Personal Injuries & Wrongful Death Caused by Bike Accidents
A bicycle accident may be a cause of serious injury or wrongful death, usually to the rider of the bicycle as opposed to the driver of a motor vehicle that may have struck the cyclist. According to nationwide traffic accident statistics from 2010, as presented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 610 cyclists lost their lives and 52,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents. These statistics include riders of bicycles, tricycles, unicycles and other similar vehicles powered solely by pedals. 3% of the 1,200 people who lost their lives in New York traffic accidents were cyclists. More than 900 bicyclists were killed in the year 2013 alone, a number that has remained fairly consistent with time. In addition to fatalities, nearly 500,000 patients were treated in emergency rooms across the U.S. due to bicycle accident-related injuries. Following a bicycle accident, consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss your options for recovering compensation.
One may choose to ride a bicycle for pleasure, exercise or to commute to and from work or school. This mode of transportation is not only environmentally friendly but is convenient for short distances and offers the rider a healthy way to get from point A to point B. Unfortunately, when cyclists have to share the road with motorists, the results can be deadly. A bicycle and rider, weighing somewhere around 150-200 pounds, is no match for a motor vehicle. Even a standard passenger car may weigh 3,000 to 5,000 pounds. In a collision with thousands of pounds of steel, the rider of the bicycle is likely to lose. As a cyclist, it is important to take specific safety measures to avoid an accident in the first place.
Important Safety Tips
As a bicycle rider, there are steps you can take to minimize injuries and possibly avoid an accident in the first place. First and foremost, it is important to always wear a helmet. This act alone may end up saving your life if you are struck by a motor vehicle. You must also always obey the same rules of the road that apply to drivers of cars, trucks and other vehicles. Know the traffic laws and be sure to follow them. Because many bike accidents are caused by motorists who simply “didn’t see” the bicycle and rider, it may be helpful to increase your visibility to others. Wear bright colors. At night, use a front light and red reflector or flashing rear light. Use reflective tape or markings on your bike, helmet and clothing. Ride as though others cannot see you, as this may very well be the case. Do not make sudden moves and always be aware of drivers around you. Even if you properly signal, be sure to look both ways before making a left or right-hand turn.
Injuries to Bicyclists
The injuries sustained in bike accidents have the potential to be severe or life-threatening. Some of the common injuries experienced by bicyclists in a crash include:
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Facial, scalp, or head injury;
- Broken bones;
- Spinal cord injuries
- External injuries;
- Road burn;
- Internal injury; and
- Cuts and lacerations.
With few protections, a bicyclist almost always fares much worse than does a motorist in a bicycle crash involving a motor vehicle. In addition to physical harm, a bicycle crash can cause psychological harm and economic losses, too.
Even when wearing a helmet and other safety gear, a bicycle rider may experience these and other injuries. They may result from low or high-speed collisions alike. The resulting medical bills may be astronomical, particularly if the cyclist must be taken from the scene in an ambulance and hospitalized for his or her injuries. Expenses associated with continued medical care, such as physical therapy, medication or assistive medical devices, may add to medical costs. In addition to the medical expenses a bicycle accident victim and his or her family may face, there is the matter of lost earnings. The cyclist may miss a considerable amount of work, losing much-needed income.
The financial impact of a bike crash may be profound. That is why we recommend discussing your right to compensation with an attorney at Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC. The party that caused the accident may be held accountable, in civil court, for the injuries you have experienced. You may be able to recover money for medical bills, continued medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering by way of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Causes of Bicycling Accidents
Bicycling accidents occur due to the negligence of both bicyclists and drivers. However, most cycling accidents are not caused by the risky behavior of the involved cyclist; rather, a vehicle following behind a bicyclist too closely, a driver failing to look properly before passing or turning, and driving at an unsafe speed are all more likely causes. Driving while distracted, driving while impaired, and driving aggressively can also lead to the occurrence of bicycle accident.
Who is Liable in a Bicycle Accident?
Most bicyclists who are injured in a cycling accident will be able to file a claim with an insurance company – either their own or that of the other driver’s, depending upon the state, the policies held by each party, and fault. In addition to filing an insurance claim, though, a bicyclist may also be able to file a civil action directly against the at-fault driver. If the driver acted negligently, and the accident would not have occurred but for the driver’s negligence, then the driver will be held liable for damages. The same is true for cyclist’s irresponsible actions – when a cyclist’s behavior causes the accident, then he or she will be held liable.
Meet with a Bicycle Accident Attorney to Learn More Today
If you have been in a bicycle accident, you do not have to accept an insurance company’s settlement offer. Instead, you can hire an attorney who can negotiate for a higher offer on your behalf, or help you to file a civil action directly against the at-fault driver. To meet with the experienced bicycle accident attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC as soon as possible, call us today.