If you or one of your children sustained a serious injury in a bicycle accident (by which I mean the non-motorized, pedal your way up a hill kind of bike), you may be wondering what you should do next and where you can go for help. Most importantly, you may be wondering if there a potential source of compensation for your injuries or your child's injuries.
There are four primary situations in which you may be able to seek compensation for injuries sustained in a bicycle accident.
1) Automobile involvement: the most obvious situation in which you may be able to seek compensation for injuries sustained in a bicycle accident is where you were hit by a car or truck. Drivers owe a duty to yield to bicycles and keep an eye out for them. This applies of course to children (drivers are required to anticipate that children may "dart out" into the roadway), but also to adults. Some drivers become downright angry when they are delayed in their travel by a bicyclist in the roadway, but many drivers do not realize that the bicycle rider has just as much right to be on the road as do motor vehicle operators. Just as a vehicle driver cannot recklessly pass a slow moving car, so must a driver yield to a slow moving bicycle. Safe passing of course is allowed, but if a car forces you off the road you have rights (even if the driver leaves the scene and cannot be identified). This is also true even if you were forced off the roadway and crashed simply because the driver did not see you. You may be able to obtain compensation from your own automobile insurance policy in this situation.
2) Defective bicycle: I have been seeing a lot of complaints lately of bikes that suffer front fork or other sudden catastrophic breakage, causing serious injuries. This is true of many of the "cheap" Chinese and other imports that are often made with little regard to safety, and it is also true of "high end" bicycles. Some of the most expensive bikes around, including those costing thousands of dollars, have been failing because designers are elevating weight savings above safety. Generally speaking, bicycles -- cheap or extremely expensive ones -- should be designed and manufactured to operate without frame or other catastrophic failures during anticipated usage. If you sustained an injury because of a frame or other breakage on your bicycle, you may be able to obtain compensation from the manufacturer or distributor (seller) of the bicycle. Note -- if you believe a bicycle defect may have caused your injury, keep the bicycle and store it in a safe place! It is critical evidence in your potential case.
3) Defective helmets: many bicycle helmets look like they will protect you, but they will not. As with any other product, looks can be deceiving and many manufacturers are more concerned about selling their product than protecting your safety. This is especially troublesome for safety equipment like bicycle helmets, but it is a fact of life. If you were wearing a helmet but nonetheless sustained a serious injury to your head when you fell for whatever reason, you may be able to obtain compensation from the helmet manufacturer or seller. Note -- if you believe that a defective bicycle helmet may have caused your injury, keep your helmet and store it in a safe place! It is critical evidence in your potential case.
4) Defective roadway conditions: the other common cause of bicycle accidents is poor roadway maintenance or signage. This can take many forms from broken roadways, to overgrown trees at an intersection that makes you invisible to oncoming traffic, or other scenarios. If you suspect that improper roadway maintenance or signage caused or contributed to an injury causing bicycle accident, you may be able to obtain compensation from the government or private entity responsible.
Chris Roberts is a Safety Harbor lawyer with more than twenty years of legal experience. He has extensive experience with personal injury and product defect claims, and other types of cases. Chris can help you seek compensation from the responsible party or even your own insurance company if you were injured in a bicycle accident. If you are considering hiring an attorney, and you want the personal attention and experience that Chris can provide you, give him a call and schedule a free consultation. 727.286.3537. Or email Chris by clicking here: firstname.lastname@example.org.