Q: I was hit by a car while on my bike, but it was partly my fault. Do I need a lawyer?

If you were hit by a car while on your bike and were partially at fault for the accident, it’s generally in your best interest to secure legal counsel, especially if you suffered serious injury or significant damages. Partial responsibility could affect not only the amount of compensation that is recovered, but also the ability to recover anything at all.

Car-Bicycle Accident Fault

Injuries from a bike accident tend to be much more serious when the accident involves a car. The driver could walk away without a scratch, but the bicyclist could sustain disabling or life-threatening injuries.

It can never be assumed that just because a car is larger, it is always at fault in an accident. Despite there being many types of negligence and reckless behavior on behalf of a driver, there are also many ways that a bicyclist could contribute to a crash.

For instance, some bicyclists may ignore traffic signals or signs. Or they may try to maneuver their way through heavy traffic by making dangerous moves, such as passing a car on the right without noticing it has its right-turn signal on.

Sometimes bicyclists are clipping along at a nice speed and not notice a hazard that could require a sudden stop. Or the bike may be too far from the side of the road and meanders into traffic.

Whatever the partial fault, it can affect the outcome of an injury claim. So it’s a good idea for the bicyclist to consult an attorney.

Impact of Negligence Laws & Bicycle Accident Fault on a Claim

Because Colorado follows comparative negligence laws, even if a bicyclist is partially at fault for a crash, he/she still can recover damages. Of course, the more fault assigned to the cyclist, the less compensation received. So it would be critical to establish the driver was mostly at fault.

At the same time, Colorado follows a modified comparative system. Once a certain level of fault has been reached, the individual would not be able to recover any damages. In Colorado it is 50 percent. So the only way to be compensated after a crash is for the bicyclist to be found 49 percent or less at fault.

Let’s say it’s determined that the driver was 55 percent responsible, and the bicyclist was 45 percent responsible. Although he/she has just squeaked by in the ability to recover compensation, this significantly cuts into the amount that can be obtained.

The problem with this is that the medical bills alone could be more than the individual ends up recovering, and the amount may not take into consideration time missed from work or other damages such as pain and suffering.

Get Legal Help if Hit by a Car While on a Bike

If a cyclist is partially at fault for a bicycle accident, the insurance company for the other party is likely to try to pin the blame on the cyclist. Because of this, it’s important to have strong legal representation. Call D.J. Banovitz at (303) 300-5060 to schedule a consultation.