There are lots of bicyclists in Tacoma and there is no shortage of popular trails, but the activity is not without its risks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 726 cyclists were killed in 2012 in the United States. In addition, another 49,000 were injured, and that’s only including the accidents accurately reported.
Bicyclists are permitted to share the road with motorized vehicles and must follow the same traffic rules as cars and trucks. However, bicyclists are in a decidedly more precarious situation on the roadways with little to no protection in the event of an accident.
When a car and a bike collide, the likelihood that serious injury will occur for the bicyclist is significant. If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident that a driver caused, it’s important to understand your rights and ensure you’re prepared to fight for all compensation due to you in a bicycle accident claim.
Drivers May Deny Liability in a Bicycle Accident Claim
A motorist could potentially try to avoid paying a bicycle accident claim, as could the motorist’s insurance company. What might seem like an obvious at-fault situation could be twisted and denied by the other party involved. If you did not properly document the accident or involve police at the scene, you could find yourself in a situation where you have little evidence available to defend yourself.
Consult an attorney and ask for help in developing a case that will tell your story and document your injuries, medical bills and property damage costs. Your attorney will know how to counter any defenses raised by the liable party and help you recover proper compensation for your losses.
Watch Out for These Defenses in a Bicycle Accident Claim
Although cyclists must drive defensively to protect themselves on the road, there are certain scenarios where the cyclist can be at-fault in an accident with a motor vehicle. Understand what actions you can take to avoid putting yourself in a position where you could be liable for a collision. Unfortunately, some drivers may falsely accuse bicyclists of engaging in these illegal actions.
The following list includes defenses commonly used by motorists to avoid taking responsibility for an accident with a bike.
- The cyclist was riding against traffic: This is important. Cyclists are required to move with traffic, not against it as pedestrians would. If you were on the wrong side of the road, you could be partially or fully at fault.
- Failure to yield: If you stopped at a stop sign as required, but then subsequently proceeded out into traffic in front of a moving vehicle, you could be at fault for failure to yield. Even if that vehicle was speeding and you were unable to accurately judge the speed before you proceeded, this defense could place at least partial liability on you.
- Rolling stop: Similar to failure to yield, some bicyclists mistakenly believe that vehicles must always yield to them, including at four-way stop intersections. Be sure to come to a complete stop at all intersections before proceeding. Some drivers may argue that a bicyclist did not stop as required.
- Not wearing a helmet: If you suffered head or neck injuries, a driver may argue that failure to wear a helmet contributed to the severity of your injuries. You may be comparatively negligent in this case, which can affect recovery of damages.
Because of the likelihood of significant medical expenses, serious injuries and lost time from work that are associated with bicycle accidents, know how to protect yourself after an accident and when filing a bicycle accident claim. A lawyer can help you address any of these or other defenses drivers or insurance companies might use.
Call Max Meyers For Help with a Bicycle Accident Claim
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident in the Tacoma area and need legal representation, Max Meyers Law can help file your bicycle accident claim. Call us at 425-399-7000 or contact us online.