Bicycle Accidents Involving Motor Vehicles: Liability And Damages
When an accident takes place between a cyclist and a motor vehicle, there is likely to be a serious injury as a result. Regardless of who is to blame, these accidents claim hundreds of thousands of victims whether that is in death or through injury every single year in the USA. They are a serious point of concern that demands a strategy to find reasonable solutions. While it is impossible to eliminate the cause, it is possible to represent the victims on either side in a legal sense. So what happens when an accident is caused by a cyclist or a motor vehicle and what steps need to be taken after the fact?
When Is an Accident The Cyclist’s Fault?
When an accident is clearly the fault of the cyclist, there will still be an investigation regardless. The insurance claims adjuster will require all the evidence, and there is likely to be further legal intervention as well. There are lots of things that lead to a biker being liable, and here are the most common.
Neglecting Stop Signs
Stop signs exist for a clear purpose. They are placed strategically at intersections to ensure that joining traffic does not drive straight into already active vehicles on the road. However, despite their integral purpose, they are not always observed or respected, and cyclists are one of the biggest culprits on the road. Many accidents are caused by failure to halt at a stop sign and the dangers are almost self-explanatory. The risks of not stopping are simple: there is every chance that you will cycle straight into oncoming motor vehicles. When this happens, it will absolutely be the fault of the cyclist.
Bike Lane Avoidance
Not cycling in the designated bike lane is also a problem. These specialist lanes exist to control the flow of traffic and ensure that, in particularly busy areas, bicyclists, drivers, and pedestrians (where relevant) are all protected to an optimal extent. So when a bike ignores the markings and chooses to operate either on the path or on the road regardless, for instance, to overtake another cyclist, they will be liable for any damages that come from this action.
Cycling In The Wrong Direction
Cycling in the wrong direction is a big no. While pedestrians, if using main roads, should always remain as visible as possible by walking against the traffic, cyclists have to ride in the same direction. If they don’t, there are too many risk factors and they will absolutely be held responsible as the culpable party if a collision takes place.
Lack of Signalling
Even cyclists have to signal to other road users about where they are going and what they are trying to do. If you cut across lanes without sticking out an arm or making eye contact to confirm your intentions, you are not respecting the way of the road. This action can and does cause accidents, and it is so easily avoidable. While it is harder to prove in a legal case, there are things like CCTV and witness accounts that will verify or negate the use of proper signaling.
When Is An Accident a Motor Vehicle’s Fault?
However, when the cyclist is not to blame, it has to be assigned somewhere and the other most obvious explanation is found with the person behind the wheel of the motor vehicle. What kinds of things are car and truck drivers held liable for?
Not Checking Mirrors
Every driver understands the importance of taking a second and even a third glance in their mirrors before maneuvering. However, people are still likely to forget or neglect this action and when they do, it’s hard to prove but can still cause devastating consequences if an accident takes place. A driver is unlikely to admit it, but sometimes eyewitnesses can help secure this piece of evidence.
Pulling Out Without Warning
Turn signals exist to let other people on the road know your intentions. If you don’t use them, and it causes an accident, you are entirely liable for all of the things that come after. Where no clear turn signal was visible, it will be easy enough to prove.
Driving While Texting
One of the most dangerous things drivers can do is to use their cell phones while they are operating a vehicle. Despite it being against the law, it still happens at an alarming rate regardless. If someone was phoning, texting, or even live content producing behind the wheel, there is a clear party at fault here.
Driving In The Cycle Lane
This one has a lot of room for interpretation. While driving in the cycle lane is illegal, and a big cause of injury and harm in accidents, there are mitigating circumstances to factor in. For instance, if the markings were faded, the distinction may not have been visible and in that case, the driver may not be completely liable.
What Can Be Done?
The only viable course of action is to seek out legal representation for the case. Whether you think it was your fault or not, a specialist attorney will be able to proceed with caution in the right direction to secure the best possible outcome. It may be that you face the consequences or receive compensation in some form or another, but ultimately without an expert on your team, there is little chance of accessing the correct representation at such a crucial time. So, if you have suffered as a result of a cyclist motor vehicle collision, it is time to take action.
Figuring out what happened during an accident between a bicycle and a motor vehicle is important. Finding a proper resolution is essential. Where there is an accident and a resulting injury or death, there is a claim to be made. Don’t delay, every second is precious.
Visit one of our offices below:
- Orlando – 315 Park Lake Cir., Orlando, FL 32803
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- Davenport – 40230 US Highway 27, Suite 140, Davenport, FL 33837
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