In the past decade, bicycling has become a popular form of transportation, exercise, and recreational sport. People commuting to work in the United States has increased to 800,000, up from 450,000 in 2000. With more cyclists on the roadways, accidents have increased. When a cyclist is struck by a passenger or commercial vehicle, the cyclist almost always suffers serious injury.
If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a bicycle accident, we can help. At the Buchanan Firm, our Grand Rapids bicycle accident attorneys work hard to obtain justice and fair compensation for injured cyclists in Michigan. We understand how difficult recovering from a serious injury can be and how important a settlement or verdict can be in that recovery process. Call today for a free and confidential case evaluation.
In 2013, there were 1,902 accidents involving bicycles in Michigan, 29 fatal. In 2014, Governor Snyder signed the Nathan Bower Act, making motorcycle and bicycle awareness and safety mandatory in drivers’ education. Motorcycle and bicycle safety and awareness is the law in Michigan. This provides new hope for reducing accidents. It is also important for cyclists to understand their legal rights if in an accident.
The same insurance coverage for automobiles applies for first-party claims involving a bicycle hit by a motor vehicle. First-party benefits include medical expenses, lost wages, replacement services (household services such as household chores, childcare), and attendant care (nursing services). According to Michigan’s statute of limitations, you must make a first-party claim against the motor vehicle insurer within one year from the date of the bicycle accident.
If you or someone you love is injured in a bicycle accident caused by a motor vehicle, seek legal help immediately. Whether, and to what extent, you recover reimbursement for your losses from a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle depends on correct action under Michigan’s No-Fault law. Often, the insurance companies – even your own – will do everything to avoid paying what they owe; they will delay and employ tactics to deprive reimbursements. In Michigan, if you are a bicyclist and are involved in an accident involving a car or truck, you are eligible for Michigan No-Fault insurance benefits (a first-party claim). When the injuries are catastrophic or fatal, you can also sue for pain and suffering compensation (a third-party claim).
Priority rules of who pays for injuries are contained in the No-Fault Act. The priority rules dictate which insurance company has the highest legal responsibility to pay a bicycle accident victim’s No-Fault personal injury protection benefits. When injured in a motor vehicle accident in Michigan where you are not an occupant of a motor vehicle (i.e., a bicyclist) the priority rules help determine which insurance company pays you personal injury protection benefits. Here is the order:
A third-party claim is a lawsuit against the negligent driver of the motor vehicle that caused severe injury or death in a bicycle-motor vehicle accident. A third-party claim is for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. To file a third-party claim, you must meet one of the following criteria:
According to Michigan’s statute of limitations, you must file a third-party lawsuit within 3 years from the date of the accident.
Typically, the police accident report and the medical records are the backbone of a personal injury claim. But both these sources may not tell the whole story.
Police reports may be incomplete or inaccurate – especially in cases involving cyclists. In many bicycle crash claims, victims sustain catastrophic injuries. Since they are unable to give statements to first responders, the police accident report often contains only one side of the story.
Somewhat similarly, medical bills and clinical records effectively convey important diagnostic and treatment information. But they sometimes do not convey intangible elements, such as how a victim’s injuries affect everyday life. At the Buchanan Firm, we understand the law and the medicine involved in bicycle accident cases. We have significant trial experience and are effective in telling your story to and eventually convincing a juror of just how much your injuries have affected your life.
At the Buchanan Firm, we are skilled in investigating bicycle accidents and successfully negotiate fair settlements with insurance companies, and persuasively present cases at trial when insurers refuse to do what is right. Call today for a free and confidential case evaluation with our medical staff.