Fun fact: bikes and cars are about the same age. These are two of the most defining transportation options of the past century, and yet cars have become the dominant solution for solving modern transportation.
This leads to an unfortunate side effect: a bicycle accident injury is much more likely to happen.
It’s dangerous out there if you are a biker sharing the road with motorists. People are listening to music, talking to friends, and scrolling through their phones.
It’s not all hard to see why you may need to file bicycle accident lawsuits if you are a regular road cyclist.
A bicycle accident case may need to go to court when insurance coverage is not enough. Keep reading as we discuss how the lawsuit filing process works with bicycles.
- 1 When Do You Need To File Bicycle Accident Lawsuits?
- 2 Common Types Of Bicycle Accidents
- 3 Irresponsible Lane Changes
- 4 Distracted Drivers
- 5 Going Past The Speed Limit
- 6 Tips For Filing A Lawsuit
- 7 Observe The Statute Of Limitations
- 8 Have As Much Evidence As You Can
- 9 Make Sure To Have Your Bicycle Accident Lawsuit Documents In Order
- 10 Get Ready For A Long Legal Battle
- 11 Avoid Altercations Or Correspondence With The Driver
- 12 Do Not Post Anything On Social Media
- 13 Keep A Tight Lip on Any Court Proceedings
- 14 Get Ready For Your Bike Accident Case
When Do You Need To File Bicycle Accident Lawsuits?
In the vast majority of accidents, drivers and cyclists turn to their insurance companies. Law enforcement only gets involved if there is a need to press charges or if a crime happened.
You should turn to your insurance company if the following was the case:
- The accident only resulted in minor injuries–particularly those that required no hospital visit
- The responsible party is cooperative and admits their guilt
- The insurance company does not give you trouble when claiming damages
- Damage is minimal to your bicycle, helmet, and other property
However, things do not always go this smoothly. Injuries may be more severe, the other party may be uncooperative, and insurance companies might fight back.
When push comes to shove, your bicycle accident injury may require a lawsuit for proper compensation.
Visit this website if you have suffered from a pedestrian accident. Legal assistance is really not optional with a lawsuit of any size. Now, let’s discuss how the process works and tips you should keep in mind.
Common Types Of Bicycle Accidents
The type of accident will affect how long the court case is, and what compensation you can get.
A driver that is negligent and reckless may result in a higher payout for you. They may also suffer additional penalties or charges from the law independent of your payout.
Irresponsible Lane Changes
Bicycles are hard to spot since they are so small, especially when in a blind spot or other low-visibility areas.
Many drivers change lanes very quickly, often with no blinker. This can lead to a sideswipe or side collision.
These may also have a hint of road rage within them. Drivers often show a lot of disdain for cyclists, so they may intentionally try to veer you off the road.
If this is the case, you may have an assault or battery case on your hands.
People are always on their phones these days, which is a terrible idea when driving.
It makes it very difficult for them to see obstructions in the road–or bikers. This can encompass a variety of accidents that result from them not paying attention.
Distracted driving is an open-and-shut case if you can prove it. Especially if the damage that happened as a result seriously threatened your life.
Going Past The Speed Limit
Speeding is not a victimless crime, no matter what anyone may say. A vehicle at high speeds has less control and will cause a far more severe accident when it loses control. Anyone around a speeding driver is at risk of this.
Speeding is especially life-threatening for a cyclist. A two-ton vehicle can easily plow through a biker and cause lifelong injuries. A speeding vehicle in an accident with a bike is a guaranteed lawsuit slam dunk.
Tips For Filing A Lawsuit
Lawsuits, unlike other civil legal actions, have requirements and limitations.
This can be an expensive, time-consuming endeavor. You should know exactly what you’re doing before you put all your weight behind one.
Observe The Statute Of Limitations
Unfortunately, you cannot file a case whenever you want. There is a lawsuit filing deadline for just about any court case.
The statute of limitations is basically the timeframe during which you can still proceed with legal action.
If the crime happened today, then you would have several decades to file a court case. After a certain amount of time, such as 30 years, it would be too late to file your case.
This applies to lawsuits as well. If you had a bike accident several decades ago, you may no longer be able to file a lawsuit. Check the statute of limitations in your state or city before filing.
Even if you have not passed the statute of limitations, know that fighting an old case will be difficult.
You will need to have a very solid body of evidence to get compensation. It goes without saying that the more time that passes, the more difficult it will be to get a ruling.
Have As Much Evidence As You Can
There is no such thing as too much evidence. Evidence helps to establish the veracity of your claims.
It is the most effective means of supporting your case, even more than witness testimony.
That said, make sure to gather a wide range of evidence. Focus on the most effective forms of evidence first. Dashcam footage or other photographic evidence will be the most effective.
Don’t neglect other types of evidence that will weigh strongly in your favor. Medical records of your injury will be key in proving how negligent their actions were.
If you do happen to have witness testimony, then get it in writing with signatures and a notary.
Courts may dismiss witness testimony after a certain period of time due to the limitations of memory.
Make Sure To Have Your Bicycle Accident Lawsuit Documents In Order
A successful lawsuit means dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s. Courts of law will only accept certain documents, many of which will require a notary or third-party verification.
It’s best to have a lawyer help you with this. There is a lot of documentation that goes into a single case, and they can make sure you have all of it.
Keep a record of all correspondence between you and the driver. In some instances, they may admit fault or wrongdoing. They may also be uncooperative with court proceedings.
Keep backups of all of your files and documents. Make sure to store them in a secure place. It’s not all that uncommon for you to lose a crucial document without intending to.
Use facsimiles wherever possible. You do not want to hand off important originals only to never get them back. Keep the originals locked up tight for when they are needed.
Get Ready For A Long Legal Battle
Our court system is wonderful because it allows even the lowest of the low to get representation. No matter what your financial or legal standing is, courts allow you to fight your case.
However, open-and-shut cases where the judge makes the verdict in a single day are rare.
These most often happen for small traffic violations. In a complex case with a cyclist and a driver, there is a lot more to consider.
There are a few things that cause court cases to take so long. Number one, the judge needs several sessions to view all of the evidence and hear all arguments. Then, the judge and the jury need time to assemble their verdict.
Number two, the courts already have a full docket of cases. Getting your case on the schedule could take weeks, possibly months. Any future sessions will also take a long time to schedule.
Finally, you yourself will need time to prepare your case. There will be many tireless nights where you and your lawyer brainstorm, gather evidence, and so on. You shouldn’t schedule a case until you have done the most basic groundwork.
Patience above all is the key. Accept the fact that this will be a long and arduous task, and you will be better prepared for it.
Avoid Altercations Or Correspondence With The Driver
It’s understandable that you may be angry and frustrated with the other party.
After all, they may have injured you and significantly altered your everyday life. You may have a desire for vengeance, since it may seem like legal action is going nowhere.
These feelings are totally acceptable, but acting on them is not. For starters, harassing or abusing the driver could land you in legal hot water.
The last thing you want is to fight another court case, this time as the defendant.
Second, your actions could affect the outcome of this court case. Poor behavior on your behalf makes you look like a person with poor judgment. The judge will not look upon that favorably.
The easiest way to avoid this is to stay away from them. Do not visit with them in person, or respond to any correspondence unrelated to the case.
Even better, have a lawyer handle any and all correspondence. Anything you write down may eventually work against you in a court case. If a lawyer helps you write it out, you are less likely to say something damning.
Do Not Post Anything On Social Media
The internet is full of stories from people who are in active lawsuits. These may be forums like Reddit, where people vent their frustrations about a current or future court case to strangers. Or, it may be someone posting just to their friend feed in search of support.
It is not wrong per se to post on social media about a court case. You have every right to. But 99% of the time, what you post could harm your case.
This is because your opponents, namely their lawyers, can screenshot anything you say and present against you.
For example, you write a post where you call the other driver an idiot. You perhaps use some colorful language, and post related pictures to the case.
This may seem like harmless venting, but it reveals a lot of your character.
A skilled lawyer can use this to prove that you are irresponsible and perhaps mentally unstable. It calls into question your judgment, weakening any high ground you may have had.
You may be a levelheaded person who can view everything dispassionately. But the same still applies: do not post on social media just to be safe.
Keep A Tight Lip on Any Court Proceedings
What happens in a court case may, in some cases, be confidential. The judge may rule that anything you speak of should be kept under wraps for the time being. Information about the court case may become public knowledge at a later date.
Speak with your lawyer any time you feel the need to disclose pertinent information about your case.
Depending on what it is, you may have to hold your tongue until you get a final verdict.
As a general rule, it is bad practice to discuss the proceedings beyond your legal counsel.
A court case is constantly in flux, with the consensus changing from minute to minute. It’s best to save any of these conversations for later.
This includes sharing case information with a significant other. While there is nothing wrong with disclosing this to someone you trust, you should be restrained with this information. In some situations, you may be in contempt of court for over-sharing.
Get Ready For Your Bike Accident Case
The time may come to file bike accident lawsuits if you are the victim of a car-on-bike accident.
Filing a lawsuit is a tricky and arduous process, and will require legal assistance every step of the way.
Take note of the above as you move forward so you can have the most success.
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