Washington is one of the most bike-friendly states in the country. But even with improvements in infrastructure and bike education, accidents happen. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, bicycle accidents injured 41,000 in the United States in 2021.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you could get compensation for injuries and other losses if someone else caused the accident. The average bicycle accident settlement depends on several factors. Here, we’ll cover the factors that impact settlements in Washington bicycle accident cases.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Bicycle Accident?
Your bicycle accident case is unique to you. There is no average payout for bicycle accidents that would help you determine the value of your case. The only way to determine the potential value of our claim is by speaking with an experienced bicycle accident attorney. The sooner you talk with an attorney, the better. A bicycle accident attorney will evaluate critical factors used to determine the value of your claim.
Factors Impacting Bicycle Accident Compensation
Below are the most significant factors that play a role in how much you may be able to recover following a bicycle accident.
Before you can expect to recover in any personal injury matter, you must show that the other party is liable for your injuries. In most bicycle accident cases, the other party will be the driver of the motor vehicle. You must prove that the other driver caused your injuries and is responsible for your damages.
Washington is a pure comparative fault state. This means you can recover some of your losses even if you are at fault. The percentage of your fault will reduce your recovery. For example, if you were 30% at fault, you could still recover 70% of your damages.
When liability is clear, your settlement is likely to be higher. Things get more complicated when the evidence relating to liability is unclear or contested. An experienced bicycle accident attorney will know how to develop the evidence to build a compelling case.
The Severity of Your Injuries
In addition to liability, the severity of your injuries also profoundly affects the potential value of your case. A bicycle accident frequently results in significant injury to the rider. The severity of your injuries significantly impacts your case’s settlement value.
When your injuries are serious, you will incur higher medical bills. In turn, the more you are entitled to recover. Your past and projected future medical expenses will account for a large share of the settlement value.
Washington is an at-fault state, meaning you can recover your medical expenses from the at-fault party. These expenses can include the following:
- Doctor visits,
- Physical therapy,
- Medical devices,
- Surgery, and
- Psychological counseling.
It’s not uncommon for damages for medical expenses alone to exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars after a bicycle accident.
Lost Wages and Other Financial Losses
When injuries from a bicycle accident are severe, you may be unable to work. If bicycle accident injuries prevent you from working, your claim can include damages for income and benefits lost. You are entitled to lost wages and reduced earning capacity. The longer you are without work, and the more the accident diminishes your ability to work, the larger the potential recovery for lost wages.
You can also seek damages for any other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. These can include costs for child care, transportation, and home modifications. Extensive expenses from the bicycle accident will increase the potential settlement value.
Pain and Suffering and Other Non-Economic Losses
Non-economic damages are those intangible losses you suffer related to the bicycle accident. Non-economic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress, and
- Reduced quality of life.
Non-economic damages are intangible. You will benefit from an attorney with extensive experience representing bicycle accident victims. This type of loss is difficult to prove. Your ability to prove non-economic damages will significantly impact how much you can recover. Catastrophic injuries typically result in substantial non-economic damages.
Regardless of the strength of your case for liability and the extent of economic and non-economic damages, your ability to recover is limited. In most cases, you are limited by the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits and assets.
If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you are unlikely to recover your full damages in any settlement award. This is also true if their policy does not cover your total damages.
If the individual has no insurance or only minimum coverage, they are unlikely to own assets to cover your damages. The minimum coverage in Washington is 25/50/10—$25,000 in bodily injury per person, $50,000 in total bodily injury per accident, and $10,000 in property damage.
The Experience of Your Attorney
Having an experienced bicycle accident attorney increases your chances of getting a favorable settlement. An experienced attorney is familiar with insurance company tactics. They will push back against the insurance company’s attempt to prevent you from full recovery. They will also know how to gather the evidence to present a solid case showing the extent of your damages and why you are entitled to them.
Need a Bicycle Accident Attorney? We’ve Got You Covered
Our bicycle accident lawyers will handle all aspects of your claim while you focus on your recovery. We know this can be a challenging time, so we do everything we can to make pursuing a favorable settlement as painless as possible. We have helped clients for more than 40 years.
The Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner legal team has extensive experience working with clients injured in bicycle accidents. We will listen to your story and explain how we can help you. We will provide an honest assessment of your claim. Contact our lawyers to learn how we can serve you and maximize your bicycle accident settlement. We have several offices throughout Washington State.