Indiana, PA is home to some of the most scenic bike trails in the country. When bicyclists take to public roads, however, the prospect can be less picturesque and much more dangerous. Bicyclists frequently suffer serious injuries caused by collisions with heavy motorized vehicles. Often, these accidents could have been avoided if the motorist had exercised proper care.
If you were injured in a bike collision, an Indiana bicycle accident lawyer could review your case to determine whether you may be entitled to receive compensation. A personal injury lawyer could fight to protect your rights as a bicyclist and help you move forward after an injury.
What Laws Apply to Bicyclists?
Not all motorists are aware of the special rules regarding sharing the road with cyclists. For instance, under state law, drivers passing bicyclists in the same direction are required to pass on the left, allow at least four feet of clearance, and drive at a “careful and prudent reduced speed.” An Indiana, PA bicycle accident lawyer could use failure to abide by this or other rules to demonstrate liability.
Bicyclists, too, must follow special rules of the road when they are “proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic.” They must ride in the right-hand lane as close to the curb as possible unless making a left turn or in situations where the road conditions make it unsafe to remain close to the curb. In addition, they must properly signal when they are stopping, slowing, or making a turn.
Comparative Fault in Western PA
If it is alleged that a bicyclist’s conduct contributed to the cause of an accident, his or her share of fault will not prevent recovering damages unless the injured cyclist’s actions are more than 50 percent to blame for causing the injury. When there are multiple causes of an accident, the state’s comparative negligence rule may reduce the amount recovered by an amount proportionate to the fault.
For example, in a car accident case, if the court finds the driver of a car to be 80 percent responsible for passing too close, and the bicyclist 20 percent responsible for riding too far to the left, then the court would decrease the cyclist’s damage award by 20 percent.
To recover compensation, an injured bicyclist must demonstrate that another person acted in a negligent or deliberately wrongful manner. In addition, the cyclist must show that the negligent or wrongful conduct was the cause of the injuries and other losses.
A bicycle accident lawyer in Indiana, PA could collect evidence to prove liability for negligence. Relevant materials to a personal injury case may include photographs or video from the accident, medical documentation, police accident reports, and other evidence.
Every personal injury claim in the Commonwealth must follow the legal time limits to submit a case to court. This is known as the statute of limitations. If an injured biker fails to file a claim within the statute of limitations, the court will refuse to hear the claim. Defendants and their insurance companies understand this law and will refuse to engage in settlement talks if a claimant waits too long to come forward.
According to 42 Pa. C.S. §5524, the statute of limitations for bicycle accident claims centered around negligence is two years from the date of the injury. A Western PA attorney could make sure an injured cyclist files his or her claim before the legal deadline expires.
Most bicycle accidents could have been prevented, and there is a high likelihood that someone bears legal liability for that accident. When someone is legally liable, their insurance company should provide compensation to the injured party to cover medical bills, lost wages, future needs, and other effects, such as pain and suffering.
It may be wise to consult an experienced Western PA bicycle accident lawyer soon after a collision. Advice from an attorney could prevent you from inadvertently saying or doing something that jeopardizes your right to recover damages. For a free consultation to learn how a knowledgeable bicycle accident could help in your situation, contact us.