Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Waipahu, Hawaii
Cyclists are among the most vulnerable road users in Hawaii. With little to protect them from direct contact with nearby vehicles, pedestrians, or even the pavement in a crash, it’s no surprise that bicyclists often suffer severe injuries.
The worst bicycle accidents usually stem from traffic collisions. More than half of all people hospitalized for traffic injuries in Hawaii every year are vulnerable road users like bicyclists and pedestrians. However, deadly crashes also happen during recreational riding, bike tours, and athletic events. When someone else’s negligence contributes to a collision, Hawaii accident victims may be entitled to compensation for their losses.
Did you suffer injuries in a bike crash in Waipahu? An experienced bicycle accident lawyer at Recovery Law Center can determine whether you have a valid claim in a free consultation.
Our personal injury law firm takes a comprehensive approach to legal representation. It’s not just about winning the case for us. We strive to provide you with the support you need to make the best possible recovery. Whether that’s helping you arrange transportation to medical appointments or referring you to doctors to help with your injuries, you can count on us to stand by your side throughout the entire personal injury claims process.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicyclists must share the road with other motorists. Unfortunately, drivers don’t always exercise caution behind the wheel. Many bicycle accidents can be attributed to driver negligence, such as:
- Speeding – Speeding is a serious problem in Hawaii and a common contributing factor in many fatal bicycle accidents. The faster a motor vehicle travels, the longer it takes to a stop. A speeding driver may not brake in time to avoid a collision with a slower-moving cyclist.
- Distracted driving – Any activity that causes drivers to take their eyes off the road or hands off the wheel counts as distracted driving. Examples of distractions include talking on the phone, texting, eating and drinking, reaching for loose items, tending to children, and adjusting the radio.
- Drunk driving – Drivers who get behind the wheel after drinking too much may experience impaired judgment and slowed reaction time, leading to car accidents with bikes.
- Aggressive driving – Unsafe lane changes, road rage, racing, cutting cyclists off, and attempting to run cyclists off the road are all types of aggressive driving in Hawaii.
- Drowsy driving – Driver fatigue can be just as dangerous as impaired driving. Sleepy drivers tend to be less aware of their surroundings and may not spot cyclists before it is too late.
- Tailgating – Motorists who tailgate cyclists may not have sufficient time or space to change course if the rider suddenly slows or stops.
- Passing too closely – Hawaii law requires drivers to leave at least three feet of s] clearance between their cars and bicycles. But in a poll, only about 60 percent of Hawaii drivers knew the rule.
Types of Bike Accident Injuries
A bicycle accident injury can be mild or catastrophic. Common examples of injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – Brain injuries occur when a person sustains a violent blow to the head. A bicyclist is much more likely to suffer a TBI if they are not wearing a helmet. TBIs can be life-threatening and leave victims with long-lasting disabilities.
- Broken bones – A bicyclist who gets hit by a car is at risk of suffering complex fractures that can take months to heal.
- Back and spine injuries – Back sprains and strains, pinched nerves, and slipped discs are all common bicycle accident injuries. Spinal cord damage can lead to full or partial paralysis.
- Cuts, scrapes, and lacerations – If a bicyclist slides across pavement or comes in contact with broken glass and debris, they could sustain severe cuts, abrasions, and lacerations. These wounds can lead to infection, scarring, and disfigurement.
- Internal injuries – Rising sales of SUVs and light trucks in the United States mean that cyclists are more likely to sustain internal injuries in a collision. Because these vehicles ride higher up on the road, cyclists are at risk of suffering upper-body injuries to vital organs.
Accident victims who sustain serious injuries often face astronomical medical bills, lost wages, and long-term disabilities after bike crashes on Oahu. You should not be responsible for these expenses if you did not cause the collision. A knowledgeable bicycle accident lawyer in Waipahu can identify all potential sources of compensation for you if you or a loved one is hurt.
Tips to Protect Your Rights After a Bicycle Accident
The steps you take after a bike accident can protect your legal rights and your personal injury case. Here’s what to do:
- Call 911 – Call law enforcement to the scene. They will create an accident report, which will be important when you start the claims process.
- Collect evidence – Take photos of your injuries and the crash site if possible. Ask any witnesses for their contact information.
- Seek medical attention – If you don’t need emergency treatment, get evaluated by a medical professional as soon as you can. You need to rule out undetected injuries and show the insurance company you took your health seriously.
- Keep a pain journal – Keep a daily record of your physical and emotional state. A diary will help your attorney calculate non-financial losses for pain and suffering.
- Hire a bicycle accident lawyer – A seasoned attorney will investigate the accident, gather evidence to strengthen your case, and pursue an injury claim for you. That gives you more time to focus on your health and recovery.
Pursuing Maximum Compensation for Bicycle Accident Victims
After a traffic accident, injured cyclists may be able to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver. Hawaii is a no-fault insurance state, which means that when a motorist is involved in an auto accident, they usually turn to their own personal injury protection (PIP) plan to cover their losses regardless of who caused the crash. The state-required minimum PIP coverage is $10,000 per person per accident.
However, Hawaii law provides an exception for bicyclists. A cyclist injured because of a driver’s negligence can make a claim against that driver’s PIP insurance policy. If the driver’s policy cannot cover the costs of the cyclist’s losses, the victims may also turn to their own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage or their health insurance policies for compensation.
You could also be entitled to file a bicycle accident lawsuit if your injuries meet Hawaii’s serious injury threshold and your expenses exceed the driver’s PIP policy limits. A successful lawsuit could recover additional compensation for your pain and suffering, property damage, and other non-financial losses. The right personal injury attorney can determine whether you are eligible to file suit after a bike crash.