Bicycle accidents are common occurrences in the United States, leading to an average of 130,000 injuries and nearly 1,000 deaths yearly. When a bicycle accident occurs, determining who is liable for the resulting injuries can be a complicated process.
An attorney with The Eberst Law Firm can investigate the accident that injured you and determine all liable parties. We have significant experience representing clients in similar cases and are ready to help you obtain maximum compensation. Contact us online or call 1-888-CALL-JON for a free consultation.
Common Injuries Caused by Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can result in a wide range of injuries. Some of them are minor, while others are life-threatening. Common injuries sustained in bicycle accidents include the following:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal Cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Road rash
- And many others
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can occur due to several reasons, including:
Drivers who are texting, talking on the phone, or engaging in other distracting activities can easily cause a bicycle accident.
Failure to Yield
Motorists who fail to yield to cyclists when turning or merging can cause serious accidents.
Speeding drivers may not have enough time to react to a cyclist in their path, resulting in an accident.
When someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may have impaired judgment and motor skills, making it challenging to avoid colliding with a cyclist.
Poor Road Conditions
Potholes, uneven pavement, and other issues affecting road surface quality can make it difficult for cyclists to maintain their balance and avoid accidents.
How is Fault Determined After a Bike Accident?
Determining fault after a bicycle accident can be a complex process. The following factors are typically considered when determining who is liable for a bicycle accident:
The actions of the driver
The driver’s actions leading up to the accident will be carefully examined, including whether they were speeding, distracted, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Your attorney may be able to obtain footage from a surveillance camera located near the accident scene. The footage could, for example, show that the at-fault driver was weaving in and out of traffic because they were impaired. They might also be able to get phone records to show the driver was talking and texting at the time of the wreck.
The road conditions
Investigators will also evaluate the condition of the road where the accident occurred. For example, they’ll examine whether there were any potholes or other hazards that may have contributed to the accident. There’s a chance the entity that was responsible for maintaining the road was negligent.
Eyewitnesses to the accident can provide valuable testimony that can help determine who is at fault. There’s a good chance that someone saw what happened. If possible, ask them if they’d be willing to testify if called upon. Get their contact information (name, address, phone number, email address) and give it to your lawyer. Don’t worry about trying to interview anyone. That will be your attorney’s job.
Police reports can also help determine who is at fault for a bicycle accident. If you’ve suffered an injury, please call 9-1-1 and ask for an ambulance as well as a police officer to be dispatched to the scene. The officer will ask you how the accident occurred. Be truthful, but don’t say anything the officer could construe as admitting fault. The insurance company will use that against you and make it very hard for you to get the money you have coming.
Evidence Used to Prove Liability
When pursuing compensation for injuries sustained in a bicycle accident, gathering as much evidence as possible to prove liability is essential. The following types of evidence can prove liability:
Photos and videos of the accident scene
Photos and videos can provide valuable visual evidence of the accident scene, including the position of vehicles involved, the condition of the road, and any other factors that may have contributed to the accident. As noted earlier, footage from nearby surveillance cameras may show how the accident occurred.
People who saw what happened can provide critical details. These details could prove to be invaluable to your case. Again, your attorney will interview the witnesses from whom you obtained contact information.
Medical records can help establish the extent and severity of injuries sustained in the accident. Records can also show the cost of medical treatment. This is why it’s so important that you get medical help as soon as possible. Some accident victims will refuse treatment because they think they feel fine. But once their adrenaline wears off, they realize they’ve suffered a severe injury.
Don’t let this happen to you. If you delay medical treatment, your injury will worsen significantly. Also, the insurance company will claim that you’re not really hurt or not hurt as badly as you claim.
Expert testimony from accident reconstruction specialists and medical professionals can provide valuable insight into the cause of the accident and the extent of the injuries sustained. You should hire an attorney who has relationships with effective experts, ones who can explain how an accident occurred in an easy-to-understand manner.
Who Will Pay for My Damages?
In most cases, the at-fault party’s insurance company will be responsible for paying for the damages resulting from a bicycle accident. However, the specific details of how damages will be paid will depend on the circumstances of the accident and the insurance coverage of the parties involved.
Florida follows a legal principle known as “comparative negligence.” If you were partially to blame for the accident, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of blame you’re assessed. For example, if you get 20% of the blame, you’ll receive 80% of your damages. If you were going to obtain $100,000, you’ll get $80,000 instead.
However, Florida’s comparative negligence law changed on March 23, 2023, when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed sweeping personal injury litigation changes into law. If someone is found to be 51% or more to blame for an accident, they will no longer be able to recover any damages. This means that instead of using “pure comparative negligence,” Florida now uses a “modified comparative negligence” structure.
Types of Damages You Can Recover
Individuals who have suffered an injury in a bicycle accident may be eligible to recover several types of damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Emotional trauma
How to File a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your damages. The following steps can help you file a bicycle accident lawsuit:
Hire an attorney
The initial consultation is where you’ll get to know your attorney and decide whether or not you’re comfortable with them representing you. This will also be a chance for your lawyer to spell out the strengths and weaknesses of your case
Your attorney will collect as much evidence as possible to support your case, including witness statements, surveillance video, and medical records. They’ll need to begin their investigation as quickly as possible before critical evidence fades away.
File a claim
Your attorney will file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, requesting compensation for your damages. They’ll send a “demand letter,” which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a demand for the compensation you deserve.
Negotiate a settlement
Your attorney will negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. They’ll have the facts on their side, so the insurer will more than likely agree to pay what you deserve. More than 90% of personal injury claims end in a settlement.
File a lawsuit
But, there are times when an insurer will refuse to settle. If this happens in your case, a lawyer with The Eberst Law Firm will be ready to represent you in court. We have a long track record of success defeating insurance companies at trial.
Contact Eberst Law Firm to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
If you’ve suffered an injury in a bicycle accident caused by another’s negligence, you must seek legal representation as soon as possible. The experienced attorneys at The Eberst Law Firm can answer all of your questions and work to recover the compensation you deserve. Use our online contact form or call 1-888-CALL-JON to schedule a free case evaluation.