Biking around Salt Lake City is a favorite pastime and method of commute for hundreds of locals. Bicycling provides fresh air, exercise, and savings in fuel costs. Unfortunately, it also comes with significant risks. The unique infrastructure of Salt Lake City – namely, extremely wide streets – makes it dangerous for bicyclists. Despite the city’s efforts to install bicycle lanes to create “complete streets,” bikers still face significant risks of collisions every time they hit the road. Contact a Salt Lake City personal injury attorney at Fielding Law if you recently suffered injuries in a bicycle accident in Utah.
Luckily, the majority of bicycle accidents do not result in victim death. This does not mean, however, that they don’t result in serious and catastrophic injuries. Even a “minor” collision can result in broken bones or head injury. To put these traumatic events into perspective, here are a few facts about bicycle accidents in Utah:
Bicycle accidents can result in significant medical costs, missed time at work, and damage to your bicycle – not to mention the personal costs of physical pain and emotional suffering. Many bicyclists find it difficult to overcome the trauma of a collision and are afraid to get back on their bicycles. You may be able to recover for your economic and non-economic damages after a bike accident in Utah through a personal injury claim.
If bicyclists and motorists obeyed the rules of the road, the number of collisions would drastically decrease. In Salt Lake City, a bicycle is a “vehicle” in the eyes of the law. Utah Code Section 41-6a-1102 states that bicycles have all the rights and responsibilities of operators of other vehicles. Bicycles must obey traffic signals and stop signs and signal their intent to turn using hand signals. They must ride in the same direction as traffic, as close to the right-hand side of the road as possible. Bicyclists may not ride more than two abreast with other bicycles.
For police to consider a bicycle street legal, it must have a white headlight visible for at least 500 feet, as well as a red reflector or taillight visible from the same distance. The bicycle must have a braking system that can stop the bike within 25 feet while traveling at 10 miles per hour. In Salt Lake City, wearing a bicycle helmet is optional. Utah is one of 29 states with no law pertaining to bicycle helmet use. Every biker has a responsibility to obey all applicable roadway rules. Breaking a bicycle law could place at least a portion of liability for a subsequent accident with the bicyclist.
If a driver strikes you while riding a bicycle in Salt Lake City, odds are you can recover through the driver’s vehicle insurance company. Insurance minimums in Utah require drivers to carry coverage in the event of such a collision. Filing a claim through the driver’s insurer should result in a settlement offer to cover your medical expenses and property damage. There are some circumstances, however, where an insurance settlement might not be your best option. In the following scenarios, you may want to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit:
As the victim of a bicycle accident, you may have more than one option available to you in terms of financial recovery. The driver’s insurance company and/or a third party could be liable for covering your damages. You may need to seek recovery from your own insurance company or through a personal injury lawsuit. A conversation with a personal injury lawyer at Fielding Law in Salt Lake City can help clarify your specific legal opportunities.
It is natural to ask how much you could be eligible for when considering bicycle accident recovery. No two bicycle accident claims will have the same damages or recovery opportunities. Therefore, no universal equation for calculating exact damages exists. While no attorney can guarantee a compensation amount, there are ways to estimate about how much your claim could be worth based on your losses. First, consider your economic, or special, damages. These are losses with exact values, such as your medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. Add these losses up to calculate economic damages.
Next, think about your non-economic, or general, damages. Did the bicycle accident cause you physical pain, emotional suffering, mental anguish, lost earning capacity, or lost quality of life? These damages are more difficult to quantify. What the court deems appropriate will depend on the impact your injuries have on your life. Permanent injuries are worth more, as are injuries to children. The Utah courts may use a few different methods to calculate non-economic damages. A common equation is to multiply the cost of economic damages by a number between one and five, with five representing the most severe damages.
The decision to retain an attorney may not come easily to someone experiencing his or her first personal injury accident. A bicycle accident victim may question the benefits and drawbacks of working with a lawyer, or consider self-representation. At Fielding Law, we are happy to talk with you during a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options. By experience, however, we can tell you at least five circumstances in which you will definitely want to contact an attorney. They are as follows:
At Fielding Law, our attorneys are here to help. We specialize in bicycle accidents as one of our practice areas, and we offer aggressive and detailed legal services tailored for these cases. We have a high client satisfaction guarantee. If you need a lawyer you can trust to always put your best interests first, come to our Salt Lake City firm. We are friendly and honest attorneys who are willing to do everything we can to help you after a bike accident. Schedule a free consultation – call (801) 666-2912 or submit our online client intake form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.