New Bern Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bike Accident Lawyer in New Bern, NC
When a bicyclist falls into an accident, one or more parties may be held accountable. Whether it’s a speeding car, a tailgating truck driver, or a poorly-maintained public road, any negligent entity may be legally compelled to pay a fair and just compensation amount to the injured party. If you or a loved one has been seriously hurt in a bicycle collision in New Bern or in any other area in North Carolina, one thing is clear. You need to speak with a bike accident lawyer in New Bern, NC right away. A bike accident attorney will study your case and propose the best possible legal course of action, given existing circumstances. When you consult with bike accident lawyers immediately, you stand a better chance at making an informed decision, especially where bike accident settlements and lawsuits are concerned.
Accident Statistics and the Importance of a Bike Accident Lawyer in New Bern, NC
The WHO (World Health Organization) considers bicyclists to be some the most vulnerable road users all over the world, along with motorcyclists and pedestrians. Bicycle riders account for almost 50% of road crash fatalities all over the world.
In a report published by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), approximately 2% of motor vehicle accident fatalities are bicyclists. In 2016, 835 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes, with a majority of them aged twenty or older. There was a significant difference, moreover, in the number of fatalities between bicyclists wearing helmets and those that were unhelmeted. A total of 424 bicyclists who were killed in 2016 did not wear a helmet, while 137 who died wore a helmet. In North Carolina, 15 pedal-cyclists were killed in 2016, and 26.7% of these fatalities were individuals aged between 50 and 59. Pedal-cyclists or bicyclists were involved in as many as 605 crashes in 2016, with 567 resulting in injuries and 17 resulting in deaths.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, approximately a thousand bicyclists are reported in accidents, and motor vehicle crashes yearly. Children and young adults are the most susceptible individuals in bicycle crashes. Although state laws tend to vary across states, the general law concerning bicyclists is that they are expected to behave and follow traffic rules like motorists when navigating public roads. In North Carolina, bicyclists are expected to obey all traffic rules including stop signs and veering away from sidewalks.
In addition, cyclists are required to use hand signals as a way to inform motorists whether they will be turning left, turning right, or stopping. Bicyclists are also required to install front and back lights, including reflectors, when navigating roads at night.
If a motorist compels a bicycle rider to change lanes or becomes responsible for a crash, s/he will be required to pay fines, in addition to the compensation claim which the injured bicyclist may file against him/her. Anyone who has been hurt in a bicycle crash due to someone else’s negligence deserves proper and fair compensation. To start on the compensation process, it will be valuable to consult with a bike accident attorney at the earliest time possible.
Common Types and Causes of Bike Accidents in North Carolina
The Highway Research Center of the University of North Carolina has prepared a report detailing various bicycle crash types in the state between the years 2011 and 2015.
Some of the most common causes of bike accidents as listed in the report are the following:
- Overtaking motorist. In this type of bike accident, the motorist and bicyclist are on the same road and proceeding in the same direction. As the motorist attempts to overtake the bicyclist, the latter steers into the path of the bicycle, effectively hitting the rider. There are several contributory factors in this kind of collision, and one of these is that the vehicle driver may have failed to see the bicyclist ahead. Another probable reason is that the motorist may not have been able to maintain the safe distance required between the vehicle and the bicycle.
- Motorist drive-out incidents. In motorist drive out incidents, the motorist is seen following a stop sign but hits a bicyclist coming from another direction. More than half of these types of bike collisions, however, involve a bicyclist who is driving against traffic. It is possible for wrong-facing bicycle drivers in these types of collisions to be held liable for the accident.
If you have reason to believe that you may also be partially negligent in a bike crash in North Carolina, it will be best for you to talk with a bike accident lawyer in New Bern NC without further delay.
- Motorist left-turns. These kinds of left-turns involve a motorist attempting to make a left turn and hitting a bicyclist coming from the opposite lane and heading towards an intersection. It can be possible for the motorist at this instance to have missed the bicyclist due to a blocked view of other traffic lanes. It is the responsibility of both the motorist and the bicyclist to gesture the appropriate signal as a way to inform the other of one’s direction on the road. The putting up of bike signs may also help prevent this kind of collision.
Bike accidents often leave the bicyclist at risk for more serious injuries, and these may include sprains, dislocations, fractures, soft tissue injuries, and even traumatic brain injuries. If you believe that a motorist has failed to exercise his or her duty of care on a public road or highway, you need to consult with bike accident lawyers. Bike accident attorneys in New Bern NC may also help to determine whether the motorist can be cited for other negligent behaviors, such as drunk driving. Although environmental and traffic factors are common causes of bike accidents, irresponsible driver behaviors may also have a direct impact on a bicycle-to-vehicle collision. The following negligent or reckless behaviors of vehicle drivers are also known to contribute to bicycle crashes:
- Alcohol use. Drunk driving is a common cause of motor vehicle crashes, including those that involve bicyclists. Since driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other impairing substance is prohibited by law, a DUI driver can be held legally responsible in paying for compensation to an injured bicyclist in a collision.
- Speeding. Motorists are required by law to observe proper speed limits. However, some drivers may unnecessarily and unlawfully increase their speeds, making it difficult for them to maintain driving on their own lanes or to avoid hitting a cyclist on a bicycle lane. Speeding also increases the probability that a crash impact will be more injurious or fatal to anyone involved in an accident.
- Tailgating. In North Carolina, bicyclists are allowed to share the public roads with motor vehicle drivers. This means that motorists should not force them to navigate on sidewalks, which are solely intended for pedestrians. In addition, certain traffic laws require for motorists to maintain a safe distance against a bicyclist or motorcyclist on the road. Tailgating occurs when a motorist drives too closely behind a bicyclist and causes an accident.
Whether you have been hurt in an intersection crash with a speeding motorist or injured in a collision due to a drunk driver, you deserve to take proper legal action against any liable party or parties.
As will be discussed by your bike accident attorney, you may seek compensation from several parties, depending on the circumstances surrounding your bike accident case. Specifically, you have the legal right to file a compensation claim against the negligent motorist, or from his/her insurance carrier. Additionally, you may also seek compensation through your own insurance policy, specifically if you are dealing with an uninsured motorist accident. Since there are various types of compensation which you may claim in relation to your physical injuries and emotional suffering, you need to discuss your case with a bike accident lawyer in New Bern, NC at the earliest time possible.
Filing for Compensation with Your Bike Accident Attorney
Under North Carolina compensation guidelines, state drivers are mandated by law to carry at least the minimum amount of individual liability in their car insurance policies. This insurance coverage takes care of compensation to any injured party for which the driver may be responsible. Thus, if you have been hurt by a negligent driver, you are entitled to seek compensation from his or her insurance carrier. Bike accident attorneys in New Bern NC can provide sufficient guidelines on how to begin your claim, especially if the accident has taken place in North Carolina. Compensation types tend to vary, and your eligibility to claim for any of these kinds of compensation will be primarily determined by the nature of your injuries and your participatory negligence in the collision if any.
The following are some of the types of compensation which you may seek with the help of bike accident lawyers:
- Economic compensation. This type of compensation is meant to take care of financial losses as a result of your accident injuries. Included in this type of compensation are the loss of present and future income, present and future medical expenses, and other pecuniary losses related to the bicycle crash. To compute an injured individual’s financial losses, bike accident attorneys in New Bern NC will have to compile all necessary medical records, work documents and pay slips, and other related documents.
- Non-economic compensation. An injured bicyclist’s pain and suffering or mental anguish can be calculated and quantified into a specific monetary amount, which will then serve as a non-economic or non-financial type of compensation. Some injuries are severely impairing, to the point that the individual constantly suffers from pain and other physical inconveniences. A bike accident attorney can help in determining an approximate amount that will relatively correspond to and reimburse a plaintiff for these types of losses.
- Punitive damages. These types of damages are meant to punish an individual whose grossly negligent actions, or malicious intent has resulted in the extreme suffering of an injured individual or the loss of an entire family. For an injured bicyclist to be eligible to claim for this kind of compensation, it will be important to establish the negligence of the liable driver and the connection of this gross negligence to the injuries or impairment of the plaintiff.
- Wrongful death. If you have lost a loved one due to the recklessness of a motorist, you may seek to be compensated financially, over and above the filing of a criminal action in court. The computation of this wrongful death compensation claim may include the amount corresponding to hospital expenses, funeral costs, as well as the amount in income which the decedent may have been able to provide to his or her family during his/her working lifetime.
Bike Accident Settlements vs. Bike Accident Lawsuits
In pursuing a compensation claim against a reckless motorist and the concerned insurance company, you have a choice between two possible means: a settlement or a lawsuit. There are many reasons why a bike accident lawyer in New Bern NC may counsel you into accepting a settlement by the other party. Settlements can be concluded out of court, thereby saving you on time and resources.
In a settlement, you will meet up with the representatives of the liable party and discuss compensation terms with them. If the other party proposes an appropriate and fair compensation amount for all your losses, it may be prudent for you to agree to the settlement. There are also sound reasons why bike accident lawyers may advise against a settlement and recommend, instead, the filing of a lawsuit. Not all settlements are going to provide you with a full and fair compensation amount. In an effort to avoid payment, the insurance carrier of the negligent driver may question your lack of liability for the same accident.
Since any shared liability on your part may either reduce or forfeit the compensation amount otherwise entitled to you, the liable party may exhaust efforts into proving your participatory negligence. This could result in a significantly reduced amount or one that fails to include all necessary losses into the compensation computation. In this case, it may be best for your bike accident attorney to pursue court action.
After the filing of a lawsuit, it will be up to the state courts to determine which party is liable or whether you will be granted compensation in a specific amount. Although a lawsuit will be challenging and time-consuming, not to mention more expensive, it can nevertheless ensure that you get only the kind of compensation you fully deserve. Whether you are vying for a settlement or planning to file a lawsuit, you will need the advice and help of a trusted bike accident attorney in New Bern NC.
The Need for a Bike Accident Attorney on Your Compensation Claim in North Carolina
Some individuals may choose to represent themselves when filing for bike accident compensation. However, not all bicycle crash cases and compensation claims are the same. Some unexpected complications may arise, such as a compensation rejection from the liable driver’s insurance company. When this happens, you would want a bike accident attorney to be by your side. The firm establishment of negligence on the liable party significantly affects your ability to obtain compensation. Without sufficient evidence, however, it will be difficult to prove this negligence in a settlement negotiation or court.
Since an experienced bike accident attorney fully understands the importance of negligence laws and guidelines in compensation claims, that lawyer will work diligently in obtaining and preserving crucial evidence. Relevant evidence may be presented whether as means to re-negotiate an amount for a settlement or in proving liability in court. Additionally, a bike accident attorney can keep track of important deadlines when it comes to lawsuit filing. In the state of North Carolina, you will only be allowed to file a lawsuit within a period of three years from the date of the accident. This time limit applies to claims for personal injury and property damage. Finally, a committed legal counsel can help you with special cases, such as in dealing with a hit-and-run motorist or an uninsured vehicle driver. In the event that these complications arise, you will benefit greatly from having the judicious counsel of a trustworthy bike accident attorney with you.
Talk to Us at the Carolina Law Group to Get Help on Your Bike Accident Compensation
If you have been hurt in a bike accident in New Bern NC, it is possible for the vehicle driver to have been negligent and, therefore, responsible for your injuries. This is why you need the committed help of a bike accident attorney in New Bern NC. Here at the Carolina Law Group, we fully understand your need to be legally represented whether in settlement talks or in impending lawsuits. Our bike accident lawyers are prepared to look into your compensation claim and provide valuable counsel based on the nature of your specific case. There is no reason for you to bear your accident-related losses all on your own. Get in touch with us at the Carolina Law Group today to speak with a bike accident attorney for your claim in North Carolina.