People who were involved in a collision with a vehicle while riding their bike may have a lot of questions. They may not understand their rights as travelers on the road or assume that a driver will always have the protection of the law.
However, drivers owe a duty to all other people that they may encounter on State College’s roadways. Bike riders must also take appropriate caution to protect themselves as well as follow all the rules of the road. In situations where a negligent driver strikes a biker, the injured cyclist has the right to seek compensation.
A State College bicycle accident lawyer could help injured cyclists protect their legal rights following an accident. An experienced personal injury attorney could investigate the crash, measure a cyclist’s losses, and demand that negligent drivers and their insurance companies provide appropriate payments to cover those losses.
What Could Make Someone Liable for a Bike Crash?
Legal negligence forms the basis of every bicycle wreck claim in the state of Pennsylvania, as this is the legal principle that allows someone to be held financially responsible for injuries he or she cause unintentionally rather than deliberately. The basic elements of legal negligence are a duty of reasonable care, a violation of that duty by virtue of some reckless, careless, and/or illegal act, an accident stemming directly from the breach of duty, and compensable losses stemming directly from that accident.
Everyone who operates a motor vehicle on public roads in State College owes a duty of care to every other person they share that road with, including bicyclists. Accordingly, if a driver strikes a bicyclist while speeding, running a red light, driving drunk, or otherwise driving recklessly, a local bike crash lawyer may be able to hold them liable for an injured cyclist’s ensuing damages.
State College Drivers Duties to Cyclists
In most respects, bicyclists and motorists have the same rights and obligations on the road. This includes the responsibility to follow speed limits, yield when necessary, and properly signal turns.
However, many cases are not obviously one party’s fault. It is possible that the collision occurred because a bike rider failed to take proper precautions or was in violation of the rules of the road herself. Defendants may argue in settlement talks or trial that a plaintiff contributed to the accident. Pursuant to 42 P.S. §7102, a plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by the portion that he or she is at fault.
Courts must evaluate an accident by comparing the culpability of each party. This means that if a plaintiff is more than 50 percent to blame for a bike accident, he or she cannot collect any compensation. However, if a claimant is less than half at fault for the incident, the court must reduce the award at trial by that percentage, but the plaintiff can still make a recovery. A State College accident attorney could build a claim that attempt to prove that the defendant driver is the sole party liable for the bicycle collision.
Recoverable Losses for an Injured Bicyclist
Proving that a defendant was at fault for an accident is only one portion of an effective bicycle accident case. The other part of the claim requires a plaintiff to prove how that accident caused him or her damages.
A bicycle crash can result in severe, catastrophic injuries. Bike riders have little protection from the full force of a collision with a car, and in many cases, may find themselves ejected from their bike or trapped under the defendant’s car. Fortunately, a cyclist who was struck by a negligent driver can seek financial restitution.
The severity of a biker’s injuries directly relates to the amount of compensation he or she can seek. Common examples of physical injuries a bicyclist may suffer include:
- Severe cuts and scrapes
- Broken bones
- Separated joints
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
A plaintiff must be sure to include all economic losses resulting from the collision in the lawsuit. This could include lost wages, lost earning capacity, and property damage for the bike. In addition to recovering economic losses, a claim should demand payments for physical and emotional trauma. A State College lawyer could help an injured bicyclist calculate their non-economic losses from an accident.
How Long Does a Bike Wreck Victim Have to File Suit?
Even if an injured bicyclist can establish defendant negligence and also disprove his or her own comparative fault, he or she still may be barred from civil recovery for taking too long to start pursuing a case. According to 42 Pa. Con. Stat. §5524, a filing deadline of two years applies to almost every personal injury case, including those based on bike wrecks. If someone injured in a bike collision fails to file suit before the legal deadline expires, he or she could be barred from recovering any compensation.
Speak with a State College Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
Every commuter on State College roads assumes a duty to protect all other people that they may encounter. This extends to motorists, pedestrians, and bike riders. As a result, a bicyclist who suffers injuries in a collision with a negligent driver deserves to receive compensation for their losses.
A State College bicycle accident attorney could gather evidence, explain the relevant laws, and protect your interests in negotiations with insurance companies. Call the office of Marcus & Mack today to schedule an appointment.