Bicyclists are in a particularly vulnerable position when traveling on roads, streets and highways. Most bicycle accidents occur when cyclists lose control of their bike and crash, however when a cyclist is involved in a car accident, they often suffer catastrophic injuries. The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 700 cyclists die each year in bicycle accidents.
The accident lawyers at Eckell Sparks can help gather the evidence necessary to recover maximum financial compensation for injuries caused by negligent drivers. Our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys are experienced in handling all types of bicycle accident claims, including:
- Intersection Accidents: Only 11 percent of bicycle accidents involve a car; however, of those bicycle-car accidents, 45 percent occur at intersections. This type of accident typically involves the failure to stop at a stop sign or failure to yield when either the driver or the cyclist has the right of way.
- Road Hazard Accidents: Dangerous road conditions may cause bicycle accidents, and in those cases a public entity such as the state, county or city. This type of accident is typically caused by potholes, sewer grates, rail or trolley tracks, cracked pavement, overgrown foliage, inadequate signage, accumulation of snow or ice and poor road design.
Steps to Take Following a Bicycle Accident
It is important to follow certain steps to ensure the best possible outcome in your personal injury case. An attorney can help you gather evidence and prove your case at trial, but a successful claim starts at the time of the crash. The following are some initial steps to take in the immediate aftermath of the accident:
- Remain at the scene of the accident until police arrive
- Do not negotiate with the driver, apologize or accept blame for the accident
- Make sure your version of events is documented in the police report
- Collect driver and witness contact information
- Make some notes about how the accident happened and the circumstances surrounding it such as road and weather conditions
- Seek medical attention, document physical symptoms and take pictures of your injuries as soon as possible
- Preserve evidence such as your bicycle, clothing and helmet. Take pictures of them and do not wash, fix or otherwise alter any equipment damaged in the accident
- Contact an attorney before negotiating with insurance companies
Determining Liability in a Bicycle Accident
Both bicyclists and motorists are required to obey the rules of the road. Determining liability in a bicycle accident case involving a motor vehicle can be complicated. It must be determined whether the motorist’s negligence or recklessness caused the accident and whether the cyclist was partially or entirely at fault for the accident.
Drivers who run stop signs, speed or drift into bicycle buffer zones will likely be held liable for any injuries resulting from a car accident they caused. However, if a cyclist was also partially at fault for the crash – for example, running a stop sign or suddenly turning into traffic – they may receive reduced compensation for their injuries or they may not be able to recover for their injuries at all.
Delaware uses a modified comparative negligence system under which cyclists who are more than 50 percent at fault for the accident may not recover damages. If the cyclist is less than 50 percent at fault, they will receive diminished compensation according to their percentage of fault. It is imperative to contact a knowledgeable, seasoned attorney who can help you pursue maximum recovery for your personal injury claim.
Delaware County Bicycle Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Provide Experienced Legal Representation in Personal Injury Cases
If you were injured in a bicycle accident due to someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, contact an experienced Delaware County bicycle accident lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Our firm is dedicated to advocating for bicycle accident victims throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including those in Delaware County, Chester County and Montgomery County. Call us today at 610-565-3701 to schedule a free consultation at our Media or West Chester offices or contact us online.