Can You Claim Compensation for a Bicycle Accident?

April 16, 2024 | Ed Bernstein
Can You Claim Compensation for a Bicycle Accident?

Riding a bicycle can be a great way to exercise, commute, or enjoy the great outdoors. However, cycling can quickly turn into a nightmare when an accident occurs, leading to injuries, property damage, and other losses.

Each year, thousands of cyclists in the U.S. sustain injuries of various degrees, ranging from minor, such as bruises and scrapes, to disabling and life-threatening, like traumatic brain injuries and paralysis.

If you or someone you love has been in a bicycle accident, you likely want to know if you can claim compensation, how you can do it, and what amount of money you can expect. Consult a bicycle accident lawyer in Henderson about your rights as soon as possible.


How to Claim Compensation for a Bicycle Accident

Can You Claim Compensation for a Bicycle Accident

Knowing how to claim compensation is crucial if you are a cyclist who’s suffered an injury. This section provides a pathway for injured cyclists to claim what is rightfully theirs after a cycling incident. In most cases, two primary ways to get compensation after a bicycle accident are (1) filing an injury claim and (b) filing a lawsuit.

1. File a Personal Injury Claim

The first step is often to file a personal injury claim with the responsible party’s insurance company. Depending on the fault determination, it typically includes drivers but can also involve municipalities or bicycle manufacturers. The process of filing an injury claim includes the following steps:

  • Gathering evidence. Before contacting the liable party’s insurance company, compile all necessary documentation, such as the police report, medical records and bills, photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, and records of time lost from work. 
  • Notifying the insurance company. Contact the insurance company and notify it about the accident and your intention to file a claim. Be sure to adhere to any deadlines for notification stipulated by the policy.
  • Calculating your damages. You also need to estimate the total cost of your damages accurately. Consider immediate and future expenses and non-economic damages like diminished quality of life, pain and suffering, and others. 
  • Negotiating a settlement. You may receive a settlement offer from the insurance company at one point. Negotiation is vital here, as initial offers may be lower than you are entitled to. 

Important! Avoid accepting the first offer and settle your claim only when you fully understand the extent of your damages. Seek the assistance of a bike accident lawyer to ensure your rights are fully protected.

2. File a Lawsuit and Go to Court

If you cannot reach an agreeable settlement with the liable party’s insurance company, your next step is to file a lawsuit and prepare to go to court. This way of claiming compensation for a bicycle accident typically includes the following steps:

  • Consulting a lawyer. Given the complexities of law, seeking legal advice from a lawyer is smart. They can explain your options, guide you through the litigation process, and represent you in court.
  • Filing a lawsuit. When you are ready, your lawyer will file a lawsuit. Doing so will initiate the court proceedings, and you will be officially considered the plaintiff in the case.
  • Discovery phase. During the discovery phase, you and the other party (the defendant) will exchange relevant information to the case. It typically includes documents, further evidence collection, and depositions.
  • Trial phase. If the case proceeds past mediation or pre-trial settlements, the case will head to trial. Each side presents their argument during the trial, and a jury or judge will determine the outcome.
  • Receiving compensation. If the court rules in your favor, or if you reach a settlement at any point during the lawsuit, you will receive compensation for your injuries and other damages suffered in the bicycle accident.

If you are considering filing a lawsuit after a bicycle accident, you need to know that your time to take legal action against the liable party is limited by the statute of limitations, which varies from one state to another. In Nevada, for example, injured victims have only two years from the date of injury to bring legal action.

Damages Recoverable After a Bicycle Accident

As a cyclist who has suffered an injury in an accident, you want to get your life back on track by filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. The primary purpose of seeking compensation after a bicycle accident or other traumatic event is to make the injured party “whole” again. It can be done by recovering damages such as:

  • Medical costs. The most immediate damage to recover is the cost of your medical bills. Make sure you keep all records and receipts as they are critical evidence. Some injuries may require extensive, long-term care or rehabilitation. These will also factor into the overall monetary damages claim.
  • Loss of income. If your injuries prevent you from working, you can also recover what you would have made. It includes income lost due to time missed from work and if your injury results in lost benefits such as vacation or sick days. In some cases, a cyclist’s career may be affected in the long term. If so, you seek damages for lost or diminished earning capacity. 
  • Pain and suffering. It is a difficult factor to quantify, but it can be substantial. Pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate for both the physical and mental distress resulting from your injury. You should never underestimate the emotional trauma of being in an accident as a cyclist. It is just as important as physical trauma and can affect you for an extended period.
  • Property damage. Often overlooked, the damage to your bicycle is also a crucial part of your claim. It includes the cost of repair or replacement of the bike. If it takes time to repair your bike, you can also recover the cost of a rental or another temporary bicycle.
  • Impaired quality of life. Injuries can dramatically alter a person’s quality of life. It may include an inability to participate in hobbies or interests or a reduction in the ability to perform daily functions. The knock-on effects of the injury can be significant and lasting. For example, if you can no longer enjoy riding a bicycle with your children, your claim should account for this.

By understanding the range of damages available to you and taking appropriate steps to document those damages and pursue your claim, you can ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries.

What Amount of Compensation Can You Expect After a Bicycle Accident?

What Amount of Compensation Can You Expect After a Bicycle Accident

Understanding the compensation you might receive after a bicycle accident is crucial to ensure you can recover without the added stress of financial hardship. However, every case is unique, which is why the amount of compensation you can expect will differ depending on various factors, including:

  • Extent of injuries. Severe injuries typically result in higher medical expenses and possibly long-term care costs. The average economic cost of a disabling injury after a motor vehicle accident is in the hundreds of thousands
  • Liability. Establishing who is at fault for the accident is critical. If you are found partially at fault, your compensation may be reduced. That is why it is crucial to have legal representation to prevent the other party from shifting the blame onto you. 
  • Insurance coverage. The coverage limits of the at-fault parties and your insurance will also come into play. Fortunately, if the insurance coverage is insufficient to cover your expenses and losses, you can file a lawsuit to obtain full compensation. 

It is always best to hire legal counsel after a bicycle accident. A lawyer can assist you in understanding your rights and provide a more precise estimate of the compensation you might expect based on the details of your claim.

How Long Will It Take to Claim Compensation for a Bicycle Accident?

The timeline for a bicycle accident claim can vary widely. It depends on:

  • The complexity of the case
  • The extent of your injuries
  • The willingness of the insurance company to settle
  • The jurisdiction where the accident occurred

Smaller claims might settle within a few months, whereas complex cases, especially those that go to trial, can take several years. A settlement can be reached at any point – even while a trial is ongoing – which can also affect the duration of the claim process.

Settling Your Claim vs. Going to Trial: What’s Better?

Whether you should settle your claim or go to trial after a bicycle accident is a tough decision. If it feels like you are standing at a crossroads, you need to understand the pros and cons of settling your claim and heading to trial:

The potential benefits of settling your claim:

  • Quicker resolution. Settlement can be the swifter route, offering compensation without the extended timeline of a trial.
  • Less expensive. Avoiding court reduces legal fees and associated costs.
  • More certainty. Settling eliminates the unpredictability of a jury’s decision.
  • Privacy. Settlements are typically confidential and kept out of the public record.

The potential drawbacks of settling your claim:

  • Potentially lower compensation. Settlements are generally a compromise and may result in lower compensation than what might be won at trial.
  • No public precedent or justice. If raising awareness or contributing to case law is important to you, settlement won’t satisfy these interests.

The potential benefits of going to trial:

  • Possibility of greater compensation. Trials have the potential for higher compensatory awards, especially if punitive damages are considered.
  • Public record. A trial can publicize the defendant’s alleged negligence, which may prevent future harm to others.

The potential drawbacks of going to trial:

  • Time-consuming. Litigation can take years before a final judgment.
  • Expensive. Trial costs can mount, including attorney fees, expert testimonies, and court expenses.
  • Unpredictable outcomes. The uncertainty of a jury’s verdict can be risky.

After considering evidence, outcomes, personal preferences, and all details relevant to the accident, an experienced bicycle accident lawyer can recommend the most effective course of action. The optimal strategy should align with your best interests and the nuances of the case.

Tips for a Successful Compensation Claim After a Bicycle Accident

Tips for a Successful Compensation Claim After a Bicycle Accident

When you get injured, it might seem as if your life is put on pause. You have to spend a considerable amount of time in hospitals and doctor’s offices, cannot work, and cannot enjoy the activities you used to enjoy before the accident. For this reason, you probably want to get your legal case over with and obtain the compensation you need as soon as possible. The following tips can help achieve that:

  • Thorough documentation. It is crucial to document every detail pertaining to the accident. It includes photographs of the accident scene, injuries, and damage to your bicycle, the names and contact details of any witnesses, your detailed account of the accident, including date, time, and location, and police reports, among others. 
  • Seeking immediate medical attention. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, even if you feel fine after a car hits your bicycle. Not only is it essential for your health to see a doctor, but medical records serve as vital proof of your injuries and are critical when making a claim.
  • Adherence to deadlines. Be aware of the statute of limitations and specific deadlines for filing claims in your jurisdiction. Missing a deadline can jeopardize your entire claim. Set reminders and keep a calendar to ensure all paperwork is submitted timely. When you have a lawyer on your side, they will keep you on track throughout the claims process. 
  • Consistent communication. Contact your insurance company, healthcare providers, and legal counsel regularly. Avoid breaks in communication, which can delay your claim, and constantly update your contacts with any changes in your medical condition or personal information, as failure to do so can jeopardize your claim for compensation in the long run. 
  • Avoiding recorded statements. Do not provide recorded statements to insurance adjusters without understanding your rights. They may use your own words against you to devalue your compensation claim. It is best to consult a bicycle accident attorney before agreeing to be recorded.
  • Avoiding quick settlement offers. Insurers may offer a settlement quickly to minimize their losses. However, these offers are often much lower than you may be entitled to. Never accept a settlement before you (a) completely understand the extent of your injuries and losses or (b) consult a lawyer. 
  • Seeking legal counsel when in doubt about the right course of action. If you are uncertain how to proceed, consult a lawyer with experience representing bicycle accident victims. They can help navigate the complexities of the legal system, communicate with insurance companies, and ensure fair treatment and proper compensation.

Contrary to popular belief, claiming compensation for a bicycle accident is not always easy, even when the other party involved in the bicycle accident is clearly at fault. Fortunately, you do not have to go through this process alone; you can hire a personal injury lawyer to do the heavy legal lifting for you.


Ed Bernstein

Edward M. Bernstein, Esq. is the owner and founding partner of Edward M. Bernstein & Associates, and one of the most recognizable figures in Nevada. Ed is one of state’s premier personal injury attorneys and has hosted The Ed Bernstein Show for over 31 years. He has served the Las Vegas community for decades with dozens of community appointments and terms of service. In the year 2000, he was Nevada’s Democratic nominee for the United States Senate.

Ed received his B.A. from Long Island University in 1971 and his J.D. from Widener University in 1975. Since then, Ed’s professional accolades include numerous publications, honors and awards, court appointments, and has been named one of America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.