Did you know that there is a cycling fatality approximately every six hours in the United States, a significant percentage of which involve children? Did you know that nearly one million children are injured every year in bicycle accidents in the United States?
These and other similar statistics are sadly the product of the fact that many drivers assume they have a greater right to use the road than the cyclists they encounter in their travels. In actuality, however, the laws in New Jersey and most, if not all, other states give motorists and bicyclists an equal right to use the road. Unfortunately, when a cyclist encounters a driver who presumes the bicyclist must get out of their way, or gets annoyed and impatient by the fact that the cyclist cannot travel as quickly as they can, crashes are frequently the end result. Motorists often do not appreciate that they need not physically strike the bicyclist to cause a crash. Squeezing the cyclist off the traveled path or into the path of debris, drainage grates, or other hazards can produce an end result which is equally injurious or fatal to the bicyclist as if they’d been physically struck. And in such instances, prompt, thorough, expert investigation may be the only way to prove what actually happened.
In my experience, here are few common causes of bicycle accidents:
- Drivers who are oblivious to others or their surroundings;
- Drivers who fail to check their mirrors or the area adjacent to their car before turning;
- Drivers who fail to check for bicyclists before backing out of a driveway or parking space;
- Drivers who park in or otherwise obstruct designated bike lanes;
- Drivers who’s conduct force cyclists from the relative safety of the shoulder/bike lane and into the traveled lane;
- Drivers who are speeding or who drive erratically;
- Drivers who force cyclists into dangerous roadway conditions, such as speed bumps, roadway debris, etc.; and
- Drivers who suddenly open their doors into the path of an oncoming cyclist.
In these situations, regardless of whether there is physical contact, the cyclist is likely to suffer severe injuries (or worse) due to their relative exposure.
In addition to assisting with compensation for physical injuries and the associated pain, suffering and inconvenience, an experienced bicycle lawyer may be able to help secure other benefits and help you navigate through the stress which follows a traumatic event. Examples of other issues your attorney may be able to help with include:
- Seeking Replacement costs associated with your cycling helmet (these should always be replaced after being subject to a crash impact);
- Assisting in the payment of medical bills;
- Assisting with the coordination of medical and insurance benefits, and necessary medical & rehabilitative care;
- Seeking Replacement costs associated with clothing damages;
- Seeking compensation for loss of income;
- Assisting you to understand and navigate the insurance maze frequently associated with an accident claim, and to secure all benefits to which you are entitled under your various insurance policies; and
- Gathering the evidence necessary to prove what actually happened.
Stark & Stark understands that the thought of bringing a claim in the wake of an injury or fatality is distressing. However, it is often a necessary step, particularly where the person injured or killed has people who rely upon them for support or survival. If you or a loved one has been hurt (or worse) in a bicycle-related accident, speak with an experienced attorney.