Do I Have A Good Bicycle Accident Case?
"Do I Have A Good Bicycle Accident CASE?" That is a very common questions I get, so here's how you can tell...
Bicycle accidents happen all the time. Just ask any lawyer, and they’ll tell you that it happens more often than you think. Bicycle accidents injure and even kill thousands of people every year in the United States alone.
If you’re someone who rides a bicycle to work or just for leisure than there’s a high chance that you might be in an accident someday. And if you were injured in an accident, you have the right to go to court for compensation from the person that was responsible for your accident. But before that, you need to know if you have a good bicycle injury case so that you can win the battle.
Most people that drive a motor vehicle believe that bicycles shouldn’t be on the public road. But that is totally not true. Every cyclist has the legal right to use the roads that are meant for the public. There are many instances where drivers don’t follow the rules that are laid out simply because they don’t know or care about it.
Here are some statistics to give you a better picture of how common bicycle accidents are
As per the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), there were almost 500,000 bicycle accidents in 2015, resulting in about $10 billion in productivity and medical cost. And in 2016 alone, more than 800 people lost their lives in bicycle accidents.
What are the main causes of Bicycle Crashes?
According to a study, the major cause of bicycle accident deaths is that roughly 90% were caused by motor vehicles. It is also the most likely to cause fatal and catastrophic accidents. This is because they are faster, larger, and heavier than bicycles. Also, the cyclists are not as protected as a driver inside a vehicle.
Some of the most common instances of bicycle accidents with a motor vehicle are:
- The driver inside a parked vehicle opens the door on the path of an oncoming cyclist
- A car cuts off a cyclist when entering or exiting a road.
- A driver of a motor vehicle makes a wrong turn and hits a cyclist on the bike lane.
- A car hits a bike with its rear end while trying to maneuver.
- A cyclist rides his bike on the wrong side and hits a car coming from the opposite direction
- A cyclist breaks traffic rules.
It is, however, important to note that, even though motor vehicles are the major cause of deaths in a bicycle accident, they only constitute a small percentage of all bicycle accidents. Roughly 70% of all bicycle injuries are caused by other issues, and they can also be catastrophic. You can still be successful in claiming some compensation in such issues.
Some examples of other causes of bicycle injuries and accidents are:
- Accidents relating to bad quality roads
- Manufacturing defects in bicycles or defective repairs (buy from reputable bike dealers)
- Bicycle accident by an animal attack
- Cyclist crashing on another cyclist or pedestrian
- Accidents relating to the loss of balance
- Accidents relating to inebriation
- Accidents caused by objects lying on the road like a tree, curb, or debris.
When should I file a report during a bike accident? Who should be liable?
During a bicycle accident, you should file a report based on how the accident happened. The person who was at fault should be liable. Any cyclist should file a report or go to court:
When the driver of a motor vehicle has caused an accident. In this instance, the cyclist can get compensation from the driver or the insurance company of the driver.
If the road was poorly maintained and caused the cyclist to fall, the cyclist could file a complaint against the government or any of the agencies who were assigned to maintain the road.
If a manufacturing defect or poor repairs caused the accident, the cyclist might file a claim against the bike manufacturing company or the people who repaired it.
If the cyclist was jumped by a dog and caused an accident, the cyclist may file a complaint against the owner of the dog.
If any cyclist or a pedestrian came on the way of a cyclist and caused an injury, the cyclist can make a claim against those people.
What happens when the cyclist is at fault?
At times, the cyclist can happen to be at fault by breaking the traffic rules. During such instances, the cyclist cannot make any claims nor collect any compensation for the damages. Instead, he or she may have to pay for the damages or any injuries caused by them.
If both the parties are at fault, then the cyclist might receive a fraction of the damages. However, in some states, damages received can be based upon the degree of the cyclist’s fault.
For example, consider that a cyclist was in an accident with another motor vehicle, and it was found that the cyclist was only 10% responsible, and the driver in the vehicle was 90% responsible. In such a case, the cyclist would receive 90% of the damages.
Children and Bicycle Accidents
As per the law, children are held at a lower standard of conduct during a bicycle accident. They are capable of making decisions of their own. This is why motor vehicles should be more careful when child cyclist is around. When they are driving around playgrounds or schools, they will have to be more careful even if children are not around.
However, that does not mean that drivers are automatically at fault. If the driver could not have avoided the accident in any way, the driver will not be held liable. However, it is important to mention that the law heavily favors the child if there is ever an accident.
If you ever get in an accident with a child cyclist, make sure to take evidence showing that you could not have avoided the accident.
How to win a lawsuit in a bicycle accident?
Like any other lawsuit, you can win a lawsuit regarding a bicycle accident if you can prove your case through some sort of evidence. The main aim is to show that the defendant, the one that caused the injury, was being negligent.
You will have to prove that the driver had the duty to drive safely with regard to the cyclists around and that they had breached their duty and as a result, you suffered some injury or damages in property, and these damages were caused as the direct result of the driver’s negligence.
In most cases, you may win a lawsuit if you can prove that the damages (injuries or destruction of property) brought to you were a result of the driver’s violation of traffic law.
The damages that cyclists can receive when they’ve been in a bicycle accident are:
Economic Damages: This consists of all the measurable losses like damages in property, medical bills, and wages lost.
Non-Economic Damages: This includes damages like injuries that cause suffering and pain and reduces the quality of life.
Punitive Damages: This is awarded to punish an outrageous offender.
These damages will depend on the type of case you present before the court.
What you do right after the accident is essential to have a good bicycle injury case. You must call the police right after and try to take photo/video evidence to make your case stronger. For your safety, always make sure that you are fine and get yourself checked in the hospital. One of the most important things is not to apologize because that can be considered as an admission of guilt. But also remember not to be angry.
If the driver of a motor vehicle tries to flee, get as many details as possible like the license plate and diver’s description. Also, try to distance yourself from the lawyers or the insurance company of the driver at fault. They will probably try to give you an offer.
Whenever you’re in a bicycle accident, always try to hire a lawyer who is experienced in bicycle accident cases. An attorney who knows these types of cases will know how to negotiate with the insurance company. This way, you might receive a huge amount as compensation which might not have received otherwise.
I truly hope that this article helped you to know the answer to "do I have a good bicycle accident case?"
If you have had a bicycle accident and want to know if you have a good case or what your case might be worth, you can click below and I will review you case for you for free!
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