Thousands of bicyclists are injured every year in collisions with moving vehicles and many suffer catastrophic injuries. While drivers inside of motor vehicles are protected during accidents by the steel barrier that forms the frame of their car, truck, or SUV, bicyclists are not shielded from the impact of collisions. Uninsured bicyclists are an especially vulnerable population because in addition to being physically unprotected in accidents, thus at a high risk of serious physical injury, they also face potential bankruptcy every time they climb onto their eco-friendly two-wheelers.
This fall, Dwyer Williams Dretke was contacted by an uninsured bicyclist seeking an experienced bike accident attorney. This new client had been in an accident and suffered injuries that required medical attention which he could not afford to pay for. He had been riding his bike downtown when a motorist suddenly exited a driveway, without yielding or even examining the roadway for the presence of any oncoming bikes. The driver collided with our client, crumpling the bike’s front side and throwing our client off of his ride.
There was no question of fault in this accident: the driver who struck our client failed to look in our client’s direction before proceeding into the street and colliding with him. Oregon’s Rules of the Road explicitly require motor vehicle drivers to yield to bicyclists who are on a bike lane, as our client was when the driver exited his driveway.
The question of legal responsibility may have been simple, but a larger issue remained: our client was completely uninsured at the time of this accident; he had neither health nor car insurance to mitigate the cost of his injury and resulting surgery. Because our client was uninsured and not at fault in this accident, responsibility fell to the driver’s insurance company to pay for our client’s medical treatment. However, due to the severe nature of his injuries and the invasive treatment that was required to rebuild his shoulder, our clients’ expenses easily exceeded the driver’s insurance policy limits.
Our client faced bankruptcy because of the cost of treating an accident-related injury that was no fault of his own, simply because of policy limits on the at-fault driver’s insurance. This dire situation called for immediate expert negotiation with our client’s medical provider. Dwyer Williams Dretke PC was able to significantly reduce the outstanding amount owed by his client, thus increasing the amount of money our client was able to recover from his settlement with the insurance company. Not only did we deliver the full measure of financial compensation to which our client was entitled, but we also reduced what our client owed, leaving an uninsured bicyclist more financially secure post-accident.