A bicycle accident does not necessarily involve another vehicle. Hazardous conditions such as pot holes may result in serious injuries. Whether it is because of road conditions or a crash with another vehicle, a personal injury claim can result in compensation that will help you recover from injuries.
Common Accident Scenarios
Bike accidents with other vehicles mainly occur in areas with heavy traffic or areas where bicycles pass through commonly traveled roads. The driver and cyclist may share liability for a crash or the accident may be attributed to the actions of one party.
When bike accidents result from a single operator incident, the cyclist could be held responsible or factors such as road hazards may be blamed. If road conditions are to blame, a claim may be filed against the property owner, city, or any party charged with maintaining bicycle paths, roadways, or tracks where cyclists are permitted to pass through.
Bike Accident Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are the most common during bike accidents. A majority of American cyclists ride bicycles but very few wear helmets. According to a 2001-2003 national survey, 48% of children between the ages of 5 -14 years put on helmets when riding. In 2010, a report showed that 800 cyclists died and up to 515,000 suffered bicycle related injuries leading to emergency care. Half of the cyclists were children below the age of 20. Annually, it is estimated that 26,000 bike accidents involving children result in brain injuries.
The impact of a brain injury depends on the area of the brain that has been affected and how. For example, slip and fall incidents mostly result in localized brain injury with the trauma confined to a particular area where your head is hit. Complicated injuries like those sustained when a bike collides with a vehicle most often lead to closed-head injuries, in which case, the brain thrashes against your skull.
Some of the common traumatic brain injuries include:
Liability for Bicycle Accidents
Drivers and cyclists are normally obliged to abide by the rules of the road such as traffic laws and the duty of exercising ordinary care when it comes to a person’s safety and the safety of others on the road.
When seeking to get damages for injuries sustained from a bike accident with a vehicle, the question of negligence will determine the outcome of your case. A bike accident personal injury claim is based on whether your negligence caused the accident or whether the driver’s negligence caused the accident.
There are many forms of driver negligence. For example, drifting into a bicycle lane, running stop signs, and speeding are some common forms of driver negligence if done without regarding the safety of others.
In a claim alleging driver negligence, you should present prove that the defendant behaved in a manner that violated their duty to exercise care on the road. Accident lawsuits are determined by the facts of an individual case and the plaintiff’s ability to prove negligence. In car accidents, however, conduct that amounts to traffic violations is regarded as negligence per se. This means that if a driver gets a citation for a violation like speeding, evidence of the violation is enough evidence of negligence.
When a cyclist makes a claim against a driver, or someone sues a cyclist for injuries, cyclist negligence is used to determine the result of the claim. Common examples of biker negligence are when one rides the wrong way on a street, runs a stop sign, or suddenly turns into traffic.
Negligent cyclists may not recover damages resulting in injuries sustained during accidents involving vehicles. This type of negligence is known as comparative or contributory negligence. In this case, the cyclist’s negligence caused a significant share of the injuries. Where a cyclist rides negligently and causes injury to another person, the cyclist can be held responsible for the person’s injuries.
Getting Compensation for Your Bicycle Accident
Most bicycle accident claims are resolved outside the court. A claim is initiated by notifying the insurance adjuster about your settlement demand. You should not make any settlement demands until you understand the seriousness of your injuries. If you agree to a settlement and later realize that you sustained permanent or serious injuries that were not apparent before, you cannot appeal for another offer.
Damages for Bicycle Accidents
Besides the cost for bicycle repairs, damages for bicycle accidents may include:
In cases where your injuries cause disability (permanent or temporary), compensation might include:
Wrongful death damages may be awarded to the relatives of cyclists involved in fatal accidents.
The Basis for Bicycle Accident Settlements
Settlements for bicycle accidents vary depending on various factors. Factors such as financial loss are easy to calculate. Some factors such as comparative fault are based on a judgment call. Other factors such as the amount of pain a victim suffered is hard to determine.
The value for damages is mostly determined based on past cases on bicycle accidents. Typically, your injuries will be compared with similar injuries sustained by people who were involved in similar accidents. Your damage award will be based on how people in similar cases were compensated.
How a Lawyer Can Help in Bicycle Accident Claims
Hiring a lawyer during a bicycle accident claim can is important for negotiations with an insurance adjuster and in court cases. Furthermore, an attorney will help you determine whether or not you have a strong case. Insurance adjustors often offer unfair settlements to victims who have no legal representation. Therefore, the presence of a lawyer will help you get a fair settlement. If your case is settled in court, your lawyer will help you gather the necessary evidence to prove negligence and to justify your demands for damages.
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