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Portland Bicycle Accident Lawyer

The big insurance companies will do everything they can to cut their losses and avoid paying fair compensation for your injuries.  They already have lawyers prepared to do whatever it takes to avoid paying your claim fairly.  

You need a Portland bicycle accident lawyer with experience handling bicycle accident cases against the big insurance companies and winning.  Chad Stavley has a history of getting results for clients in bicycle accident cases in the Portland area and throughout Oregon. He has two of the largest bicycle verdicts in Oregon. If you have suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident, call and get a free consultation so that you understand all your options and what you may be entitled to recover.  Call Chad Stavley today at 503-546-8812.

Woman riding bicycle

Laws That Apply To Cyclists

Having a basic understanding of the law that applies to bicycle accidents will help you when you discuss your case with a lawyer for the first time. Sometimes, the fault is clear, and these rules will not matter. But when there is a dispute about who is at fault, Oregon’s traffic laws are very important.

The first thing to know is that every bicycle rider on a public roadway is subject to the motor vehicle code and has the same rights and duties as the driver of any other motor vehicle.  The exception to this is when traffic provisions by their very nature can have no application to bicycles or when the vehicle code specifically exempts bicycles.  

Equipment Requirements

There are some bicycle safety equipment requirements in Oregon law. First, bicycle helmets are required for anyone under the age of sixteen when riding a bike on a public road or premises open to the public.

All cyclists must have a brake that enables the operator of the bicycle to stop the bicycle within 15 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.

In limited visibility conditions, a cyclist must have a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front of the bicycle. The cyclist must have a red reflector or lighting device or material of such size or characteristic and so mounted as to be visible from all distances up to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of a car with low beams.

Where Can a Cyclist Ride in Oregon?

Cyclists can ride on the road or on the sidewalk. When riding on the road, a cyclist must use a bicycle lane when there is one available unless avoiding a hazard, preparing to make a turn, passing, or when the bike lane turns into a turn lane. When there is not a bike lane, a cyclist using the roadway must normally travel as close as possible to the right edge of the roadway unless the cyclist is passing, taking a left turn, or avoiding a hazard. On a one-way street, the bicyclist can keep as far to the left as possible. A bicyclist can pass on the left like other vehicles and on the right if it can be done safely under the conditions.

A bicyclist can ride on the sidewalk but cannot leave a curb or place of safety into the path of a car in a manner that creates an immediate hazard. A cyclist must give an audible warning before overtaking a pedestrian. A cyclist must slow to ordinary walking speed when entering a crosswalk and when approaching or crossing a driveway, curb cut or pedestrian ramp.

Bicyclists can use sidewalks (except electric bikes) unless local or city law prevents them from doing so. When using a sidewalk, the law treats a cyclist as a pedestrian.

What Duties Do Cars Owe To Cyclists In Oregon?

Both cyclists and drivers have a duty to keep a lookout and use reasonable care to avoid bicycle accidents when driving or riding. Drivers have some specific obligations that relate to cyclists. First, a driver must yield the right of way to cyclists who are in a bicycle lane. Drivers also must yield to bicyclists on the sidewalk. This normally comes into play when a driver is entering or exiting a driveway. Remember, the cyclist must slow to ordinary walking speed when crossing a driveway.

Driver’s also must use caution when passing a cyclist. A driver can only pass the cyclist on the left and must give a safe distance. A safe distance is a distance that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver's lane of traffic. There are times when the safe passing law does not apply, such as when the driver is passing on the right because the cyclist is taking a left turn, or when there is a bicycle lane present and the driver is driving 35 miles per hour or less.

Common Types Of Bicycle Injury Cases

Over the years, we have handled numerous bicycle accident cases and seen almost every kind of bicycle case imaginable. There are a few categories of cases that we think are the most common in Portland. In this section, we will explain the most common bicycle cases we see.

The Left Hook

In the left hook bicycle accident case, a cyclist is riding down the road. A car is coming the other way. Neither has a stop sign or light as they come to an intersection. The car takes a left turn across the bicycle’s lane. The cyclist has no time to stop and is injured in the crash.

The insurance company lawyers will claim the cyclist was speeding, not visible enough, not paying attention, or not using the road correctly. Their attorney may even say the cyclist was on the sidewalk and went into a crosswalk at greater than walking speed. They even argue this with no witnesses and when their driver says they never saw the cyclist.

Negligent drivers often cause Left hook bicycle crashes.  Sometimes, they have a blinking yellow and don't yield to the cyclist.  Other times, there is no traffic control device at all; the driver still has a duty to yield to oncoming traffic.

The Right Hook

In right hook bike accidents, a cyclist is riding down the road. A car is heading the same way behind the cyclist. As the vehicle passes the cyclist, the driver takes a right turn in front of the cyclist. The cyclist cannot stop in time and crashes into the car. The cyclist is injured.

Again, the insurance company lawyer will try to blame the cyclist for the usual reasons.  Good bike accident attorneys can anticipate what the insurance company will argue and be prepared to defeat their defense.  

Failing to Yield When Leaving a Parking Lot

This is another common bicycle crash case. The driver is in a hurry to get out of a parking lot or side road before the approaching cars. The driver doesn’t see that a bicycle is in the lane of traffic. The driver pulls out and causes a crash with the cyclist.

The insurance company and their lawyers will say that the cyclist was going too fast or not paying attention. Bicycle accident attorneys with experience know how to handle an accident involving drivers abruptly leaving a parking lot or side road.  

The Door Prize

This is a common case in cities like Portland. A person is parked on the side of the road in on-street parking. They do not look in the mirror to make sure it is clear before opening their car door. When they open the door, it hits a cyclist, and the cyclist is injured.

The insurance company lawyer will claim that the cyclist was too close to parked cars, not paying attention, and riding too fast.

The Mirror Impact

In the mirror impact case, a driver intends to pass a cyclist who is either in the bicycle lane or on the right side of the roadway. The driver thinks they have given the cyclist enough room but misjudges and strikes the cyclist with the side of their car – usually the mirror.

Drunk Drivers

Unfortunately, drunk driving is a major cause of catastrophic injuries to bike accident victims.  Before entering into private practice Chad Stavley was a criminal prosecutor (Deputy District Attorney) in Multnomah County.  He has prosecuted hundreds of impaired driving cases including cases involving car accidents and injured bicyclists. Not many bike accident attorneys have that level of hands-on experience dealing with DUI cases.  Oregon also law allows for punitive damages in these cases.  Having an experienced bicycle crash attorney with experience handling DUII-related injury claims can make all the difference.  

Call For a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, call Portland bicycle accident attorney Chad Stavley for a free consultation so that you understand all your options.  503-546-8812.

‍What Can I Expect From My Free Consultation?

First, Chad will want to understand all of the facts about your bike accident.  He will want to know when the bicycle accident happened, where it happened, how it happened, whether there are witnesses, photos or video from the accident scene, and any other information that may help in determining liability.  There are many different types of bicycle accidents and the facts of any personal injury claim are very important in determining whether we can recover compensation for the injured cyclist.  

Next, Chad will want to discuss your bicycle accident injuries.  Bike accidents can result in a variety of serious injuries.  During your free case review, Chad will want to understand the bicycle injuries you suffered.  He will want to understand your medical expenses if you know that information.  In a serious bike crash, you may have significant medical bills and be receiving threatening letters from hospitals and other medical providers.  

Chad will want to know about your health history before the crash.  This is important because the insurance companies frequently argue that the injuries accident victims suffered were not caused by the car accident but were preexisting.  If you had some preexisting injury it will be important for any bicycle accident lawyer to understand your injury and whether the bicycle accident made it worse.  

Then Chad will want to discuss facts that can impact your ability to recover compensation.  This includes whether you had auto insurance at the time of the bicycle accident.  Sometimes these questions sound odd to injured cyclists because they were not in a car.  But if you had auto insurance at the time of the bike accident, you may have a no-fault provision of car insurance called personal injury protection (PIP).  A good bicycle accident attorney can help get some or all of your bills paid through PIP while your bicycle accident claim is pending.  You may also be entitled to recover lost wages while your case is pending.  

Lastly, Chad will give you plenty of time to ask questions.  Chad wants to make sure you understand all your options.  While good bicycle accident lawyers have multiple cases, this is hopefully your only case.   Chad wants to make sure you understand the laws that apply to bicycle accidents, whether a settlement is likely, what a personal injury lawsuit will require, and how to make sure your serious injury is handled appropriately.  Sometimes Chad determines that you may not need a bicycle accident lawyer or that your bicycle accident injuries are not big enough to warrant our law firm getting involved.  If that is the case, Chad will explain your best course of action or give you information for other bicycle accident lawyers that Chad trusts.  

If, after your free consultation, you decide you want to hire our law firm, Chad will explain our personal injury fee agreement and the paperwork necessary to begin our legal representation.

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Questions About Bicycle Accidents

Can I get my medical bills and lost wages through personal injury protection (PIP) while my case is getting sorted out?

Yes. If you have auto insurance with PIP, it will cover you even when you are on a bicycle. If you do not have auto insurance, you can still get PIP benefits through the at-fault driver’s PIP. For medical, the at-fault driver’s PIP is secondary to your health insurance. That means, that they must cover what your health insurance does not. We routinely represent bicycle accident victims and can help get PIP benefits established.

If I have auto insurance with UM/UIM does that cover me when I am on a bicycle?

Yes. You will be protected to the limits of your insurance policy if you are hit by an uninsured driver or an underinsured driver.  We frequently represent clients in UM/UIM cases.

How long will it take to resolve my bicycle accident case?

That often depends on the type of injury you sustained, and whether the at-fault driver’s insurance company decides to play fair or whether they want to fight.  

Minor injury cases often resolve much faster than catastrophic injury cases because bike riders who are severely injured are often getting medical care for a long time.  A good accident lawyer will want to have a full understanding of your injuries before entering into any negotiations or resolving your bicycle accident lawsuit.  Call if you want to discuss your specific case.

You are located in Portland and I am far away; should I contact you or a bicycle accident attorney near me?

Chad Stavley represents injured bikers throughout Oregon and Washington. If a serious accident occurs in a rural venue, Chad will be happy to go there and handle the case.  

Unlike many Portland law firms that handle bicycle cases, we have experience trying and winning bicycle cases outside the Portland metro area.

What are common bicycle accident injuries?

We have experience handling many different kinds of injuries including head injury, traumatic brain injury, broken bones, ligament and tendon tears, internal injuries, burn injuries, amputations, lacerations resulting in scars, and many others.  

When cyclists are in crashes with motor vehicles the injuries can be varied and significant.  It is important to have a lawyer who understands injuries like yours.  

Is my free consultation confidential?

The attorney-client relationship makes communications privileged.  That relationship also protects conversations between an attorney and a person calling to get legal advice or look for a lawyer.  Your conversations with our office are 100% confidential.

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