Bicycle accidents involving collisions with motor vehicles can be devastating.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, cyclists and pedestrians account for approximately 19% of all traffic fatalities.
Not only are you likely to suffer serious injuries, but you may also have to deal with complicated legal proceedings.
If you’ve been injured in a bike accident, it’s important to understand your rights and speak with an personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
In this webpage, we’ll discuss the basics of bicycle accidents and why it’s crucial to have legal representation.
Common Injuries when bicycle accidents happen
Car accidents, as you might understand, may share some common injuries with one another.
Of course, that’s true also for motorcycle accidents. Biking wrecks, especially those involving Car vs Bicycle and Truck vs Bicycle and Bus vs Bicycle tend to be especially traumatic.
As an attorney who helps people with bicycle accidents on the Outer Banks and an avid cyclist myself, I’ve seen how badly people can be injured – Danny Glover Jr., OBX Bicycle Accident Lawyer
- Head injuries: Head injuries are one of the most common types of injuries sustained in bicycle accidents. TBI or Traumatic Brain Injuries are particularly problematic and can have life-altering consequences.
- Neck injuries: neck injuries can be very painful and debilitating. If you’ve been in a bicycle accident, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.
- Back injuries: back injuries can range from mild to severe. If you’ve been in a bicycle accident, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.
- Spinal cord injuries: spinal cord injuries can be life-threatening. If you or someone you know has been in a bicycle accident, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.
- Wrist, Hand, and Arm Injuries: wrist, hand, and arm injuries are some of the most common types of injuries sustained in bicycle accidents.
- Road Rash: road rash is a common type of injury sustained in bicycle accidents. It can be very painful and lead to infection if not treated properly.
What To Do If You Are In A Bicycle Accident
If you are involved in a bike crash, there are a few things you should do:
1. Seek medical attention right away. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor.
2. Call the police. The police will make a report of the accident, which can be helpful if you decide to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
3. Take pictures of the scene of the accident, including any property damage and injuries.
4. Get the contact information of any witnesses to the bike crash.
5. Contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
When is the Best Time to Hire a Lawyer?
Is the insurance claims process different?
Bicycle accidents and bicyclist deaths due to the negligence of a motor vehicle driver can be somewhat unique in the fact that they may involve multiple insurance companies.
In some instances, the rider may have their own insurance policy that could cover some of the damages sustained in the accident.
The negligent motor vehicle driver’s insurance company may also be liable for the damages. A fair number of drivers do not understand bicycle riders enjoy many of the same rights as other motorists on the roadway.
Because there may be more than one insurance company involved, it is important to speak with a lawyer who has experience handling claims involving bike accidents.
An experienced lawyer will know how to navigate the complex web of insurance policies and seek to recover full and fair compensation for your injuries – Danny Glover, OBX Accident Lawyer
We offer a free consultation for accidents involving bicycles. Call now to schedule an appointment with OBX Cyclist Lawyer Danny Glover Jr.
What kind of damages can I receive for a bicycle accident?
If you’re involved in a bicycle accident, you may be able to receive damages for your injuries.
That may include compensation for things like medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and wrongful death claims.
In certain circumstances, punitive damges may be available if the negligent, at fault motorist was drunk driving at the time.
What is the statute of limitations for a bicycle accident?
The statute of limitations is the time period in which you can file a lawsuit and seek compensation when drivers fail to follow the traffic laws.
For a bicycle accident, the statute of limitations is usually three years.
If the accident results in the death of the plaintiff (fatal bike crashes), the statute of limitations may be as short as two years.
Each case is different.
It’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after the bike accident to make sure you do not run afoul of the applicable statute of limitations in NC.
Failure to file suit within the period of time set under the law could result in the complete waiver of your right to recover damages.
Seek legal advice immediately to discuss the unique aspects and fact pattern of your matter.
What is negligence? When is someone legally liable?
To prove someone is liable for your injuries in a bike accident, the Plaintiff bears the Burden of Proof to show that the other person was negligent.
Negligence is defined as the failure to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury or loss. Driver negligence is a leading cause of dangerous collisions, injuries and fatalities in North Carolina.
In order to succeed in a negligence claim, you will need to prove four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Duty of Care
The first element of negligence is duty. The defendant (the person you are suing) must owe you a duty of care.
This means that they must take reasonable care to avoid a collision, causing you injury. Relative to protecting bicycle riders, it involves making smart decisions and keeping a proper lookout.
For example, all drivers on the road have a duty of care to other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists in a bike lane.
Breach of Duty
The second element of negligence is the breach or the “breach of duty” owed to others. This means that the defendant must have breached their duty of care to you.
Relative to Bike Accidents, traffic crashes may involve negligence such as:
- Failing to give way when they should have
- Failure to observe road markings, street signs, and bike lanes
- Speeding and Unsafe Lane changes
- Running Red Lights or Stop Signs
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Not paying attention to the road
- Failing to signal and Failure to Remain in the proper traffic lanes
- Failure to change driving due to dangerous conditions or inclement weather
- Failure to Yield to Oncoming Traffic
Causation – Proximate Cause
The third element of negligence is causation. This means that the breach of duty must have caused your injuries. Lawyers may refer to that as the proximate cause of the wreck or collision.
There would be no negligence claim if you were not injured as a result of the defendant’s breach.
The fourth and final element of negligence is damages. This means that you must have suffered some type of loss or damage as a result of the defendant’s breach.
This could include:
- Physical injuries
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of earnings
- Property Damage
- Wrongful Death
- Permanent Disfigurement
If you can prove all four elements of negligence, then you could have a successful claim against the person who injured you and they may be held liable.
It’s important to understand though, there may be certain defenses available to the person who caused the accident.
For example, even if the other driver caused the accident, the fact pattern may support the defense of contributory negligence.
That’s why we think it’s important to speak with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer.
We can help explain your legal options and your rights under the NC accident laws.
What is “Contrib” and What Does It Mean?
In North Carolina, contributory negligence is a legal doctrine that may be used as a defense to avoid liability.
If the jury finds that the plaintiff was even 1% at fault for the accident, then the plaintiff will be completely barred from recovering any damages.
So, if a driver hits you while you are riding your bike and the jury finds that you were not paying attention and failed to see the car coming (even though the driver ran a red light), then you would not be able to recover any damages because you were also negligent.
This is just one example of how contributory negligence can come into play in bicycle accident cases in North Carolina.