If you were riding your bike when you got hit by a car in Baltimore, chances are that you sustained significant personal injuries in the crash. While these injuries are likely to make life difficult while you recover, the costs of that recovery can severely threaten your financial well-being for years into the future. For many injured cyclists, the medical bills alone have crippled their finances.
These costs are recoverable if you file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who hit you. The damages for a bicycle accident in Baltimore can include costs that you have shouldered that go far beyond just the costs of your medical bills and can help you overcome your predicament without facing financial ruin, as well. The personal injury and bicycle accident attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian can help make this happen.
Two Types of Damages You Can Suffer in a Bike Crash
After decades of development, personal injury in Maryland recognizes that there are two different types of ways you can suffer in a bicycle accident, and therefore two types of damages that you can recover in a successful lawsuit:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
Each of these types can be further broken down into a handful of categories. While each bike accident is different and can result in a different set of injuries, all damages will fall into one of these categories.
Economic Damages from Bike Accidents
The economic damages that you suffer in a bicycle accident in Baltimore are those that can be easily distilled into a dollar amount. You can often find the amounts of these damages on the bills and receipts you have collected during your recovery, such as:
- Medical bills
- The cost of foreseeable medical bills, in the future
- Necessary home modifications
- Property damage
Additionally, there are other economic damages that you can receive in a personal injury lawsuit that do not compensate you for payments you have made, but rather reimburse you for income that you could have earned, but did not because of the bike accident. These are:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
Past and Future Medical Bills
Perhaps the most prominent expense that you have made since the accident is the cost of your medical needs. In fact, there is a common misconception that you can only recover your medical expenses in a personal injury suit – something that insurance companies in Baltimore and throughout Maryland take advantage of when they make an initial settlement offer after the crash. This is not the case: while your medical expenses are often a significant portion of what you can recover in a lawsuit, they are far from the only types of damage that you can recover.
Additionally, you are not just entitled to your past medical expenses after a bike accident. While the statute of limitations in Maryland requires you to file a lawsuit within three years of the accident, Maryland's personal injury law recognizes that not all injuries are resolved or fully healed by this time and that you are likely to still have unpaid medical expenses in your future. If you can reasonably estimate the costs of these future medical expenses, though, you can recover them in a successful case, as well.
Bicycle accidents often lead to debilitating injuries that require lots of treatment and that make it difficult to perform day-to-day tasks while you recover. In many of these cases – particularly if the injuries you suffered were to your head, neck, or back and caused nerve damage, or if you suffered leg injuries that will take months or even years to heal – you will need to make modifications to your home that allow you to function.
Whether these home modifications come in the form of a specialized shower stall that lets you clean yourself safely, or in the form of a wheelchair ramp for your front door, you can recover compensation for the costs associated with it.
Damage to Your Property
If you were riding a bike when you were hit by a car or other motor vehicle, chances are that your bike was damaged or destroyed in the collision. Even the smallest cars are heavy enough to do serious damage to your bike at anything above minimal speed.
While the costs of repairing or replacing a bike shy in comparison with repairing or replacing a motorcycle or car, they are still not trivial. When the crash was not your fault, there is no reason why you should be the one to pay for the costs of getting a new bike or getting your old one fixed. These costs can easily run into the thousands of dollars, depending on the bike you were riding at the time of the crash.
Lost Wages and Earning Capacity from the Crash
A frequently overlooked aspect of your losses after a bicycle accident in Baltimore is the income you lost while you recovered from the accident. Many bike crashes end with serious injuries to the cyclist that take lots of time to recover from. If you were earning an income at the time, your time on the road to recovery will often be at the expense of earning an income. Because that is money that you would have made, were it not for the other driver's negligence and the crash that it caused, you deserve to be compensated for the income that you missed out on.
Additionally, many bike accidents are so serious that the injuries you suffer are debilitating and prevent you from doing things that are necessary for your work. In these cases, you can be prevented from earning a living as your professional life gets upended by the bike crash. The income that you should have been able to count on, but is now out of reach due to the crash, is lost earning capacity and can be recovered in a successful personal injury lawsuit after a bicycle accident.
Non-Economic Damages from a Bicycle Accident
In contrast to economic damages, the non-economic damages that you suffer in a bike collision cannot be easily stated in a dollar amount. These damages are frequently relative and aim to compensate you for losses that are subjective and non-physical, rather than for those that are objective and easy to determine because they are physically apparent. In Maryland, the non-economic damages in a bike accident can include:
- Your pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- A family member's loss of consortium
Just because these damages are not outwardly apparent does not mean that they are not painful. Because they were not your fault, you deserve to be compensated for them.
Compensation for Your Pain and Suffering
The most prominent pieces of the non-economic damages that you can suffer in a bicycle accident in Baltimore are for the physical pain you have been put through and the suffering you have undergone because of the crash. While these are frequently put together as damages for your pain and suffering, they are distinct and are meant to compensate you for two different types of losses that the crash has put you through.
The damages for the pain you have experienced as a result of the crash are meant to compensate you for the physical pain and trauma that you felt. Obviously, this can be incredibly difficult to put into a dollar amount, which is why this is considered a non-economic form of loss. However, it is difficult to debate that you deserve more compensation for a broken femur – widely regarded as the most painful type of injury you can receive, and one that is relatively common in a bike crash – than for a broken toe. Things get more difficult, though, when you begin to compare an intensely painful but short-term injury, like road rash, with a less painful but more debilitating injury, like a broken wrist that requires years of occupational and physical therapy to heal correctly.
In addition to damages for your pain are the damages for the suffering you have gone through because of the crash. These aim to compensate you for the ways your injuries have prevented you from enjoying life's pleasures. Damages for your suffering are often higher in bicycle accidents than in other kinds of crashes because bikers are often active people who enjoy being outdoors and exercising. The injuries frequently sustained in bicycle accidents prevent them from doing just this, leading to high degrees of suffering that deserve to be compensated.
Physical pain is not the only way you can suffer from a bicycle accident. The memory of the incident can plague your mind for months or years after the collision, making it difficult to cope with many aspects of day-to-day life. While the treatment for emotional distress can be costly, it falls within the realm of your medical expenses. However, the feeling of the emotional trauma from the crash is a different matter, and you deserve compensation.
However, the victims are not the only ones who can suffer from emotional distress after a bicycle accident. Other people in the vicinity who have a close relationship with the people who were physically hurt in the accident can also be extremely bothered by the memory of seeing one of their friends or loved ones severely hurt. Many riders take bike trips with their spouses or even their parents or children. If these family members see the crash happened, they can suffer severe emotional distress that deserves compensation, even though they did not get physically hurt, themselves.
Loss of a Loved One's Consortium
Children, spouses, or other loved ones of a bike accident victim can also recover compensation in a personal injury lawsuit for the loss of consortium they suffer after the crash. People do not live in a vacuum, especially if they have families that rely on them for financial, mental, and emotional support. However, these support systems can be strained or disappear after a bike accident, upending the solidity of an entire family's livelihood.
This is why Maryland's personal injury law recognizes the need for loved ones to recover for their lost consortium with a bike accident victim.
For example, imagine a husband and father who gets permanently disabled in a bike accident outside of Baltimore. As the sole breadwinner for his family, everyone from his wife to his kids will suffer from the sudden lack of income. As the true extent of his injuries become apparent and it becomes clear that he will not be able to work in his chosen profession, again, the severity of the situation sinks in. The lives of the children are upended as the victim's wife is forced into the workplace, often at a lower wage from the lack of professional progress made while raising the children. The entire family's support system – from friends to family – becomes strained as finances tighten while the lawsuit works its long way through the court system.
These are all serious problems that are frequently faced by a bike accident victim's loved ones after the crash. Because the emotional turmoil and mental strain would not have happened, were it not for the other driver's negligence, your loved ones deserve to be compensated for what they have been put through.
Baltimore Bike Accident Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
Filing a personal injury lawsuit can be the best way to recover compensation after a serious bike accident in or near the city of Baltimore. The losses that you have been put through by the negligent driver are not insignificant, and expecting you to shoulder them on your own when you were not at fault is unfair.
This is why the personal injury attorneys at the Baltimore law office of Gilman & Bedigian represent injured cyclists around the city and throughout Maryland. By fighting for your interests and protecting your rights both in the courtroom and outside of it, we can ensure that you get the best possible outcome in your case and protect your financial future. Contact us online for the legal representation you need.