Today it is becoming more common for people to choose bicycles as a major mode of transportation. While biking may help reduce pollutants and be an enjoyable way to experience scenic Colorado, unfortunately, accidents do occur. Accidents between motor vehicles and bikes can result in serious injury and even death, given that vehicles like cars and trucks are so much larger than bicycles and often travel at much higher speeds.
If you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident, you may want to contact a Westminster bicycle accident lawyer who could help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact a reputable personal injury attorney today to begin working through the details of your situation.
Protections Under the Bicycle Safety Act
Enacted in 2009, the Colorado Bicycle Safety Act is designed to provide extra legal protection to bike riders. Under this new statute, it is illegal for drivers of other vehicles to:
- Swerve toward bicyclists
- Throw objects at bicyclists
- Encroach on the space of bicyclists
- Threaten bicyclists
Additionally, bicyclists should be afforded a three-foot safe zone when other vehicles are passing them on the road. Laws in Westminster set forth that a person on a bicycle is considered a vehicle and shares all the same rights and responsibilities as another vehicle when they are riding their bike on the road.
However, if the bicyclist is riding their bike on the sidewalk, they have the same rights and responsibilities as pedestrians. This rule of thumb can be used to determine the obligations of both the bicyclist and the other people around them.
When a bicyclist is injured, they may be able to sue the responsible party for damages resulting from the accident. Typically, people think of damages as merely the cost of hospital stays or medical care for their injuries. However, victims of a bicycle accident can be compensated for a variety of items, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
In a given case, there are often disagreements about the value of these damages and therefore, the amount of the compensation the injured party should receive. Without a skilled Westminster bicycle accident attorney by a person’s side, it may be much more difficult to argue for just compensation against the defendants.
A knowledgeable lawyer could bring in expert witnesses like professionals who can reconstruct the scene, medical professionals, and others who can testify to the appropriate amount of compensation using their expertise in their fields.
Modified Comparative Fault
Colorado uses a system called modified comparative fault when determining the amount of compensation an injured person can recover from the defendant in a case. There are two main rules in the recovery process. The first is that an injured bicyclist cannot recover compensation if they are 50 percent or more at fault for the accident. The amount of compensation that an injured bicyclist can recover will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them by the court.
For example, if a bicycle accident in Westminster results in $100,000 of damages and the injured bicyclist is found to bear 10 percent of the responsibility for the accident, the total compensation they can recover from the defendant will be $90,000.
The fault is determined according to numerous factors, including whether the bicyclist or driver of the vehicle broke any laws, whether alcohol or drug impairment was involved, and whether either party is considered to have acted negligently. A Westminster bicycle accident lawyer could provide evidence to the court that minimizes their client’s fault and maximizes their potential compensation.
Work with a Westminster Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact a Westminster bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. With their help, you can work toward the compensation to which you may be entitled. A fair amount of compensation could help you return to your financial and physical situation before the accident. Call today to see what can be done for you.