If you have been injured in a bicycle accident involving another vehicle in Hawai‘i, you may be wondering if you have the same legal rights and responsibilities as drivers of cars and trucks. The answer is yes. Bicyclists have the same legal rights and responsibilities when sharing the roads of Hawai‘i with other drivers.
Most drivers in Hawai‘i drive with Aloha. Unfortunately, there are also some who are disrespectful of bicyclists and believe they don’t have to share the road. This disregard for others’ safety can cause serious accidents. Drivers must be aware of bicyclists on the road just as they must be aware of other cars and trucks.
Many accidents occur as a result of an error on the part of a driver who is not looking out for cyclists and may also be intoxicated or distracted. Experienced riders are rarely found to be at fault in a collision with a car. A driver’s failure to respect a bicyclist’s right to ride on the road is equal to negligence when a serious accident happens. The lawyers at Leavitt Yamane & Soldner will review the facts of your accident, free of charge and explain your legal options to seek compensation.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED
After an accident causing injury or property damage, call the police immediately and remain as near to the accident scene as is safely possible.
You should also do the following:
• Assess your own condition and that of others involved. Common injuries in bicycle accidents include scrapes, lacerations, fractures and more serious injuries, such as head trauma and spinal injuries. If you or anyone else involved in the collision has been injured, call 911 immediately.
• Request names, addresses, and insurance information from others involved in the accident and get contact information for any eyewitnesses to the accident.
• It is also a good idea to use your phone camera to take photos of the accident scene and your injuries. The photos may provide useful evidence for you and your attorney if you need to file an accident claim later.
HAWAII’S NO FAULT LAW
Many bicyclists do not understand how Hawai‘i’s no-fault insurance system works and what steps you should take after an accident. All motorists in Hawai‘i are required to have their own no-fault insurance coverage to pay for medical costs. In an accident involving a car and a bicycle, Hawai‘i’s no-fault insurance system provides that injured bicyclists are eligible to receive up to $10,000 in medical benefits from the no-fault insurance of the motor vehicle involved in the crash, regardless of who is at fault. You do not need to show negligence on the part of the motorist to receive these benefits.
Injuries from a bicycle accident can be severe and may require a hospital stay. In many collisions, a bicyclist can be thrown over the handlebars, which can result in a fracture or a serious head injury. If you have injuries, you may be eligible to make a claim against the at-fault driver after the no-fault insurance company has paid at least $5,000 of your medical bills. These rules can be confusing, so it is best to have an experienced personal injury attorney review the facts of your accident and explain your legal options.
We can help to make sure that you receive the medical treatment you need. This is important because we want to make sure that you have completed your treatment and recovered from your injury before we make an injury claim against an insurance company.
How do you know if you need a personal injury attorney for your bicycle accident?
Seeking the assistance of an attorney is important for ensuring that your legal rights are respected. You should not be treated as if you were somehow to blame for an accident just because you were riding a bicycle. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident and sustained injuries requiring emergency medical treatment or hospital care, you may have thousands of dollars of medical bills.
You may also have disabling injuries that will affect your ability to live independently and require ongoing medical treatment and assistance. Our attorneys will work with life-care planners to project your future medical expenses and losses and make sure those are included as a part of your claim.
How to file a claim after a bicycle accident
It’s important to recognize that every bike accident has its own unique circumstances, contributing factors, and degrees of injury.
An injured bicyclist who qualifies to file an injury claim may pursue compensation for:
• Medical bills
• Rehabilitation expenses
• Lost income due to missed work
• Pain and suffering
Our Attorneys will review the specific facts of your accident and identify all the potentially responsible parties who may have liability for your injuries. We will interview witnesses and make sure that your version of what happened in the accident is part of the record and not ignored by insurance companies who might be in favor of car drivers.
We will represent you in negotiations with the insurance company and seek a settlement that reflects the full extent of your injuries. If the insurance company refuses to make a fair settlement, we will pursue your claim in court, where we have been successful in helping many clients.