In every state, individuals who sustain injuries due to negligence, carelessness, or intentional acts of others have the legal right to pursue compensation. This also applies to bicycle accidents that cause. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, you possess the legal right to seek compensation for the damages incurred.
However, it's essential to recognize that merely having the right to seek compensation doesn't guarantee that you will receive it. The process of obtaining injury compensation begins with hiring a seasoned Myrtle Beach bicycle accident attorney equipped with the skills and knowledge to assert your rights, even when dealing with powerful entities such as large corporations and insurance companies. By selecting the right attorney, you increase your chances of securing full and fair compensation for your bicycle accident injuries.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
Bicycle trips account for only one percent of all trips taken in the United States. Still, bicycle riders account for over two percent of individuals who lose their lives in motor vehicle accidents. Almost 1,000 bicyclists succumb to their injuries, and over 130,000 others suffer non-fatal injuries in accidents on roads in the U.S. every year.
The costs of bicycle injuries and fatalities resulting from accidents typically exceed $23 billion in the U.S. every year. These costs include health care, lost work productivity, and estimated costs for lost quality of life and lives lost.
Types of Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycle accidents can result in all types of injuries, ranging from minor to severe. Common injuries include abrasions, fractures, and soft tissue injuries, often caused by falls or collisions. Head injuries, such as concussions or traumatic brain injuries, are a significant concern. Cyclists may also experience dislocations, spinal injuries, or internal injuries due to the impact. In addition, emotional distress and post-traumatic stress disorder can affect victims. It's imperative to seek immediate medical attention for any injury and consult a bicycle accident lawyer to seek compensation and protect your rights.
Negligence in Bicycle Accidents
Negligence in bicycle accidents extends beyond the immediate collision to a broader range of behaviors that can lead to accidents, including reckless driving, failure to yield, distracted driving, or inadequate road maintenance. Understanding the complexities of negligence in your specific case is crucial in constructing a successful claim.
It's imperative to document every aspect of the accident, from collecting witness statements to preserving physical evidence. These steps significantly enhance your case and provide vital support in establishing negligence. Your bicycle accident attorney will work diligently to gather all relevant evidence, consult with experts (if necessary), and navigate the legal complexities to maximize your chances of securing the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Common Factors Leading to Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can arise from a multitude of factors, made worse by the unique size of bicycles in comparison to motorized vehicles, making them less conspicuous on the road. In instances where the negligence of another party contributes to a bicycle accident, the following represent some prevalent causes:
- Distracted Driving: Driver distraction is a leading cause of various motor vehicle collisions, including those involving bicycles. Drivers diverting their attention to activities such as texting, phone calls, social media, passengers, personal grooming, pets, or eating significantly increases the risk of accidents.
- Impaired Driving: Whether under the influence of drugs or alcohol, impaired drivers experience compromised judgment, delayed reaction times, and impaired visual perception. This diminishes their ability to detect bicyclists and respond effectively to prevent collisions.
- Drowsy Driving: Driving during early or late hours, especially after a shift, increases the risk of severe accidents. Recent studies suggest that drowsy driving can be as dangerous as driving under the influence.
- Failure to Maintain a Safe Distance: Drivers closely tailing bicyclists and passing within a three-foot range create unnecessary hazards, raising the likelihood of collisions and limiting options for both drivers and bicyclists to avoid accidents.
- Failure to Yield: In scenarios like roundabouts and merging lanes, the law requires drivers to yield to oncoming traffic, including bicycles. Neglecting or disregarding this obligation significantly increases the risk of serious accidents.
- Disobeying Stop Signs or Traffic Signals: Ignoring stop signs and traffic lights is a common cause of intersection accidents. This behavior poses considerable risks, particularly when drivers fail to watch for bicyclists who have the right of way.
- Negligent Turning: When given the right of way to make a turn, drivers must still exercise caution for bicyclists and pedestrians. Neglecting this responsibility is an avoidable factor contributing to bicycle accidents at intersections.
- Traffic Weaving: Erratic lane changes and maneuvers amidst traffic make it less likely for drivers to spot bicyclists. Such behaviors also reduce their ability to react promptly, often encroaching onto bike lanes and shoulders.
- Unsafe Lane Changes: Even a single reckless lane change can result in a severe collision. Bicycle accidents involving unsafe lane changes typically occur when drivers merge into the path of cyclists without ensuring the lane is clear.
The Many Benefits of Having an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney by Your Side
Recovering from a serious personal injury, particularly one resulting from a bicycle accident, poses significant challenges without the support of an experienced attorney. A bicycle accident is legally categorized as a vehicle incident, granting the injured cyclist the right to file a claim against the liable driver's insurance policy for compensation. Unlike minor crashes involving two vehicles, accidents involving bicyclists often lead to substantial financial burdens for the victim.
Working with a skilled bicycle accident attorney dramatically improves the likelihood of a successful financial recovery following such an incident. If auto insurance serves as the initial compensation source for your injuries, your attorney can often streamline the claims process, ensuring a prompt and equitable settlement offer. If the responsible driver's insurance proves insufficient to cover the victim's losses or the policy limits are exhausted, an attorney can manage your case to pursue a personal injury case against the at-fault driver.
In fact, having a bicycle accident attorney drastically increases the chances of maximizing your final compensation. A lawyer provides answers to your questions and concerns and timely responses to all legal inquiries throughout every stage of the recovery process.
Damages in Bicycle Accident Claims
Following a bicycle accident, injured individuals may face a spectrum of damages for which the responsible party or their insurance provider may be held accountable. These damages may include significant medical expenses, income losses due to the physical inability to work, and ongoing pain and physical limitations arising from the injuries.
Some damages arise from concrete financial losses or obligations, while others represent intangible losses. Financial or economic damages suffered by a bicycle accident victim may consist of:
- Past and Future Medical Expenses: All costs associated with medical treatment, examinations, therapy, and any ongoing healthcare needs.
- Past and Future Lost Wages: Income lost due to the incapacity to work, along with potential future earnings impacted by the injuries.
- Travel Expenses for Medical Appointments or Treatment: The costs incurred for transportation to and from medical facilities or appointments related to the accident.
- Repairs or Replacements for Your Bicycle or Other Damaged Property: The costs associated with repairing or replacing damaged personal property, such as the bicycle involved in the accident.
Additionally, there are often intangible losses, referred to as non-economic damages, which may include:
- Pain and Suffering: The physical and emotional distress experienced due to the accident and subsequent injuries.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: The diminished ability to partake in activities that once brought fulfillment and satisfaction.
- Loss of Consortium: The impact of the injuries on relationships and the deprivation of companionship and support.
- Mental Anguish: The emotional trauma, suffering, or psychological distress endured following the accident.
- Scarring and Disfigurement: Accounting for any visible and permanent alterations to physical appearance resulting from the injuries.
Keep in mind that there may be additional damages specific to each individual case. By seeking the assistance of a bicycle accident lawyer, you can receive valuable support in identifying and pursuing compensation for all applicable damages. These legal professionals have the skills to comprehensively evaluate your situation and advocate on your behalf, securing the rightful compensation you deserve.
Resolving Bicycle Accident Cases: Settlement Trends
In a majority of cases involving bicycle accidents, the parties involved choose to resolve matters through a financial settlement, which addresses the claimant's damages but avoids lengthy legal proceedings. The negotiation process for a settlement requires both skills and patience, prompting many injured individuals and their families to enlist the support of a bicycle accident lawyer.
Litigation can be a lengthy and emotionally draining process for the injured party, as well as a financial burden for the at-fault party, their insurance providers, and legal representation. As such, most of the time, both parties find it more advantageous to negotiate a settlement before resorting to a court battle.
A settlement is a certain amount of money offered to the injured party by the at-fault party in return for a release from further liability. These agreements are typically reached by the parties’ attorneys, and occasionally, the parties agree to keep the specific settlement amounts confidential.
While injured parties aren't obligated to accept a settlement, seeking guidance from their bicycle accident lawyer is imperative to determine the most reasonable action. Agreeing to a settlement instead of pursuing a court case usually provides potential advantages worth considering.
For instance, some bicycle accident victims may prefer to avoid the challenges of testifying in court or enduring further legal stress, leading them to agree to a settlement. Additionally, insurance companies often seek to decrease the risk of defending their insured against sympathetic juries. Settlements make the legal process quicker for both sides, providing financial relief to the injured bicyclist sooner rather than later.
Two Crucial Steps to Follow After a Bicycle Accident Injury
What you do or don't do after suffering a bicycle accident injury can significantly influence the outcome of your claim. Here are two crucial steps to consider:
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
First, promptly have any injuries assessed and documented, even if they initially seem minor. In fact, even if you don't have any pain or symptoms, it's still a good idea to seek a medical evaluation. If you are later diagnosed with accident-related injuries, this step can help link your injuries to this accident. In addition, adhering to prescribed treatment plans and restrictions is essential for both your physical health and the strength of your legal claim.
Consult a Knowledgeable Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Those involved in bicycle accidents should also reach out to a local bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Even if you're uncertain about the viability of a personal injury claim, it's still in your best interest to consult with an attorney. Failing to do so may lead to missed opportunities for rightful compensation to cover expenses.
By taking these steps, you not only prioritize your health and well-being but also protect your legal rights and potential for fair compensation after sustaining injuries in a bicycle accident. Get your bicycle accident claim started by scheduling a consultation with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.