In recent years many Washington residents have taken up cycling as a healthy and environmentally friendly transportation alternative. Unfortunately, the increasing number of cyclists sharing Washington roads with motor vehicles has substantially increased the number of serious bicycle accidents that occur each year. Across the Untied States approximately 51,000 bicycle accidents take place annually, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation over the past 5 years (2007-2011’) there were over 1,800 reported traffic accidents involving bicycles in the Seattle area alone.
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident contacting an attorney is essential to ensuring that you receive compensation for your losses. At the law office of Dann D. Sheffield & Associates our attorneys understand the difficulties and legal issues you face after being involved in a bicycle accident and can help you along the road to recovery.
Victims of Bicycle Accidents Frequently Require Legal Assistance with:
- Unpaid Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Payment of Bicycle Damages
- Phone Calls Not Being Returned by the Insurance Company
- Insurance Adjusters Disputing Liability
- Recovering Losses from Uninsured/Underinsured Drivers
- Medical Referrals for Accident Treatment
- Other Expenses
The increase in bicycle traffic and the resulting accidents has not gone unnoticed however. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation from 2005 to 2013 the WSDOT will have provided over $40 million in funding for improving road conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians. Safe road designs require that road users have sufficient time to see, process and react to information while driving at the specified speed limit. Although redesigned roads and separated bike lanes are making the roads safer for cyclists, cars and trucks still dominate the roadways exposing cyclists to serious injuries.
Bicycle Accidents Frequently Result From:
- Crossing Roadways
- Car Doors Being Opened
- Drivers Failure to notice Bicyclists
- Poorly Marked Roadways
- Poor Road Design
- Unmarked Speed Bumps
- Aggressive Vehicle Maneuvers
- Failure of Drivers to “Share the Road”
Cyclist are 4½ times more likely to be injured in an accident compared to the driver of a car involved in a motor vehicle accident. At best, a bicyclist is protected by a helmet, bicyclists generally have nothing providing protection for their bodies and limbs. As a result bicycle accidents frequently cause devastating physical injuries; including head injuries, amputation, paralysis, and even death.
At Dann D. Sheffield & Associates we know that serious injuries and fatalities to cyclists aren’t random accidents. Someone is responsible for your injuries and loss. Washington law establishes your right to be compensated if you have been injured in a bicycle accident as a result of another person’s negligence. Our Attorneys will fight for your rights, and for the compensation you need to put your life back together. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured, or a loved one has been killed in a bicycle accident, you need a skillful and responsive legal team that is fully committed to fighting for your rights; and the attorneys at Dann D. Sheffield & Associates can help you each step of the way.
“In Washington a pedestrian or bicyclist that is injured by a vehicle may be covered by the at-fault driver’s PIP insurance policy”
PIP insurance or “Personal Injury Protection” is a form of insurance that may be purchased in addition to liability insurance, this is separate from UM/UIM insurance. PIP insurance is not required in the state of Washington however, your insurance provider must offer you PIP coverage when you purchase your insurance policy. If the insurance provider did not offer you PIP insurance or can not provide a signed waiver stating that you do not wish purchase PIP coverage, the insurance policy will be deemed to include PIP.
PIP insurance may be used to pay for such things as medical expenses, wage loss, loss of services, and funeral expenses. PIP insurance is paid regardless of who is at fault for the accident. This means PIP insurance may be paid to the injured party before liability is determined. For the victim this can help pay medical bills or wage loss prior to a settlement being reached. However, even when a party’s insurance policy includes PIP coverage, PIP coverage will only cover certain persons involved in the accident.
Who is Covered Under a PIP Policy?
PIP insurance generally only covers the insured driver (i.e. the person named on the policy and/or family members) as well as his/her passengers – up to a certain amount. This means that if there is an accident between two(2) vehicles and only one of the drivers has a PIP policy, that policy will only cover the PIP policy holder and the passengers in his/her vehicle. The PIP policy will not be paid to the other driver or their passengers. However, in some cases there may be exceptions to the driver/passenger limitations on a PIP policy. (i.e. bicyclists or pedestrians involved in an accident with a PIP covered vehicle)