilled advocacy to residents of Sumner, Puyallup, as well as King, Pierce, and Thurston counties.
What To Do After a Bicycle Accident
Bicycle accidents, while common, are not something anyone plans for. It is important to know what to do after you have been involved in one. These steps can help later if a claim is filed and litigation is required.
First, call 911. Even if you do not think you are hurt, internal injuries may not be obvious right away. Furthermore, it is important to seek medical attention because it will strengthen your case when you can prove that you sustained injuries.
Next, obtain the driver’s information and the information of any witnesses to the accident. The more evidence you can obtain, the better. It is also necessary to document the details of the accident. If pictures can be taken, they should be.
Finally, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer. A bicycle accident attorney can help you file a personal injury claim and find a path forward.
Washington Laws Affecting Bicyclists
There are several laws that pertain to bicyclists in Sumner and the rest of Washington. These laws can help you understand whether the bicyclist was at fault in your accident. Consider the following laws that involve bicyclists in Washington State:
- Bicyclists are not required to wear a helmet. However, there are communities that do require helmets, so it is important to be cognizant of which ones do.
- Bicycles, if ridden at night, need to be equipped with a lamp that has a white light that reaches at least 500 feet away.
- Bicycles, if ridden at night, need to be equipped with a red reflector on the back that drivers can see from at least 600 feet away.
- Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles.
- Only two bicyclists may ride side-by-side.
- If a bicyclist is riding slowly, they must stay to the right of the lane.
- Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians.
- When turning, bicyclists must use proper hand signals.
- Bicycles cannot carry more people than the bicycle was designed to hold.
- A bicyclist cannot be charged with a DUI, but their bicycle can be impounded.
The laws that pertain to vehicles in Washington require that the driver use reasonable care when around a bicyclist. This means that they must safely share the road with bicyclists. Drivers can be at fault if it was proved that they did not exercise this reasonable care.
Filing a Claim
When you have decided to file a claim, you need to prove fault. For example, if a bicyclist is hit by a vehicle, the bike rider needs to prove how much at fault the driver was for their accident. If a bicycle accident occurs on a property where there are dangerous conditions, the owner of the property may be found liable.
To prove fault, the bicyclist must prove that a driver breached their duty of reasonable care (such as texting and driving), that the bicycle they were on was defective, or that the property was not safe for them to ride on.
Keep in mind that Washington State abides by what is called ‘pure comparative fault.’ This means that the plaintiff will receive damages minus the percentage that is deemed to be their fault. There’s also a time limit in Washington for bike accident claims to be filed, called ‘the statute of limitations,’ of three years. If you wait too long, you’ll be ineligible to make a claim.
Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Sumner, Washington
Bicycle accidents can come out of nowhere. When you are facing mounting medical bills and other frustrations after a bike wreck, reach out to a seasoned attorney. Scott Terry is confident in the legal services he provides for residents of Sumner and beyond, and he will do all he can to help you move forward.