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Any person riding a bicycle must adhere to Colorado state laws concerning the operation of a bicycle. Under Colorado state law, a bicycle is any vehicle that is propelled by human power applied to pedals upon which a person may ride. A bicycle either has two tandem wheels or two parallel wheels and one forward wheel, which are more than fourteen inches in diameter.
Bicycle riders’ duties are contained in §42-4-1412 for the operation of bicycles, electric scooters, and other human powered vehicles. The law provides a detailed guide for the safe operation of bicycles on roads and highways including how many riders can be on a bicycle, how to share the road with other vehicles, how to pass other vehicles on a road, and how to safely make turns.
However, bicycle accidents can still occur, even when bicyclists follow these guidelines. Often, other drivers on the road can endanger bicyclists when they don’t see them or don’t share the road properly with them. If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation and the Denver attorneys at Fuicelli & Lee can help. Contact us today for more information.
How Can I Get Compensation for My Bicycle Accident Injury in Denver?
There are several legal theories through which you can get compensation for your bicycle accident injuries. These legal theories include: product liability, negligence or negligence per se, or vicarious liability.
Product liability is a legal theory that allows a person injured by a product to claim compensation from the manufacturer of the product. An injured person may be entitled to compensation if their injury is caused by any of these factors associated with the product:
- Failure to warn consumers or protect them against any dangerous or hazardous use, misuse, or unintended use of the product; or
- Failure to provide proper instructions for the use of the product.
To make a claim based on product liability, the injured party must prove any of the above listed factors associated with the product. Proving that an injury was caused by a product often required the input of an expert who can give necessary evidence as to the product’s defects.
Negligence is a common legal theory based on which an injured person may seek compensation for their injuries. The basic elements of a negligence claim are:
- Existence of a duty of care: Every person in society has a duty to take reasonable care to avoid causing harm to others. They must avoid actions whose harmful consequences are reasonably foreseeable. All road users owe a duty of care to other road users. Vehicle drivers especially owe a duty of care to pedestrians and bicycle riders.
- Breach of that duty: a breach of the duty of care. For instance, vehicle drivers can breach their duty of care by driving carelessly or recklessly.
- Proximate Causation: The next element is to determine whether the person’s breach of their duty was the proximate or legal cause of the victim’s injuries suffered.
- Injury: The victim must have suffered actual injuries.
An injured victim must prove all elements of negligence in order to successfully claim compensation based on negligence.
Another type of negligence claim is based on a theory called negligence per se. To make a claim based on negligence per se, an injured victim does not have to prove the existence of a duty of care and the breach of that duty. The violation of any law that is enacted to protect a class of persons, including the victim, proves those two elements of negligence. All that the injured victim will have to prove is that the breach was the proximate or legal cause of their injuries.
An injured victim may also be able to make a claim based on vicarious liability. Vicarious liability is the legal theory that allows an injured person to claim compensation from an employer based on their employee’s negligence.
To succeed on a claim based on vicarious liability, the injured victim must prove that the person whose actions caused their injury was:
- An employee of the employer they are making a claim against; and
- The employee was acting within the course and scope of their employment when the accident occurred.
How Much Time Do I Have to Make a Claim?
If you have been injured in a vehicle accident, it is important that you speak with a bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a successful claim may require extensive investigation and the input of different experts who will help to prove your claim.
The law places a limit on the amount of time an injured victim has to make a claim for compensation. The time limit will depend on the facts of the case and basis of the claim. For example, if the claim is based on product liability, the time limit for commencing action for compensation is two years. For claims based on the actions of vehicle drivers, the time limit is three years.
How Much Compensation Will I Get?
An experienced bicycle accident attorney can only give you an estimated value of your case based on their past experiences. Note that no attorney can give you a guarantee as to the exact value of compensation you will receive. Every case is different and the compensation you receive will be determined by a number of factors including:
- The specific facts of your accident and the severity of your injuries;
- The legal theories on which your claim is based; and
- Any fault that may be apportioned to you for the accident.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case and the severity of your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic losses from your injuries. Economic compensation covers your losses which are easily quantifiable using evidence such as invoices and bills. Your economic losses could come from physical injury sustained in the accident, or property damage caused by the accident.
Non-economic compensation covers your non-monetary losses which must be given monetary value to make a claim. Examples of non-economic losses include pain and suffering, emotional stress, and impairment of quality of life.
Contact Our Denver Bicycle Accident Attorneys
If you’ve suffered injures in a bike accident, contact the expert Denver bicycle accident lawyers at Fuicelli & Lee Call (303) 355-7202 today.