bike hit a pothole

Too many great rides have been ruined because a bike hit a pothole or some other obstacle on the road. Bikes are some of the most common prey of potholes and debris, in part because of their construction. Thin tires and streamlined frames can quickly spell disaster.

A cyclist in Oakland, California became seriously injured after hitting a pothole that the city had consistently ignored. As a result, the city paid them a $3 million settlement.

Are settlements common in accidents where a bike hit a pothole or debris? Like most injury cases, it depends on the situation.

My Bike Hit a Pothole and I’m Injured. Can I File a Claim?

Yes, but there are some things you should know:

Bike accident settlements often come down to very specific details. It’s impossible to give an all-purpose answer on liability in accident cases. If a pothole only recently developed or was clearly marked, it may be difficult to win a case. But if your bike hit a pothole as old as your grandmother, your case may be a slam dunk.

Since roads are usually government-owned, the vast majority of these cases will be fought between you and the city where your accident occurred. If a city government — or its responsible department — persistently ignores complaints about an obstacle like a pothole, they should be liable for accidents it causes.

If someone negligently leaves or fails to clear debris on the road, they may also be held liable for a resulting accident. This is true for private individuals, businesses, and nearly any other property owners.

Don’t Rely on Your Memory (or Anyone Else’s)

  • Document the accident by taking pictures
    • Include everything: your bike, your injuries, yourself, and the pothole or debris that caused the crash.
  • Find eyewitnesses
    • They can testify for you if necessary.
  • Call an ambulance if you’re injured
  • Seemingly minor aches and pain can turn out to be serious injuries once your adrenaline rush is gone.
  • Get medical care and document it
    • Record everything in detail: bills, surgeries, therapy, advice, etc.
    • If you don’t document your care, it will be difficult to win a case.

Health insurance or a bike option on your car insurance can help pay your medical bills while you fight for a settlement. You will need to file a claim with your provider. Be honest and cooperative, but don’t let them take advantage of you. An experienced injury attorney can help you avoid problems with insurance companies.

Since each cyclist and each accident is unique, you need personalized help on your case. We are experienced cyclists, and as Utah’s Bicycle Lawyers, we understand the ins-and-outs of bicycle law. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Photo via Google Images

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