Bicycles are a great way to get exercise and reduce your dependence on automobiles. However, commuting on a bicycle requires a careful approach, as bicycle accidents usually spell disaster for those involved. Negligence and inattention from those in vehicles may lead to collisions that leave a bicycle rider in a world of hurt, both physically and financially.
A Marion bicycle accident lawyer from the Fitch Law Firm LLC is prepared to protect your rights after a bicycle accident. Our law office will work to compile evidence, determine liability, and go after any recoverable damages that you may be owed. Call our law office today for a free, no-obligation review of your case.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Whether bicyclists are riding through crowded urban streets or desolate country roads, bike accidents bear enormous consequences. Unfortunately, bicycle riders must always exercise extreme caution when sharing the road with other vehicles. Several risk factors plague bike riders. Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents include the following:
Drunk and Impaired Motorists
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Among bicyclist deaths, 37% had alcohol involvement either for the motor vehicle driver or bicycle rider.” As figures like these show, drunk driving often impacts more than just the driver participating in the act. Alcohol intoxication causes severe impairment of critical sensory awareness that is needed to operate a motor vehicle safely.
When a driver is drunk behind the wheel, this impairment may make it nearly impossible for them to identify bicyclists and account for them in their driving. In many cases, these failures result in serious personal injuries or wrongful death for those riding bicycles.
Road Rage and Aggressive Driving
Some drivers simply despise the fact that bicycle riders may be traveling alongside their vehicle. It is unfortunate, but many drivers are prejudiced against cyclists. Misinformed stereotypes may influence a driver to harass cyclists, which can lead to accidents that otherwise would not have happened.
Acts of aggressive driving include verbal harassment, tailgating, honking horns, and throwing objects at bicyclists. One or more of these behaviors can easily lead a bicycle rider to swerve or wipe out, causing severe personal injuries.
Visibility and Road Conditions
If the dangers of high speed, drunk drivers, and road rage were not enough, cyclists must also be aware of the fact that they are less visible than other vehicles. This becomes a particularly relevant risk factor when the sun goes down and bicycle visibility is further reduced.
However, even in the middle of the day, some drivers may have difficulty seeing a bicyclist. Road conditions such as uneven surfaces and potholes represent yet another common cause of bicycle accidents both in Ohio and elsewhere.
As you can see, many potential negligent behaviors can cause accidents on a bicycle. A Marion bicycle accident lawyer from the Fitch Law Firm LLC will work to determine who was the cause of the accident. Our bicycle accident attorneys will negotiate a settlement that aims to account for the spectrum of damages that you likely sustained in the accident. Call today to speak to a member of our legal team about your circumstances.
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How Our Bike Accident Attorneys Can Help You
When you are involved in a bicycle accident, a lawyer who focuses on these cases will work to build a case on your behalf. They will take care of negotiating with any involved parties including other drivers, their insurance companies, and law enforcement. The negotiation process often follows a thorough investigation of the facts of the accident. Was another driver displaying reckless behavior that caused your bike accident? Were dangerous road conditions at play? A lawyer will address these questions and others as they establish a liable party.
Visibility is a key issue to examine in any bicycle accident. As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) points out, “Three-fourths (75%) of pedestrians killed and 45 percent of bicyclists killed in 2016 were struck in dark conditions.” Many states have clear laws in place that require those riding bicycles to signal themselves when riding at night. A failure to do so may result in full or partial liability in the event of an accident. Our bicycle accident attorneys who focus on these types of cases will interpret any laws that may apply to your situation to assist in determining whether visibility was a relevant factor in your accident.
Legal teams will often gather many forms of evidence to move their investigation along.
Potential forms of evidence include:
- Photos and videos
- Phone records
- Police reports
- Testimonies given by witnesses
This evidence may aid a legal team in establishing a liable party. From there, an attorney will handle negotiations with other parties. Bicycle accidents often cause costly personal injuries, psychological trauma, and property damage. A lawyer will factor in these losses while aiming to gather any forms of compensation that you may be entitled to after an accident.
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Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycle accidents are especially dangerous because the bikers are not insulated from the impact of the vehicle during the collision. Unlike cars, which have a layer of metal, plastic, and glass to protect the passenger, bicyclists bear the full brunt of the collision with little or no protection. This can cause serious injuries, including:
- Cuts, scratches, and scrapes
- Internal injuries and organ damage
- Broken bones
- Sprained and twisted joints
- Head and face injuries
- Severe brain trauma
- Spinal injury and paralysis
- Limb or digit amputation
Due to the severity of injuries caused in bicycle accidents, many victims must undergo surgery, long-term medical treatment, and physical therapy. For some people, the injuries may be life-altering and require long-term care, assistive medical equipment, prosthetics, or in-home care.
Damages You Can Claim for a Bicycle Accident
If you are injured in a bike accident due to someone else’s actions, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries and associated costs. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be able to claim any of the following damages:
- Hospital bills
- Medical equipment, medication, and prosthetics
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Long-term or in-home healthcare
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Lost income
- Reduced income potential
A severe bicycle accident can create significant and expensive problems that affect you for the rest of your life. If you have suffered injuries in a bicycle accident due to another person’s negligence, contact a bicycle accident attorney to discuss how to obtain compensation for your losses.
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Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents in Marion
Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10 limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after a bicycle accident. This statute of limitations passes quickly, especially when you are recovering from severe injuries. To maximize your potential for a favorable settlement, reach out to a Marion bicycle accident attorney as soon as you can after the accident.
Your bike accident attorney will know how long you have to file a lawsuit and will work within that time frame to build a substantial case for your losses. Since most injury lawsuits are settled out of court, your attorney will need time to compile evidence, establish a value, and conduct negotiations with the insurance company.
Why You Should Work With an Attorney
Although you may be tempted to just let the insurance company handle your claim, they rarely offer settlements for the full amount of damages. With an insufficient settlement, you may find yourself paying for long-term expenses and hospital bills due to an accident that was not your fault. Remember that the insurance company runs a business, and their goal is to pay as little as possible in settlements.
They may use questionable tactics to deny or limit your compensation or delay negotiations until the statute of limitations has passed.
With a bicycle accident attorney representing your interests, you can rest assured that they will fight for the maximum possible settlement for all your losses, both economic and non-economic. Rather than settling for the first offer, let a bicycle accident lawyer handle the negotiations so you can focus on your recovery.
Contact the Office of a Bicycle Accident Attorney in Marion to Learn More Today
Bicycle accidents are known to cause serious medical complications for those involved. When you consider the addition of legal and financial trouble on top of these injuries, it is easy to find yourself feeling overwhelmed. A lawyer who focuses on these kinds of incidents can step in to help you process the aftermath of a bicycle accident.
At the Fitch Law Firm LLC, a Marion bicycle accident lawyer will offer you legal support so you can prioritize your return to health. Our legal team is committed to the pursuit of justice, and we will work to establish liable parties and see that they are held responsible for their actions. Call us today to learn more about your legal options.
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