Are You The Victim Of A Bicycle Accident?
Over the course of the last several years there has been an increase in the number of people riding bicycles. There are a number of reasons for this, including for basic recreation and fitness, the need to “go green”, the poor economy, and the rapidly rising price of gasoline. Whatever the reason people choose to take up bicycling, there is no doubt that it is a convenient and inexpensive means of getting around. Because of the rise in bicyclists, many municipalities have built special bike ways, lanes, and trails. Even with these added bike areas, the number of bicycle accidents has still continued to rise.
Each year there are roughly fifty thousand people injured while bicycling, of these approximately seven hundred people are killed. This translates to a bicyclist being fatally injured every six hours. These shocking numbers are just for adults, over the age of eighteen. In addition to these figures, nearly one million children suffer some form of bike related injury, with half of all bicycle related fatalities happening to individuals under the age of sixteen.
There are many ways that bicyclists can suffer injuries or be killed from accidents. These reasons can be due to: drivers of motor vehicles who do not see them or are distracted, road conditions that are unsafe or poorly maintained, faulty equipment, or a bicycle that is poorly designed or not properly assembled.
Bicyclists have the same right to use the road as motor vehicles, and must share the same space, as well as obey the same laws. Unfortunately, many drivers of motor vehicles do not respect bicyclist rights, and not share the road ways in a safe manner. In other cases, young bike riders may not fully understand how to safely obey the rules of the road, and navigate traffic with motor vehicles.
Because bicyclists must adhere to the safe traffic laws as motor vehicles, most states now require riders to wear proper protective gear and helmets. Motor vehicle drivers must be aware of their surroundings and be on the lookout for bicyclists. When a driver encounters a rider, they must be respectful and observe the same traffic laws as if it were another motor vehicle.
While these laws are often known, they are not always obeyed. This leads to a large number of bicyclists being hit by motor vehicles, with drivers who often claim they biker “came from nowhere”, or “was too far out in the travel lane”, or “was simply moving too fast”. In most cases, these excuses are from drivers who were not paying proper attention and got too close to the bicyclist.
Anytime there is an accident between a vehicle and a bicycle, serious accidents are quite possible. Most of the time the accident is someone’s fault (a distracted driver, a driver running a stop light, a parked vehicle that opens a door into the travel lane, a drunk driver, a defective piece of equipment, or unsafe roadway conditions like a pothole). No matter who or what caused the accident, when injuries occur, action needs to be taken and a professional personal injury attorney can help.
A personal injury attorney has a great deal of expertise in this area, and can help you peruse the people responsible to obtain compensation for your injuries. These professionals know exactly how to proceed with these types of cases to protect the rights of the injured party, as well as to get the best results. Since most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, you pay nothing upfront, and only a portion of your settlement or judgment after the case settles. This means you have nothing to lose, but so much to gain. Many personal injury attorneys will even come to you and schedule appointments in your home, office, or hospital room.
A personal injury attorney who specializes in helping bicyclists is quite familiar with the rules of the road, and often works with cycling experts who can help with design flaw determination, accident reconstruction, roadway surface assessment, and other important issues.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a bicycle accident, do not delay when seeking legal representation. In many cases, time is of the essence and most states have clear statutes of limitations in which a case can be filed with the court. If you wait too long, you may not be able to file your case, meaning no damages will be able to be recovered. You may also be bound by notice requirements that impact the proceeding of a case as well. An experienced attorney can walk you through every step of the process.
Another reason you should not delay in seeking damages is that witnesses tend to move or forget things that they have seen, road surfaces get repaired, and evidence disappears. You should contact an attorney right away so that he or she can collect all of this information before it is no longer available or becomes tainted.
Because these cases can be quite serious and complex in nature, an attorney is truly your best course of action. Arming yourself with a professional to help you in this situation can make a world of difference and can mean the difference between gaining a moderate settlement and obtaining a significant settlement.
A personal injury attorney cannot undo the damage that has been done to you or your loved one, but he or she can work hard on your behalf to help you put the broken pieces of your life back together. Since many of these injuries often result in substantial medical expenses, pain and suffering, and a loss of income from missed work, a settlement can mean so much for you and your family. Settlements can help you to pay for your past, present, and future care expenses, as well as provide a level of comfort and protection. Do not risk being a victim twice. Seek the legal help you need right away to ensure you receive the justice that you are truly entitled to receive.