According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 900 cyclists died and 494,000 sustained serious injuries from bicycle related accidents in 2013. One third of all non-fatal cyclist accidents involve adolescents and young adults. If you are involved in a bicycle related accident, you are entitled to compensation from the guilty party. The following web page will discuss types of bicycle accidents and injuries, laws concerning cyclists, and compensation for injuries.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
Many bicycle accidents involve vehicles and include incidences like:
- When a motorist hits a bicycle when overtaking or changing lanes
- When a motorist turns in front of a bicycle that is headed towards it
- When a vehicle’s door is opened in front of an approaching cyclist
- When a motorist hits a cyclist while turning left with the cyclist on the inside
Common Bicycle Injuries
Like vehicle accidents, compensation for bicycle accidents is based on the nature of the injuries sustained. Some of the common injuries resulting from bicycle accidents include:
- Head injury- Head injuries are serious and may arise even if you were wearing head gear. Claims for head injuries tend to be high because many victims suffer from brain trauma or other related disorders.
- Arm injury- These injuries often arise when a cyclist is propelled forward and strikes the windscreen or car bonnet or when the door of a vehicle is opened abruptly.
- Leg Injury- This type of injury occurs when a cyclist falls on one of their legs or when their leg is run over by a vehicle.
- Whiplash/back/neck injuries- This happens when the impact of the accident causes significant neck or back injuries.
The Law on Bicycle Accidents
In many states, cyclists are required to abide by the same rules as motorists. There are substantial penalties and fines for cyclists who violate bicycle laws. Knowledge of these laws is not only necessary for safety measures, but also helps you to determine liability for an accident.
Motorists and cyclists have the same rights on roadways and the same duty to obey traffic laws. Some of the general laws for cyclists are as follows:
- You should cycle with the flow of traffic and not against it.
- You can be arrested for riding your bicycle while impaired or intoxicated
- Your bicycle should have brakes
- During the night, you should wear a reflector and have bright lights to announce your presence to other cyclists and motorists
- Everyone riding on your bike should have their own separate seat
- You should not carry objects or packages that impair your ability to turn, stop, or brake the bicycle
- You are restricted from riding on major roadways or highways that pose unreasonable risk to your safety
- You are not allowed to wear headphones when riding as this could inhibit you from hearing emergency sirens
- If riding at a speed that is less than the flow of traffic, you should stay on a designated cycling lane or to the extreme right
If during the accident, you were in violation of the bicycle laws in your state, you may loose you right to seek compensation or get a reduced damage award based on the law of comparative negligence.
Proving Fault in Bicycle Accident Claims
The main basis for personal injury claims involving bicycle accidents is negligence. For you to succeed in getting compensation, you need to prove four elements of negligence:
Duty of Care: You need to prove that the defendant was legally required to exercise duty of care towards you
Breach of Duty of Care: You need to prove that the motorist failed to exercise duty of care towards you.
Causation: You need to prove that the accident was directly caused by the motorist’s failure to exercise duty of care towards you.
Damages: You need to prove that the defendant’s failure to exercise duty of care caused you to sustain injuries
Compensation For Bicycle Accident Injuries
Compensation for injuries arising from a bicycle accident is the same as those involving car accidents. Damages include medical bills, cost of repairing your bicycle, lost wages, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering.
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