Bicyclists’ RightsLast updated on: December 16, 2020
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In the worst-case scenario where a bicycle accident yields injuries that warrant an insurance claim or lawsuit, it is in your best interest to have an experienced attorney on your side fighting for you. This is the most efficient way to deal with insurance companies and it may increase your ability to recover the maximum amount of compensation that you may be entitled to. An attorney may play the important role of advocate and negotiator, and provide you with important guidance on the legal process.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), estimates that in 2018 there were approximately 857 bicyclists killed in traffic crashes in the United States. They further state that when a crash occurs between a vehicle and a bike, it is the cyclist who is statistically more likely to be injured. This makes sense because cars are a lot heavier and are capable of traveling a lot faster than the average car is.
Bicyclists, whether riding for sport or fun, must share the road with other motor vehicles and even pedestrians. Thus, there are certain protocols bicyclists are asked to follow and there are certain rights a bicyclist is entitled to in order to protect their safety and well-being while sharing space on our nation’s roadways. Your rights as a bicyclist may vary depending upon which state you live in. Each state has its own bicycle laws, so you should look at your state’s laws on bicyclists’ rights when trying to determine which protections are owed to you by other drivers on the road.
What Road Rights does a Bicyclist have?
Bicyclists have a number of rights and obligations when sharing the road with other drivers. A few of those rights and obligations include the following:
- Bicyclists should always remain on the right side of the road and travel in the same direction as other traffic.
- Bicyclists should avoid weaving in and out of traffic or darting into lanes in a way that drivers may not expect or anticipate.
- Bicyclists have a right to use the open, public road.
- Bicyclists should try to be as visible as possible to others on the road or pedestrians.
- Bicyclists need to obey street signs, signals, and road markings in order to protect them and allow them the same privileges as a motor vehicle has on the road.
- Bicyclists have a right to be safe and wear necessary safety equipment such as a helmet.
What to Do if One of My LEGAL Rights as a Bicyclist is Broken?
If one of your rights is violated as a bicyclist then you may have standing to seek compensation. However, this depends on whether or not the violation of your rights as a bicyclist resulted in injury or other property damage. To hold another party responsible for violating your rights on the road, you will need to show that they were negligent. Negligence requires you to prove that there was a duty owed, that duty was subsequently breached, the breach caused your injury, and there was in fact injury for which you can seek damages.
If your bicycle accident was caused by another roadway user violating your rights to safety on the road and this caused you an injury, then here are a few steps you can take to ensure your safety and initiate a claim.
Even after administering basic first aid, it is still important to seek medical attention by going to an emergency room or other doctor. Even when you think you may not have any serious visible injuries, you may still have suffered internal injuries that aren’t outwardly apparent. Regardless of your injuries, if you are considering seeking legal compensation after an accident, an official record of your injuries and treatment by a medical professional is essential to filing a claim.
Call the Police
It is always best to call the police after a bike accident or any accident so that they can create and file an official police report. It is important to be honest with the police about what happened, your injuries, and any other information relating to the accident. The report created by the police will also be an important piece of evidence in your claim.
Document the Scene Yourself
The police will document what happened and anything else they deem relevant, but it never hurts to make your own documentation. Do your best to document anything you can. Take pictures of the area where the accident occurred, the bike and any damage, and your injuries as soon as you can, and try to write down any memorable details about what happened.
Speak with an Attorney
Hiring a bike accident lawyer is the best way to ensure you are being treated fairly by the legal process and the insurance companies involved. Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group have a breadth of experience dealing with bike accident claims. Call our office today free of charge to speak with an attorney about your bicycle accident and your possible claim.
Once you speak with an attorney and hire them to help you with your claim, they may launch an investigation into the incident. This investigation will include speaking with insurance, going through your medical records, reviewing photographs, and speaking to any relevant witnesses.
Legal claims often require a lengthy negotiation process. The responsible party may reach out at some point to your attorney with an offer of settlement. Parties often settle lawsuits before they go to trial so that no one has to deal with the court process and the risk of losing in front of a jury. Most cases settle. However, initial settlement offers often aren’t adequate. Therefore, an attorney may advise you on whether or not to accept and offer or negotiate further.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
While this is not a comprehensive list, the following are some of the common injuries that may occur once you are involved in a bike accident:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and scrapes
- Spinal injuries
- Neck injuries
- Skull fractures or brain injuries
- Shock and emotional trauma
- Internal bleeding
- In serious cases, potential death
How Do I Know I Have a Real Claim to Make?
The best way to know if you have a potential claim as a result of a bicycle accident is to speak with an experienced attorney to discuss your claim. Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help. We want to ensure that everybody has access to quality representation regardless of his or her financial resources. That is why we offer free case evaluations to potential new clients. Give our office a call today to speak with a lawyer who dealt with injury claims resulting from the violation of bicyclist’s rights. We may be able to give you advice about how to handle your claim.
What DAMAGES MAY I Seek in a Bicyclist Accident?
After a bicycle accident, you may generally be able to recover two different types of damages for your injuries. These damages can be categorized as both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate you for expenses that are easily quantifiable, such as medical expenses or lost wages. Non-economic damages are less concrete and seek to compensate a victim for less tangible injuries. This may include compensation for pain and suffering.
Legal Time Limits
Each state has a statute of limitations, which is the legally permissible time frame in which you are allowed to file a legal claim for compensation. The statute of limitations varies by state and by type of claim. For example, a personal injury action, such as a bicycle accident has a statute of limitations of two years in some places. This is just an example, and the time frame on your claim may be different depending on where you live. Failure to file your claim within the statute of limitations may result in you being barred from bringing a claim altogether.
An experienced attorney in your state may advise you on your local statute of limitations and help ensure your claim is filed on time.
CALL ZINDA LAW GROUP FOR MORE HELP EVALUATING YOUR CLAIM
Personal injury cases are very complex, which is why it is in your best interest to have a knowledgeable lawyer on your side. At Zinda Law Group, our bike accident attorneys have the experience and resources necessary to advocate on your behalf. Let us help ensure your rights as a bicyclist are protected. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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