Bicycle riders are at a disadvantage when sharing the road with cars and other bigger vehicles. Often, there are no designated paths for them to take. Although they obey traffic rules, they are ignored by drivers.
That is why accidents involving cyclists are very common. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018, 857 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents.
One common accident involving cyclists is being rammed from behind by a larger vehicle. When this happens, the bicycle rider may sustain very serious injuries. It can also be fatal.
If you, or your loved one, have been involved in a road accident, you can sue the other party if you believe that they are at fault. You may collect compensation for the injuries you sustained, the loss of income as a result of the injury, the medical bills you had to pay, etc.
But, first, here are some things that you need to know.
Call a Lawyer
Having a bicycle accident lawyer represent you will increase the likelihood of winning the case or getting a very hefty settlement out of it. You can hire a general practice lawyer, but having one that has experience in similar cases would give you an advantage.
An experienced lawyer will know exactly what to do. They can determine whether you have a case in your hands, guide you through the legal process of suing, and use strategies that will help you get the justice you deserve.
Who is at Fault?
Getting hurt would not be enough to win the case. Cyclists, too, have to follow traffic etiquette.
Basically, everyone on the road carries a duty of care to other drivers and riders. If an accident happens due to negligence, i.e. someone broke the law, the victim can sue.
In some states, however, there is something called contributory negligence. If the cyclist has been proven to be partly at fault, even if it is just a minor issue, they cannot sue for damages.
You will need to submit every relevant document, including police reports, hospital bills, drug prescriptions, etc.
Immediately after the accident, do not leave the scene. Wait for the police to arrive, even if you do not think you have sustained any injuries. Most of the time, cyclists do not realize that they are injured until hours after. More importantly, you would need their incident report when you decide to sue for damages.
Document everything. Take the other party’s name, contact information, plate number, etc. You will need to talk to witnesses and gather their contact information, too. Take photographs of the scene of the accident and the injuries you sustained. Collect every hospital bill, receipt, scans, prescriptions for medication, and every document that you receive as a result or in relation to the accident.
Having cameras on your helmet and at the rear of your bicycle would give you the footage you would need to prove the offender’s negligence and win the case.
Do not repair your bicycle. It will serve as additional evidence that will be submitted to the court. Take photographs of your damaged equipment and send them all to your lawyer.
Cyclists have the right to use the roads safely. While you are expected to follow the rules and take precautionary steps to prevent accidents, drivers have responsibilities to make the roads safe for cyclists, pedestrians, and others.