Bicycle Accident Attorneys Assisting Clients in Denver and Surrounding Areas
Colorado is known as a premier outdoor recreation destination, and bicycling is a popular pastime. Not only do sports enthusiasts ride their bikes in the mountains and on trails for recreation, those who are concerned about the environment, their health, or the cost of gas often bike to work or school, as well. According to Downtown Denver Partnership surveys, the percentage of people biking to downtown jobs doubled to about 8% between 2013 and 2017.
With its 196 miles of on-street bike lanes and plans to add 270 more miles of bikeways, bike boulevards, and separated bike lanes on streets under the ”Denver Moves” plan, Denver has distinguished itself as one of America’s more bike-friendly cities. In fact, bicycle sales in Denver have boomed in the last two years. One survey by the Denver Streets Partnership found that 80% of Coloradans started biking or walking more during that time period.
With all of this increase in bicycles on roads and trails comes an increase in bicycle accidents. While a 2020 study of Denver bicycle accident statistics showed that only 1% of motor vehicle accidents in Denver involved bicycles, accidents that did involve bicycles were 6 times more likely than other motor vehicle accidents to result in serious injury. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), there were 8,052 statewide crashes involving bicycles in the last decade where traffic investigators believed the bike riders were not at fault. In those crashes, over 75% of the bicycle riders involved were seriously injured. Bicyclists were the victims of careless or reckless motorists over 60% of the time, according to CDOT. According to US News and World Report in a 2021 article, Colorado has the 8th highest bike accident fatality numbers of all US States.
Of course, crashes involving motor vehicles are only one type of bicycle accident that can result in serious injuries. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Colorado, the skilled bicycle accident attorneys at Greer Law Group are here to help. Call our Denver office today at 303-331-6460 to speak to a bicycle accident attorney and explore your options.
Where and When Am I Most Likely to Be in a Bicycle Accident?
According to the CDOT, most Colorado bicycle crashes in the years 2010-2019 that resulted in injury or death happened on dry roads, during the day, and at an intersection. Most often, a car, van, or SUV was turning right or left and struck the bicycle. Most bicycle crashes that resulted in injury or death occurred at speeds of 15 miles per hour or less.
Certain neighborhoods account for a large number of bicycle accidents. According to Denver Police Department crash data, just over half of the bicycle accidents in the Denver area from 2013-2020 happened in the dozen city core neighborhoods of Congress Park, Westwood, Chees man Park, Highland, Baker, City Park West, Lincoln Park, Civic Center, North Capitol Hill, Capitol Hill, Union Station, Central Business District, and Five Points.
More generally, intersections are by far the most dangerous spots for cyclists. The same CDOT data show that 4,425 bicyclists were injured in intersection or intersection-related crashes where officers believed drivers were at fault. Crashes in intersections accounted for more than half of all the bicycle accident fatalities over the course of the study period, with 32 bicyclist deaths.
What Should I Do if I Am in a Bicycle Accident?
If you are in a bicycle accident, it can be difficult to overcome the shock of it all to take the steps you need to take. Here is a list of what to do and not do to ensure the best outcome for your bicycle accident:
- First and foremost, seek medical attention for any injuries you may have suffered. Nothing is as important as your health, and quick action to get medical care is essential.
- Do not refuse medical care, even if you think you are not injured or your injuries are minor. You may have serious injuries that are not immediately obvious, and refusing medical care at the scene can be used against you if you later seek damages for injuries you were not aware of at the time.
- Report the accident to the police. This is usually done with a 911 call.
- If you are in an accident with a motor vehicle and are able, get the driver’s plate number, driver’s license information, and insurance information. Taking photos of the documents and the license plate with your cell phone is the easiest way to do this if you are able and your phone is undamaged.
- Again, only if you are able, take photos of the scene. These can be important evidence in determining liability.
- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Be careful about what you say to anyone at the scene. Even saying something as simple as “I’m sorry” or “I’m OK.” can be used against you to try to prove that the accident was your fault or that you were not seriously injured.
- Do not assume that you are uninjured because you feel “OK” at the scene of the accident. Adrenaline will be coursing through your body and numbing you to possible pain, and many common bicycle accident injuries such as head injuries or internal bleeding do not always show up until later.
- Call Greer Law Group at 303-331-6460 and let an experienced bike accident attorney start advising you as soon as possible, ideally before you’ve even left the scene of the accident.
What Kinds of Compensation May I Be Entitled to After a Bicycle Crash?
In any personal injury case where another person or entity is determined to have been negligent, you have an opportunity to seek both economic (also called “pecuniary”) damages and non-economic(“non-pecuniary”) damages.
Economic or pecuniary damages include all tangible, specific expenses that you have incurred as a result of the injuries you sustained in an accident that was not your fault. This includes expenses such as medical bills for diagnosis, treatment, or necessary therapies; lost wages due to inability to work; over-the-counter medical costs such as the expense of OTC medications or appliances like a wheelchair or crutches that have been ordered by your doctor; and non-medical expenses, such as the cost of travel to medical appointments, including mileage, meals, and lodging, for example. These expenses are rarely questioned as they are easy to prove simply by providing receipts and paystubs.
Non-economic or non-pecuniary damages are more nebulous and determining what to ask for can be best handled by an experienced personal injury lawyer. Non-economic damages can be sought for the pain and suffering you have been put through as a result of your bicycle accident and can include compensation for intangible losses such as the deterioration of mental and emotional health, the loss of activities that previously played a role in your life, social isolation, the loss or change of family or other important relationships, loss of sexual function or enjoyment, changes in appearance leading to poor self-image, deterioration of cognitive ability due to traumatic brain or spinal cord injury or loss of oxygen to the brain, and a host of other losses or negative changes in your life that the bicycle accident has caused.
Is There a Limit on the Amount I Can Seek in Compensation for my Bicycle Accident in Colorado?
There is no cap on economic (pecuniary) damages in personal injury cases in Colorado. This means that you can be reimbursed for all quantifiable expenses that are a direct result of your injury, no matter what the total turns out to be. This includes all medical expenses and non-medical expenses, as well as past and future lost wages due to being unable to work at all or to return to the same career after your injury. These expenses are rarely challenged, as you can easily provide the necessary documentation to prove that the expenses actually were incurred.
However, Colorado does put a cap on non-economic (non-pecuniary) damages. Non-economic or non-pecuniary damages are meant to compensate you for the intangible costs of your accident, such as emotional and mental trauma or physical pain and disability, for example. Most recently, non-economic damages caps were $613,760 for incidents that occur on or after January 1, 2020, and $468,010 for incidents that occurred before January 1, 2020. The damage limits change roughly every two years to offset inflation. The Colorado Secretary of State publishes a Certificate with all of the current damage caps, and it is a good idea to check it out to see what the caps are at the time of your personal injury claim.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help in My Case?
When you have suffered a serious injury in a bicycle accident that was not your fault, it is likely that you want the party who injured you to compensate you for all you have gone through. After an injury, however, the desire to pursue justice can clash with the need to rest, recuperate, and get your life back to something resembling normal as much as possible. This is where the help of an experienced bicycle injury attorney can save the day, allowing you to hold the one(s) who injured you accountable and get compensation for all you have suffered while keeping the burden of complicated legal actions off your back so that you are free to rest and heal.
A skilled bicycle accident attorney from Greer Law Group will investigate the accident, gather the necessary evidence to prove the other party liable, and will complete both the legwork and the paperwork necessary to get you the compensation you need and deserve.
The personal injury attorneys at Greer Law Group have the experience and the skill needed to fight for the compensation you deserve. You’ve suffered enough now. Our attorneys are here to help. 303-331-6460