Portland Bicycle Accident Attorney
Over $49 million in verdicts and settlements in 15 years.
Protect Your Rights
You have been injured in a bicycle accident and you are worried about who is going to pay your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The last thing you want is to be taken advantage of by an insurance company.
If you don't protect your rights, you may not be able to make a claim. Insurance companies have attorneys and adjusters whose goal is to pay you as little as they can. You need an experienced Oregon bicycle accident attorney with PROVEN RESULTS to fight for you.
No Win = No Fee
I handle cases on a contingency fee basis. This means: You don't owe me a legal fee unless I recover money for you.
Why should you hire Portland bicycle lawyer Michael Colbach?
I can make insurance companies pay when they do not want to by taking your case to a jury.
Having an experienced Oregon bike accident attorney can make the difference between getting what you deserve and getting nothing.
Top Multnomah County auto accident verdicts.
A judge recently showed me the list of top Multnomah County motor vehicle verdicts. According to this list, two of the top ten verdicts are car accident cases that I tried to a jury. I have two of the top 4 Multnomah County auto accident jury verdicts since 2014. Some of these trials and verdicts were reported on by the Portland media:
140 Trials. 25 Years Experience.
An experienced and effective trial lawyer can make the difference. Without the threat of a lawyer who is willing to go to trial and seek a big jury verdict, why would an insurance company pay you what your claim is really worth?
Lawsuits can be expensive. Many people do not have the money to pursue their claim. In every case, I advance all costs associated with pursuing your case. I do not ask you for a penny until we recover from the other side.
Hire an attorney who is also a cyclist.
I am a former road and cyclocross racer and current bicycle commuter. I started riding seriously in the mid 1990's when I sold my car and used my bicycle to commute from Wilsonville to Portland daily. When I moved into Portland in the late 1990's I began racing bicycles to get in the miles. I raced for the Presto Velo team, which is now the Bicycleattorney.com/racing team and I am their main cash sponsor.
I have raced stage races, crits, time trials, and cyclocross. I have put in over 30,000 miles on my bike and know what it is like to have to deal with careless drivers.
I try very hard to help injured cyclists, as oftentimes motorists try and blame the cyclists just because they are on a bike.
Unlike many lawyers, I know how expensive bicycles can be.
I work hard to make sure you are fully compensated for your bicycle damage. I know what it is like to spend thousands of dollars on a bicycle only to have it damaged by someone else.
I work closely with local bicycle shops to try and get you full replacement value for your damaged bicycle and bicycle gear.
Proven Results. 1-On-1 Service.
I am not afraid to take your case to trial if that is what it takes to maximize your Oregon bicycle accident insurance recovery. I offer one-on-one service, and I wil not hand your case off to an inexperienced lawyer or a paralegal.
Reduce the stress of making an insurance claim.
Bicycle accident injuries can turn your life upside down. Making an insurance claim can be difficult and time consuming.
Once I take your case, you can stop worrying about dealing with the insurance companies and focus on recovering from your bicycle accident injuries. I take care of all of the paperwork, phone calls, and negotiations, so you can get on with your life.
I want bicyclists to get the best possible legal representation
Please email me if you are looking for an experienced bicycle attorney in any other state. I will try to help you find an experienced bicycle attorney in any other state at no charge to you. I network with many top USA bike attorneys who are also dedicated long time cyclists themselves such as Seattle bicycle accident attorney Bob Anderton of Washington Bike Law, Kurt Holzer in Boise, Idaho bicycle accident attorney.
Learn more about free Oregon State Bar legal resources like the Oregon State Bar Attorney Research Tool & Referral Services to help you find and retain a reputable Oregon attorney ensuring that the attorney has never been disciplined by the Oregon State Bar.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Click on a Question below to jump to the Answer.
Q1: Do all Oregon bicycle accident attorneys charge the same amount?
A. No. Many attorneys increase their fees to 40% if they file a lawsuit, take a deposition, or go to mediation. Many attorneys also charge you for recovering your medical expenses. This can really add up. If you have a $100,000 settlement and $50,000 in medical bills and your lawyer charges you 40% for filing a lawsuit, this only leaves you with $10,000.
Q2: What do you charge to handle an Oregon bicycle accident case?
A. If we settle the case before trial or arbitration, my fees are 33% of what is left after the past medical bills are paid. If you have a $100,000 settlement and $50,000 in medical bills, my fee is $16,666 and you end up with $33,333. My fees increase to 40%, after medical bills are paid, only if the case goes trial or arbitration.
Q3: Should I accept the offer that the car insurance company has given me?
A: Not without talking to a lawyer. Insurance companies rarely offer you a fair amount for your injuries without a lawyer. Two extreme examples are one case where my client was offered $4,000 before he hired me. At trial a jury awarded us $550,000. In another case the insurance company originally blamed my client and would not even fix his motorcycle. I filed a lawsuit and a month before trial they offered $2 million and said they would never pay a penny more. After picking a jury and presenting our witnesses, they nearly tripled their offer and the case settled. Insurance companies do not get to determine the value of your injury case, that is up to you or a jury. If you have already received an offer for your injuries, contact me and I will let you know if I think it is a fair offer. I will not charge you for this consultation. If I do not beat their original offer to you, I will not charge you anything.
Q4: Why is it so important to hire an Oregon attorney who who files cases, and goes to trial?
A: I recently taught a class to members of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association. Many of the personal injury lawyers in the class advertise themselves as being aggressive and fighting for their clients, which turned out not to be true. Before the class I looked each of them up in the court's computer system. Most of them had filed 0-2 cases in the last year - during that time period I had filed around 20 cases. It is a lot of work to file a lawsuit and the ensuing paperwork (work for me, not you), but I file a lawsuit in most of my cases, as that is what gets insurance companies to pay, and if they don't we can take your case to a jury. Before you hire a personal injury attorney, make sure they file and try cases. If they give you an excuse for why they don't do it, keep on looking, as you will rarely get a fair amount with a settlement attorney.
Q5: Lawsuits can be expensive, will it cost me any money up front for filing fees, court costs, expert witness fees, and any other costs?
A: Filing a lawsuit, paying court costs and expert witness fees can be very expensive. Every year I spend thousand of dollars in litigation costs. I know that most people cannot afford these costs up front, so Iforward these costs up front in every case I take. Spending a few thousand dollars on a good expert witness can make the difference between getting thousands of dollars and getting nothing for your personal injury claim. Before you hire a lawyer, make sure that they are willing to forward the money to adequately pursue your personal injury case. Otherwise, you may be forced into taking a minimal settlement if you cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars to pursue your personal injury claim.
Q6: I hear a lot of lawyers do not stay in touch with their clients. Will I have access to you if I have questions after hours or weekends?
A: Yes. I check my email 365 days a year and respond to clients 365 days a year. If you email me on a Saturday, you will likely hear back from me the same day or the next day. I don't have my staff screen my email. You communicate with me via the same email address as my family and close friends. Unless I am somewhere where I do not have internet access, I make a point of returning emails 7 days a week, all hours of the day. This process can be stressful and I don't want you losing sleep over a question I can easily answer.
Q7: Will I have to pay the any up front expenses?
A: No. I advance all costs associated with your case. I never ask you for a penny until we recover from the at fault party.
Q8: What do you charge for recovering my medical expenses?
A: I do not charge my clients a fee recovering their past medical expenses. Most lawyers charge 33% for this. I base my fee on what is recovered in addition to your medical expenses. If your lawyer charges you for recovering your medical expenses it can significantly reduce how much goes in your pocket. For example, if you had $50,000 in medical expenses and a $100,000 settlement, your lawyer would get $33,000, $50,000 would go to repay your medical expenses, and you would be left with around $17,000. In a case like that, I would base my fee off of the $50,000, putting $33,000 in your pocket instead of approximately $17,000. The only time I charge a fee for recovering your past medical expenses is when someone other than the client, usually my client's insurance company or healthcare provider, pays me to recover the medical expenses.
Q9: Are there any hidden fees?
A: No. I do not charge you fees for consultations, opening your file, copies, long distance, etc. Before you hire a lawyer, make sure you find out what they will be charging you, as these hidden fees can add up.
Q10: Do you charge more for filing a lawsuit or going to court?
A: No. Unlike most lawyers, my fees do not increase for filing a lawsuit, going to court, litigating motions, or going to mediation. The only time my fees increase is if we go to trial or arbitration, which usually happens in less than 10% of my cases. Before you hire a lawyer, make sure they don't increase their fees just for filing a lawsuit or spending a few hours in mediation.
Q11: How soon after my bicycle accident should I call you?
A: Call me immediately. Do not talk to the other person's insurance companies until after you have consulted a lawyer. I make a point of returning all calls and e-mails promptly. If you have been injured in a bicycle
Q12: How do I pay your legal fees?
A: I handle bike accidents and all other personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means YOU DO NOT OWE ME A LEGAL FEE UNLESS I RECOVER MONEY FOR YOU. I do not ask for any attorney fees upfront. If there is no recovery there is no fee.
Q13: Do insurance companies treat lawyers who try cases differently than "trial cowards" that don't try cases?
A. Yes. They pay their clients less. Below is a quote from Reptile, a book by David Ball and Don Keenan. David Ball is the best trial consultant in the country and Don Keenan is the best trial lawyer in the country. This is why I try cases. Most lawyers don't. Who would you rather hire?
The insurance companies know every negotiation move you've ever made. They know if your comfort level is limited to settling in order to avoid trying cases — or if you will do the best for your client even if "best" means walking out of mediation and into trial. If your trial threshold is too high, change it. If you are or remain a trial coward, especially once you're armed with the methods in this book, you're in the wrong job and you ought to tell that to your prospective clients. Your client deserves a lawyer the insurance companies respect. And that respect is independent of any particular case.
Q14: Will I get to talk to a lawyer if I call?
A: Yes. Everyone who calls for a free consultation gets to talk to a lawyer. I do not have my staff screen cases. Usually you will get to talk to a lawyer right away or later the same day.
Q15: Should I call you even if I want to handle my claim myself?
A: Yes. In a few minutes over the phone I can usually give you an estimate of what your claim is worth so you don't get ripped off by the insurance company. If they give you an offer and you later hire me, I will not charge you a fee unless I can increase the amount that goes into your pocket.
Q16: Can I recover even if the motorist never hit me?
A: Yes. Many people are under the misconception that there has to be physical contact between a cyclist and a motor vehicle for the motorist to be liable. This is not true. There are many situations where cyclists are injured when they take evasive action to avoid being hit, and crash as a result. The motorist can still be held liable if their negligence required the cyclist to take the evasive action.
Q17: Can I recover if the other driver had no insurance?
A: Yes. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you can recover money for your medical bills and pain and suffering even if the other driver had no insurance.
Q18: Does my auto insurance personal injury protection (PIP) cover accidents when I am on my bike?
A: Many auto policies will cover you if you are injured in a bicycle accident or while on foot.
Q19: How do I know if I have a good bicycle accident claim?
A: You need to contact me and we can discuss your case. My consultation on a personal injury case is always free.
Q20: How long does it take to settle most bicycle accident and personal injury cases?
A: It depends on the nature of your personal injury claim. I have settled many policy limits cases within 90 days of taking the cases. The bigger your case is, the longer it usually takes to get it settled or take it to trial. I don't sit on cases when they come through the door, my staff and I literally start working on them the day we get your intake paperwork. I work hard to get your case resolved as quickly as possible, but it can take some time to get a fair amount. The majority of the cases I handle either settle or go to trial within one year you hiring me. Once your personal injury case is settled, I can usually put a check in your hand within 14 days.
Q21: Will pursuing my case take up a lot of my time?
A: No. Oftentimes I only meet with clients for the initial interview and then we can just talk over the phone. If we do have to go to court, it will take more time. I realize your time is important, so I don't waste it.
Q22: Will I have to go to trial?
A: The vast majority of bicycle collision and personal injury cases don't go to trial. However, I treat each case as if it is going to be a trial, as you have to be willing to go to trial to maximize your settlement.
Q23: Do I need a Oregon bicycle lawyer?
A: In order to settle your bike accident case you will have to deal with insurance companies. Their goal is to pay you as little as you will take. It is tough for someone who is not familiar with bicycle accident cases to know what a fair settlement amount is. An experienced Oregon bicycle accident attorney can help you to determine that amount and reach a fair settlement.
Q 24: I don't want to bankrupt somebody. What happens to the person I sue?
A: Although the lawsuit will have the other driver's name on it, we are actually going after the insurance company's money. In virtually every case, the person we sue does not have to pay a penny, as their insurance company pays the settlement or verdict amount, as well as all of the legal fees. In the three cases where I have received verdicts bigger than the policy limits, the insurance companies still paid, as it was their fault for not settling for the policy limits.
Q 25: What types of Oregon accident cases do you handle?
A: I handle all types of Oregon personal injury, wrongful death and products liability cases, including: crashes and collisions involving bikes, scooters, wheelchairs, and mopeds.
Q 26: What parts of Oregon do you handle cases in?
A: Although I am located in Portland, Oregon, I will handle take cases throughout the state of Oregon.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Benefits and Wage Loss
Your own Oregon auto insurance policy may provide you coverage while you are on your bicycle or a pedestrian. Oregon personal injury protection (PIP) provides a minimum of $15,000 in medical coverage, as well as up to 52 weeks of wage loss. Oregon Senate Bill 411 made a slight but important modification that extends PIP coverage for medical bills following an accident from one year to two years (the new law went into effect on January 1, 2016, effective on policies issued or renewed on or after that date). This personal injury protection is no-fault medical coverage which means that it covers you regardless of whether the accident was determined to be your fault or the other driver's.
You'll need to contact your own insurance company and file a claim for your personal injury protection benefits. You will need to do this as soon as possible in order for your benefits to start kicking in and in order for them to pay your medical bills.
I advise everyone to not make any recorded statement to the other driver's insurance company until you have consulted with an experienced attorney. This is for your protection.
If your Oregon personal injury protection coverage limits are reached, the other driver’s personal injury protection may also cover you. If you do not have healthcare insurance, you will be billed personally for any amounts in excess of your personal injury protection coverage. Oftentimes I can work with providers to get them to wait for payment until the case is resolved.
I also strongly suggest increasing your PIP coverage from the minimum of $15,000 especially now that your medical payment coverage can protect you for up to two years. If you have health insurance you may not need as much but PIP but it can still help with high deductible health care plans.
As part of PIP coverage, if the injured person is usually engaged in a remunerative occupation and if disability continues for at least 14 days, 70 percent of the loss of income from work during the period of the injured persons disability until the date the person is able to return to the persons usual occupation. This benefit is subject to a maximum payment of $3,000 per month and a maximum payment period in the aggregate of 52 weeks.
If you have to miss work because of your injuries, you will also need your wage loss protections. You will need to document your wage losses and any other expenses you incur. If you know you will be unable to work past the 14 day period, start the process to invoke your wage loss as soon as you are able because the procedure does take a little bit of time to document and process.
Your auto insurance policy protects you from uninsured drivers, hit and run accident, and even other cyclists in the event of a bicycle v. bicycle accident. Your liability part of your auto insurance also protects you if you are at fault from damages to a car or other property.
Oregon insurance law requires minimums for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage of $25,000. This Oregon insurance law also changed under SB 411 allowing for, "insurance stacking," (The new law went into effect on January 1, 2016, effective on policies issued or renewed on or after that date). Insurance "stacking," allows injured motorists to add their uninsured motorist coverage on top of the at - fault driver's liability coverage so injured you can get your total insurance coverage defined as the total amount of all coverage available because you will be able to "stack" your UM/UIM coverage on top of the at-fault party's bodily injury liability (BI) coverage. It is a very good idea to increase your UM/UIM (uninsured motorist and under insured motorist) coverage from the legal minimums required by Oregon insurance law.
Increasing your UM/UIM coverage from the minimum $25,000. I tell every client to buy as much uninsured and under-insured motorist insurance (UM, UIM) as they can afford as every year, I deal with clients with permanent, disabling injuries caused by drivers with little or no insurance. It is fairly inexpensive to boost this coverage and it will give you added protection and help.
Oregon Bicycle Insurance
If you do not own a car, some bicycle commuters get signed on as an additional driver to an auto insurance policy so that they do have the coverage of personal injury protection insurance, even though they rarely, or even never, drive the car, just so that they have this coverage while they on their bicycle.
This Portland Farmer's Agent specializes in bicycle insurance coverage - a cyclist himself, he'll make sure you are adequately covered on your bike. Ask about an umbrella policy which can give you a million dollars of coverage for he says, as little as $16 per month.
Insurance companies also offer umbrella policies, and these are an excellent idea. The right umbrella policy can protect your personal assets if you are sued, but more importantly protects you if you are badly injured by an uninsured or under-insured motorist. Do not buy an umbrella policy unless this policy includes uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage, and work with your insurance agent to thoroughly understand the coverage that you have in place. Many of these umbrella policies are fairly inexpensive and an offer you over a million dollars in coverage for just a few hundred dollars a year. You'll have to consult with your own insurance agent to find the best fit for you.