Cyclists face unique challenges. On one hand you’ve chosen the mode of transportation that does the least damage to the environment. On the other, you face aggressive drivers who put your safety at risk every day, especially here in Arizona.
If one of those aggressive, negligent drivers has caused an accident and injured you, then you have the right to recover compensation for your losses. There are few things more expensive than getting seriously hurt: it’s an experience that comes with medical bills, lost wages, and at times, major life changes.
Let the Law Offices of Tony Merchant start working for you. We have experience working bicycle accident cases just like yours, and we’ve recovered billions of dollars for our clients over the years.
Over 800 people are killed by bicycle injuries every year. Many more are injured. Worse, cyclists are more likely to be the victim of hit and run accidents as drivers panic and take off more often than they do in passenger vehicle injury cases.
In Arizona, over 1,371 cyclists take injuries this year. Our state is the 5th most dangerous state in the country for cyclists.
Most bicycle accident injuries are catastrophic. They often result in traumatic brain injuries, multiple bone fractures, skull fractures, spinal cord injuries, severe, disfiguring lacerations, potential amputations, and even death.
“The blunt impact sent force vectors through my body, snapping my right collarbone and exploding my left shoulder. It broke every single one of my ribs. And my sternum. It collapsed both of my lungs. You shattered my left ankle, broke my tibia and fibula, and snapped my femur. You crushed my pelvis and caused internal bleeding so severe that my blood pressure didn’t stabilize for days, even after emergency surgery and pint after pint of transfused blood. You fractured vertebrae in my neck and back and damaged my spinal cord, paralyzing my left leg and compromising my bladder and bowel function.” –“To the Driver Who Hit Me and Ran,” Outdoor Online.
These injuries will usually result in more than a month of missed work, or the loss of the ability to work altogether. They will often require you to go through months of physical therapy or even to make new life adjustments to account for a loss of mobility. They are, in short, usually injuries that require a great deal of time and money to resolve.
You might imagine that when a 3,000 pound car slams into a person on a bike, that the case would be pretty straightforward. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. You can expect the insurance company to mount a tough defense against having to pay for your accident.
In addition, there are instances where cyclists are the reason why the accident occurs. If you are not following traffic laws at the time of the accident, then you may hold the sole liability for the accident.
In order for a personal injury case to exist, the following must be true.
If you were responsible for the accident you can’t be compensated. However if the driver who hit you was the one breaking traffic laws, then you do have a case.
Note that Arizona is a comparative negligence state. This means that if the defense team can’t blame the accident on you they will try to set your negligence percentage as high as possible. Your eventual settlement can be reduced by that percentage.
All this means that you should be looking for the best personal injury attorney you can find if you want to win your case. Because the catastrophic injuries that come with cyclist cases can be so expensive, insurance companies often fight even harder to avoid paying the claim. You’ll need the strongest case you can put together to win your case and get paid.
Every case is different. Until we’ve had the chance to review the facts of your case, we won’t be able to give you even a ballpark figure.
Yet it’s a good idea to understand what your bicycle accident case settlement might look like.
First, your settlement should cover your economic losses. This means covering all of your medical bills, as well as covering your lost wages for any time you were unable to work.
Economic losses also include bills for rehabilitative services like physical therapy, and a projected amount for long-term care.If your bicycle accident resulted in you being unable to work again in the future then the settlement should include a projected amount that covers the length of time you would have been able to continue working, and the rough estimated salary you would have had over those years.
Usually it’s impossible to calculate economic losses until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, as that’s when the base medical bill amount is available and calculable. It’s also when medical experts should have a sense of what your future expenses look like.
Next, your settlement should include a pain and suffering award.
In Arizona, this is calculated by evaluating the severity of your injuries and the impact it has had on your life, and assigning that a severity rating from 1 to 5. This is known as a multiplier, because one then multiplies that by the amount of economic damages.
So if your economic damages were $200,000 and your multiplier was 3, you could expect an additional $600,000 in pain and suffering damages.
There are no guidelines in Arizona for how this multiplier may be set. Thus the final figure will either set by a jury, if the case goes to litigation, or will be set by the attorneys during the settlement conference negotiation process.
Some settlements will include a third type of damages known as punitive damages. These are damages applied to a negligent defendant who either deliberately harms someone or takes an action so reckless they should have known it was likely to cause harm. For example, if the other driver was texting while they drove or was driving drunk, then punitive damages may be appropriate.
Note we will always work to maximize the amount of money you get in your settlement.
Again, it depends.
First, it depends on how long it takes you to heal. It’s impossible to accurately head into settlement negotiations until you reach maximum medical improvement, so we know how much your medical bills are. Those form the baseline for your economic damages, as do projections about your future needs.
You have two years from the date of your accident to file your claim, but it’s usually better to move faster. It can take 18 to 24 months to finish your case. Settlement conferences take time. Trials take even longer.
In general it’s more important to get it right than to do it fast. If you are concerned because you have creditors breathing down your neck while you wait for a settlement to arrive, have them reach out to your attorney. Your lawyer can help reassure your creditors that the money is coming so they do not take legal action against you.
There are a variety of advantages to having an attorney on your side.
First, we deal with insurance companies for you. This is a huge advantage since most insurance adjusters work hard to get you to try to slip up. They offer lowball settlements that don’t come close to what the case is worth. They try to lead you into making statements or signing documents that weaken your case. Sometimes they try to stall you until the statute of limitations works out.
Another advantage is gaining access to our network of expert witnesses. These witnesses can help make your case for you by explaining the impact of your injuries in no uncertain terms. They can accurately project future expenses and testify on your behalf.
There’s also the rigorous investigation process we go through to make sure we’re on top of every angle of the case.
When it’s time to sit down for a settlement conference we negotiate on your behalf. Having an incredible negotiator on your side can make thousands of dollars worth of difference, especially since 92% of cases do settle out of court.
If your case does go to court, you’ll need an incredible litigator on your side. Juries do set the amount of money that you can get, if any, so you need someone to make your side of the story clear to the jury.
Keep in mind the defense will work against you at all times. We will match them point for point, protecting your rights.
It’s a sad fact but a true one: many people who end up in a bicycle accident with a passenger vehicle will not survive the experience.
If you are the family member of a loved one who has died as a result of a bicycle accident, a wrongful death case can help.
In Arizona law, surviving spouses, children, and parents of the deceased may benefit from a wrongful death claim. This claim may also be filed by a representative of the deceased on behalf of the mistake. Everyone who has a right to the claim must share the claim.
A wrongful death claim covers economic damages like funeral expenses, and any medical expenses the decedent incurred before dying. If the deceased was the primary breadwinner for your home or contributed income then you should receive compensation for the loss of your loved one’s earnings, with a projected amount for the amount they would have made if they’d lived.
Wrongful death cases come with their own parallel to pain and suffering awards as well. These are awards for the loss of companionship, guidance, and consortium. In some cases, you may gain an additional pain and suffering award when it becomes evident that the manner of your loved one’s death has caused intense emotional distress or damage.
These cases are not straightforward. Your claim will not be paid just because you filed it. It’s often a shock to the families of victims to find how hard insurance companies will work to pin the blame for the accident even on the dead. You should also be aware that there is a two year statute of limitation for wrongful death cases, as well.
In other words, if you want to recover for your loved one’s death, then you’ll have to move fast. Reach out to the attorneys at The Law Offices of Tony Merchant to get started today.
Tony Merchant has handled hundreds of bicycle accident cases like yours, and has scored millions of dollars for his clients. He has over 30 years of experience as a personal injury attorney, has won numerous awards, and has been published in multiple prestigious law journals.
More importantly, he cares about you, your family, and your future. He works hard to ensure you can get the compensation you deserve. He’s known for being a shrewd negotiator and for being a tough litigator. When you hire Tony Merchant, you let insurance companies know that you mean business.
Ready to get started? Schedule a no-obligation case evaluation by calling (480) 581-8801 today. We’re ready to help you get justice.