Bicycle AccidentsWhat Do I Do if I Was Hit by a Car?

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Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents are much more common than bicycle accident lawsuits. Most of the time a bicycle accident is simply a self-inflicted injury resulting from a fall, where only the bicyclist is to blame. However, in some instances, other parties – such as motorists – can cause a bicycle accident. In these situations, the bicyclist may not be the person at fault and they may qualify to participate in a bicycle accident lawsuit.

What Do I Do if I Was Hit by a Car Riding My Bike?

Most bicycle accidents are caused by an individual’s mistake and result in only minor injuries. However, a bicycle accident involving an automobile will likely result in more serious injuries, where liability for those injuries falls on the negligent party. Depending on the details of the incident and who is at fault, a bicycle and car collision could result in a bicycle accident lawsuit. Bicycle accident lawsuits are filed on behalf of cyclists who suffer injuries at no fault of their own. If you were injured on your bicycle as a result of another party’s actions, you may qualify to participate in a bicycle accident lawsuit.

Duty of care is the expectations that an individual or individuals hold to minimize the risks of others. Drivers hold an obligatory duty of care to bicyclists on the road. There is an increased duty of care when the cyclist is a child. Cyclists also hold some duty of care to drivers, but this duty significantly decreases for children.

Most bike and car collisions that occur involve children, unfortunately. To counter this issue, the court places increased duty of car on vehicles operating near children. If a person is driving in an area in which they are aware of children or they can at least expect with a degree of certainty that children will be present, they must exercise “unusual care.” These areas include schools, parks, subdivisions, residential neighborhoods, etc. Some districts even have “tender years” statutes that say very young children are unable to demonstrate any duty of care and are therefore are not capable of contributory negligence.

The expectation of “unusual care” requires drivers to act above a normal state of awareness and caution. The driver can be held liable, even if he/she met the normal expectations of the duty of care if a child is involved in the accident. This is not to say a driver will always be held liable in this event, but the driver will need to prove that he/she displayed increased attentiveness and caution.

Example:

A taxi driver is driving down a Main Street following all the laws and regulations of the road. He has a customer in his car acting as witness to the following events. The driver looks down at his radio to change the station. At the same time, an adult bicyclist illegally cuts across the road without looking for cars and heads into the driver’s path. The driver has looked up from his radio, but he does not have enough time to react and the two collide. The driver isn’t necessarily in the wrong because he was following the rules of the road and therefore meeting the expectations of duty of care.

Now take the same situation, but the driver is driving down a road where a school is getting out. The driver is still operating under the rules of the road, even driving slower than the suggested speed limit because of the children getting out of school. The driver looks down to change the radio station. At that same time, a little boy illegally crosses the street on his bicycle. The driver looks up, but does not have enough time to react. The little boy and the driver collide. Even though the driver was following the rules and operating with some unusual care, driving below the speed limit, he will likely still be held responsible for the incident. Because he took his eyes off the road, he was not displaying increased attentiveness and therefore not meeting the full duties of unusual care.

 

Bicycle Accident Lawsuits: Who is at Fault – Me or the Driver?

Like most other personal injuries, the liability falls on the individual(s) who displayed negligence. In car-bicycle collisions, shared liability is more likely the case. In a shared liability case, both parties display at least some negligence resulting in the accident. The parties will need to arbitrate the damages based on each party’s perceived level of liability.

If the bicyclist believes that the driver is at fault, they must prove that the accident occurred because of the driver’s negligence. To do so, the bicyclist will need to establish the following argument:

  • The driver had an obligatory duty of care to the bicyclist, this duty of care is a set of expectations of how the driver should behave to ensure the safety of other people on/near the road.
  • The driver breached this duty of care, acting in some way to put others in a dangerous or potentially harmful position.
  • This breach of the duty of care directly resulted in an accident to occur.
  • The bicyclists suffered damages from the accident, and there is tangible proof linking these damages to the accident.

Any violations of the laws of the road are considered “negligence per se.” Showing that the driver broke the law is enough to hold them at least partially accountable for the accident in a bicycle accident lawsuit. For these specific accidents, there are other ways in which a driver can be held accountable based on negligence.

Example:

A driver, following the rules over the road, is following a bicyclist down the road. The driver becomes annoyed by the bicyclist’s speed and begins to tail him. The bicyclist does not have any room to move aside but attempts to anyway to allow the aggressive driver to pass, but in doing so the bicyclist wrecks. Because the driver is close behind he doesn’t have time to react and the bicyclist and the car collide. Even though the driver was following the rules of the road, he did not meet the expectations of the duty of care and therefore displayed negligence.

The driver may try to prove that the bicyclist is at least partially at fault for damages. Bicyclists also have a duty of care, or an obligation to mitigate any possible accidents. Most districts have laws and regulations that act as guidelines for anyone operating a bicycle.  If the driver can prove that bicyclist defied their duty of care, they may be able to place liability for damages on the bicyclist and file a bicycle accident lawsuit. It is important that bicyclists familiarize themselves with bicycle rules and regulations to avoid breaching their duty of care. The laws and regulations can be complicated, so it may be beneficial to seek help from a bicycle accident lawyer that can help navigate through the local, state, and federal legality of the incident.

 

How Do I File A Bicycle Accident Lawsuit?

Before anything else, be sure to mitigate your injuries by seeking professional medical help right away. Even if you do not think professional medical help is necessary, it is extremely important to see a doctor anyway. Be sure to follow all of your doctor’s orders and do everything possible to avoid further injuring yourself after your accident.

If you are involved in a bike accident, the first thing you want to do is be sure that you recognize the liable party. Use the information above to determine who is at fault. In all bicycle accident lawsuits, there must be a clear indication that another party’s actions at least someone resulted in the cyclist’s injuries. Determining liability can be difficult, so it is beneficial to hire a personal injury attorney.

You will need an experienced bicycle accident lawyer, such as the attorneys at TorHoerman Law, to help you put together a strong bicycle accident lawsuit.

A bicycle accident lawsuit is handled like any of personal injury lawsuit, so review our steps in civil lawsuit guide to familiarize yourself with the personal injury lawsuit process.

Next, you will want to calculate any damages that you incurred as a result of your accident. Use our damages guide to help you calculate any possible damages you may want to demand. Common damages in a bicycle accident lawsuit include property damage, costs of medical bills, costs of suffering, and lost wages. Because of the nature of bicycle accident lawsuits, many victims demand both compensatory damages and punitive damages for their injuries. Once you have calculated your damages your bicycle accident attorney will be able to tell you the amount of compensation you should expect in your bicycle accident lawsuit.

As soon as possible following the accident, you should begin to collect evidence to support your bicycle accident lawsuit claims. It is preferable that you begin collecting at least some evidence, such as photos and incident reports, on the scene of the incident. Use our evidence guide to help you in the process of collecting all applicable evidence for your case.

In the unfortunate event that you are representing a loved one who has died as a result of a bicycle accident, you may need to speak with a wrongful death attorney who is experienced in handling bicycle accident lawsuits.

How Do I Choose a Bicycle Accident Lawyer?

You will want to find an experienced attorney who is dedicated to your case. While bicycle accident lawsuits are relatively straightforward, they can be time-consuming and involve multiple negotiation processes. You also will want to make sure that your lawyer is easily accessible and that they will keep you up-to-date on your case.

Don’t hesitate to find a bicycle accident lawyer and begin the process of filing your bicycle accident lawsuit. Your state’s statute of limitations limits the amount of time you have to file your lawsuit.

Some important questions to consider asking before hiring a bicycle accident lawyer:

  • Do you have experience with bicycle accident lawsuits? If so, was the outcome?
  • How do I pay for your services?
  • Will I be able to contact you during the case?

At TorHoerman Law, our team of personal injury attorneys is available any time to discuss your potential bicycle accident lawsuit. We offer free no-obligation case consultations for all potential clients. Our services are based on contingency fees, so we never charge our clients a dime until they have received compensation first. Contact TorHoerman Law today.


Last Modified: November 6th, 2019 @ 04:01 pm