As a university town, Louisville has always had plenty of bicycle traffic for an American city, and in recent years, the number of riders has only increased. But while the city and region have continued to make necessary investments in bicycle safety—including protected bike lanes, driver education, and the planned Louisville Loop—the truth is that bicyclists are still incredibly vulnerable whenever they share the road with motor vehicle drivers.
Unfortunately, the difficulties faced by injured riders don’t end after the accident. Insurance companies don’t have the injured person’s best interests at heart. They often deny legitimate claims, leaving accident victims without the compensation they need to cover mounting medical bills and lost wages, and start rebuilding their lives.
If you or someone you love was injured or killed in a bicycle accident, you deserve compassionate and effective representation from an experienced bicycle accident lawyer. At Karl Truman Law, we don’t just represent cyclists; we’re riders ourselves. We know the joys and the risks, and we fight hard to keep the insurance companies accountable. Call (502) 222-2222 for a free case evaluation in Louisville, Kentucky, or contact our office in Jeffersonville, Indiana, at (812) 282-8500 today.
Getting Fair Compensation for Your Bicycle Accident Case May Be Harder Than You Think
The unfortunate truth is that winning fair compensation after a bike accident can be extremely difficult. Cyclists have many things potentially working against them:
- Increased risk of hit-and-run. Drivers are especially likely to flee the scene of the accident when a cyclist or pedestrian is involved. A study by Outside Magazine found that more than 25 percent of all bicycle accident fatalities in 2020 were caused by a hit-and-run driver.
- Lack of available insurance coverage. Bicycle accident injuries are often severe. Even when the at-fault driver accepts responsibility, their liability coverage may not be sufficient to cover all your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.
- Insurance company resistance. Insurance companies are out for profit, not to protect bike accident victims. And the more expensive your personal injury claim, the harder the insurance company will fight to either deny responsibility or convince you to accept a lowball settlement offer far less than what you truly deserve.
- Anti-bicycle bias. Unfortunately, many people hold negative stereotypes about bicyclists—for example, that they’re reckless or ignore the rules of the road. As a result, bike riders may be unfairly blamed for their accident by the at-fault driver, responding police officer, insurance company, or even jury—unless they are able to conclusively prove otherwise.
These obstacles are very real and very frustrating for innocent bike riders. Here’s an incredible real-life example: We once represented a man who suffered serious injuries after a driver turned directly into him. Even though the driver was drunk at the time (and arrested after the crash), his car insurance company still denied the claim. We had to take them all the way to court to finally get a favorable outcome.
Damages Available After Bicycle Accidents
People injured in bike accidents may be eligible to be compensated for their losses, including:
- Economic damages. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, and other financial losses directly related to the accident. In addition to costs you’ve already incurred, you can also claim those that you are reasonably likely to owe in the future based on your injuries.
- Non-economic damages. In order to make an injured person “whole” after an accident, paying economic damages alone is rarely enough. Things like chronic pain, cognitive and emotional problems, and loss of enjoyment of life don’t come with an easy price tag, but you still deserve compensation for them. Because bicycle accidents often result in life-changing catastrophic injuries, the compensation awarded for non-economic damages may be several times the economic damages.
- Punitive damages. In some cases, punitive damages may be added if the at fault driver’s conduct was especially egregious, reckless, or malicious—for example, drunk driving. These are meant to punish the wrongdoer, rather than compensate the injured person for specific damages.
Wrongful Death Damages
If your loved one is killed in a bicycle accident that wasn’t their fault, close relatives may be able to file suit for compensation in a wrongful death case. Compensatory damages that can be awarded include:
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
- Medical costs incurred before death
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of future earnings
Kentucky also allows punitive damages in wrongful death cases in cases that merit them. However, Indiana does not.
Who Is Responsible for My Bike Accident?
In most cases, bicycle accidents happen because of a driver’s negligence. Most often, the driver fails to see or react to the presence of a bike rider until it’s too late. Common examples include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- for bicycles when making a turn
- Opening a car door directly in the path of an oncoming bicyclist
- Running a stop sign or traffic light
However, both drivers and cyclists share a responsibility to follow the rules of the road and exercise reasonable care and caution. A bike rider may be held at least partially at fault for their injuries if, for example, they run a stop sign, did not signal a turn, or were riding at night without operating a headlight.
Bicycle Laws in and Around Louisville
Unfortunately, the laws, rules, and regulations for bicycle operation vary from state to state, and even city to city. For example, under Kentucky law bicycles are legally considered vehicles, but in Indiana they are not.
In general, bicyclists have the same responsibilities and must follow the same rules of the road as cars and trucks, including following all traffic signs and properly signaling turns. In both states, riders must ride in the right lane or as close to the right shoulder as possible, unless they need to make a left turn or can keep up with posted traffic speeds.
To ride in Kentucky at night, a bicycle must be equipped with a front white light visible from 500 feet away and capable of revealing objects at least 50 feet in front of the bicycle. A rear red reflector or red light visible for at least 100 feet and one red light or flashing red light visible from at least 500 feet are required on the bicycle or bicyclist at night. Indiana follows mostly the same guidelines, stating only that the headlight and rear light or reflector must be visible from 500 feet.
In Kentucky, if there is a bike lane on the roadway, the cyclist must use it unless they can travel at the pace of regular traffic. In Indiana, use of an available bike lane is recommended but optional.
There are no state laws against riding on the sidewalk in either state, but individual cities and towns may set their own regulations. Notably, in Louisville, it is completely prohibited downtown and prohibited for anyone 12 or older elsewhere in the city.
How a Louisville Bicycle Accident Attorney Can Help
Winning a bicycle accident case and getting truly fair compensation almost always requires thorough investigation and preparation, particularly when the facts of the case are disputed. An Indiana and Kentucky bicycle accident lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to not only prove driver negligence, but also fight for fair value for your damages. Strategies and tactics your lawyer can help you with include:
- Obtaining the driver’s mobile phone data (to determine if they were a distracted driver)
- other potential sources of digital evidence (including event data recorder information, security camera footage, or dash cam footage)
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Working with traffic and crash reconstruction experts to determine key facts of the accident, such as estimated vehicle speed.
- Working with doctors, medical researchers, life care planners, and other experts who can accurately assess the injured person’s long-term care needs and expenses
- Negotiating with the driver’s insurance company on your behalf (which can protect you from making preventable mistakes that could hurt your case)
Another important way an attorney can help is by identifying any potential sources of insurance that would apply in your situation.
In both Kentucky and Indiana, drivers only have to carry $25,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per person. If you suffered severe injuries in a bike accident in either state—such as broken bones or a traumatic brain injury—your damages will likely easily exceed this coverage.
Your lawyer can help you evaluate all your insurance options (including personal injury protection, underinsured motorist coverage, health insurance, or even other potentially liable parties) and even negotiate with healthcare providers to both obtain maximum financial compensation and settle your debts under the best possible terms.
Contact Our Indiana and Kentucky Bicycle Accident Lawyers Today
If you’ve been injured while riding your bicycle or a loved one was killed, Count on the Colonel and contact our Louisville bicycle accident attorneys today at (502) 222-2222, or complete the contact form on this page. Our experienced injury attorneys are proud to serve bicyclists from the greater Louisville, Kentucky, and Jeffersonville, Indiana, areas.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.