Life-changing events can happen very quickly. Vehicle accidents are a prime source of serious injuries and a leading cause of death in many countries. Some vehicles receive virtually no protection; unlike automobile owners, bicyclists cannot rely upon crumple zones, seat belts, or air bags. Accidents involving two-wheeled vehicles can have severe consequences.
After the Accident
The most important thing to do immediately after any bicycle accident is to assess one’s personal health. Some individuals who are involved in collisions may conduct a cursory visual examination, view no injuries, and believe that the accident has caused them no harm. Visual and tactile examinations can be misleading. Internal bleeding can easily kill. A broken blood vessel in the brain, severed artery, or punctured lung may not be immediately obvious to the suffering party. Competent medical professionals must examine an accident victim for signs of latent trauma and life-threatening injuries.
Injuries that do not threaten the individual’s life can detrimentally affect one’s quality of life. Individuals commonly experience debilitating injuries to extremities, nervous systems, or their backs in bicycle accidents. According to our Charleston car accident attorney, many common injuries can affect an individual’s ability to work, and medical bills can be expensive for the cyclist. Insurance companies may not compensate the injured party. Thus, injured individuals may be forced to pay for medical bills and support themselves with no income.
In these instances, the injured party should contact an attorney and request a consultation. It may be possible to recover damage for loss of income and medical bills. Damages for pain and suffering may also be available. Serious bicycle accidents usually involve either a cyclist striking a motor vehicle when driving or a cyclist experiencing a solo accident.
Bicycles vs. Vehicles
If a bicyclist was injured in an accident and he or she was not at fault, a settlement or judgment may be obtainable. Attorneys can advise clients on a number of legal concepts and avenues of recovery.
- Negligence: Motorists who violate their duty of care when operating a motor vehicle and injure other parties are liable for those injuries. The owner may also be liable for his or her own negligence in permitting the negligent party to operate his or her vehicle.
- Vicarious Liability: If the motor vehicle was owned by a company, the company itself is liable for the actions of its employee.
- Intentional Torts: Road rage situations between bicyclists and motorists can involve one vehicle deliberately colliding with another. This can bring rise to an action for battery.
Bicycles vs. The Environment
An accident victim may have a cause of action even in the event of a solo accident. In that case, the most common cause of action will be negligence. Property owners have a duty to keep their property free of latent defects. For example, if the city fails to maintain a sidewalk, close manhole covers, or patch potholes, they are liable for injuries resulting from those actions.
Quality of life is important. Life after a bicycle accident can be challenging enough without worrying about finances. The at-fault party should shoulder the financial burdens of an accident. With documented injuries, an attorney can help a client recover from a liable party.
Katie Hewatt is a legal researcher and contributing author for Howell & Christmas, a Charleston car accident attorney who prides themselves on treating every client fairly and has a Client Bill of Rights outlining rights clients have with the law firm.The lawyers at Howell & Christmas take every case seriously and specilize in bicycle accident cases where they help victims recover the damages they deserve.