When Motorists Forget Your Rights, the Bear Reminds Them
Bicycles are a cost-effective way to travel and get exercise, but bicyclists can suffer severe injuries if they’re involved in a crash with a car. Unfortunately, bicycle accidents are a very real risk because many drivers do not pay attention to bicyclists and frequently hit them while distracted.
At Conybeare Law Office, our Michigan bicycle accident lawyers work diligently for injured bicyclists in Kalamazoo and the surrounding area. We work hard to get you the money you deserve, and we can take your case to trial if the insurer doesn’t cooperate. If you or someone you love was recently in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, contact an auto accident lawyer in Kalamazoo for a free consultation.
What You Need to Know About Bicycle Crashes
- Crash Statistics
- Michigan Bicycle Laws
- Common Causes of Bicycle Crashes
- Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
- Bike Crash Lawsuit FAQ
- Contact Our Bike Crash Attorneys
How Can Our Kalamazoo Bicycle Accident Lawyers Help?
Conybeare Law Office assists injured clients with their insurance claims and/or personal injury lawsuits after a serious bicycle accident. Without legal representation, insurance companies may try to take advantage of you or get you to settle for a lower amount than you deserve. Our Michigan bicycle accident lawyers can protect your interests during insurance negotiations and demand fair compensation for your losses.
When you work with Conybeare Law Office, you benefit from the following advantages:
- We are committed to securing maximum compensation for our personal injury clients
- We have years of experience in Michigan personal injury law, giving us in-depth knowledge on how to best handle your bicycle accident claim
- We take bicycle accident cases on a contingency basis- if we don’t win, there is no attorney fee
Michigan Bicycle Accident Statistics
Most bicycle accidents are preventable. The cause is usually one or more parties failing to obey traffic laws or acting negligently. In Michigan, negligence is a common occurrence on the road, resulting in thousands of serious injuries and fatalities each year.
According to the Michigan State Police, bike fatalities are on the rise in Michigan. There were 38 fatalities in 2020, representing an increase of 81%. Although there were fewer crashes (1,224 compared to 1,492 in 2019), cyclist safety remains a real concern across the state.
Michigan Bicycle Laws
The law in Michigan requires motorists to give bicyclists a minimum of three feet of space when passing. A few municipalities, including Kalamazoo, have passed ordinances requiring motorists to give at least five feet of space.
Below are some rules that cyclists must follow:
- Ride as close as reasonably possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the road when traveling below the normal speed of traffic (some exceptions apply, such as avoiding surface hazards)
- Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when riding on sidewalks
- Provide an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian
- Refrain from riding more than two bicycles abreast
- Use hand signals when appropriate
- Use lights when riding a half-hour before sunrise or half an hour after sunset
- Refrain from riding on a limited-access highway
Michigan cyclists are not legally required to wear helmets or refrain from using cell phones while riding. However, wearing a helmet and avoiding cell phone use while cycling is recommended, along with:
- Following traffic signals, signs, and markings
- Watching for turning traffic
- Watching for debris that could cause you to fall or swerve
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Michigan
Bicycle accidents can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Driving recklessly or carelessly
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Texting while driving
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Making an illegal turn
- Improperly switching lanes
When motorists ignore traffic laws and/or fail to operate their vehicles in a safe manner, they may be held liable for any injuries that result. This applies to those who drive passenger vehicles, trucks, and motorcycles.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
In a bicycle accident, injuries can range from minor to catastrophic. Since cyclists are unprotected, the outcome is usually on the severe end of the spectrum, which includes:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Head and neck injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Nerve damage
- Wrongful death
The trauma of a bike crash can also affect bike riders emotionally and psychologically, as well as prevent them from caring for their families. Working with a Kalamazoo bicycle accident lawyer can help you secure maximum compensation for your case.
Who Pays for Injuries to a Bicyclist in Michigan?
On July 1, 2020, a new auto insurance law took effect in Michigan. Under the old no-fault law, injured bicyclists relied on their insurance policies to cover their medical bills and other losses. If they did not have insurance, they filed a claim against the insurance provider for the vehicle that hit them.
Now a bicyclist who isn’t covered by their own insurance or that of a relative must claim benefits from the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP), which covers medical bills, lost wages, and other damages up to $250,000. If you need additional coverage, you still have the option of suing the at-fault driver for medical expenses not covered by the MACP.
What is the Average Bicycle Crash Settlement?
Every case is unique, so Michigan bicycle accident settlement amounts will vary. In general, a bicyclist can seek economic and non-economic damages such as:
– Medical bills
– Lost wages
– Pain and suffering
– Loss of consortium
– Loss of quality of life
– Property damage
In Michigan, who pays for these different types of damages varies depending on whether the cyclist had auto insurance and the type of insurance they had.
Your economic losses are calculated using existing data like medical bills and pay stubs, as well as estimates as to the money you’ll need to pay for future treatment and lost wages. At Conybeare Law Office, our Michigan bicycle accident lawyers go the extra mile to help ensure that our clients get the money they need to heal from their injuries and move forward.
What if the Bicycle Accident Was Partly My Fault?
First, most bicyclists will still be able to recover their medical bills and wage loss from their auto insurance because Michigan is a “no-fault” state for car crashes. It’s called no-fault because fault does not determine whether an injured person receives no-fault insurance benefits.
Second, as to pain and suffering damages, Michigan follows a modified comparative fault law. This means that injury victims may not collect non-economic damages like pain and suffering if they are over 50% at fault for the accident; this rule does not apply to economic damages. If injury victims are 50% or less at fault, they can recover money for pain and suffering, but the damage amount the jury awards will be reduced by the bicyclist’s percentage of fault. For example, if a court awards you $20,000 in pain and suffering damages but finds you 20% at fault for the accident, your award will be reduced by 20%, leaving you with $16,000.
Get a Free Consultation With a Michigan Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Kalamazoo
If you need help protecting your rights after a serious bicycle accident, reach out to the Kalamazoo bicycle accident attorneys at Conybeare Law Office. Our team can assist you with common issues, such as a driver disputing fault or an insurer undervaluing your losses. We use our knowledge, experience, and resources to fight for maximum compensation for injured clients in the following areas: