Portland bicycle injury attorney Bart Herron and his wife often ride to and from office. Bicycles offer them an inexpensive way to get around and get great exercise. While bikes are a great way for everyone to get where we need to go and stay healthy, bicyclists often suffer serious injuries and death when accidents happen.
Unfortunately, many drivers pay little attention to bikers and may get too close or even hit them when distracted. It does not take a negligent driver to cause a biking accident either; all it takes is a pothole, sinkhole, sewer grate, or other road obstacles to cause a serious accident.
If you are hurt on a bike by another driver or by an imperfection in the road, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The Herron Law Firm specializes in representing people who have been injured by other people and entities in bike and auto accidents. Talk to one of our attorneys today for a Free consultation.
Many bike accidents are caused by negligent drivers. In these cases, you can file a claim or lawsuit against that driver and get compensation for your injuries.
However, what about when your bike accident is caused by road conditions? Can you file a lawsuit and get compensated? The answer is yes, but these legal actions are more complicated and require the services of a Portland personal injury attorney to succeed.
Below is more information about these lawsuits. If you have any questions, please contact The Herron Law Firm for a complimentary case review
A dangerous road condition can easily cause a bike rider to lose control and crash, or even flip over the handlebars and slam onto the ground.
Some of the most common dangerous road conditions that lead to bike accidents are:
Whether these dangerous road conditions are actionable depends on several key factors. That is why it is so important for an experienced attorney to review your case.
To sue a public agency for a dangerous road condition or defect requires ‘notice.’ Does this mean that the mayor of Portland must have seen that huge pothole in the middle of the road to file suit? No.
The legal standard for ‘notice’ is ‘knew, or should have known.’ If there was a hazardous road condition that was there for weeks or months, it is possible neighbors have dialed 311 to report it to get it fixed. But no one fixed it. This is adequate notice and you could sue the agency responsible for road maintenance for your injuries.
The legal doctrine of sovereign immunity protects governments. It means the government is immune from legal action, except in situations where it has consented to such an action. This means that you cannot sue the local government unless the lawsuit is authorized by law.
You can sue the local government in Oregon for your bicycle accident injuries. However, there are limits on liability, procedural steps, the reduced statute of limitations, and other differences in litigation compared to private individuals.
Because of these differences, it is vital for anyone who has been injured on public property to hire an attorney who knows how to handle these claims.
$350,000 verdict: A truck hit a 51-year-old female biker when it went over the yellow line. She suffered several soft tissue injuries and a broken arm. She sued the driver and his employer. The defense argued that the woman did not see a doctor fast enough and they refused to settle, but the jury saw the matter differently and awarded $350,000 for pain and suffering.
$179,000 verdict: A car hit a 60-year-old male biker at a busy city intersection. The biker had right of way, but the car went through the crosswalk without stopping. The biker had soft tissue injuries to his elbow as well as lacerations to the spine, ribs, and shoulder. The defense argued the biker was going too fast and would not settle. The jury awarded him $179,000 but also said he was 10% responsible. The final award was $161,000 but much more than the plaintiff’s claimed damages of $25,000. This case highlights the perils of taking a case to trial; the insurance company would have paid much less if they had settled.
$1.6 million verdict: A biker rode in a bike lane but hit a trench in the road. The trench was near a construction zone. He suffered a fracture to his spine. He and his attorney sued the construction company for not warning pedestrians about dangers in the area. The defense countered there was a safe way around the site he could have ridden. The jury found the company did not warn the man of unsafe conditions.
$1.3 million: A large vehicle brushed against a biker riding on a busy city street. That vehicle was a city bus and the incident sent the man flying over his handlebars. He shattered his elbow and had other injuries. He sued the bus company. The defense argued the biker should have yielded and was partially responsible. The jury found for the plaintiff.
$49,000 verdict: A biker entering a busy intersection in the bike lane was hit by a car. She suffered major back and pelvic injuries. The defense claimed that she left the cross walk and hit his vehicle. A witness confirmed this argument. However, perhaps convinced because the woman was found in the crosswalk after the accident, the jury awarded her $49,000.
$480,000 verdict: A truck driver hit a biker on a rural road in Illinois. The driver was searching for his cell phone and lost control of the truck. The biker broke his arm and hurt his back. The defense argued that the biker was at fault because he was not watching carefully and should have had lights on his bike. The jury disagreed and awarded him $480,000 for medical bills, loss of normal life, disfigurement, and pain and suffering.
$682,000 verdict: A tree branch broke and fell on a woman’s head while she was resting during a bike ride. She suffered brain injuries and skull fractures. Doctors performed several surgeries. Her lawsuit alleged the property owner did not trim the trees to keep people safe from harm. The defense argued it was an act of God. But evidence showed the cost of trimming the tree was minimal, so the jury found for the plaintiff.
$650,000 verdict: A biker riding through a busy city intersection thought he had right of way and rode through the crosswalk. A car slammed into him and threw him from his bike. His brain injuries were so serious he was left in a permanent coma. His attorneys sued the driver claiming he was negligent for not slowing down and avoiding the crash. The defense said the same about the biker and noted that he did not have right of way. The jury found for the plaintiff but said he was 50% responsible for the crash so the final award was lowered to $325,000. Some attorneys see this as a common move by juries when there is a seriously injured plaintiff and no obvious at-fault party.
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