According to the League of American Bicyclists, Indiana is the 24th most bicycle-friendly state. With plenty of places to ride along bike paths, trails, or on the city streets, people may find bike riding enjoyable and practical. However, bicycle accidents can still occur, and it’s important to know what you should do following a collision.
A Brownsburg bicycle accident lawyer can explain the law and help you navigate through the process of recovering the damages you’ve incurred during the accident.
Indiana Laws Concerning Bicycles
Sharing the road between a bicycle and motor vehicle requires some cooperation and understanding of the rules of the road. This provides knowledge of who has the right of way, so accidents are less likely. Bicyclists enjoy the privileges of the road just like any other vehicle, which means they must also abide by the rules, and other vehicles must respect their presence.
Some of the rules that are specific to bikes are as follows:
- Bicyclists may not use a siren or whistle; only a horn or bell
- A bicycle must use a light after dark if riding on a highway
- No objects can obstruct the driver from holding the handlebars with both hands
- No more than two people can ride on the bicycle when on a regular street, road, or highway
- Bicyclists may not ride without a permanent, regular seat attached to the bicycle
For a free legal consultation with a bicycle accidents lawyer serving Brownsburg, call 800-333-9999
Determining Fault in a Bicycle Accident
When getting into a bicycle accident, the insurers will determine who was at fault. In most cases, there will be blame to pass around. The key determiner is to find out what percentage of fault is attributed to you. In Indiana, the legal theory of modified comparative negligence applies.
This is also referred to as the “51% fault” system. It means that the plaintiff must be less than 51% at fault for the incident to get an award for an injury claim. Then, the award is reduced by the percentage of blame attributed to them.
When riding a bicycle, your vehicle insurance will cover the damage costs. However, the 51% rule still applies, so an attorney can assist you in building the evidence to show you weren’t to blame. How does the attorney do this? There are three main steps.
Show Duty of Care
During this step, the attorney will establish that the other party owed you a duty of care, which in legal terms means a duty not to harm you. All drivers owe this duty of care to others on the road, including other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. This is one reason we have traffic laws—to keep the roads safe for others.
Prove Breach of Duty
When someone breaches the duty of care, it means they have been negligent in some way and broke the duty of care. It could be by violating a traffic law or driving distracted.
The final point the attorney must prove is that the injuries were directly caused by the accident. You can only collect damages for injuries caused by accident and not pre-existing injuries.
Brownsburg Bicycle Accident Lawyer Near Me 800-333-9999
Statute of Limitations
Every state requires you to file your claim within a certain timeframe. In Indiana, IC § 34-11-2-4 states that residents have up to two years from the date of the accident to make their claims.
Recovering Damages from Bicycle Accidents
In Indiana, you can recover a few different categories of damages when a bicycle accident occurs. One type is economic damage. These may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost earnings during the accident and in the future
- Permanent disability
- Miscellaneous costs
There also may be non-economic costs that you incur. These are damages that are intangible and are not directly tied to any physical losses. These include damages such as:
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment or happiness
- Loss of consortium
In some instances, someone may obtain punitive damages. If the person acted grossly negligent or maliciously, then the court may award punitive damages. Punitive damages are used as a deterrent and done as a form of punishment.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
What Injuries are Common in a Bicycle Accident
Bicycle accidents can be more dangerous because of the proximity to the road, the lack of protection around the bicyclist, and the smaller size of the bicycle. Some bicyclists may be thrown from the bike upon collision. Common injuries you may get from a bicycle accident include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck displacement
- Broken bones
- Facial or dental injuries
- Cuts, scrapes, and lacerations
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
A bicycle and vehicle may collide for various reasons, but some causes may be more common than others. These include:
- Bad weather: When the weather turns bad, the roads may get slippery, and that can lead to hazardous conditions.
- Not yielding: If motorists do not yield properly, it can result in a tragic accident.
- Distracted driving: If people are not paying attention while driving but looking at their phones or something else, it takes their eyes off vital things in front of them. It only takes a split second for an accident to occur.
- Low visibility: When the sun starts to go down, visibility is reduced. This makes it harder to see smaller things like bicycles and pedestrians.
Seek a Lawyer’s Help in a Bicycle Accident
A Brownsburg bicycle accident lawyer is ready to assist you with filing a claim if you’ve been in an accident. At Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers, you can count on the combined experience of 400 years of legal work between our lawyers. With paralegals and lawyers who speak Spanish, we can assist you even if English isn’t your first language.
You can find out where you stand by obtaining a free case evaluation. There are no hidden fees or upfront costs. We handle cases on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay until your case is settled or compensation won. With an extensive in-house litigation team that can go to work for you and a mock courtroom on-site at one location, you can feel confident your case is in capable hands. Contact our team today!