A Denver Bicycle Accident Lawyer Will Pursue the Compensation You Deserve
Bike riding is a common hobby and a means to commute, and thousands of people throughout the Denver area ride their bikes on a daily basis. Despite laws intended to protect bike riders and make the roads safe, automobile drivers often do not know how to share the road with bicyclists. This can make biking a dangerous pastime, and bike riders can sustain serious, sometimes fatal, injuries in a bicycle accident. A negligent driver who causes a bicycle accident can be held responsible for the consequences of the accident. The driver can be made to compensate the injured rider or the surviving family members for damages arising from the incident. Bicycle accident victims should contact an experienced Denver bicycle accident attorney for assistance in pursuing legal action against negligent drivers.
The Dangers of Colorado Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents occur for many reasons. Common causes of bike accidents include:
- Drivers failing to see bike riders because the driver is distracted, too tired or drunk
- Drivers failing to yield the right-of-way to bicycle riders
- Drivers losing control of their vehicles due to speeding or poor weather
- Drivers not giving bike riders sufficient time to cross or sufficient space on the roads
- Drivers veering into bicycle lanes
- Bicycle riders crossing or entering oncoming traffic without looking
In almost every bike accident, the driver of the passenger vehicle involved in the crash is at least partly to blame for the accident. This means that the driver can be held liable for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress and even wrongful death. If the bike accident victim was partly responsible for the crash, the driver can still be made to pay, but the compensation will be reduced by the cyclist’s percentage of fault.
Colorado Biking Laws
State traffic laws are generally designed to protect everyone on the road, whether you are behind the wheel of a car, riding a motorcycle or pedaling on two wheels. When it comes to bicycles, the laws are meant to ensure that cyclists and drivers share the road safely.
Bicycles are generally treated like other vehicles under Colorado law. That means that cyclists must adhere to local traffic rules, including traveling in the right direction and obeying street signs and traffic lights. They are also expected to ride in a reasonably safe manner and refrain from dangerous activity.
The most important – and the most commonly confused – traffic laws that come into play when bicycles and other traffic mix concern passing. Our Denver bicycle accident attorney knows far too well that passing infractions are an unfortunately regular cause of crashes across the state.
When a car is passing a bicycle traveling in the same direction, the law requires that the vehicle maintain at least three feet between the right side of the car and the left side of the bicycle. To ensure that drivers can safely pass, cyclists are required by law to remain in the right-hand lane at all times, with exceptions for cyclists making left turns, overtaking slower vehicles or moving to avoid road hazards.
There is no question that helmets save bicycle riders’ lives. That does not mean that they are required by law in order to hit the road, however.
Although many states have enacted laws forcing bike riders to strap on helmets, the safety devices are still voluntary in Colorado. Bicyclists of all ages can legally operate their bikes without helmets.
Other equipment is required for cyclists in Colorado in certain situations. Bikers on the road before sunrise or after sunset must have a white headlight and a red rear reflector or light.
Understanding Comparative Negligence With Help From a Denver Bicycle Accident Attorney
One reason it is important to know the rules of the road is that bicyclists injured in traffic accidents may have their compensation reduced or eliminated if they are found partially to blame.
Colorado is a comparative negligence state. A person who is found to be less than 50% responsible for an accident will have his or her money damages reduced proportionately. A person who is found 50% or more at fault is barred from obtaining compensation for his or her injuries under state law.
In addition, bike riders are expected to make reasonable efforts to protect themselves. Anyone who opts to go helmetless – even though helmets are not legally required – may be considered to have assumed the risk.
Cyclists can go a long way in protecting their safety and their legal rights by complying with traffic laws and wearing a helmet.
A Denver bicycle accident attorney at Levine Law can help you understand your rights and options after a crash. We have significant experience investigating accidents, identifying the full range of those responsible and maximizing compensation for the people and families that we represent.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Car vs. Bike Crash?
Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-80-102 sets forth a two-year statute of limitations for filing a general personal injury action. This period of time is extended under § 13-80-101(n) to three years for accidents involving motor vehicles, such as a car vs. bike crash. This means that if you have been injured in a bicycle accident in the Denver region, in most situations, you will only have three years from the date of your injury to take legal action against the driver of the motor vehicle. If you fail to meet the statutory deadline, you will be barred from filing a lawsuit for damages arising out of the accident.
Because statutes of limitations can be confusing and the time for filing a claim is relatively short, it is critical to seek assistance from a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a bike accident occurs. An experienced Denver bicycle accident attorney at Levine Law can advise you of your options and help you secure the full compensation you are entitled to.
Contact a Denver Bicycle Accident Lawyer at Levine Law Today
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, it is important that you consult with an experienced Denver bicycle accident attorney. The injured bicyclist will need to prove that the driver was careless or negligent and that this negligence was the direct cause of the accident. The injury attorneys at Levine Law have 20 years of experience representing plaintiffs injured in auto accidents and bicycle accidents. Contact Levine Law today at 303-333-8000 or reach out to us online for a free consultation.