Bicycle Accidents – Hit By a Car Lawsuits and Lawyer
Bicycles have always been a popular travel alternative to vehicles, especially amongst those who are environmentally-conscious, who are concerned about their health and fitness, and/or who cannot or do not wish to pay for the maintenance costs of a car. Recognizing this, many states have taken one or more measures to promote the safety of bicyclists on the road. From creating specially-designated lanes for bicyclists to use to passing laws regulating how car drivers are to maneuver around bicyclists, bicycling today is (and rightfully should be) safer than it was in years past. This does not mean that bicyclists are guaranteed safe passage when traveling on roads and highways.
Injuries Common in Bicycle Accidents
Common experience tells us that bicyclists who are struck by a car are at risk for suffering severe and (sometimes) fatal injuries. These risks are amplified when the bicyclist is not wearing safety gear such as a properly-fitted helmet. These severe injuries are possible even if the collision happens at “slow” speeds. In many cases, the bicyclist is thrown from his or her bike in the collision. This results in injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries or other trauma to the bicyclist’s head;
- Neck and/or spine injuries that can result in temporary or permanent paralysis;
- Broken bones and/or dislocated joints;
- Painful internal injuries, including trauma to major organs;
- Deep and/or extensive lacerations. A bicyclist who “skids” or “slides” across the pavement during the accident may suffer what is commonly referred to as “road rash,” which is extensive and painful abrasions to the skin;
- Pelvic injuries resulting from straddling the bike at the time of the collision. These injuries can cause problems with posture and ambulation; and
- Other physical and mental trauma.
A bicycle accident attorney helps injured bicyclists by preparing and presenting a claim for compensation against the at-fault automobile driver. Regardless of whether the claim is resolved in the courtroom or through settlement negotiations, a bicycle accident attorney can often help a bicyclist safeguard his or her legal rights while allowing the bicyclist to heal from his or her injuries.
Elements in a Bicycle Accident Collision Case
To prevail, a bicyclist injured by a negligent motorist must generally prove four propositions by evidence that establishes each proposition is more likely than not true. These propositions are:
- That the car driver owed a duty of care to the bicyclist. This proposition is almost never in contention because it is generally accepted that every motorist owes bicyclists and others who share the road a duty to drive his or her car in a careful and responsible manner;
- That the car driver broke or violated this duty of care. This can be established by evidence that the car driver operated his or her car in a manner in which a reasonable and responsible motorist would not have. Evidence that the motorist entered a lane designated for bicyclists or did not follow a state law requiring the motorist to give bicyclists a certain amount of clearance can usually establish this proposition.
- That this violation of the duty of care caused the victim’s injuries. In other words, there must be some causal connection between the driver’s actions and the bicyclist’s injuries. If the bicyclist would have been injured in the same manner and to the same extent if the motorist had behaved reasonably, then this proposition is not established.
- That the victim suffered injuries. Like the first proposition, this element is usually not in contention as a bicyclist will often be able to produce medical bills, lost wage statements, and other evidence to show he or she suffered some sort of loss as a result of the bicycle accident.
Each of these propositions may be established using the testimony of reliable and credible witnesses, evidence such as photographs and documents, or some combination of the two. Experienced bicycle accident attorneys will work with the bicycle accident victim to determine the clearest and most persuasive manner in which to prove each of these propositions.
How to Help Your Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Injured bicyclists who refuse medical treatment when such treatment is necessary or warranted by the circumstances, who fail to accurately report the facts of the accident, or who delay in seeking legal advice place their ability to recover compensation in jeopardy. In addition, seeking assistance from a lawyer who is not familiar with the state’s laws pertaining to motor vehicles and bicyclists can also place the success of the case in danger.
Instead, bicyclists injured by a negligent motorist should seek out legal assistance from a competent and dedicated bicycle accident law firm like Stern Law, PLLC. Attorney Ken Stern is well-read on the laws pertaining to bicycle –motor vehicle collisions and is skilled in presenting the facts of these accidents in a powerful, persuasive manner. Contact Stern Law by calling (800) 462-5772 as soon as possible following your bicycle accident.