Bicycling is becoming an increasingly prevalent form of transportation in urban areas such as Indianapolis. As a result, a greater number of bicyclists are injured each year due to collisions with automobiles on roadways. If you have sustained injuries after being hit by a car while on a bicycle, or from a hit and run cycling accident in Indiana, it’s important to understand your rights as an accident victim.
Bicycle accidents can inflict devastating injuries. Cyclists who survive a collision with a motor vehicle often face debilitating pain and difficulty recovering from internal trauma. Some sustain serious brain injuries, even if wearing a helmet. Others may suffer an injury to their spinal cord, leaving them partially or totally paralyzed. In fact, because of how vulnerable bicyclists’ bodies are during a collision, they often count themselves lucky to escape a motor vehicle collision with just severe lacerations and/or broken bones.
The experienced, diligent team of lawyers at Hurst Limontes LLC can help you recover compensation for your injuries from the motorist or other parties who caused your injuries. Contact us today to learn more.
What Bicycle Accident Injury Claims Do We Handle?
At Hurst Limontes LLC, we represent bicyclists injured in all types of accidents in which someone else’s actions caused the cyclist’s injuries. According to PPI, those accidents most commonly involve a collision between a cyclist and a vehicle when a cyclist crosses at an intersection or travels on the road with the flow of traffic. However, that’s not the only way a cyclist can sustain an injury because of someone else’s carelessness. Doorings, in which a driver or passenger opens the door of a stopped vehicle into the path of an oncoming cyclist, are also common and extremely dangerous to cyclists. Sometimes, preventable and hazardous road conditions also pose serious threats to cyclists, as do certain defective cycling products.
Regardless of what causes a bicycle accident, the injuries that cyclists sustain tend to be particularly severe. Our office has the resources and experience to investigate and litigate virtually any type of bicycle accident injury case, including:
• Wrongful death
•Traumatic brain injuries, including those that cause comas, minimally-conscious states, or severe motor or cognitive deficits
•Spinal cord injuries, especially those resulting in paralysis
•Severe lacerations, such as those on the face that cause disfiguring scars
•Broken bones and other orthopedic injuries
We encourage any cyclist who has sustained an injury in an accident in the Indianapolis area to contact our office, even if you believe that you bear some of the blame for your injury. Indiana law permits recovery of damages even if you share fault, so long as you’re not mostly to blame for the accident. Our team can evaluate your situation and give you an idea of whether you’re eligible to seek compensation for your injuries.
State and Local Bicycle Laws Aim to Protect Cyclists
Indiana law makes the rights of cyclists very clear; subject to several minor restrictions, “a person riding a bicycle… upon a roadway has all the rights and duties… that are applicable to a person who drives a vehicle.” That means that cyclists have every right to expect motorists to share the road responsibly, to yield when cyclists are making a turn across traffic, and to not to drive or act aggressively toward them.
Indianapolis city ordinances provide further protections for bicyclists. Motorists must yield to cyclists traveling in designated bike lanes, must not park or stop in a bike lane, and must leave at least three feet of space when passing a cyclist in a bike lane. All of these provisions aim to protect cyclists against disrespectful and reckless driving behaviors.
Damages Potentially Recoverable for Cycling Accident Injuries
Unfortunately, motorists do not always heed the laws and regulations that keep cyclists safe on the road. Too often, motorists treat bicycles as a second-class of vehicle, drive dangerously around bicycles, and put cyclists in danger by driving carelessly. When these wrongful behaviors occur and result in an accident, Indiana law permits cyclist victims to take legal action against drivers who caused them harm. In an action for damages, an injured cyclist may recover:
• Present and future medical expenses related to the injury, including emergency transport and care, long-term hospitalization, and ongoing physical and occupational therapy
• Lost wages and lost future income resulting from the injured cyclist’s need to take time off from work to recover and from any injuries that require the cyclist to make a career change
• Compensation for both physical and emotional damages, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and disfigurement
• Loss of consortium with a spouse
In the event that a cyclist dies in an accident, the cyclist’s family members are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit under Indiana law, which imposes some relatively complicated limits and conditions on the types and amounts of damages that families of wrongful death victims may recover. If your loved one died in a bicycle accident, then we urge you to seek the help of an experienced Indianapolis wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to learn about your rights before the statute of limitations expires.
Why You Should Seek Legal Help Following a Bicycle Accident
Most bicycle accidents inflict immediate and significant injuries. Recovery may take months and may include painful surgery, therapy, and other medical intervention. Cyclists enduring the trauma of healing from an injury rarely want to think about consulting with an attorney and reliving the traumatic event. They just want to get better and, oftentimes, get back out on their bikes. However, the sooner an injured cyclist contacts an attorney, the better chance of success he or she will have in a personal injury claim.
Hurst Limontes LLC understands the reluctance that many people have about involving lawyers too soon following a bicycle accident. Some individuals believe that if they call a lawyer, they will have to go straight to court. Others think lawyers just add another expense to their already-strained family budget. We understand these feelings, but after years of experience counseling injured cyclists, we can tell you one thing for certain: hiring a lawyer can only help. Below we discuss why.
You Don’t Have Much Time to Assert Your Rights
Most personal injury claims in Indiana must be filed within two years from the date of the injury. While that may seem like plenty of time, two years actually doesn’t give you or your lawyer much time to build a strong personal injury case. Furthermore, missing the deadline most often means losing all rights to seek any compensation for your injuries. The sooner you speak with an experienced bicycle accident attorney, the lower the chance you’ll run out of time to file a claim.
Your Attorney Needs to Start Gathering Evidence Now
In personal injury claims, a plaintiff must prove that someone else’s careless actions caused his or her injuries. While that may seem easy—particularly if you’re the injured cyclists who witnessed the collision, in practice it requires collecting and presenting a significant amount of detailed and specific evidence. Your lawyer must use concrete evidence to explain exactly how your accident unfolded, who bears the blame for it, what caused your injuries, how severe they are, and what they’ve cost you.
Following an accident that leaves a cyclist severely injured, two particular categories of evidence often require immediate attention:
• Physical, forensic, and eyewitness evidence of the accident will likely prove useful in illustrating the moment-by-moment series of events that led to your injury, as well as explain how the defendant caused the accident. Unfortunately, if you or your attorney does not secure this evidence soon after your accident, it tends to disappear. Some cyclists make the mistake of repairing their bike prior to taking any photos of the damage, which destroys important evidence. Some witnesses may begin to forget what happened or question exactly what they saw. The sooner a lawyer gets involved, the better the chance that you will preserve critical evidence of the accident for later use.
• Medical records and recollections of medical providers also have the potential to make a big difference in any personal injury matter.
• Damages depend in large part on proving that an accident caused a specific injury, and proving the severity of that injury. To do so requires medical records and testimony from treating medical providers. An attorney’s ability to immediately gather this evidence can help ensure the success of your case, and also allows you time to focus on your recovery.
The risk of losing evidence isn’t the only reason why speed matters. Oftentimes, your lawyer may conclude that your case will benefit from testimony by expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists or independent medical doctors. It can take a significant amount of time to find the right experts. The sooner you get them working for you, the better.
Call Us—Your Indianapolis Bicycle Accident Injury Lawyers
If you’ve sustained an injury in a bicycle accident in the Indianapolis area, don’t wait to consult with the experienced personal injury legal team at the Law Office of Hurst Limontes LLC. The clock is already running on your right to seek compensation. To maximize your potential compensation, you should retain an experienced attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights and give yourself and your family the best chance of success.
Our team of lawyers and legal professionals want to help you and your family after an injury turns your life upside down. Call Hurst Limontes LLC at (317) 636-0808, or contact us online, to schedule your free, confidential, no-obligation consultation. We are here to help. Hablamos Español.