Did you know that many cyclists choose not to file a bicycle accident claim, just because they’ve contributed to their injuries by not wearing some safety gear?
While such behavior is considered unsafe and may impact the amount of compensation you’re entitled to, did you know that wearing helmets and similar gear is not required by law in many states?
What this essentially means is that even in these circumstances, you’d still be eligible to recover damages suffered as a result of your bicycle accident.
There are other important things to consider when deciding whether to file a bicycle accident claim. In this article, we’ve explored the most important ones for you to know and pay attention to before going to the insurance companies or the court.
1. Determining who’s at fault for a bicycle accident can be a challenge
Determining who’s liable for your bicycle accident will largely depend on the cause of the accident.
To get to the bottom of what caused your bicycle accident, you’ll likely need the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Upon your first consultation, you can expect your lawyer to ask you questions about the circumstances of your accident. These might include inspecting whether:
- You’ve been hit by a vehicle steered by a negligent driver.
- The conditions of the road where you’ve been cycling were unsafe.
- Maintenance of the property you’ve cycled through was faulty.
- Your bicycle was defective in any way
Depending on your answers, your lawyer will attempt to figure out the parties that played a role in creating unsafe conditions and are therefore responsible for the injuries you’ve suffered as a result of their negligence.
So, what does that really mean?
Well, a person is considered negligent if they acted or failed to act with the level of care expected from a reasonable person in specific circumstances.
For example, a car driver who hits a cyclist would be considered negligent if they were driving under the influence, speeding, or ignoring traffic signals.
Another example is a city or government that doesn’t take care of its pavement, sidewalks, and intersections. In this case, public property owners would be negligent for bicycle accidents caused by such poor maintenance.
Lastly, there are some incidents in which the actions of cyclists contribute to the accident. This type of negligence is called contributory negligence.
If this is the case with your situation, it’s important that you know that this doesn’t take away your right to seek damages in a bicycle accident claim. However, your damages will likely be reduced by a percentage corresponding to your fault for the accident.
2. The timeframe within which you file a bicycle accident claim matter
Nearly every state has a statute of limitations for filing a bicycle accident claim. This is a time limit within which you can initiate legal proceedings against a negligent party.
Why is this time frame important? Well, because if you miss this time frame, that means you’ll permanently lose a chance to recover damage sustained as a result of your accident.
The tricky thing about statutes of limitations is that they aren’t universal.
Each state determines its own time limits and figuring them out without the assistance of a lawyer specializing in bicycle accidents might be tricky.
With the experience of over 50 years in cases like this, S&B lawyers for bicycle accidents can ensure that you never miss a single deadline and receive fair compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered in a bike accident.
3. Which damages you can recover will largely depend on your injuries
Now, this one’s important, so pay close attention to this paragraph.
There are numerous types of injuries you can suffer as a result of a bicycle accident. Some are minor, like scrapes and bruises, while others, like fractures and head injuries, can be serious and potentially life-threatening.
Whether your injuries are physical or physiological, their:
- Time expected and needed for recovery
- Impact on your life duration and quality
Will largely affect the amount of compensation you’re entitled to.
For this reason, you’ll want to hire a bicycle accident lawyer who’ll promptly advise you about the medical care you need and the medical documentation that you need to gather.
This documentation will serve as one of the most important pieces of evidence before the insurance company and court.
Besides being able to recover damages for personal injuries, you might also be eligible to get compensation for personal property damage. This could help cover your expenses for bike repairs or potential replacements.
Finally, if your bicycle accident has caused you an injury due to which you were unable to work for some time, you may be able to recover lost earnings in a bicycle accident claim too.