Bicycle Accident Lawyers in Roswell, New Mexico
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Bicycle riding is a common and enjoyable pastime that people of all ages may engage in. Despite the known benefits of bicycling, there are hazards that bicyclists must be aware of at all times, especially as they are sharing the road with cars and other motor vehicles.. In fact, the most common bicycle accident occurs when a bicyclist is struck by another vehicle. Because a bicyclist has little protection when an accident occurs, they may suffer severe injuries. When that happens, a bicyclist will want a Roswell bicycle accident lawyer who can guide them through what happens next.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation today with a Roswell bicycle accident lawyer.
Bicycle Accidents Statistics
The frequency of bicycle accidents is of major concern on a national and state level. In 2015 alone, the CDC revealed that there were over 450,000 bicycle accident injuries in 2015. Medical costs and productivity losses totaled $10 billion. Additionally, adults between the ages of 50 and 59 are at the highest risk of suffering fatal injuries while riding a bike, while children and adolescents between 4 and 19 have the highest rate of non-fatal bicycle accident injuries.
When it comes to bicycle accidents in various states, New Mexico is the second most deadly state in the nation for bicycle accident injuries. Studies demonstrate that bicyclist deaths occur most commonly in urban areas and at non-intersection locations in New Mexico. On average, approximately 1,700 New Mexico residents are annually treated in the emergency department for bicycle accidents.
How Do Bicycle Accidents Happen?
There are a multitude of ways a bicycle accident can occur. Some examples include:
- Crashing into an opencar door
- Running into a car on the road
- Getting hit by a car turning left while riding through an intersection
- Being the victim of a driver’s road rage
- A driver driving recklessly and/or under the influence
- An important part of the bicycle’s machinery suddenly no longer working correctly
- Roadway defects such as potholes and improperly paved roads
- Bad weather conditions
As you can see, riding a bicycle can be a significant risk. If you are a bicyclist, it’s important to always remain vigilant. Stay aware of pedestrians and vehicles that may be on your bike path.
What Are Common Injuries From Bicycle Accidents?
A bicyclist’s injuries can be numerous and affect different areas of the body, including:
- Upper extremities
- Head (especially if the bicyclist is not wearing a helmet
That’s why it’s important to wear protective gear while riding a bike at all times. These include knee pads and helmets, which can greatly reduce the impact of a crash or fall.
What Should You Do After A Bicycle Accident?
A bicycle accident can be scary, but it’s important to know what to do after an accident to mitigate your injuries and damages. Here’s what to do if you ever find yourself involved in a bicycle accident:
1. Seek Medical Attention (If Necessary)
Immediately after an accident, you should examine yourself to determine whether your injuries are serious enough to warrant immediate medical attention. If you are critically injured, get to the emergency room as soon as possible. Even if you don’t think you are hurt, it’s important to seek evaluation, as some injuries may not appear until later.
2. Contact The Police and Emergency Medical Team
After evaluating your health, contact the police to report the accident. A police officer will arrive on the scene shortly to evaluate the accident and obtain information. Make sure to provide the police with your side of the story. Additionally, be mindful of the words you use and avoid admitting that the accident is your fault.
Importantly, obtain the police officer’s name, badge number, and police report number. Make sure to ask the police officer for a copy of the report after the officer completes their evaluation. The report will help you down the road in case you pursue legal action.
3. Document Evidence
If it is safe, take photos of the accident including any injuries, your bicycle, the responsible party, the driver who hit you (if a driver was involved), the immediate surroundings, and any traffic signs (or photos proving that there were no signs nearby). If there are any witnesses, make sure to obtain their name and contact information, as they will be helpful in proving your side of the case in the event that you pursue a claim.
Due to the fact that memories fade, it is important to document as much relevant information as you can while the event is fresh in your mind. This includes taking notes about the accident. These notes should include how it happened, who caused your accident to occur, and any other details that you feel could be helpful.
Furthermore, it is recommended that you document any and all medical expenses you received while treating your injuries. Include information regarding how the injury from the accident has negatively interfered with your day to day life. This will greatly assist in determining how much your claim is worth later.
4. Call a Personal Injury Attorney
Your next step should be to hire an experienced Roswell personal injury lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process. The lawyer will know how to investigate and present your claim in the best way so that you can obtain maximum compensation. Plus, your consultation will be 100% free. Importantly, personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means they do not get paid unless they win your case.
Roswell and New Mexico Bicycle Laws
In New Mexico, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. This means that bicyclists must obey general traffic laws such as yielding, stopping at a red light, and moving in the same direction as traffic. State law also requires that bicyclists cannot have another person on the bicycle with them, unless the bicycle is specifically designed to allow it, that no bicyclist can cling to a vehicle while operating their bicycle, and that when driving at night bicyclists equip lights on their bicycles that will grant visibility for hundreds of feet.
The Child Helmet Safety Act requires all bicyclists under the age of 18 to wear a helmet. However if an accident occurs to a child bicyclist who was not wearing a helmet, a court will not take that fact into consideration when determining who is at fault or what damages the victim is entitled to.
Who Is At Fault?
New Mexico is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that any party involved in the claim could be assigned a percentage of the overall fault. If you have any responsibility in the accident, your compensation will be reduced by whatever portion you are responsible for. For example, if your damages from the accident total $10,000 and the other party is found responsible for 90% of the damages you will receive $9,000 in compensation.
Common responsible parties for a bicycle accident injury are the driver of the vehicle, another bicyclist, the manufacturer of the bicycle, the local government, and an animal attack.
Driver of the Vehicle
If the driver of a vehicle caused your injury, you may be able to pursue a claim against the driver or the driver’s insurance. A driver has a higher likelihood of responsibility for your injury if the driver was operating their vehicle while intoxicated, speeding, not paying attention to their surroundings, not checking their blind spots before changing lanes, or recklessly trying to pass you on the road.
Vehicle drivers owe a greater duty of care to children riding their bicycles than for adults riding their bicycles. This means that a driver on the road must possess an increased focus and awareness when children on their bicycles are near. That is because young children have a greater tendency to suddenly drift into the driver’s side of the road or make other mistakes when a driver is close to them. Schools, parks, and residential neighborhoods are common places where children ride bicycles.
Sometimes when a vehicle causes your injury the driver decides to leave the scene before you can obtain their information. As long as you have automobile liability insurance, you could receive protection through uninsured motorist coverage.
In the event that another bicyclist caused your injury, you can file a claim against the bicyclist or the bicyclist’s insurer.
Manufacturer of the Bicycle
The manufacturer of your bicycle may be liable for your injury if you can clearly show that the injury would not have happened if the bicycle was properly manufactured. For example, if your injury occurred because of a crash that would have been prevented if your brakes worked properly, you can bring a claim against the manufacturer for not installing the bicycle’s brakes correctly.
The Local Government
Bicyclists may have to deal with inadequate conditions such as potholes, uneven roads, and large cracks. It is up to the local government to ensure that road conditions are safe for their citizens to use. The failure to fix the roads, especially if there are no traffic signs indicating any hazards or problems, opens the government up to a potential injury lawsuit.
If someone’s pet attacked you while you were on your bicycle and caused an accident, you may file a claim against the pet’s owner. A pet owner is strictly liable for the actions of their animal. Our dog bite accident lawyers are here for you if you sustained injuries after an animal attack while bicycling.
What Can You Obtain For Compensation?
After a bicycle accident, you are likely wondering what you can receive in compensation. For any successful bicycle accident claim, you will need to prove that the responsible party was negligent. This means that you must show that the responsible party owed you a duty of care that was breached Then, you have to be able to prove that this breach of duty caused your injuries.
Sometimes, you do not have to prove that the other party owed you a duty of care. Rather, if the responsible party drove through a stop sign or red traffic light, for example, a court will determine that negligence per se applies. This means that the other party is responsible for your injury simply by violating an established law or custom.
For a personal injury lawsuit under New Mexico law, you have the ability to obtain economic damages, non-economic damages, and potentially punitive damages. Here is an explanation of each category of damages:
Economic damages is compensation for monetary losses, such as medical expenses (past and future), loss of earnings, loss of use of property, and loss of future employment. To ensure you receive accurate compensation for your economic damages, keep documents which demonstrate your medical expenses, property damages, and missed work.
Non-economic damages is compensation for non-monetary losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience, and loss of companionship. Non-economic damages are harder to quantify than economic damages, however, your attorney will help determine the value of your non-monetary losses.
Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages punish the responsible party rather than making the victim “whole again.” A court may award punitive damages in addition to economic damages in a situation where the responsible party was reckless or acted intentionally.
You must meet a very high standard to obtain punitive damages. Consult with your Roswell injury attorney to determine if punitive damages may be possible for you.
How Long Will It Take To Resolve A Claim?
There is no clear answer as to how long it will take to resolve your injury claim. It will depend on a number of factors, including the extent of your injuries, if you received any medical services, whether the responsible party has insurance, and the result of legal negotiations.
What Are The Statutes Of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is the time you have to file a claim. In New Mexico, the state’s statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is three years, and the statute of limitations for damage to personal property is four years. This means that if you are in a bicycle accident, you have three years from the time of the accident to file a claim against the responsible party to recover for your injuries and four years if you are trying to recover for damages to your personal property (your bicycle) in the accident.
There is an exception if the victim is a child. If a party injures a child while the child was on their bicycle, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until the child turns 18. For example, if the child was injured at 10 years old, they will be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible party until the child turns 21 years old.
How Can A Bicyclist Protect Themselves From Future Accidents?
Experts have a list of safety tips that bicyclists should follow in order to avoid future accidents.
- Follow all traffic laws including stop signs and yield signs.
- Focus on your surroundings including nearby vehicles, pedestrians, and objects.
- Be aware of drivers who appear distracted.
- Avoid using your phone.
- Do not drink alcohol before using your bicycle.
- While bicycling at night, wear reflective clothing to allow drivers to see you from a distance.
- Use a helmet.
Zinda Law Group’s ROSWELL BICYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYERS ARE HERE TO HELP
If you were involved in a bicycle accident, you should focus on your health, rehabilitation, and getting back to where you were prior to the accident. Your Roswell bicycle accident attorney willwalk you through the legal process and help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries. You shouldn’t have to go through the legal process alone.
At Zinda Law Group, our Roswell bicycle accident attorneys have the experience and knowledge to pursue your entitled maximum compensation for your injury. You do not owe us any money unless we win your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. Call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.