Bicycle accidents happen quite frequently. In fact, there were about 467,000 bicycle accident related injuries reported in 2015 alone. Bicyclists face a higher risk of crash related injury and deaths than occupants in motor vehicles– costing nearly $10 billion in medical costs and productivity losses each year. What’s even worse is that many of these accidents are never reported to the police and very few victims take steps to seek compensation for their injuries.
Whether big or small, a bicycle accident can alter your life. In the immediate aftermath, you are inevitably shaken with thoughts racing through your mind – how did it happen? Didn’t the driver see me? Why was there a pothole on the road? And if you suffered injuries from your accident, you may be stuck with big medical bills or loss of work. You didn’t cause the accident, so how would you go about seeking a claim?
Bicycle accident claims can be difficult for several reasons, mainly that it is often the cyclist’s word against the driver. Without eye witnesses, it is basically a he said/she said. In addition, it can be difficult to recall exactly what happened. Even if you think you remember all the details, time can affect your recollection, which can affect your claim. As mentioned earlier, most bicycle accidents aren’t reported to the police and victims may not seek medical attention for their injuries. Without expert testimony from medical professionals, law enforcement, or bicycle safety specialists, your claim may be hard to prove. But, despite these hurdles, there are many bicycle accident victims that can succeed in their claim.
Below, we highlight some important elements of a bicycle accident claim.
Someone is usually the cause of an accident. The reasons vary and can be as innocent as they didn’t see you or they could be ignoring road safety laws such as driving above the speed limit. Determining who caused the accident and how the accident happened is the element of fault. For a successful claim, you will need to show that the driver of the vehicle was at fault. That his or her deliberate actions caused the accident.
If the accident was caused by an external factor such as poor road maintenance or lack of signage, you can seek a claim due to lack of a duty of care. A duty of care is the responsibility to do or maintain things that will reduce or avoid harm to others. Whoever has the duty to maintain the roads or traffic signals failed their duty of care if those things were not properly maintained and caused your accident.
It is not enough to merely prove fault in a bicycle accident claim. To be entitled to compensation, you need to prove that you suffered harm or damage to you personally and/or your property.]
If your bicycle has been damaged in the accident, then there is clear evidence of harm. Pictures of the damage and an estimate of repairs are good to keep on hand for your claim, If you have been injured in the crash, your injuries – whether physical or psychological – need to be proven with evidence of medical records or testimony from medical professionals.
The third element of a successful bicycle accident claim is proximity. This means that the actions of the other party were the direct, or proximate, cause of your injury or loss. If a speeding vehicle crashes into your bicycle causing injury to you and/or damage to your bike, then there’s a direct cause. However, most accidents do not have such clear causes of damage. A speeding car that hits another car and causes that vehicle to veer off the road and hit you on your bike has a less clear sense of proximity. A key question to ask to determine proximity is: would the accident have occurred if the other party had not been at fault?
Bicycle accident claims can be difficult to establish, but if you prove these three elements, you have laid a solid groundwork for a successful claim. Hiring an experienced bicycle accident attorney is a critical component of a claim. If you’d like to learn more about making a successful bicycle accident claim, please contact Trentalange & Kelley, P.A. today.