Adults and children ride bicycles in Iowa not only for fun and exercise but also as a primary mode of transportation. During the previous few years, the number of bicycle commuters has steadily increased. Unfortunately, as the number of cyclists using the road with automobiles, trucks, and other motor vehicles grows, so does the number of collisions. These bicycle accidents can cause serious injuries and even death, especially when a moving vehicle is involved.
If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries in a bicycle accident, it is imperative that you obtain legal advice to find out if you have a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. The Des Moines bicycle accident attorneys at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling have the experience and know how to get you the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free initial evaluation with one of our personal injury attorneys today.
Why Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney for Your Bicycle Accident Claim?
A skilled bicycle accident attorney will be able to acquire the evidence needed to hold the negligent party or parties accountable for their actions. When reviewing bike injury cases, bike accident attorneys frequently use the tactics listed below to build a solid case for their clients:
- Examine medical records and bills to assess the extent of your losses
- Consult with a specialist/obtain expert testimony (accident reconstruction engineer, therapists, doctors)
- Request a police report from the city or another government agency
- Obtain all involved parties’ driving records
- Obtain all witnesses’ statements
- Photograph the accident scene and damage to the car and bicycle
Each accident will be thoroughly investigated by a bicycle accident lawyer in order to decide what is best for their client. They will prepare the case for settlement or trial, whichever will give the client the outcome they desire and fair compensation.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Just like any other accident, there are many reasons why a bicycle accident can occur. Bicycle accidents are most often caused by negligent and reckless motorists who engage in the following behaviors:
- Distracted driving: like using the radio, talking to another passenger, applying makeup, reading a piece of paper, or any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the road and possible bikers
- Texting while driving sending or receiving a text while driving takes your eyes away from the roadway, and leaves other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists at risk for injury
- Driving while intoxicated: driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to serious injuries and even death
- Failure to yield: the biker should generally be given the right-of-way, and the driver should yield to them at designated areas, failure to do so could result in an accident
- Failure to stop at a signal or sign: failing to stop at a stop sign can be dangerous, especially when a driver does not look at the crossroads or intersection before blowing the
Drivers who cause such vehicle accidents as a result of their negligence should be held accountable for the injuries, emotional distress, lost pay, and other damages suffered by bikers injured in an accident.
The top five reasons for bicycle fatalities in the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, were:
- Affordability (10 percent of fatalities)
- Disobedience to traffic signs (7 percent of fatalities)
- Failure to yield by the driver (35 percent of fatalities)
- Incorrect crossing (10 percent of fatalities)
- Riding down the wrong side of the road (7 percent of fatalities)
The majority of fatalities and injuries in bicycle accidents were caused by the negligence of an automobile driver. However, some incidents are caused by bicyclists’ negligence; this does not exclude you from taking legal action. Due to Iowa’s comparative fault statutes, you can still collect compensation from other responsible parties even if you are partially at blame.
Obtaining Compensation After an Iowa Bicycle Accident
Your attorney will need to thoroughly analyze the circumstances of your case after your Des Moines bicycle accident to determine how to effectively handle your claim. To begin, you may need to submit a claim to the insurance carrier. A personal injury lawyer may be able to get compensation for some types of economic damages through the insurance company.
Though the insurance company and the adjusters will almost certainly try to negotiate a lower award (or no compensation at all), and even if your claim is settled, it may be for substantially less than your damages are worth. If this occurs, your next step will be to file a lawsuit against the liable party. Filing a personal injury claim will allow you to seek higher compensation for your damages. This can be for any injuries sustained, as well as property damage to your bike or vehicle.
Going through the court or settling with the other party before getting the court involved will allow you to collect for economic and non-economic damages. During the filing process in a personal injury suit, you will file for a specific monetary amount based on your injuries. It is best to keep track of all medical documents and medical bills detailing your injuries and the costs, and this will allow you to collect the fair compensation you are owed.
Injuries Sustained After a Bicycle Accident
Bicycle accidents result in the highest fatalities and long-term impairments due to head injuries. Bicyclists are allowed to ride on public roads as long as they observe all applicable rules and regulations, including traffic laws, and make every effort to maintain visibility so that everyone can share the road. Even though wearing a helmet is not mandatory, if you are out on the open road, you should wear a helmet because this could help in the event of an accident and result in less severe injuries.
The injuries you may sustain as a result of a bicycle accident may be obvious immediately, or they may take some time to manifest. Either way, you should always seek medical attention after an accident. Due to the fact that bicycles offer little protection, you could sustain more serious injuries to your entire body, more so than in a regular car accident. Injuries sustained after a bike accident can include anything from minor bruising to permanent disability. The most common examples of injuries after a bicycle accident include:
- Head injuries: concussion, brain injuries, brain bleed, skull fractures, and other traumatic brain injuries
- Bones or Ligament injuries: brakes, fractures, tears, and sprains
- Internal bleeding
- Incorrect crossing (10 percent of fatalities)
- Bone bruises
- Broken ribs
- Teeth or mouth injuries
- Road rash/burn
- Abrasions, lacerations, and contusions
There are many other injuries that can be sustained after an accident. No injury or accident will be exactly the same. It is imperative to always seek medical attention, keep records of all medical bills, medical expenses, post-accident costs, and any other monetary amounts related to the accident.
Bicycle Accident Statistics in Iowa and the U.S.
The Iowa bicycle coalition keeps reports regarding all bicycle crashes and fatalities. In the latest reporting year, according to their data, there were 9 bicycle fatalities in Iowa. Three of the fatalities were due to the bicyclist not following proper road safety rules or not riding in the proper areas designated for bicycles. Bike riders should not ride on sidewalks, and they should not ride against traffic.
One of the bicycle fatalities in Iowa in the latest reporting year was caused by a drunk driver. That driver was charged with “homicide by vehicle caused by operating while intoxicated” and “homicide by vehicle caused by reckless driving.”
According to data from the Iowa Department of Transportation, the months of March through June have seen an average of 140 bicycle-vehicle incidents in the last decade. These months are closely watched because this is when the highest number of bikers are on the road.
In the most recent year, 843 bicyclists were killed in collisions involving motor vehicles. This is a 3% drop from the 868 biker deaths reported in the prior year. Bicyclists aged 20 and up made up the majority of those killed in the previous reporting year. This accounted for over 90% of all bicycle deaths that occurred as a result of an accident.
Contact the Des Moines Bicycle Accident Attorneys at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling
The bicycle accident attorneys of Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling are here to help you after sustaining an injury in a bicycle collision. If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries or a fatality, you may have a case for a wrongful death claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Contact our law firm today to discuss your case and obtain proper legal advice through a free consultation with one of our experienced Des Moines bike accident lawyers. You can reach us
online or by calling our phone number (515) 444-4000. We are a group of personal injury attorneys and are located in Des Moines, Iowa.