Seattle, Washington Cycling Accident Injuries

This video features Rebeccah Graham, a Personal Injury attorney based in Washington.

Issaquah Injury Lawyer Represents Injured Bicyclists

Video Transcript:

Rebeccah Graham: 

Everybody who rides a bike needs to be very careful, but in the event that you are injured, there can be some help for you.

Molly Hendrickson: 

Where can you get help if you've been injured while riding your bicycle? We're gonna find out right now. On this episode of Ask the lawyer, my guest is Washington attorney, Rebeccah Graham. I wanna remind you that if you wanna ask Rebeccah questions about your situation, it's easy go to askthelawyers.com, click the button up top, that says ask a lawyer, or you can always call the phone number you'll see at the top of the screen. Rebeccah, thanks for joining us today.

Rebeccah Graham: 

Good to be here, thanks for having me.

Molly Hendrickson: 

So first off, how much of a problem are bicycle accidents in the greater Issaquah and Seattle area, there are lots of cyclists in that part of the country, is that correct?

Rebeccah Graham: 

Yes, actually, cycling is such a huge activity in the Pacific Northwest, and King County has really made a big effort to get more and more people out of their cars and onto their bikes, so we've got great bike trails, you can commute pretty much anywhere all over the Seattle, greater metropolitan area. So everybody's out on their bikes, whether it's commuting or out on the weekend with their families, it's a big activity in this part of the region.

Molly Hendrickson: 

Can you talk to us a little bit about your experience assisting cyclist after they've been seriously injured in an accident?

Rebeccah Graham: 

Yeah, you bet. I've handled a number of bike accident cases, they're really tragic, to be honest, because you know you're out there trying to do good for the environment, doing good for yourself, and boom, you wind up in the hospital. So it happens in a number of ways, sometimes you might be riding and you get hit by a car, oftentimes a car making a left turn doesn't notice that you're coming and, smack, that can be really devastating, very devastating injuries. I've also seen cyclist hit potholes, the city of Seattle and greater King County, not always maintains their roads in a great condition, and so there might be just recurring potholes, and if you hit a pothole going downhill at a good little speed, you're gonna go over your handlebars, and you could be very badly hurt. We see situations where people are in a bike lane and cars are parked on one side of the road and not paying attention, opens the car door right in front of a passing cyclist, that's gonna cause a pretty serious injury.

We've also seen cyclists who've hit obstructions that are on a bike path, and those can be devastating types of injuries, people can be killed, they can be paralyzed, they can have a serious traumatic brain injury, broken bones, everybody who rides a bike needs to be very careful, but in the event that you are injured there can be some help for you.

Molly Hendrickson: 

So let's talk a little bit about that. What is the most important thing a cyclist should do if they've been involved in this type of accident after of course they get medical help?

Rebeccah Graham: 

Yeah, well, first thing is most important is to get medical help, get an ambulance to the scene, don't think that you can ride your bike to the local emergency room, you should get a ride. Get an ambulance. One thing that's important about that is that the ambulance personnel will document what happened, what happened to you in the accident, and then also help you start documenting your injuries. So most important thing after you get medical attention. If you can go back to the area where it happened, or have a friend take some photographs, get information from the driver, if there was a vehicle involved, have the police come so that they can get the information from the driver and start writing up a report. So you can build your case that shows that you as a cyclist were not at fault and it was the car driver that was at fault for causing this crash.

Molly Hendrickson: 

So documentation and as much evidence as possible. Can a cyclist simply make a claim with an at fault driver's insurance company without a lawyer to save on attorney fees and is this a good idea? Why or why not?

Rebeccah Graham: 

Wow, that's the question we get asked a lot. Not just with cyclists, but people who are in car crashes, you can always try to resolve your case without a lawyer, but the fact is, is that most lawyers are going to get you the most recovery, much, much more than you would get on your own. So while you might think, Well, I might be able to save a buck here, not having to pay a fee to an attorney, you're gonna be shorted on your recovery, and keep in mind that attorneys, the kind of practice that we have and personally when we represent people who have been injured, we only get paid when the client gets paid, so we're not charging the client upfront for fees, we're not charging the client by the hour, we take a percentage of what they recover, so we maximize recovery to the client in a number of different ways, one of those ways is to make sure that the client gets all the medical health and recovery that they need and that they're entitled to, so most lawyers will get a lot better outcome, financial outcome for a person than they can do on their own. It's a great question.

Molly Hendrickson: 

Worth the investment for sure.

Rebeccah Graham: 

Absolutely.

Molly Hendrickson: 

Is there anything a bicyclists can do to protect themselves in these types of situations, and does their own car insurance cover them, such as PIP or Uninsured under-insured motorist coverage.

Rebeccah Graham: 

Well, it's a great question. I always say to cyclists, and I'm a cyclist myself, always wear your helmet, period. If you are in an accident and you have a traumatic brain injury because you weren't wearing a helmet, that fact is going to be used against you, so make... And you don't want that. You wanna wear a helmet. Those helmets will protect you. Also when you're out riding, whether it's day or night, have good lights on your bike, I have flashing red lights on the back of my bike, I have a strobe head lamp on the front of my bike, and I leave them on rain or shine. It's really important for motorists to be able to see you, so the best protection is a good defense. Have your bike well lit, wear a helmet, ride safely, follow traffic laws, those will all be good things that will help protect you.

And then if something tragically does happen. It's typically not your fault, your other question was about whether you could go after your own insurance, and yes, you can. So if you're involved in a collision that involves another vehicle and they... That driver has insurance and has Personal Injury Protection Coverage, that insurance which will cover your medical bills, which will be great, but if you yourself have Personal Injury Protection, your own insurance will help to cover you, and if the driver who hit you was not fully insured, we call that under-insured your own insurance, assuming you have under-insured motorist coverage will help cover and compensate you, so yes, even if you're on a bicycle, your auto policy will help protect you in the event you are injured.

Molly Hendrickson: 

Really important information you've given us today. Thank you so much for joining us, Rebeccah.

Rebeccah Graham: 

You bet. Thanks so much for having me, it's a pleasure.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.


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