Portland Oregon Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, PC
Bicycles have become increasingly popular in Portland, OR as a mode of eco-friendly transportation, recreation, and exercise. Unfortunately, some motorists fail to adjust their driving styles to accommodate the increasing number of bicycle riders.
A bicycle accident can have lifetime consequences for the victim. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you probably have questions about potential lost wages and who is going to pay your medical bills, in addition to how you could obtain compensation for your pain and suffering.
The attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss in Portland, OR understand how devastating a bicycle injury can be for the rider and their family. Our law firm has a proven and winning track record in representing bicyclists against these types of drivers in Oregon.
Injured in an Accident? Get a Free Case Evaluation Today!
Injured in an Accident? Get a Free Case Evaluation Today!
Injuries Caused by Bicycle Accidents
Millions of bicycle accidents occur in the US every year, and at least one million victims a year are kids. These statistics underscore the daily perils faced by bicyclists, especially children. It also highlights the critical need to protect the legal rights of bicycle accident victims.
A head injury occurs in nearly three out of four serious bicycle accidents in the country. Other common bike accident injuries include the following:
- Knee injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damage
- Fractures and lacerations
- Neck injuries
Liability in Bike and Car Collisions in Portland, Oregon
Motorists need to be extremely attentive when there are bicycles on the road. They must be mindful of bike lanes and check their blind spots carefully before changing lanes or making any turns. A cyclist can be grievously injured when a car and bicycle collide. The majority of such injuries occur at road intersections.
Car drivers in Portland need to remember that bike riders share the same rights and privileges as they do on the roads. Bicycles are legally considered to be ‘vehicles’ for most purposes, under Oregon law. Therefore, they are subject to the same laws that apply to cars and most other vehicles.
The same laws also apply while establishing liability in a bicycle accident in Portland, OR. This means any ‘vehicle’ operator who is found to be negligent (and their negligence resulted in the bicycle rider’s injury), they can be liable for the accident and held accountable for the injuries and losses.
What Happens When Bicycle Riders Do not Have Insurance?
Most bike riders (even the most diligent ones) often do not carry auto insurance. Hence, they cannot collect on their Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage or auto policy’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage when they are involved in an accident.
However, you may be able to receive compensation from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company, if you are not the vehicle operator that was negligent and caused the accident.
Until you obtain compensation for your losses, it is best to use your own health insurance to pay for any medical bills. However, you need to be careful in spending because the health insurance company may claim reimbursement in the event you win settlement from the auto insurance company.
Make sure you contact a qualified Portland bicycle accident attorney for help if you are worried about not receiving a fair settlement that is rightfully due to you for your injuries. An accomplished attorney could also help negotiate down any medical liens from the health insurance company, if needed at a later date.
What are the Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Portland?
Negligence of car drivers is one of the primary causes behind a number of bicycle accidents in Portland, Oregon. It can be in the form of reckless disregard to traffic laws or due to inattention.
The following are the top causes of bike accidents in Portland:
- The Right Hook: Drivers turning into the bicycle lane while making unsafe right turns
- The Right Cross: Drivers pulling out of parking spots and driveways without checking for oncoming traffic
- The Door Prize: Drivers hitting cyclists unintentionally while opening doors without looking
- The Left Cross: Drivers dangerously turning left without looking
- The car driver is speeding
- The car driver rear-ends a cyclist
- Driving under the influence
- The car driver turns or switches lanes without checking their blind spots
- Distracted drivers
There have been far too many cyclists that get seriously injured due to negligence of motorists. Some of them even get killed because a car driver is distracted or not obeying the traffic rules. It is important for cyclists and car drivers to abide by the rules of the road and follow the road safety guidelines.
Dangerous Roads/Intersections May Cause Accidents
Hazardous conditions of a road in Portland may cause bicycle accidents. This could happen if the road was poorly constructed, defectively designed or ill-maintained.
If a bike rider in Portland is injured due to any of these reasons, they will have the legal right to pursue compensation from the responsible party (which could be the local government in such cases).
You may be able to receive compensation if you believe that your injury occurred because of a dangerous intersection or a poorly designed signage.
If you have sustained serious injuries or if any of your loved one has been injured or killed as a result of a bicycle accident arising from dangerous road conditions, negligence or careless actions of public sector employees, or publicly-owned vehicles (like buses), then you may be able to file a claim against the responsible public agency in Oregon.
It is the responsibility of cities, counties, and other government bodies to ensure that all vehicles can operate safely on Oregon roadways. In some cases, where negligence is apparent, a Tort Claim Notice can be filed on your behalf by your attorney.
However, these are complicated claims which are also time sensitive (such a claim should be filed within 180 days of the accident). You should get in touch with a competent Portland bicycle accident attorney if you think you may have a personal injury claim against any public agency.
Your Attorney Can Investigate Opposing Accounts
Car drivers and bicycle riders are traditionally in disagreement about driving and bicycling laws, right-of-way issues, and who might be at fault for the accident.
A skilled and reliable Portland bicycle accident lawyer can investigate the accident thoroughly to ensure that the at-fault party is held accountable for damages. This investigation can be complex, cumbersome and time-consuming.
However, a solid legal professional will know which experts to hire for professional opinion and how to build a solid case and expedite the procedure.
For instance, there are bicycle accident forensic specialists who can identify the causation and sequence of events in a crash. While you can possibly hire such experts and specialists yourself, you might prefer to leave this task to your attorney.
What if the Bicycle or its Components were Defective?
You may have a product liability case if some part of your bike malfunctions (resulting in your injuries) or the accident occurs due to a defective bicycle. You may also be able to hold the manufacturer of protective bike gear responsible, if such gear or protective equipment fails to protect you as it was expected to.
For instance, while riding down the street, if you fall over after hitting a bump, your helmet should protect your head at least to some degree. However, if you end up with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) because your helmet split in two, you may be able to file a claim against the helmet company, if a defect is found in the manufacturing, design, or even marketing.
Product liability cases are less common than cases against insurance companies. However, it is important that the manufacturer is held responsible for providing poor quality goods when it leads to a serious injury.
What Happens if You Were Hit by a Car Door?
You may be able to get compensation for your injuries if you have been injured by someone opening their car door into the bicycle lane. If the person opening the door does not pay attention to oncoming bikes, while opening the door into bicycle lane, then they could be held responsible under Oregon law.
The law in Oregon states that:
(1) A person commits the offense of improper opening or leaving open a vehicle door if they do any of the following:
(a) Opens the door of a vehicle without checking if it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of pedestrians, traffic, or bicycles on sidewalks or shoulders.
(b) Leaves a door open on the side of a vehicle which is available to pedestrians, traffic, or bicycles on sidewalks or shoulders for a time period unnecessarily longer than the time taken to load or unload passengers.
Right Hooks by Cars in the Bike Lanes
Under Oregon law, cars are not permitted to move into the bicycle lane and halt before making a right turn. However, the car can cross the lane during a turn if required. A car should not be in the bike lane because these lanes are meant to protect cyclists.
However, mail trucks, TriMet buses, delivery trucks, and emergency vehicles in Portland may be exempt from these specific rules (of stopping in the bicycle lane) under certain circumstances.
When making a right turn, cars should look for bike riders and allow them to pass before making the turn. There have been many instances where a cyclist was seriously injured because the motorist took a right turn without looking. This dangerous manoeuver is called a right hook.
Get in Touch with an Experienced Portland Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
If you or your loved ones have been injured in a bike crash because of the negligence of another driver who failed to respect your right to ride, then you should contact the dedicated bicycle accident lawyers at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss in Portland, OR.
We are committed to protecting and championing the cyclists’ rights in Oregon. What is your side of the story? We know how to win cases inside and outside of the courtroom.
Call us today at 800-285-8678 for a free consultation!