Arizona Bicycle Accident Law
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In Arizona, bicycle law is determined by city governments. Your case depends on how the accident happened, the severity of your injuries, and laws where the accident occurred.
Who is financially responsible for bicycle accidents?
Arizona allows for shared liability in accident cases. This is called comparative negligence. This means an accident can be partially both parties’ fault, depending on the situation. Even if the accident was in part your fault, if someone hit you with their vehicle their auto insurance may help compensate you for your injuries. If you have your own auto insurance, it may offer you additional coverage depending on the policy.
I got a ticket. Is it my fault?
Because of comparative negligence, even if you got a ticket or were partially at fault, the driver of the vehicle may still be responsible for some of your injuries. There may be other factors that weigh more heavily in your favor that can minimize the impact of your ticket. Was the driver of the vehicle breaking the law as well? Were they driving under the influence? Did they do everything they could to avoid the accident? These and other factors all play into comparative negligence. It is probably worth your time to discuss how the accident happened with a lawyer to evaluate your situation.
How do I pay for treatment and recover damages?
This question depends on your case. Who was at fault for the accident? What insurance coverage is there? Options include using your health insurance, up-front cash payments, or treating with providers on a lien. Each choice has advantages and disadvantages.
In July I was hit by a car while bicycle commuting to work. I had a lot of questions about whose fault it was considering I was on the wrong side of the road and they had run a stop sign. Kel took his time to explain to me the differences in laws between cities and my rights. He helped me come to the conclusion that my best bet going forward was not to use an attorney. I appreciate his honesty and help finding the solution that made the most sense for my situation. -Ian
Kel Vrana, Amy and staff were very professional and on top of it from start to finish. Answered all my questions and Very pleased to have them on my side!!! – Ed
Your Bike Accident Questions Answered
At Vrana Law Firm you always meet with an experienced injury attorney who can answer specific questions about your bicycle accident case.
Free, No Obligation, No Risk
Your initial consultation is free. Our attorney will discuss your case and questions, and help you understand your unique situation. If you don’t need a lawyer to resolve your situation, we let you know!
Personal Attention to Your Case
We keep our case count low so we can keep you informed and supported while we work to get you the best treatment options and more money in your pocket, faster.
More Money in Your Pocket
We help you find treatment providers that wait to be paid, negotiate for lower hospital bills, and fight to get the most value out of your case from insurance companies.
The Components of a Bicycle Accident Claim
Who compensates you?
Compensation depends on damages suffered from the accident and the degree of liability on each side. Damages from bike accidents can range from replacing a helmet, to broken bones, head trauma, or worse.
Because a bicyclist has so little protection when struck by a vehicle, damages can often be large and life changing. Hospital stays, x-rays, CT scans, MRI’s, and months of physical therapy can lead to staggeringly high medical bills. Permanent loss of mobility can also equate to economic harm you’ll suffer for the rest of your life. Arizona law says the person who caused these damages to you is the one who should make you whole through monetary payment.
Car insurance is meant to protect everyone in these situations. As the victim, insurance is there to pay for your damages. Insurance (if there is enough) also protects the driver from having to sell their house or cash out a retirement fund to pay you.
What if the driver does not have enough insurance? Can I sue them? You have the right to sue individuals for your damages. This takes time and effort and puts you at risk for court fees. Even with an attorney, litigation takes significant effort and lasts a long time. If the driver does not have cash assets, they may end up declaring bankruptcy to avoid paying you. Ultimately, the decision about whether or not you want to sue someone to pursue their personal assets should be decided on a case-by-case basis.
There might be other insurance coverage. If you have car insurance, your policy might have underinsured motorist coverage or medical payments coverage. These can help compensate when the other party does not have enough coverage.
Other parties may be at fault. Was there some kind of construction issue, faulty roadway issue, malfunctioning signal light, or a consistently dangerous intersection? If there is another party partially at fault, you could have additional claims. Claims against government entities can become complicated and have much shorter statutes of limitation, so we highly recommend speaking to an attorney immediately in these cases.
Why are they paying you? Damages for bicycle accident claims.
Damages from bicycle accidents can be enormous, and paying for them is a burden. One trip to the emergency room can result in bills from the hospital, the doctor who evaluates you, AND the radiologists for X-rays, CT scans or MRI’s. These and other treatment costs for your injuries caused by the bicycle accident make up your damages. There may also be future damages if you suffer a permanent physical or mental impairment as a result of the crash.
General pain and suffering compensation should be sought on top of your medical bills. Many people have heard of pain and suffering, but overestimate the insurance company’s willingness to pay it. If the insurance provider doesn’t think they’re at risk of losing more money in trial, they will try and pay out as little as possible. They would much rather keep that money and give it to their shareholders because, after all, they are a business. They might even argue they shouldn’t pay all of your medical bills because they think part of the injury was your fault, was exacerbated by a pre-existing condition, or that your bills are unreasonable.
All of this is assuming there is enough insurance coverage to pay your damages. Arizona has notoriously low minimum auto insurance coverage limits. The driver that hit you may only have $15,000 in coverage. If you are seriously hurt, this might not even cover your initial emergency room treatment. In this case, you are stuck trying to negotiate with the hospital and doctors to decrease the amount you owe so you’re not stuck paying out-of-pocket for something that isn’t your fault.
How do I pay for treatment and recover damages on my bicycle accident case?
How you pay for treatment is an important part of the strategy involved in maximizing compensation you receive in-pocket when all is said and done. The insurance company wants to pay as little as possible. Additionally, as the claimant you have a legal responsibility to minimize your damages. This basically means you must take common sense steps to fix the problem as efficiently as possible. Those steps depend on your situation, but a general principle is to get the treatment you need and follow medical advice.
You might choose to pay for treatment through health insurance. Depending on your plan, you could be out-of-pocket for copays and/or coinsurance. Your insurance plan might also have a right of subrogation. This means the insurance provider could turn around and demand you pay them back after you receive a settlement.
Some providers allow you to make up front cash payments. The provider may offer a discount in this case. However, you are fronting the money and are not guaranteed a settlement or reimbursement from the driver or their insurance. Larger injuries or recurring treatments will probably be too expensive to pay up front for most budgets.
Some medical providers let you treat on a lien. This means they wait to be paid until there is an insurance settlement. We work with many providers who will treat you on a lien knowing we are working to ensure you receive a settlement.
Have Your Questions Answered by an Attorney for Free
Every bicycle accident case will have a unique set of circumstances and challenges. We are happy to meet with you and discuss your case in a free, no-obligation meeting with an attorney. Give us a call to set up an appointment at our Tempe office, or by phone.