Bicycle Accident Lawyers: How They Help Cyclists (2024)

Sarah Edwards


Reviewed By Adam Ramirez, J.D.


Read in 5 mins

Vehicle-bicycle collisions injured or killed over 41,000 cyclists across the U.S. in 2021. Vehicles outweigh bikes by at least a couple of tons and travel several times faster. In these crashes, a bicyclist can suffer serious or even fatal injuries. The impact on the rider’s body can break bones and tear soft tissues.

Such injuries can threaten mental, physical, and financial well-being. Fortunately, injured cyclists can pursue a legal claim against negligent drivers. A bicycle accident lawyer is an injury lawyer with knowledge and experience specific to these collisions. Hiring an attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your bicycle accident claim.

What a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Does

A lawyer helps at every stage of the accident claim process. Some ways a lawyer can help you include the following:

Providing Legal Advice

Your lawyer starts working at your first meeting. Most offer a free consultation to learn about your case and explain what they can do for you. This meeting also allows you to interview the lawyer to ensure they can provide the knowledge and experience your case requires.

The lawyer will also examine the merits of your claim. You need to understand the potential outcomes of your case to make informed decisions about how to handle it.

Analyzing Your Claim

The strength of your case indicates the likelihood of success. To win or settle a claim, your attorney must prove the driver’s liability. While drivers occasionally hit bikes intentionally, most cases rely on proving negligence. Negligence has four elements:

  • Duty of care
  • Breach of duty
  • Damages
  • Causation

Drivers owe cyclists a duty to exercise reasonable care. They breach this duty when they do something that poses an unreasonable risk to a cyclist’s safety. A breach of duty often comes from a violation of traffic laws. For example, a driver’s breach might come from tailgating or failing to yield, both of which violate every state’s laws.

A driver can also breach the duty of care by doing something dangerous even though it does not constitute a traffic violation. For example, most states allow drivers to view a navigation screen while driving. But this action can distract the driver, leading to a collision.

Your damages come from the financial and human costs of your injuries. A lawyer proves causation by showing a crash was a natural and foreseeable result of the driver’s acts.

Handling Your Insurance Claim

Every state except New Hampshire, Florida, and Virginia requires all vehicle owners to carry bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance. This coverage pays third parties injured by the covered driver’s negligence. Importantly, BIL coverage pays motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists hit by the policyholder or their family members.

The compensation paid by BIL coverage includes your economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses include your past and future medical expenses, income losses, and other financial costs. Non-economic losses include the effects of your injuries on your happiness and enjoyment of life. These losses include:

  • Pain
  • Mental anguish
  • Disability
  • Dismemberment
  • Disfigurement

Your case will start with a claim against the driver’s auto policy. The lawyer will prepare your claim and file it with supporting documentation such as:

  • Crash report
  • Medical records
  • Hospital and doctor bills
  • Pay stubs and time sheets from your job

claims adjuster will investigate the claim and either accept or deny it. If the adjuster denies the claim, your lawyer will respond with evidence and legal arguments to try to overcome it.

When adjusters accept claims, they offer a settlement based on your losses and the policy limits. The initial offer will probably not cover your losses. Your lawyer will negotiate with the adjuster to get a better settlement offer. Ultimately, you have sole power to accept or reject the insurer’s offer.

Fighting in Court

If the insurer refuses to withdraw a claim denial or fails to offer a fair settlement, you may have no choice except to file a lawsuit. This does not mean you will appear before a jury. Most bike crash lawsuits result in settlement before trial.

Your lawyer starts the process by writing and filing a complaint. The complaint explains the basis of your lawsuit and requests monetary compensation from the at-fault driver. The attorney will gather evidence, including expert witness reports, to support your contentions.

If your case reaches trial, your lawyer must prove the at-fault driver is liable for your injuries. The judge or jury will return a verdict that determines who wins and — if the verdict favors you — how much you will receive.

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How to Find the Best Bike Accident Lawyer

The lawyer you choose for your case could make the difference between winning a fair settlement and receiving far less than you deserve. Finding the right lawyer might begin with a search for a “bicycle accident lawyer near me.” But you will need to interview them to find one who meets your needs. Some issues to discuss before hiring a lawyer include:

  • Their fee
  • Their experience with bike accident cases
  • The results they have obtained for other injured cyclists

Once you find a lawyer you like, you will typically sign a fee agreement to hire them. Most injury lawyers charge a contingency fee, so you will not need to make an upfront payment.

ConsumerShield Connects You With Bicycle Accident Attorneys

ConsumerShield provides educational resources to help you through the difficult process of pursuing a bicycle crash claim. We also connect you with a bike crash lawyer to help you with your case. Fill out our contact form for a free case review.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes, bicyclists are covered by a driver’s auto liability insurance. After a crash caused by a negligent driver, an injured bicyclist can file a claim.

  • There is no fixed rule for who is at fault since every crash involves unique circumstances. You will use the unique facts of each crash to determine whether a driver acted negligently.

  • Injury lawyers typically charge a contingency fee. This means you pay a percentage of the compensation they recover for you.

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