Bicycling is a healthy, affordable, and environmentally friendly way to get around. However, given the lack of bicycle lanes and the low tolerance that drivers usually have for cyclists, riding a bike on the road can be dangerous for cyclists and drivers alike. Cycling accidents, which are often the fault of drivers, can result in severe injuries for cyclists. Fortunately, cyclists may be able to recover compensation for the damages they suffered as a result of an accident.
Recovering damages for injuries suffered during a cycling accident will probably require the assistance of an experienced attorney. Fayetteville cycling accident lawyer Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is available to help victims of cycling accidents file the necessary claims to recover compensation for their injuries. Get in touch with Ken Kieklak today to learn more about how he can provide assistance to victims of cycling accidents throughout the Fayetteville area. Call (479) 316-0438 to learn more.
Establishing a Claim and Proving Negligence in a Fayetteville, AR Cycling Accident Case
If you were injured in a cycling accident that involved a motor vehicle, you must be able to demonstrate that the other party’s negligence was the cause of your accident. To prevail in a personal injury lawsuit, there are four elements a plaintiff must show to prove negligence:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- The defendant breached the duty of care (e.g., speeding)
- The plaintiff was injured due to the defendant’s breach
- The plaintiff sustained an injury that is compensable by a court of law
The first part of proving that a driver’s negligent behavior caused your bicycle crash is showing that they had a duty to operate their vehicle in a way that doesn’t harm other occupants of the road. This duty entails following traffic laws and traffic signs and signals.
Once this has been established, it must be demonstrated that the diver breached their duty by either behaving or failing to behave in a certain way. In the case of a cycling accident, driver negligence may mean driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving while distracted, failing to adjust to severe weather conditions, or failing to follow traffic laws.
The next step in showing the liability of a driver in a cycling accident is to prove that the driver’s negligence caused the accident — in other words, that the driver’s breach of duty was the direct cause of harm to the cyclist. Finally, proving that the driver was responsible entails showing that the cyclist suffered damages as a result of the accident caused by the driver’s negligence.
Once negligence has been proven, a plaintiff can be awarded damages. Compensatory damages for a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Medical bills
- Loss of wages and loss of future wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
This is not an exhaustive list. Our firm can help you determine the damages you can seek for your personal injury lawsuit.
What to Do After Your Cycling Accident
Following a cycling accident, there are certain things you can do to increase your chances of winning a claim against the negligent driver. The first thing you should do after your accident is seek medical treatment for any injuries you have. Get medical attention even if you don’t think that you’re injured, since some injuries may not be felt until long after they occur. You should also call the police in the aftermath of a cycling accident. The officers who respond will write a report of the incident, which will likely work in your favor if you file a claim.
Following a cycling accident, refrain from speaking at length with the driver. Saying too much about who was at fault in the incident may end up working against you later. You should, however, get the driver’s contact and insurance information. At this time, you should also get the contact information of any witnesses that may have been present and take photos of the scene of the accident and any property damage. As time goes by after your accident, keep track of any medical bills you have paid, as well as lost wages as a result of an inability to work due to your injury.
In some cases, even if the cyclist didn’t suffer an injury, they may still be able to file a claim if their bicycle was damaged in the accident. Also, It should be noted that cyclists may be partially negligent in some cases. If you are a cyclist who was injured in a cycling accident and you believe that both you and the driver were partially at fault, contact a skilled bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.
5 Common Causes of Bike Accidents in Fayetteville, AR
A victim of a bike accident often will need extensive medical attention to recover after an accident. As mentioned, a bike rider’s exposed body will make it easier for them to suffer a severe injury, especially when colliding with a motor vehicle. Fortunately, a victim of a bike accident can pursue a lawsuit against the person that caused their injury. The following is a list of common triggers that could lead to a personal injury lawsuit for a bike accident.
Open Car Doors
If a bicyclist has to ride in a tight city street, they are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident for many reasons. One reason is that a driver or a passenger in a vehicle may fail to look before opening the door to their car. As a result, the motorist could open the door in front of a bicyclist and likely knock them from the bike. This could result in a number of serious injuries for the biker, like lacerations or broken bones.
It is a motorist’s responsibility to check for bikers and other motorists before opening their door on a busy street. Failure to act responsibly could make the motorist liable for the biker’s injuries.
Unsafe Lane Changes and Turns
Many streets in Fayetteville have bike lanes where bikers can avoid being in the way of a vehicle. However, motorists may have to enter a bike lane to park their cars or make a turn. When entering a bike lane, a driver should exercise caution and thoroughly check their mirrors for bikers. However, if a motorist did not notice a biker in their blind spot, they could collide with a biker and seriously injure them.
It is also important for a motorist to exercise caution when making turns. If a driver is only focusing on one side of the street, they could miss a biker that is attempting to pass a vehicle making a turn.
Drunk drivers or drivers under the influence of drugs have an increased tendency to act erratically when operating a vehicle. The driver could fall asleep at the wheel or could unpredictably switch lanes without warning. Drunk drivers are a threat to bikers, motorists, and pedestrians in their vicinity.
There are now various features in a vehicle that could cause a person to become distracted while driving. For example, if a driver decides to change their music or respond to a text while driving, they have become a danger to others on the road. A distracted driver could easily cause a bike accident by veering from their lane or mistaking a traffic signal.
Motorists often exceed the speed limit for a number of reasons. Unfortunately, these negligent drivers fail to realize that their actions endanger the lives of bikers and other motorists. Speeding vehicles may have difficulty making turns or stopping quickly, which could cause them to slam into bikers or other vehicles.
There are various other causes of bike accidents that are not discussed above. To learn more about filing a lawsuit after a bike accident, you should consult with an experienced Fayetteville personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Injuries Commonly Caused by Cycling Accidents
Since bicycles don’t come with safety features like seatbelts and airbags, they can leave riders especially prone to injuries. These injuries may require victims to spend time away from their jobs while they recover; it is also likely that they will be burdened with medical bills.
In car accidents that involve bicycles, the following are injuries commonly suffered by cyclists:
- Traumatic brain injuries – Traumatic brain injuries result from severe impact to the brain, which can happen if a cyclist is struck, encounters improperly maintained roads, or uses a bicycle that was designed or manufactured with flaws. Traumatic brain injuries can result in headaches and dizziness, disrupted sleep patterns, blurred vision and speech, seizures, and a decrease in cognitive functions.
- Spinal cord injuries – If a cyclist suffers an impact to their spine (which often happens when a bicycle is involved in a collision with a car), it may result in a dislocated or fractured vertebrae. Such an injury can damage the nerve cells that send messages to the brain, leaving the victim with compromised motor functions.
- Broken or fractured bones – Bones are broken or fractured in bicycle accidents when they are acted upon by a significant force. Common bone injures during cycling accidents often involve collarbones, wrists, hands, pelvises, hips, femurs, and ankles. Fractures caused by these accidents are usually simple or compound fractures, but in some cases they can be transverse fractures, comminuted fractures, or greenstick fractures.
- Facial or dental fractures – If a cyclist’s face makes contact with pavement or another hard surface, their protruding facial features may suffer an injury; these include the jaw and nose as well as the cheekbones and eye sockets. Jaw injuries can also result in damage to the teeth or mouth.
- Abrasions, contusions, and lacerations – Abrasions, contusions, and lacerations are common injuries in cycling accidents. An abrasion, also known as “road rash,” results from friction between skin and the road. Contusions are bruises, which can be a sign of internal bleeding. Lacerations are deep cuts to the skin. When a victim suffers from abrasions or lacerations, their risk of infection, nerve damage, tendon damage, and scarring is high.
Contact a Fayetteville Cycling Accident Attorney Today
If you have been injured in a cycling accident with a motor vehicle in Fayetteville, get in touch with bicycle accident lawyer Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, as soon as possible. Ken Kieklak can help victims of cycling accidents recover the compensation that they deserve. Call (479) 316-0438 and schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your options regarding your cycling accident in Fayetteville.