Americans are bicycling more frequently to commute, exercise, and for leisure. However, there are about 846 bicycle fatalities per year, making the roadways hazardous for bicyclists.
From congested roads to reckless motorists, bicycle accidents are bound to happen. However, with so much mayhem, it may be difficult to prove who was actually responsible for the crash.
So, who is at fault for a bicycle accident? When proving liability and identifying the guilty party in an accident, it’s important to consider the following.
Determining Fault in a Bike Accident
Before you start pursuing compensation, you need to identify the party liable for the bicycle accident. Fault is often determined based on the concept of negligence.
Since all road users owe each other a duty of care, breaching this duty of care constitutes negligence. Here are some of the parties that can be held responsible after you get into a bike accident.
When a bicycle accident occurs, the blame can go to the cyclist. As a cyclist, you may cause an accident due to negligent behavior like distracted driving, speeding, driving under the influence, and more.
Depending on the cause of the accident, the cyclist may be at fault for your accident either completely or partially.
If the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident was distracted, impaired, or didn’t obey the applicable traffic laws, they may be held responsible. This means they have to cater for compensation for injuries and damages incurred during the accident.
Did you get into an accident because of hazardous roads or poor road signage?
Poor roads and incorrect traffic signs can lead to an accident. If this happens, the government entity responsible for that roadway or traffic signs can be held liable for the crash and your damages and injuries.
The Bicycle’s Manufacturer and Parts Maker
When defective parts on a bicycle cause an accident, the bicycle manufacturer and parts marker can become responsible for the injuries and damages you suffer. A bicycle accident lawyer can help you file a product liability claim to get you the compensation you deserve.
Elements of Negligence in a Bicycle Accident
To win a personal injury claim, you and your bike accident attorney have to show the other road user or party was negligent. Establishing a valid claim requires you to show the following elements:
- Duty of Care: This is the at-fault party’s legal obligation to act or drive safely
- Breach of Duty: The at-fault party breaches their legal duty to act with care by speeding, disregarding traffic laws, or making defective products
- Causation: If the at-fault party’s negligent actions caused your accident, your lawyer has a chance to file a lawsuit
- Damages and Injuries: You should prove that you suffered damages and injuries because of the bicycle accident with evidence like medical records and photos
Compensation You Deserve After a Bicycle Accident
Depending on the injuries and damage, there are various types of compensation available for victims of bike accidents.
Compensation for Injuries
Due to the vulnerability of bicycles, a bike accident can cause tragic injuries including permanent brain or spinal cord injury. If you’ve got bicycle accident injuries due to the negligent actions of another party, you have every right to sue them.
Since these injuries may lead to permanent disabilities or lower your lifespan, our Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyer can help you get compensation for future medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Compensation for Property Damage
Apart from bicycle injuries, you can also incur some economic damages after a bike accident. When you file a lawsuit, the court will help you determine the fair market value of your bicycle before the accident. Then, they will assess the damage and come up with the amount of compensation you need.
Compensation for Wrongful Death
Unfortunately, bike accidents can lead to the loss of the life of your loved one. Although a wrongful death attorney can’t bring your loved one back, they can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
They can help you get compensation for the loss of companionship, loss of care, and loss of value your loved one could have had if they’d lived until natural death.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
When you are involved in a bike accident, the most important thing is to ensure you are safe. But there are several steps you must follow to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. They include the following.
Step 1: Call 9-1-1
After the accident, call 9-1-1 to report your bicycle accident and request medical help. The police will create a detailed report about your accident that may help prove your case. You can ask the officer for a copy of the report or the place you can obtain the copy from.
Step 2: Seek Medical Treatment
Even if you don’t notice any physical injuries, you should get medical help. Seeing a medical professional right away can reduce the risk of injuries.
It can also help you have a clear record of injuries you can use to seek compensation. In case of severe injuries, an ambulance will take you to the nearest hospital for treatment.
Step 3: Photograph the Accident
Capturing photo or video evidence can give a clear picture of how the bicycle accident occurred. The pictures should include your injuries and the accident scene.
Step 4: Talk to Witnesses
You can talk to witnesses and get their take on the accident. They can be useful in identifying the at-fault party and proving your claim. Also remember to ask for their name, contact information, and permission to contact later to discuss the accident.
Qualified and Aggressive Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Did you or your loved one get into a bicycle accident? The Law Offices of Daniel Kim can help. We’ll fight tirelessly to get you the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today to get a free consultation.