Whether it’s to skip the gridlock traffic, lose weight, or save on gas, many Detroit locals are discovering the benefits of swapping the sedan for the saddle. However, biking in the city isn’t without its risks. In 2020, 38 cyclists were killed on city roads—an 81 percent increase from the year before. If you were injured on the road, turn to our Detroit bicycle accident attorneys for advice, guidance, and representation.
We’ve represented accident victims throughout the state, helping our clients secure over $100 million in settlements and verdicts. At Seva Law Firm, there are no “small” cases; every client is important to us. To speak to a member of our team, reach out to us at (248) 385-5704.
Can I File a First-Party Insurance Claim after a Bicycle Accident in Detroit?
If you are injured while cycling, and own a vehicle which is insured, you are eligible for No-Fault benefits with your own insurer. You will have up to a year to file a claim. Failing to do so within the allotted time frame can leave you in a precarious position as your insurer can easily—and legally—deny your claim and refuse to pay out any of your benefits.
No-Fault benefits—depending on the medical benefit level of your Personal Injury Protection—usually cover lost wages, medical expenses, replacement services, attendant care services, and many other accident-related losses. If you are not covered by a No-Fault policy, you will have to seek benefits from the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan pursuant to MCL 500.3115.
In addition to a No-Fault claim, if the motorist who struck you was at fault, you may be able to pursue a bodily injury claim for the pain and suffering stemming from your injuries. While there is no strict cap on the amount you can receive, the value of such damages will usually depend on the at-fault motorist’s policy limits and the severity of your injuries.
What Should I Do after a Bicycle Accident?
As a rider, you know the road can be a dangerous place for those on two wheels. Distracted drivers, fatigued truckers, and speeding motorists can be found throughout Michigan—and Detroit’s congested city streets are more perilous than most. However, despite the high chances of an accident, few riders are prepared for a serious wreck. In the moment, it’s a whirlwind of emotions as your adrenaline surges and you fight to stay calm.
Take a deep breath, assess your options, and follow the steps listed here:
- Contact Authorities: Even if you are able to walk away from the accident, you should contact authorities as soon as possible. Not only may your adrenaline be masking the pain and symptoms of a potentially serious injury, reporting the accident to authorities can also help prove your claim down the line. Officers will usually arrive at the scene to direct traffic and investigate what happened. Their report will often include information about the parties involved, injuries suffered, property damage, and the officers’ observations on who may have caused the accident. Make sure to report your version of events to the responding officers. You will be able to obtain a free copy of their police report later.
- Gather Evidence: If you are physically able to do so, you should collect evidence at the accident scene. Shoot photographs or videos of the at-fault motorist’s vehicle, damage to your bike, your injuries, road markings, nearby street signs, and weather conditions. If your bicycle, helmet, or clothing were damaged, you should not attempt to repair or clean these items as they could help you prove liability and damages down the line. If anyone saw the accident take place, you should take down their contact details as your attorney may want to interview eyewitnesses to determine whether their deposition could help prove your claim. You should also write down your account of the accident. What were you doing in the moments before the accident? What did the at-fault motorist say immediately in the aftermath? Did you see any surveillance cameras nearby? Your attorney will want to see this written account during the initial consultation.
- Seek Medical Treatment: After an accident, it’s not uncommon for victims to delay seeking medical treatment—especially if their injuries don’t seem serious. However, your medical records will likely play a crucial role in your claim. As such, dragging your heels could drag down your chances of recovering the compensation you need to move on with your life. When you visit the doctor, he or she will usually create medical records documenting the extent of your injuries, required interventions, any resulting limitations, and other aspects of your recovery. Your attorney will likely rely on these records to prove your medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
- Track Your Expenses Carefully: You should keep detailed records of all of your losses after the bicycle accident such as replacement services, lost earnings, repair costs, and others. Make sure to compile any relevant receipts, invoices, and bills to share with your attorney during the initial consultation.
Will My Bicycle Accident Case Go to Trial?
Many clients wonder if their case will go to trial. Although there are no official statistics kept in Michigan on the percent of cases that go to trial, national surveys have estimated that only around 5% of civil cases go to trial. In Michigan, that number is likely even less, especially for accident cases involving a vehicle.
Cases in Michigan are less likely to go to trial than in other states for a few reasons. First, the majority of civil cases in Michigan are No-Fault cases. Most of these cases are filed based on Michigan’s No-Fault law that requires lawsuits be filed within a year of when a medical bill is incurred.
In Michigan, we have a process called Case Evaluation that provides for sanctions against parties that do not accept recommended awards and decide to go forward at trial. If a party rejects a case evaluation award and then loses at trial, the rejecting party can then be sanctioned by the Court. The case evaluation sanction rule is a major deterrent for trial.
As a general rule of thumb, going to trial in a civil case should be the absolute last option for any party to a litigation. No case is an absolute guaranteed winner—if it is then a Motion for Summary Disposition/Judgment should be filed, which would allow the moving party to win the case before trial.
There is always a risk when going to trial. The jury may not like a plaintiff or defendant even if the facts and law are on their side. The jury may not understand the facts or the law. Further, going to trial is awfully expensive for both sides. If there is a chance at resolution before trial, it should always be explored.
Find a Bicycle Accident Attorney in Detroit
With an increasing number of cars on the road, there’s a greater risk of suffering an injury in an accident as a cyclist. Fortunately, if you were hurt while out riding, there are many options available for recovering compensation for your losses.
At Seva Law Firm, we are intimately familiar with the tactics used by local insurers to dispute and deny claims, and can help you in your fight for a fair settlement. To schedule a free case review with a Detroit bicycle accident lawyer, dial (248) 385-5704 or complete our contact form HERE.