With an average of 300 sunny days a year, Colorado has plenty of great biking weather. Even when it gets a little chilly, many urban areas have well-maintained bicycle paths for those who want to step out for a ride, train for a race, or just go about their daily commute.
Despite the welcoming bike community, accidents do happen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1,000 bicyclists die, and over 130,000 are injured in crashes in the United States annually. If you or someone you love was injured on a ride, you might be wondering about the average settlement for a bike accident in Colorado. A lot of factors go into determining injury compensation. The costs of bicycle injuries and deaths from accidents are greater than $13 billion in the United States each year. Expenses include spending on health care and lost work productivity, as well as estimated costs for lost quality of life and deaths.
Bicycles In Colorado
Colorado ranks as one of the most active states in the nation. There are plenty of things to do in the Centennial State, including biking. According to Bicycle Colorado, 73% of Coloradans own at least one bicycle.
Though the majority of Americans drive to work, including in Colorado, the state has one of the nation’s highest rates of bicycle commuters. According to an analysis of 2016 U.S. census data, 1.1 percent of Colorado’s commuters biked to work.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
There are many reasons that bicycle accidents occur. Generally speaking, bicycles may be difficult to see, and vehicle drivers often forget to look out for them. It is important to note that the vehicle driver may not always be at fault for the accident, and the parties involved could share liability.
- Driving too fast,
- Failing to yield the right of way,
- Hazardous road conditions,
- Distracted driving or cycling,
- Passing too close to a cyclist,
- Failing to use proper signals when stopping or turning,
- Driving or cycling while fatigued or drowsy,
- Reckless driving, and
- Driving or cycling while impaired.
Though Colorado law does not require cyclists to wear a helmet, it is strongly recommended. Wearing bright or reflective clothing and using a bike light at night can also help you be more visible to drivers and other cyclists.
Proving the cause of your bicycle accident will be an important component of determining your Colorado bicycle accident average settlement. An experienced personal injury attorney can conduct an investigation into your accident and gather the necessary evidence to build a case for fair compensation.
Factors That Impact the Average Settlement for a Bicycle Accident in Colorado
A bicycle accident, like any other vehicle accident, falls under the umbrella of personal injury law. Because the circumstances of each accident are unique there is no way to fairly determine the average bicycle accident settlement in Colorado. These are some of the factors that will inform the value of your claim and how much you can recover.
The Severity of Injuries
You should not have to be responsible for the medical expenses that arise from an accident that you did not cause. You may be eligible for compensation that covers these costs, including emergency care, surgery, follow-up visits, medication, physical therapy, ongoing treatment, and more. If your medical needs are extensive, the settlement should address these costs, including any future costs.
Depending on the nature of your injuries, you may have to take time off from work. In some situations, a bicycle accident victim may never return to work and must find a different career. In this case, you may receive compensation for lost past and future wages.
Financial damages related to the accident may be compensable. This could include property damage, like your bicycle and accessories, or it could include modifications necessary because of your injury. For example, you may need temporary or permanent in-home care, child transportation, or home modifications because of your injuries. These would not count as medical expenses but are losses that you should not have to incur out of pocket.
Pain and Suffering
Non-economic damages like pain and suffering can play a big part in how much you recover. These are incredibly personal, which is another reason that the average settlement for a bicycle accident in Colorado is hard to quantify. Other non-economic damages include mental anguish, anxiety, emotional distress, depression, post-traumatic stress, and more.
Colorado follows the system of modified comparative negligence. Under this system, if you were 50% or more responsible for the accident, you cannot bring a legal claim. You can still seek recovery if you are less than 50% at fault. This is important because the driver and their insurance or legal counsel will benefit from trying to place the blame on you. An experienced Colorado personal injury lawyer can help you gather the facts.
How to Receive Fair Bike Accident Compensation
Though necessary in many cases, jury trials are not where your pursuit of justice typically begins. Most accident victims start the process of recovery by submitting an insurance claim. It is important that a Colorado bicycle accident average settlement takes into consideration the value of your injuries.
Do not give in to pressure to accept a low settlement just to have money in hand. Once a settlement offer has been accepted, you cannot go back and ask for more. It is common for bicycle accident victims to later realize that they did not take all expenses into account. If a fair settlement cannot be reached or the responsible party is not insured, litigation may be a strategy to get the compensation you deserve. An experienced bike accident lawyer can help value your claim, determine liability, negotiate on your behalf, and litigate when necessary. At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we are committed to the zealous pursuit of justice on your behalf. Our award-winning team of trial lawyers is here to guide you through the legal process and provide compassionate legal representation. Contact us to schedule your free case consultation.