Early autumn is a perfect time to get out there and hop back on your bike while the weather is still nice—but a casual ride can easily take a hard turn if you’re not careful. Do you know what to do if you’re in a crash? We’re here to help you stay safe and determine liability for bicycle accidents.
Major causes of bicycle accidents
More than 800 people die and hundreds of thousands more are injured on average each year in bicycle-related incidents. Collisions with motor vehicles cause about a third of all injuries, while poorly maintained roads, defective equipment and collisions with another cyclist account for most of the rest.
The liability of a crash depends on the situation in which you were injured. If you:
- Were hit by a motor vehicle driver you will likely be able to file a claim against their auto insurance company.
- Fell on a poorly designed or repaired street you may be able to seek damages from agencies responsible for the roadway.
- Fell due to poor equipment you may be able to seek damages from the bicycle manufacturer for negligence.
Collisions with a pedestrian or another cyclist depend on right-of-way rules for the area to determine who was at fault. If you are found to be at fault you may actually have to end up paying for damages.
Types of damages
If you are injured in a cycling accident you may be eligible for three types of damages depending on liability:
- Economic: medical expenses, lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses like repairs
- Non-economic: compensation for subjective trauma such as pain and suffering and quality of life issues
- Punitive damages: awarded to punish egregious offenders if their conduct was grossly negligent (e.g. drunk drivers and street racers)
Stay safe and understand your rights
Always remember: wear a helmet, put on bright clothing and never drink and ride. If you are involved in an accident you should first ensure your safety, then call 911, report your version of events, collect evidence and keep records. Hiring the right personal injury attorney can go a long way in taking these steps and making you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn how we can help.