Imagine this scenario: you're biking down the street, enjoying the fresh air and the freedom of pedaling on two wheels. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a car comes barreling towards you, its driver oblivious to your presence. You try to swerve but cannot avoid a collision, and you fall off your bike.
As you pick yourself up from the pavement, the gravity of the situation hits you. Your bike is destroyed, and you feel immediate pain, knowing something is very wrong. You go to the emergency room and learn you have a fractured arm, concussion, and soft tissue injuries in your back. You now face a long recovery time, costly medical bills, potential surgery, and a long time out of work and off your bike.
The natural question is: can you sue the driver for hitting you on your bike? Contact an experienced car accident lawyer in Myrtle Beach.
Cyclists Should Be Able to Safely Share the Road
Cycling is an eco-friendly and healthy mode of transportation that offers numerous benefits. However, sharing the road with motor vehicles can be dangerous, and cyclists often face unique risks. Drivers need to understand their responsibilities and adhere to traffic laws to promote safe road sharing.
Despite rules that allow bicycles to share the road, drivers fail to comply and cause serious injuries to cyclists. If this happens to you, seek justice and accountability from the negligent driver with help from a bike accident lawyer.
Driver Negligence that Leads to Bike Collisions
Bike accidents can occur for various reasons, many of which involve driver negligence. Understanding the common causes of bike collisions can help both cyclists and drivers minimize the risk of accidents and injuries. Some of the most prevalent forms of driver negligence that lead to bike collisions include:
Failing to Yield
One of the most common causes of bike accidents is drivers failing to yield the right of way to cyclists. Whether it's at an intersection, a stop sign, or a designated bike lane, drivers have a legal obligation to yield to cyclists when necessary. Failing to do so can result in catastrophic consequences.
Distracted driving is a growing problem on our roads, and it poses a significant risk to cyclists. When drivers take their attention away from the road, even for a split second, they can easily collide with a cyclist. Common distractions include texting, talking on the phone, eating, grooming, or using in-car technologies.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not only illegal but incredibly dangerous. Impaired drivers have reduced reaction times and compromised judgment, increasing the likelihood of accidents with cyclists. If you believe that the driver who hit you was under the influence, it is crucial to consult with an attorney immediately.
Aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating, speeding, running red lights, or changing lanes without signaling, can put cyclists' lives at risk. When drivers let their emotions get the best of them behind the wheel, they become a danger to themselves and everyone around them, including cyclists.
Exceeding the speed limit is not only against the law but also a leading cause of accidents. When drivers travel at high speeds, they have less time to react to unexpected situations, making it more difficult to avoid colliding with cyclists. Speeding also greatly increases the severity of injuries in the event of a crash.
Violating Other Traffic Laws
Drivers who disregard other traffic laws, such as failing to stop at a stop sign, making an illegal left turn, or driving the wrong way down a one-way street, create hazardous situations for cyclists. These negligent actions can result in serious injuries or even fatalities.
Another common type of accident that cyclists experience is a dooring accident. This occurs when a driver or passenger opens their car door directly into the path of an oncoming cyclist. The sudden door opening leaves the cyclist with limited time to react, often resulting in serious injuries or collisions with other vehicles.
Right Hook Accidents
A right hook accident happens when a motorist passes a cyclist on their left and then makes an immediate right turn without giving the cyclist enough time to react. This type of accident is particularly dangerous because the cyclist can be caught in the blind spot of the turning vehicle and may be unable to avoid a collision.
All of this negligent conduct can cause serious accidents to cyclists, and bicycle accident lawyers can hold dangerous drivers liable for their conduct and the resulting harm. To do so, the attorney must first prove the driver’s liability.
Proving a Driver Was Liable for Your Bike Crash
To successfully sue a driver who hit your bike, you must establish their liability for the accident. This requires gathering evidence and demonstrating that the driver's negligence directly caused your injuries. Some crucial pieces of evidence that can help prove liability include:
If there were any witnesses to the accident, their testimony can be valuable in establishing what happened and who was at fault. Eyewitnesses can provide an unbiased account of the events leading up to the collision, helping to support your case.
If a police officer responded to the accident scene, a police report is likely to have been filed. This report will detail the officer's observations, statements from involved parties and witnesses, and any citations issued. The report can serve as an official record of the accident, providing important evidence for your case.
Photographs and Videos
If you can, take photographs or videos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to your bike. Visual evidence can be compelling in demonstrating the extent of the collision and the conditions surrounding it.
Obtain and keep all medical records related to your injuries. These records provide concrete evidence of the harm you suffered from the accident. They can include doctor's notes, hospital bills, diagnostic tests, and any other medical documentation.
Proving the Injuries You Suffered
Proving negligence and liability of the driver is only the first step in obtaining compensation for your losses. Next, your attorney must prove the extent of your injuries and losses. Some common bike accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury (even with a helmet)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal injuries
- Crush injuries
- Road rage
Getting immediate medical care is necessary both for your health and legal claim. You need a treatment plan to protect recovery, as well as proof you suffered injuries in the collision.
Proving your injuries and losses requires comprehensive medical documentation and expert testimony if necessary. By working with a skilled bicycle accident attorney, you can build a strong case demonstrating the full extent of your injuries and their effect on your life.
Losses from Bike Accident Injuries
When seeking compensation for a bike accident, it's important to consider the losses you have suffered as a result of your injuries. These losses can be both economic and non-economic, and they can include:
This includes the cost of hospital stays, doctor's visits, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any other medical treatments you have required due to your injuries.
If your injuries have prevented you from working, you may be entitled to compensation for the income you have lost and any future earning capacity that has been diminished as a result of the accident.
If your bike was damaged or destroyed in the accident, you can seek compensation to repair or replace it.
Pain and Suffering
This encompasses the physical and emotional pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the accident. It considers the long-term effects of your injuries on your daily life, mental well-being, and quality of life.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
If your injuries have limited your ability to participate in activities you previously enjoyed, you may be entitled to compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life.
Economic damages are easier to prove, but you still need your attorney to consider future financial losses, which is complex. Further, your bike accident lawyer will know how to calculate the value of your intangible damages like pain and suffering.
The Process Usually Starts with Insurance Claims
Before filing a lawsuit, pursuing an insurance claim for your bike accident is common. Most drivers carry liability insurance coverage, which can provide compensation for injured cyclists. However, insurance companies are notorious for undervaluing claims and attempting to settle for less than what you deserve.
Working with an experienced bicycle accident attorney can help level the playing field when dealing with insurance companies. They can handle all communication with the insurer, negotiate for a fair settlement, and ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.
Filing a Lawsuit if You Do Not Receive a Fair Settlement Offer
If the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement or denies your claim altogether, you have the option to file a lawsuit to seek the compensation you deserve. This is where having a skilled bicycle accident attorney on your side becomes crucial. They will guide you through the litigation process, gather evidence, build a strong case, and represent your best interests in court.
How a Bike Accident Lawyer Handles Litigation
Litigating a bike accident case can be complex, requiring a deep understanding of personal injury law and the unique challenges faced by cyclists. A knowledgeable bicycle accident attorney will handle all aspects of the litigation process, including:
Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to collect evidence, gather witness statements, review police reports, and consult with experts if needed. This will help establish liability and strengthen your case.
Most personal injury cases are settled through negotiation, and your attorney will engage in discussions with the opposing party and their insurance company. They will work tirelessly to secure a fair settlement that covers your losses and protects your rights.
If your case cannot be resolved through negotiation, your attorney will prepare for trial. This includes crafting a strategic legal argument, compiling evidence, and identifying expert witnesses who can provide testimony to support your case.
Your attorney will represent you in court, presenting your case to a judge and jury. They will advocate for your rights, cross-examine witnesses, and present compelling evidence to support your claim.
Consult a Bicycle Accident Attorney Immediately
If you have been in a bike accident, it is crucial to consult with a skilled bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Time is of the essence in personal injury cases, as evidence can be lost or compromised over time. By seeking legal representation early on, you can ensure that your rights are protected and you have the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Experienced personal injury lawyers understand the challenges faced by cyclists who have been hit by negligent drivers. They are here to guide you through the legal process and fight for your rights. Schedule a free consultation and learn more about how a bicycle accident lawyer can assist you.