Bicycle Accident Lawyer
The bicycle is one of the most beneficial means of transportation. Regularly using a bike to get around allows you to save money on fuel, and it also keeps you in great shape. You may also move around faster depending on how well you know your way around Glastonbury, Hartford, or Simsbury, CT.
Unfortunately, there are also downsides to riding a bike. Arguably the most notable downside is the high level of risk. If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, you may need to consider partnering with a bicycle accident lawyer.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
According to the CDC, cyclists account for over 2% of the people who die in motor vehicle crashes. Although, bicycle rides only account for around 1% of all trips in the United States. The sad thing is that we could have prevented many of those deaths.
The National Safety Council reported that 1,260 bicycle-related deaths that occurred in the United States in 2020 were preventable. Furthermore, 806 of those deaths were motor vehicle crashes. Bicycle accidents also led to thousands of people sustaining significant injuries.
The latest numbers indicate that an estimated 130,000 people are in road accidents involving bicycles yearly.
Cyclists can sustain serious injuries from those accidents. Make sure you are in a position to receive compensation for your injuries by partnering with a bicycle accident attorney.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Connecticut
A cyclist lawyer can help you recoup compensation if you are ever involved in an accident. However, we want to avoid ending up in that position as much as possible. In this section of the article, we will highlight some common causes of bicycle accidents in Connecticut. Commit them to memory to recognize the hazards you need to avoid while riding your bike.
- Speeding Motorists: The CDC article we linked to earlier noted that 64% of bicyclist deaths occur on segments of roads where motorists tend to drive faster. From that, you can infer that speed plays a significant role in those fatal crashes. It makes sense, too, as cyclists do not have a lot of protection against cars barreling down the road. Once the collision occurs, the cyclist may feel its full effects.
- Motorists Not Seeing the Cyclists: Drivers may not see everything around them. Although many cars now have cameras that give drivers a 360-degree view of their surroundings, older vehicles do not have that feature. As a result, the owners of those vehicles still deal with blind spots. A motorist should inspect their blind spot before making a sudden movement. At the same time, cyclists should also alert the driver to their presence. You will need to hire a bike crash lawyer if you are involved in that type of incident.
- Impaired Drivers: Drunk, distracted, and fatigued drivers pose a great danger to everyone on the road, which includes cyclists. Impaired drivers are less likely to be aware of their surroundings. As a result, they may move the vehicle in a way that does not account for cyclists nearby. They are also more likely to lose control of their vehicle and seriously injure a bicycle rider in the process.
- Cyclists Violating Traffic Laws: You may also end up causing an accident if you ignore traffic laws while riding your bike. Always follow the law so you can avoid being hit with a lawsuit. If you are falsely accused of something, remember to enlist the help of a bicycle injury attorney.
- Environmental Hazards: Lastly, we need to acknowledge the role that environmental hazards play in causing bicycle accidents. An environmental hazard could be something man-made or natural. A man-made hazard could be a damaged road that is difficult to navigate for bicycle riders. Stretches of roads with little to no lighting can also be dangerous for cyclists riding near motor vehicles. Misplaced barriers and posts can also cause all kinds of trouble for cyclists.
Natural environmental hazards typically involve the weather. For example, if there is heavy rain in your area, it may be best for you to stay home and wait out the storm. Riding your bike in that type of weather can be dangerous.
Bicycle Laws in Connecticut
For this next section of the article, we want to focus on specific bicycle laws that may affect your personal injury lawsuit. They may help determine if your bicycle accident attorney can recoup compensation in your case. Without further ado, let’s talk about some of the key bicycle-related laws that all Connecticut residents need to know.
Bicycle Helmet Laws
Bicycle helmets can protect you from potentially life-altering head injuries. Therefore, wearing one when you are out on a ride is always a good idea. However, the state only requires bicycle helmets for the younger members of the state’s population. To be more specific, only children aged fifteen years or younger are required to wear bicycle helmets. If you are an adult and want to ride your bike with no helmet on, you are free to do so.
A driver who causes an accident involving a child not wearing a bicycle helmet can also still be sued over the incident. They could not avoid liability even if the child rode their bike without safety gear.
Cyclists Can Be Charged with Driving under the Influence
Cyclists do not get absolved from DUI charges. In addition, because bicycles are also vehicles in Connecticut, you may receive a drunk biking charge if you are intoxicated while riding your two-wheeler. The legal blood alcohol concentration limit for adult cyclists in Connecticut is .08.
Meanwhile, cyclists under the age of twenty-one can receive a DUI charge if their blood alcohol concentration level hits .02. Keep yourself and other people on the road safe by avoiding your bike if you have already had a few drinks.
Lane Splitting Is Not Allowed in Connecticut
Are you familiar with lane splitting? For those who may be unaware, lane splitting is using a bicycle or motorcycle to move between two rows of vehicles. People engage in lane splitting so they can move faster through traffic. However, the trade-off for faster movement is the possibility that someone will clip your bike and cause you to fall over.
Lane splitting is illegal in Connecticut. A negligent driver may falsely accuse you of it to avoid any responsibility. Seek help from bicycle accident law firms if you want to keep that false accusation from sticking.
Motorists Must Pass at a Safe Distance When Overtaking Cyclists
Connecticut law states that a motorist must leave at least three feet of space between them and the cyclist they are attempting to overtake. Motorists are required to maintain that distance to avoid hitting the bicycle. If you believe a driver hit you because they failed to maintain that distance, you should call a personal injury lawyer and pursue litigation.
How Is Fault Determined in a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit?
To receive compensation following your bicycle accident, you must prove that the other party is responsible for what happened. You can do that by establishing that they owed you a duty of care, that they violated that duty of care, and that their decision to violate it led directly to your injury.
If a motorist was going over the speed limit when they hit your bike, that means they failed to afford you the duty of care you deserved. You can sue them and receive compensation upon proving that your injury is due to the accident they caused.
Note that you can also be the party accused of causing the accident. If you did not follow traffic rules before the accident, the motorist might claim you were negligent. At the least, you will share the blame for what happened.
Speaking of blame, your share of it will affect your compensation. The rule of modified comparative fault applies in Connecticut, affecting how much compensation plaintiffs can receive. They will reduce your compensation based on the percentage of blame you share for the incident. Plaintiffs only recover damages if their share of the blame does not exceed 51%.
How Can a Bicycle Lawyer Help?
Hiring legal representation should be one of the first things you do after the incident. Especially in the event of a wrongful death, in all likelihood, the services they provide will prove useful throughout your legal ordeal.
Investigate the Accident
Gathering evidence will be a must in proving your accident claim. You may have gathered evidence at the scene, but what you currently have may not suffice.
Thankfully, your bike accident lawyer can continue the investigation for you. They can take a closer look at the case and collect more evidence to prove the other party’s negligence.
Throughout their investigation, your legal representative can look into the defendant’s driving record to see if they have a history of being a negligent driver. They can also obtain the police report to see what the officers have thus far. After pooling all the evidence together, they can then build a strong case to help you win your lawsuit.
Give You More Time to Recover
Being involved in an accident is rough. A bicycle accident can be even tougher to deal with if you are the cyclist because you are more likely to sustain serious injuries. If you have a brain injury, you may not take on any challenging tasks for a while.
The good news is that your attorney can buy you some valuable time. You can stay in the hospital and continue to recover while they move forward with the case. There is no need to worry about your case going dormant because you were badly hurt following your accident.
File Your Lawsuit on Time
Why do you need a lawyer to buy you more recovery time? That is due in part to the statute of limitations that governs personal injury cases.
A plaintiff cannot file their lawsuit whenever they please. You must complete the filing by a set date, or the court may no longer recognize it.
In Connecticut, the statute of limitations for bike accident cases is two years from the date of the incident. Wait any longer, and the defendant can point to the statute of limitations to get your lawsuit dismissed.
Negotiate with the Other Side
Lastly, you want a bicycle accident attorney working on your side because they can handle settlement negotiations. The other side may decide that settling is better than heading to court. You can also go down that route, but you must ensure that you get fair compensation. Allow your legal representative to handle those negotiations so you can receive a substantial payout.
What Types of Compensation Can You Expect after a Bicycle Accident?
The compensation awarded to plaintiffs in bicycle accident cases will usually include economic and non-economic damages. Take this opportunity to learn more about economic and non-economic damages to recognize an appropriate payout.
Economic Damages: Economic damages provide compensation for the monetary losses you have sustained. Those losses include the money you have spent on your medical expenses. The damages also compensate you for damaged property and any wages you miss out on due to your injuries.
Non-Economic Damages: The non-economic damages are for your intangible losses. If you have been suffering from mental distress due to the accident, the non-economic damages should compensate you for that. The same goes for opportunities you are missing due to the accident. Do not worry about calculating the right number for the non-economic damages in your case. Your attorney will handle that.
Bicycle Accident Law Firm
We at Hassett & George, P.C. possess extensive experience in handling bicycle accident cases. Entrust your case to us, and we will secure the compensation that is rightfully yours. Reach out to us today if you want to learn more about our personal injury services.
Looking for a “bicycle accident lawyer near me“? Some of the locations in and around Hartford County our bicycle accident law firm serves include: Hartford, Simsbury, Glastonbury, New Britain, Bridgeport, Waterbury, Danbury, Norwalk, Manchester, Windsor, Farmington, Windsor Locks, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, Avon, Bloomfield, Bristol, Enfield, Newington, South Windsor, Southington, Plainville and more.
Partner with us at Hassett & George, P.C., and let’s fight for the compensation that is rightfully yours.