If you pedal a bicycle or walk to your destinations, you should know that bicyclists and pedestrians may get compensated for injuries inflicted upon them by a negligent motorist.

Today, many central Indiana residents use cycling and walking as alternative forms of transportation, due at least in part, to the high costs associated with running and maintaining combustible engines. In recent years, the Indianapolis metropolitan area has added miles of bike lanes, sidewalks, and bus lanes. But as the population continues to grow and roads close down for repairs, urban traffic congestion and tensions rise, becoming more dangerous year by year. This vehicular squeeze puts pedal cyclists and pedestrians at even greater risk for bodily injuries over their driving counterparts.

The vision statement for 2020 as published in Indianapolis’ Bicycle Master Plan

In June of 2012, the Indianapolis Bicycle Master Plan was published. Mayor Gregory Ballard along with the Department of Public Works and other agencies put to paper their 2020 vision for Indianapolis as one of the most bicycle-friendly communities in the United States. The concept included laying down biking paths and dedicated lanes that would connect people with their destinations. Ideally the Master Plan benchmark projected for 2020 would see 10% of Mile Square Central Business District residents and .05% of residents living outside the Mile Square use cycling as a means of transportation.

Since the publication of Indy’s Bicycle Master Plan, sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes have been added to the city’s infrastructure. But is it enough?

Studies show that most pedestrians would rather stay home than walk on high-traffic, multi-laned streets. The unmitigated number of large and small vehicles operating at breakneck speeds, and the irrepressible discord of traffic saturation suppresses foot traffic even where sidewalks exist. Nevertheless, there will always be pedestrians who must walk to work, or to the bus stop, who need a safe, paved footpath. It is a difficult thing to watch physically challenged and elderly people trying to safely navigate their mobility scooters and wheel chairs on an uneven field or shoulder in an intense traffic situation.

Indianapolis’ pedestrian fatalities and bicycle injuries dilemma

The Indy Pedestrian/Bicyclist Safety Crisis website tracks pedestrian and cycling injuries and fatalities within the central Indiana area; the numbers are alarming, particularly for pedestrians.

Pedestrian accidents and fatalities in Central Indiana

According to the Indy Pedestrian/Bicyclist Safety Crisis website, from January – May 2023, i.e. within the first 5 months of 2023, 177 pedestrians within the city limits have been injured by a motor vehicle driver; and

Eleven (11) hit-and-run pedestrian fatalities occurred within the same 5-month period.

Bicycling accidents in Central Indiana

The data further shows that within the first 5 months of 2023 (January through May), 13 central Indiana bicyclists have been injured by drivers of motorized vehicles.

How injured bicyclists and pedestrians may receive compensation

With the help of an experienced bicycle and pedestrian accident personal injury lawyer, an injured pedal cyclist or pedestrian, as well as the families of deceased individuals, may get compensated by one or more of the following means.

Personal injury lawsuits

Bicyclists and pedestrians who have been injured or killed in a crash can file a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant motorist who caused the crash. If the motorist is deemed negligent, the plaintiff (injured cyclist or pedestrian) may be able to recover damages for their injuries, including, but not limited to medical expenses, lost or reduced past and future wages, permanent disability, and for the pain and suffering they have experienced.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

If the motorist responsible for the crash is uninsured or even underinsured, the injured party may be able to recover damages through their own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage policy. This type of coverage is included with most Indiana car insurance policies, unless it has been explicitly waived by the insured.

Workers’ compensation

An cyclist or pedestrian injured during the course of their employment may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits may include medical expenses, lost wages, and temporary or permanent disability assessments.

Wrongful death claim

When a cyclist or a pedestrian is killed by a negligent driver, the surviving family may be able to recover compensation, particularly if the deceased was a bread-winning member of the family. Damages may include funeral expenses, lost wages (past and future), and loss of companionship.

It is important to note that these are just a few of the ways injured and families of deceased bicyclists and pedestrians can receive compensation for motor vehicle injuries. The specific laws and regulations that apply will vary depending upon the circumstances of each case. It is important to consult with an attorney to discuss your legal options if you have been injured in a crash while walking or riding a bicycle.

Why you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you

Don and Charlie Ward of Ward & Ward Personal Injury Lawyers have more than a century of combined experience representing cyclists and pedestrians who have been killed or have received bodily injuries caused by a negligent driver.

We are a plaintiffs’ law firm representing everyday people who need an experienced attorney to guide and execute their claim for maximum damages.

We encourage our clients to call us with any questions they may have while we move their legal claim forward.

If you have been injured, call Charlie Ward today at (317) 639-9501 for a free, no-obligation consultation today and learn if you are entitled to compensation!

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