Cycling is a favored mode of transport for several people. Rather than walking or using a motor vehicle, most people prefer to ride a bicycle to their destination. Statista data showed that in 2016, around 12.4 percent of Americans cycled regularly. The number increased within three years from around 43 million to 47.5 million in 2017.
In Norfolk, bikes are allowed on the road, whether there is a bike lane or not. Bikers riding on non-designated bicycle lanes leaves them open to traffic accidents. They could collide with passenger cars, commercial trucks, motorcycles, or other large vehicles.
A car-bicycle collision results in injuries, financial losses and has legal implications. This is why bicycle safety should be a priority for all road users and bicycle riders. But should an accident happen, having a Norfolk bicycle accident lawyer from CAIL would be helpful.
What Are the Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
Between 2010 and 2014, there were 252 bicycle accidents in Norfolk. Several factors lead to a bike crash, but they are all rooted in the negligence of one or both parties involved. Below are some of the common causes of bicycle-related collisions in Norfolk.
- Vehicles Turning Into the Cyclist’s Path: Automobile drivers like truck drivers and passenger vehicles can suddenly turn into a biker’s path. It mostly happens when the driver overtakes the cyclist or slows to make a turn.
- Drivers Not Seeing Cyclists When Turning or Changing Lanes: Truck accidents or passenger vehicle crashes involving bikers always have one common reason. The driver didn’t see the bicyclist or was changing lanes and hit the cyclist because of their slower pace.
- Vehicles Pulling Out of a Junction: When a motor vehicle moves from a smaller road junction to a larger one, it will likely hit any cyclist on its path. The bicycle rider has little reaction time and will not get out in time to avoid the collision.
- Doors Opening in Front of a Bicycle: This is a very common reason for bike crashes. When vehicle drivers fail to check properly before opening their car door, they block bikers’ paths from behind and cause them to crash.
- Bad Roads: Potholes, debris, uneven pavements, etc., would cause a cyclist to lose their balance and crash. In cases where the evidence showed that adverse road conditions caused an accident, the biker can file a bicycle accident claim against the city.
- Reckless Driving: Drivers who speed or drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol are dangerous. They will most likely cause accidents, and when it involves a cyclist, severe injuries will follow. The bicyclist might die if the impact is quite severe.
What Are the Common Injuries Sustained in Bicycle Accidents?
Norfolk City data showed that there were 254 bicycle accident injuries between 2010 and 2014. Also, between that same time period, there were three fatalities. The data clearly shows that accident victims either survive with injuries or lose their lives in bicycle crashes.
Below are some of the common injuries cyclists sustain in an accident.
- Soft tissue injuries
- Road rash
- Bone fractures
- Head Injury (Traumatic brain injury)
- Broken bones
- Psychological injury
- Spinal cord injuries
These injuries, if severe, can affect the victim’s quality of life. The person might need lifetime medical care, which will amount to medical bills. The only way to ensure the bike accident does not place a financial burden on the victim is by commencing an accident compensation claim. Find out more about this from a bicycle accident attorney at CAIL.
What To Do After a Bicycle Accident in Norfolk
The steps a victim takes after a bike crash help them build a strong personal injury claim. For this reason, if you’re not severely injured after a car-bicycle accident, take the following steps immediately:
- Wait for the police to arrive and give them a detailed account of what caused the collision.
- Avoid speaking to the vehicle driver or negotiating about a settlement at the accident scene. This is because you may be unaware of the full extent of your damages.
- Obtain the driver’s information by exchanging name, address, phone number, and driver’s license details. Also, get the license plate number, car model, and insurance policy details.
- If there are witnesses, get their statement, and contact information.
- Start a journal and document what happened. It will help the details stay fresh in your mind, and you can refer to it if you forget anything.
- Go for a medical checkup and treatment. Do this even if you feel fine to rule out head injuries, soft tissue injuries, and internal bleeding.
- Preserve every piece of evidence you gathered. They are your arsenal in your bid for financial compensation.
- Don’t admit anything to the fault party’s insurance company. Hand over copies of your evidence, and never accept the first settlement offer.
- Lawyer up by getting an experienced attorney to represent you. It is better to go into negotiations with a personal injury attorney.
What Compensation Is Available to a Bicycle Accident Victim?
A bike accident victim, like an auto accident victim, is entitled to monetary compensation. The money paid to the victim is divided into economic and non-economic damages. If the victim files a personal injury lawsuit, they might get punitive damages if there is evidence of gross negligence or misconduct.
Economic damages cover losses that insurance adjusters calculate to a fixed dollar amount. It means they are quantifiable. It includes:
- Past, current, and future wages
- Property damage
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses (when the victim dies)
This compensation covers unquantifiable losses. It means that it is hard or impossible to place a dollar value on them. It includes:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish or emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of limb
- Loss of companionship or loss of consortium (when the victim dies)
What Will a Norfolk Bicycle Accident Lawyer Do For You?
When most accident victims set out to get compensation for losses, they forget one vital thing: getting a lawyer. Either they are unaware of the usefulness of one, or they shy away from paying legal fees. They only remember to get legal representation when they get themselves in trouble with the responsible party insurance company.
Don’t let the latter happen to you. Getting a personal injury lawyer to represent you after a bicycle accident is crucial to the success of your claim. This is because the attorney has many functions that include but are not limited to the following:
- Investigating the Claim: The lawyer will investigate the claim and ascertain all the facts relating to the accident. They will ensure the fault driver does not change their story or try to blame you for the occurrence.
- Gathering Evidence: The injury attorney gathers evidence and ensures they have enough to prove you are the victim and not the fault party. If necessary, they will get medical experts and accident reconstruction experts to testify on your behalf.
- Explaining Legal Terms: The settlement agreement might contain legal jargons that you’re unable to understand. An attorney will break them down in simpler terms and ensure you grasp everything before signing.
- Negotiating: Since the injury attorney has experience negotiating with insurance companies, they know when to accept and decline an offer. This way, you’re guaranteed to get the maximum compensation.
- Filing an Accident Lawsuit: If there is no agreement after negotiations, the attorney will file a lawsuit. Your lawyer can also do this while negotiating to ensure your case doesn’t become statute-barred.
Get Help From CAIL Bicycle Accident Lawyers!
No one should have to deal with accident injuries and a compensation claim process alone. At CAIL, we understand how important it is to receive financial compensation after an accident. This is why we dedicate our time and experience to giving you the help you need. We charge no upfront fees and work on a contingency basis. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.