When a cyclist is involved in an accident of any kind, the question of liability is often discussed. It is important to know that liability in bicycle accidents works the same way as it does in car accidents. You get to hold the other person financially responsible if they caused the crash; however, if it was your fault, you pay. If for some reason both you and the other party share fault in the collision, you may not be able to recover for your injuries. This is why proving liability is important in order to hold the other party responsible for your damages.
Here is a list of liability issues in the following types of bicycle accidents:
- Liability in a bicycle and car accident. Bicycles and cars are supposed to share the road and obey the traffic laws. So when one party doesn’t exercise care on the road and fails to follow the rules of the road, that party may be liable for the collision. For instance, if a driver ran a stop sign or a red light, his negligent behavior would be the cause of the accident. However, if a cyclist ran a stop sign or rode the wrong way down the road, the biker may be guilty of negligence.
- Liability when a bicyclist gets doored. Bicyclists are supposed to ride in a bicycle lane or to the right of traffic, which places them close to parked cars and in the danger zone for car doors opening into their pathway. If a cyclist hits an open car door and suffers injuries, the majority of the time the person who opened the car door will be found liable. This is because drivers are supposed to look in their mirrors before opening their door so they won’t hit a cyclist. There are some cases in which the driver could argue liability if the door was opened for a long time or if there was absolutely no traffic (which would allow the cyclist to go around the door). Witnesses would be extremely beneficial in cases like these.
- Liability in a bicycle and pedestrian accident. If a bicycle hits a pedestrian, the fault could be that of the cyclist or of the pedestrian. For instance, if the pedestrian was walking drunk or distracted, the pedestrian could be found negligent for failing to watch where he was walking. Sometimes a pedestrian could step out of nowhere into the pathway of a cyclist, leaving a cyclist little to no time to avoid the accident. In a case like this one, the bicyclist would need to prove that the pedestrian was negligent in some way (i.e., walking while texting or walking impaired). However, sometimes cyclists may be guilty of negligence and a pedestrian would need to prove liability. For instance, a bicyclist may also be guilty of reckless behavior such as riding while intoxicated, and a pedestrian would have to prove that the cyclist’s negligence caused the collision. This is why it is very important to obtain witness statements to help prove liability in a pedestrian and bicycle accident.
- Liability in a bicycle accident due to road hazards. If a bicycle accident occurred due to uneven sidewalks, loose gravel, or other dangerous road conditions, a bicyclist may be able to prove the state or another party was negligent in allowing the dangerous condition to exist on the road. For instance, if a construction company or state workers were doing some road work and failed to clean up the loose gravel, it could be shown that the dangerous road conditions caused the bike accident.
Proving negligence in a bicycle accident generally hinges on the other party breaking the law. Although some cases are straightforward, there are others that are more complex and require the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. If you are in this situation, call our law firm today for a free consultation. We can help you prove liability and collect the compensation you need and deserve.