According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 677 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2011. Obviously, there are risks associated with riding a bicycle, and riders should take every precaution to keep themselves safe. Wearing a helmet, regardless of age or skill level is the number one way to protect from injury. Sometimes, however, despite the best of intentions, Seattle bicyclists are involved in a motor vehicle accident. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about bicycle accidents:

Q: I’ve just been in a bicycle accident. What can I do? A: Stay calm and assess yourself. Do you have any injuries, serious or otherwise? Even though you appear to be uninjured, that may not be the case. Remain still and wait to be examined by the EMTs. Definitely do not ride away! The time it will take to deal with the accident could be worth it.

Q: Is it possible to sue the driver of a car that hits me while I’m riding my bicycle? A: If the driver was at fault, yes, you can make a claim for your injuries. You can still make a recovery for your injuries if you are partially to blame, however, they will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

Q: Should I hire an attorney for my bicycle accident case? A: Yes, an experienced personal injury attorney can protect your rights and make sure that the insurance companies do not take advantage of you. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation and document your injuries while coordinating with the insurance companies to get you the greatest possible recovery.

Q: Are there time limits to file a lawsuit? A: Certain Statute of Limitations may apply, and can vary, depending on the circumstances of your case. It is imperative that you consult with a lawyer that is knowledgeable about these types of cases as soon as possible.

Q: What kinds of damages can I recover in a bicycle accident case? A: Bicycle accident victims may recover the cost of medical bills and lost earnings, among other expenses. If the accident results in the death of a loved one, the family may recover for pain and suffering of the family member before his death in addition to loss of love, affection, and emotional support, and in some cases, loss of economic support.