Wrong Way Bike Accident: Robert’s Successful Case and Learning Opportunity
Robert’s Wrong Way Bike Accident
Robert is a former client who, like many who seek our help after an accident, enjoys an active lifestyle. Each day he commutes to work on his bike, and has been doing so for some time. However, in May of last year Robert’s daily trip ended in a costly wrong way bike accident.
While on his normal route, Robert was struck by a car pulling out of a Wendy’s parking lot. Unfortunately, Robert was riding in the bike lane going against traffic where the car could not see him. The car was waiting to turn right and therefore checking traffic to the left, but collided with Robert as he was coming from the right.
As a result of the accident, Robert suffered a serious shoulder injury, requiring extensive surgery, physical therapy, and a year long recovery.
Though his injuries were severe, we were unsure whether Robert would be able to get adequate compensation to cover his medical bills, if any at all. Because Robert was riding his bike against traffic, the chances of reaching a financial settlement for his case were much less likely than in a normal accident.
According to Title 41, Chapter 6a of the Utah code, bicycles are considered to be moving vehicles, and are therefore subject to the same rights and regulations as motor vehicles. Additionally, in section Chapter 6a, section 1105 of the Utah code, it states that “a bicycle must ride with the flow or direction of traffic” (6a, 1105). Such a situation could lead an insurance company to argue that no accident would have occurred if the cyclist had been adhering to Utah’s bike and traffic laws.
However, two factors in this wrong way bike accident allowed us to help Robert win his case. First, the extent of his injuries were severe and expensive, requiring a large amount of initial treatment and possible future complications. Second, Robert was moving at a fairly slow pace at the time of the accident. These two details were enough to make the driver’s insurance company too anxious about fighting the case, and they agreed to pay the full policy limit for Robert’s accident.
Because he had gone into the process with rather low expectations, Robert was thrilled with his settlement, which gave him sufficient financial aid to pay for his immediate medical expenses. Robert also received a sizeable amount leftover to cover loss of wages and any future medical complications that could arise. Though it was a difficult case, Robert was extremely satisfied with the service provided by Christensen & Hymas.
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A Word of Caution
Though we were able to reach a maximum settlement in Robert’s case, this is not guaranteed for all similar cases.
In recent months, we have approached two other wrong way bike accident cases in which a cyclist was riding against traffic and struck by a car. In one case, the at-fault insurance company has indicated that the cyclist is at least 50% at fault for the accident (meaning the victim will not be compensated), and we are still waiting to hear back on the second case.
No matter the result of these two cases or of Robert’s case, we extend a word of caution to those who choose to ride their bikes on busy roads. As noted previously, bicycles are subject to the same rights and regulations as motor vehicles, and therefore must ride with the flow of traffic. If a cyclist violates this law and an accident occurs, they are just as likely to be held responsible for the accident as the car involved.
Consequently, if you are involved in a wrong way bike accident, there is a chance you may walk away with minimal or no financial assistance to help you recover from your injuries. Though we were able to help Robert get the aid he needed, we advise you to avoid the situation entirely by simply sticking to the rules the state of Utah has put in place to help keep you and others safe on the road.
We Handle Difficult Cases
With that advice, we completely understand that accidents do happen and that serious injuries can be sustained, whether or not it was your fault.
That being said, Ken and I do not shy away from difficult cases where the outcome is uncertain. Each case is unique, and it is our job to find the minute details that may lead to a settlement in your favor. As in Robert’s case, such an outcome seemed unlikely in the beginning. However, after working directly with the insurance company and Robert’s doctors, we were able to turn the tables and secure a result far beyond what he had hoped for.
If you have been injured (physically and/or emotionally) in a wrong way bike accident, but are concerned about who is at fault, do not hesitate to contact Christensen & Hymas. No matter the situation, your injury can affect your life in several ways, and that matters to us. Let us help you overcome doubt and get you on the path to a less stressful and more comfortable recovery.
Images courtesy of Christensen & Hymas Personal Injury Firm.