Cleveland Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a bicycle accident in Cleveland due to the negligence of a driver, pedestrian, property owner, other bicyclists, or due to a negligently maintained roadway, you might have the right to seek compensation in a personal injury claim.
At Slater & Zurz, our Cleveland injury attorneys offer unmatched experience and proven case results. Our managing partners have been practicing law for more than 30 years and understand the unique and challenging aspects of cycling injury claims. First hand, we have seen the consequences of devastating cycling accidents, from permanently disabling spinal cord injuries to traumatic brain injuries causing memory loss, mood swings, and concentration problems.
How Slater & Zurz Can Help After a Cleveland Bicycle Accident
Working with the best Cleveland bicycle accident lawyer is one of the most important things you can do to win your cycling accident lawsuit. At Slater & Zurz, our legal team has a long record of successful case settlements and court verdicts. When you hire us for help in your Cleveland bicycle accident lawsuit, you can expect us to:
- Closely review the facts of your case and gather documentation such as medical records and law enforcement reports.
- Identify fault. If necessary, we will arrange an independent investigation to determine the cause of your accident.
- Identify all potentially liable parties, including employers, roadway construction companies, municipalities, and bicycle manufacturers.
- Negotiate with all insurance companies.
- Obtain a fair settlement or take your bicycle accident case to trial.
What Are the Common Causes of Cleveland Bicycle Accidents?
In the last decade, cycling as a form of commuting has grown steadily in Ohio. Each year, dozens of cyclists are killed or seriously injured in cycling accidents. Many of these accidents are preventable tragedies caused by reckless and negligent drivers.
The most common type of cycling accident is a collision with a motor vehicle. This can occur when a vehicle is moving or when a vehicle is a parallel parked, and a driver opens their door into the path of a cyclist (frequently referred to as a dooring accident). Cyclists are vulnerable to the same types of negligent drivers as motor vehicle drivers and pedestrians. At Slater & Zurz, we represent cyclists injured by all types of negligent motorists:
- Distracted drivers
- Drunk drivers
- Inattentive drivers
- Speeding drivers
- Fatigued drivers
- Drivers turning left into the path of a cyclist
- Drivers who “roll” through an intersection or stop sign.
Cyclists may also be injured when they lose control of their bicycle and fall, often following a “near miss” when they swerve to avoid the path of a motor vehicle. In other situations, cyclists are injured when they lose control due to a pothole, crack in the pavement, or strike debris or roadkill. A small number of cycling accidents are caused by dogs or farm animals running in front of a cyclist or attacking a cyclist.
How Do You Know If You Have a Valid Cycling Accident Case?
Do not assume that you were at fault or that you do not have a claim without speaking with a lawyer first. At Slater & Zurz, we have represented cyclists injured in all types of cycling accidents throughout Ohio. If you or a family member has been involved in a Cleveland cycling accident, contact us to discuss your potential case.
What Injuries are Common After a Cleveland Bicycle Accident?
Wearing a properly fitted bicycle helmet reduces your risk of a serious injury by as much as 85 percent, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT’s) 15-page Cycling Smarter Guide. However, even with a helmet, Ohio cyclists are susceptible to serious injury or death when struck by a vehicle or thrown off their bike. Some of the types of bicycle accident injuries we see resulting from cycling accidents in Cleveland include:
- Amputation and dismemberment injuries
- Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Facial injuries, nose and jaw fractures, and knocked-out teeth
- Spinal cord injuries
- Friction burn and road rash injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Broken bones, including arms, legs, ribs, collarbones, wrists, hands, and ankles.
Along with physical injuries, cyclists often suffer emotional trauma and may experience PTSD or be fearful of getting on a bike again.
What Compensation Is Available in Bicycle Accident Injury Claims?
It is impossible to accurately calculate the value of a personal injury claim without understanding how your injuries specifically affect you. Every accident claim is different with unique circumstances. Generally, the more severe your injuries, the more substantial your medical bills will be, and the longer it will take for you to recover. Damages available in an Ohio bicycle accident claim may include:
- Medical bills (ambulance transport, emergency room treatment, diagnostic imaging, hospitalization, surgeries)
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Anticipated future medical care
- Lost earnings due to being unable to work
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering.
If you are injured as a cyclist, the other driver’s insurance may cover your injuries. Depending on how the accident occurred, your own auto insurance policy may apply, or even homeowners insurance or umbrella policies.
Unfortunately, a high number of Cleveland bicycle accidents are not survivable and end in fatality, either immediately or after surgeries, and lengthy hospital stays. In cases of fatal bicycle accidents, surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death claim. Damages for a wrongful death claim in Ohio may include final medical expenses, lost earnings the decedent would have contributed, funeral and burial expenses, and loss of love, care, and companionship.
Get Medical Attention Right Away After a Bicycle Accident
If you do not take an ambulance to the hospital after a bicycle accident, do not delay getting medical attention. Taking a “wait and see” approach can be risky for your health and can also hurt your personal injury claim. Your medical record will be important evidence in your personal injury claim and will be reviewed by the insurance company. If you delay seeing a doctor after an accident, the insurance company may question the severity of your injuries and even the legitimacy of your claim.
What Are Ohio’s Cycling Laws?
The ODOT’s Cycling Smarter Guide is a valuable resource for cyclists in Ohio regarding spelling out regulations and best practices. This guide explains how Title 4511 of the Ohio Revised Code governs the operation of bicycles, which are defined as vehicles under Ohio law. Cyclists must comply with all rules that apply to vehicles and a small set of certain specific rules that apply to cyclists. Some of the notable Ohio bicycle laws include:
- ORC 4511.55 Operating bicycles and motorcycles on the roadway. This law states cyclists should ride as near to the right as practicable. Note that this code does NOT require cyclists to ride as far to the right as possible.
- ORC 4511.051 Freeways—prohibited acts. Cyclists may not ride on freeways.
- ORC 4511.56 Bicycle signal devices. This law outlines equipment requirements for cyclists operating in low light or inclement weather.
- ORC 4511.13 Highway traffic signal indications; Cyclists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or other traffic lawfully in an intersection.
Cyclists who violate traffic laws may be issued a ticket and required to pay a fine. Unless charged with an Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI) offense, cyclists who commit traffic violations do not have points assessed on their driver’s license. According to bicycle advocacy group Bike Cleveland, more than 80% of bicycle crashes with motor vehicles involve the following violations:
- ORC 4511.55 (A) Riding facing traffic
- ORC 4511.43 (A) Failure to stop and yield right-of-way at a stop sign
- ORC 4511.13 (C)(1)(a) Failure to obey traffic control signal
- ORC 4511.36 (A)(2) & (3) Improper left turn
- ORC 4511.39 Failure to signal turn
- ORC 4511.56 (A))(1) & (2) & (3) Required lights and reflectors (on-road, sidewalks).
Some cities have their own municipal codes, which may differ, so check before you ride. For example, in Shaker Heights, cyclists who ride on the street must have a front white-light lamp and a rear red lamp.
Get a Case Evaluation with a Cleveland Bicycle Accident Attorney at Slater & Zurz
After a cycling accident, you have many choices of injury lawyers in Cleveland. When your future quality of life is determined based on the outcome of your accident claim, choose an attorney who knows cycling laws and has successfully represented injured cyclists and their families. The difference between a minimum settlement and maximum, full, and fair compensation may come down to the lawyer you choose. At Slater & Zurz, our lawyers are seasoned advocates who will protect your legal rights and relentlessly defend you against attempts to blame you for your own injuries.
We handle all claims under a contingency fee agreement, which means there are no fees unless we recover money for you. In the unlikely event, we take on your case and do not recover a verdict or settlement, you will owe nothing. Because you have only a limited time to pursue a claim, please do not delay contacting our law firm about your case. Your initial consultation is always free.