Bike Accident

What to Do Immediately Following a Bike Accident

Bike, or motorcycle, accidents are different from car accidents in many ways. For that reason, there are a few steps that our Joplin bike accident lawyer recommends taking if you have been involved in such an accident. Be sure to stop after a motorcycle accident The law requires that individuals involved in a vehicular accident, even a bike accident, must stop.  If you do not stop then you could be charged with leaving the scene of the accident, which can be serious.  In fact, it could lead to more than just a traffic violation, depending on the seriousness of the accident. As long are you are not seriously injured and you have a phone with you, report the accident first to local law enforcement.  Then inform your insurance company and contact your Joplin bike accident lawyer. Obtain information from the other parties involved To the extent possible, you need to gather certain information from the other driver, including their name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, and the name of insurance company. Also, make note of the make and model of the other driver’s car and license plate number. Equally important is to record the name and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. If you have the opportunity to take pictures of the accident scene, including especially pictures of any damage to either vehicle, do so. Never assume or admit that you are responsible for the accident One of the most important things our Joplin bike accident lawyer will tell you is that you should never admit to liability or volunteer to take the blame for a bike accident, even if you believe at that moment that it may have been your fault. Don’t agree to pay for any damages and certainly do not make or sign any statements without the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible It is important that both you and anyone else who may have been riding on your bike with you seek medical treatment immediately.  This is true even if you don’t believe you have any serious injuries. The reality is, some injuries are not always immediately obvious so being examined by a health care professional may uncover injuries or problems that were initially unnoticed. Tips for avoiding the most common accident situations Two of the most common situations are when a car turns left in front of you or changes lanes into you.  In order to avoid a car turning in front of your bike, you need to see the situation coming.  As a motorcyclist, you often need to be more observant than the automobile and truck drivers on the road with you.  As for sudden lane changes, the best way to avoid this dangerous situation is to be aware of blind spots and stay out of them as much as possible.  If you can see a driver’s eyes in their mirrors, they can see you, if they look of course. How do parties value a potential motorcycle accident case? Valuing a case means coming up with a best guess at what a jury might award the person suing (the plaintiff), and also guessing what the person being sued (the defendant) would be willing to pay. The two biggest factors in valuing the case are the extent of the plaintiff’s damages — meaning how bad the motorcycle accident was and how significant the resulting injuries are — and how likely the jury is to find the defendant liable (at fault for the accident). What kinds of damages can I expect? Estimating the potential outcome of a motorcycle accident case is quite difficult for one main reason: at trial, it will most likely be a jury that ultimately decides just how much money the defendant must pay the injured motorcyclist. Some personal injury damages, like medical bills and lost wages, are easier to predict because “concrete” costs like these will mostly be based on the amount the plaintiff demonstrates he or she has paid or lost and/or will continue to pay or lose. For subjective, less concrete damages like “pain and suffering,” predictions are at best an educated guess based on awards in similar motorcycle accident cases in the past. If you have questions regarding bike accidents or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.

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Bike Accident

Injuries During Bicycle Race Shed Light on Bicycle Safety

Recently in Brooklyn, during the Ninth Annual Red Hook Criterium 5K bicycle race, a massive pileup at the start of the race highlighted the dangers, both seen and unseen, for bicyclists everywhere.  If you are injured in a bicycle accident, your best move is to discuss your potential case with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer. Stalled motorcycle results in huge bicycle crash During this years Annual Red Hook Criterium 5K bicycle race, which started out as an unsanctioned cycling race series, the pace motorcycle stalled at the beginning of the race, leading  to a huge bicycle crash just as cyclists took off from the starting gate.  There were seven reported injuries, the worst of which was a broken arm.  There were ultimately several crashes during the event.  Your bicycle accident lawyer explains how to avoid bicycle accidents Although most motor vehicle accidents involve cars, motorcycles and trucks, you can also be injured while riding your bicycle and being struck by a motor vehicle.  In order to avoid a trip to a bicycle accident lawyer, you need to reduce the risk of accidents, especial ones involving cars.  This requires maximizing your visibility, understanding the rules of the road, taking safety precautions and recognizing potential dangerous situations ahead of time. The dangers of riding a bike through an intersection Despite the fact that only a small percentage of a cyclists travel route includes intersections, that is where they are at the greatest risk for injury.  While only 11 percent of bicycle accidents involve a crash with a car more than 45 percent of those accidents occur in an intersection. This type of accident is common for many reasons.  Car drivers often underestimate the speed of a cyclist.  Another problem is that drivers do not really expect to see a bike on the road, so they don’t really look out for them.  Even if they were watching for bikes, it is easy to miss them because they are small and often blend into the background. Be sure to actually stop at an intersection As any bicycle accident lawyer will tell you, it is important to avoid the “almost stop” at an intersection. In many states, when a cyclist fails to come to a complete stop at an intersection, the cyclist may be legally barred from any recovery.  This is true even if the motorist is more responsible for the accident than the cyclist. The lesson to learn here is that, in order to protect your legal right to recovery for injuries following an accident, you must come to a complete stop when the rules of the road require it. Determining who has the Right-of-Way As with cars, motorcycles and trucks, determining who has the right-of-way in a given situation depends on several factors, especially whether there are traffic signals.  When there are two vehicles approaching an intersection that does not have a traffic signal or only has a stop sign, the vehicle arriving at the intersection first has the right-of-way.  In situations where the vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time, the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way.  There is an exception to this rule.  When a minor street intersects with a major street, the traffic on the major street always has the right-of-way.  When an intersection is controlled by a traffic light, right-of-way would obviously be determined by the traffic signal.  When the cyclist may be liable for accidents or injuries While you may think the primary issue in an accident involving a car and a bike is how badly the cyclist was injured, there may be a bigger issue of liability.  Because a cyclist is required to follow the rules of the road, if they violate those rules, they could possibly face legal consequences of their own.  In fact, if the driver of the other vehicle is injured in any way or, more commonly, if their vehicle is damaged, the cyclist may be held responsible.  The other side of that coin is that, when the cyclist is at fault, they may not be able to recover for their own injuries. Never ride your bicycle against traffic Since, under the law, bicycles are considered “vehicles” and are required to obey traffic laws, a cyclists who rides against traffic are breaking the law. Contrary to popular belief, riding against traffic is more dangerous and actually accounts for the majority of bike accidents. Another reason to refrain from riding against traffic is that it typically leave less time to maneuver away from an imminent collision. If you have questions regarding motorcycle accidents, or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.

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Bike Accident

Ask Your Bicycle Accident Lawyer about Helmet Laws in Your State

Just like cars and other modes of transportation, bicycle safety should be a concern for everyone.  The more safety precautions you take, the less likely you will be injured in an accident.  When it comes to bicycles, wearing a helmet is an important safety precaution.  However, the laws regarding the use of bicycle helmets are not widely known and they are different depending on where you are.  You should ask your bicycle accident lawyer which laws apply to you. Bicycle helmet laws are established by your state First, there is no federal law requiring bicycle helmets.  Some states and municipalities have passed certain laws regarding helmets and the bicycle accident lawyer in your area will know what those laws are.  Most helmet laws that are in effect are limited to children under certain ages.  Currently, there are about 22 states and the District of Columbia which have passed statewide laws regarding helmet use.  Arkansas does not have a bicycle helmet law at this time.  Missouri does not have a statewide law, but certain counties and cities in Missouri have established laws based on the age of the rider.  No state currently enforces helmet laws for adult bicyclists. How bicycle helmet laws affect bicycle accidents Wearing a bicycle helmet is smart no matter what the law requires, but bicycle helmet laws could also have an impact on an injury claim following a bicycle accident.  For instance, if you are riding in a state or city where you are required by law to wear a helmet when riding your bike, and you are involved in a bicycle accident and injured, if you did not have your helmet on that will likely affect your ability to recovery for your injuries. In some states, your violation of the law (not wearing a helmet) might make you automatically negligent in terms of the injuries you suffered.  That all depends on the comparative negligence rules followed in your state.  Just consider how difficult it may be to prove that you would not have received a head injury even if you had been wearing your helmet as the law required. Research suggests that helmets reduce the severity of injuries Many studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of helmets for bicyclists.  It is pretty much agreed that wearing a helmet reduces the severity of head injuries, including brain bleeds, traumatic brain injuries, facial fractures and the need for craniotomies. Researchers found that among the groups studied, the ones wearing helmets had a 58 percent reduced chance of severe traumatic brain injury and a 59 percent reduced risk of death.  It was also found that the use of helmets reduced the need for a craniotomy by 61 percent.  A craniotomy is a surgery to remove part of the bone from the skull to expose the brain and relieve swelling.  Helmets potentially reduce the risk of facial fractures by 26 percent. Bicycle accident lawyer understands the inherent risks for bicyclists Regardless of whether bicyclists are wearing helmets, bicycle accidents frequently occur because of negligence on the part of other motorists. Helmets cannot prevent other injuries bicyclists often suffer when they are struck.  In comparison to the occupants of a passenger vehicle, bicyclists lack the type of protection provided by seatbelts, airbags and the basic frame of a car.  For that reason, similar to motorcycle accidents, it is often the bicyclist who suffers serious injuries. Motorists must recognize that they have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of other motor vehicles.  In most states, a bicyclist is expected to follow the rules of the road and laws concerning traveling on the roadway. Common causes of bicycle accidents Here are some of the most common violations on the part of motorists that lead to bicycle accidents: Drivers failing to consciously look for bicyclists. Motorists exceeding the speed limit or motorists driving at a speed that is unsafe given roadway, traffic and weather conditions. Drivers passing too close to bicyclists. Motorists intruding into bike lanes. Drivers making unsafe lane changes or turns. Motorists failing to yield the right-of-way to bicyclists. This is one of the most common causes of bicycle accidents involving other vehicles. Drivers or passengers opening doors in the path of moving bicyclists. Drivers blocking bike lanes and causing bicyclists to swerve into the path of other vehicles. If you have questions regarding bicycle accidents, or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.

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Bike Accident

Missouri Bicycle Accident Attorney Talks about Bicycle Claims

Cycling has become a very popular as both a recreation sport and a cheap, reliable means of transportation.  Unfortunately, this rise in popularity has also meant a rise in bicycle accidents.  The causes of these accidents are many, but your bicycle accident attorney can help you with recovering the compensation you deserve if you are injured. Why are bicycle accidents on the rise? There are many different factors that, in combination, result in an increase of bicycle accidents.  The number of cyclists on the road is one factor.  As more and more people turn to biking as a method of commuting, there are significantly more bicycles on the road.  Not to mention the increase of recreational cyclists.  Add to that, the substantial number of distracted drivers, lack of bike lanes, and lack of respect and recognition for cyclists on the roadway, and you have a formula for danger. Bicycle accident attorney understands Missouri laws regarding bicycles Under Missouri law, bicyclists are considered the same as other vehicles when on the roadway.  For bicyclists, this means they must obey all of the rules of the road.  One major misconception cyclists have is that they can travel down the road in the opposite direction as traffic, as pedestrians do.  A major misconception that motorists have is that cyclists are required to ride on the sidewalk. In fact, in Missouri bicycles aren’t supposed to be ridden on the sidewalk within business districts.  When riding a bicycle on the sidewalk in a residential area, any pedestrians have the right-of-way.  When passing a pedestrian, the cyclist must give an audible signal before doing so.  Cyclists are allowed to ride on the shoulder, but they are not required to. Missouri laws spell out driver responsibilities regarding cyclists Under Missouri law, a driver overtaking a bicycle must maintain a safe distance. The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway is required to leave a safe distance when passing the bicycle.  The motor vehicle must also maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle. Understanding Bicycle Accident Investigations Following a bicycle accident where the cyclist is injured, it is important to investigate how the accident occurred and how the bicyclist was injured. Often, accident reconstruction experts are useful to determine what caused the collision. In some cases, there may have been a defect in the bicycle or its components. Sometimes, the roadway may have been dangerous or defective. Regardless of the circumstances, obtaining the opinion of an accident reconstruction expert in a bicycle accident can be extremely helpful to your injury claim. The Process of Reconstructing the Accident It is very common for a bicycle accident attorney to take steps to determine what happened in the accident.  This determination is important especially when litigation is likely.  Most accident reconstruction experts have a background in physics and/or engineering, which is necessary to understand how forces act on objects such as humans and vehicles. After a bicycle accident, it is critical to preserve the bike for a thorough inspection before it gets repaired or destroyed. Without the bicycle, an expert may not have access to valuable details and information that can help strengthen your case. Issues that reconstruction experts often consider in bicycle accident cases An accident reconstruction expert will look for, among other things, potential issues in design, manufacture or assembly of the bicycle.  They may look for evidence that the bicycle was assembled by someone who lacked the qualifications or failed to properly check his or her work. An example of poor assembly includes failure to tighten components such as pedals, wheels, and handlebars. These failures can cause serious bicycle accidents and result in major injuries. Accident reconstruction experts can often determine the actions taken by a bicyclist just before the collisions, including whether they were forced to take evasive action. Reconstructionists who have expertise in roadway engineering and street planning can determine whether the design or lack of maintenance of a street or bike path contributed, or even caused, the bicycle accident. The dangers of riding a bike through an intersection Despite the fact that only a small percentage of a cyclists travel route includes intersections, that is where they are at the greatest risk for injury.  While only 11 percent of bicycle accidents involve a crash with a car more than 45 percent of those accidents occur at an intersection. This type of accident is common for many reasons. Car drivers often underestimate the speed of a cyclist.  Another problem is that drivers do not really expect to see a bike on the road, so they don’t really look out for them.  Even if they were watching for bikes, it is easy to miss them because they are small and often blend into the background. If you have questions regarding bicycle accidents or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.

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Bike Accident

Let your Bicycle Accident Attorney Investigate

In auto accident cases, it is often necessary to retain an accident reconstruction expert in order to determine who is at fault.  After a bicycle accident, it is equally important to investigate how the accident occurred and exactly how the bicyclist was injured. Whether there was a defect in the bicycle or one of its components or whether the roadway may have had a defect that ultimately caused the accident, an investigation is required to make those types of determinations.  Your bicycle accident attorney can help you obtain the professional opinions you may need to prove your case. The process of reconstructing an accident Gaining an understanding of exactly how a collision occurred is crucial to determining fault and being able to prove that fault in court.  You must be able to show how or why the accident occurred.  Most accident reconstruction experts have education and experience in the areas of engineering and physics, which allows them to understand how forces act on the human body, as well as the vehicle involved.  If you are injured in a collision while riding your bike, do not get the bike repaired or dispose of it.  The expert will need to be able to inspect the bike. Experts will consider evidence of defects related to the bicycle Reconstruction experts look for evidence of a defect in the design, manufacture or assembly of the bike.  For instance, the bike may have been assembled by someone who lacked the qualification or skill to do so.  There may also be evidence that the assembler neglected to properly inspect his or her work before allowing the bike to be sold. Common examples of poor assembly include the failure to tighten certain bike components as pedals, wheels, and handlebars. Experts can also determine how the accident happened Another issue on which experts provide important information is how the accident actually occurred – meaning the actions each party took before during and after the accident.  Experts can often determine whether the bicyclist was forced to take evasive action just before the collision.  Experts in roadway engineering and street planning can also determine whether the design or lack of maintenance of a particular roadway or bike path caused or contributed to the bicycle accident. Why is an investigation so important to your case? Establishing who was at fault is the most important part of litigating any personal injury case. The primary purpose of an accident investigation is to preserve and gather evidence to establish liability.  Your bicycle accident attorney will tell you that it is very important that you do everything you can possibly do to preserve any evidence, especially the bike itself.  If you are in the condition to do so, take pictures of the scene and the vehicle(s) involved.  Obtain information from witnesses so they can later be contacted. Inspections and photographic evidence There are many components to a bicycle accident investigation. Pictures should be taken of the scene of the accident, as well as any damage to the vehicles involved in the accident and all visible injuries sustained by the victims as a result of the bicycle accident. All of this evidence is likely to change or be destroyed over time, so it needs to be preserved as soon as possible. Interviewing all potential witnesses Another important aspect of bicycle accident investigation is obtaining statements from any potential witnesses. There may be witnesses who saw the accident when it took place or they may have only observed of the accident scene, before or after the accident took place. All of this information could be helpful.  There may be witnesses who spoke to the parties involved in the accident, such as first responders and law enforcement. Their recollection of the accident scene and their conversations with others should be preserved while they are fresh. At the very least, you need to obtain contact information for all potential witnesses so that they can be contacted later in case their testimony is needed at trial. How to Avoid Bicycle Accidents with other Vehicles Although most roadway accidents involve cars, motorcycles and trucks, it is not uncommon for someone to be struck and injured by a motor vehicle while riding their bicycle.  If you are a regular cyclist on the roadway, you need to minimize the risk of accidents with cars.  The key is to maximize your visibility, understand the rules of the road, take safety precautions and recognize potentially dangerous situations before they occur so you can avoid them. If you have questions regarding bicycle accidents or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.

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Bike Accident

How to Avoid Bicycle Accidents with other Vehicles

Although most motor vehicle accidents involve cars, motorcycles and trucks, you can also be injured while riding your bicycle and being struck by a motor vehicle.  In order to avoid a trip to a bike accident attorney, you need to minimize the risk of accidents with cars.  This requires maximizing your visibility, understanding the rules of the road, taking safety precautions and recognizing potentially dangerous situations ahead of time. The dangers of riding a bike through an intersection Despite the fact that only a small percentage of a cyclists travel route includes intersections, that is where they are at the greatest risk for injury.  While only 11 percent of bicycle accidents involve a crash with a car more than 45 percent of those accidents occur at an intersection. This type of accident is common for many reasons.  Car drivers often underestimate the speed of a cyclist.  Another problem is that drivers do not really expect to see a bike on the road, so they don’t really look out for them.  Even if they were watching for bikes, it is easy to miss them because they are small and often blend into the background. How to avoid an accident in an intersection Here are a few extra steps you can take to help avoid being involved in an accident with a motor vehicle at an intersection: increasing the visibility of yourself and your bike (e.g., front and rear lamps, reflective or brightly colored clothing) having a heightened awareness of the surrounding traffic riding defensively using emergency maneuvers to avoid collisions be prepared to brake suddenly if a car cuts you off in a turn never pass a car on the right at an intersection avoid being in another vehicle’s blind spot According to the law in almost every state, a bicycle is considered to be a “vehicle.” That means cyclists are also required to follow the rules of the road. Therefore, liability is generally based on who had the right-of-way. Determining who has the Right-of-Way according to a bike accident attorney As with cars, motorcycles and trucks, determining who has the right-of-way in a given situation depends on several factors, especially whether there are traffic signals.  When there are two vehicles approaching an intersection that does not have a traffic signal or only has a stop sign, the vehicle arriving at the intersection first has the right-of-way.  In situations where the vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time, the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way.  There is an exception to this rule.  When a minor street intersects with a major street, the traffic on the major street always has the right-of-way.  When an intersection is controlled by a traffic light, right-of-way would obviously be determined by the traffic signal. A cyclists liability for accidents or injuries While you may think the primary issue in an accident involving a car and a bike is how badly the cyclist was injured, there may be a bigger issue of liability.  Because a cyclist is required to follow the rules of the road, if they violate those rules, they could possibly face legal consequences of their own.  In fact, if the driver of the other vehicle is injured in any way or, more commonly, if their vehicle is damaged, the cyclist may be held responsible.  The other side of that coin is that, when the cyclist is at fault, they may not be able to recover for their own injuries. Be sure to actually stop at an intersection Be sure to avoid the “almost stop.” In many states, when a cyclist fails to come to a complete stop at an intersection, the cyclist may be legally barred from any recovery.  This is true even if the motorist is more responsible for the accident than the cyclist. The lesson to learn here is that, in order to protect your legal right to recovery for injuries following an accident, you must come to a complete stop when the rules of the road require it. Never ride your bike against traffic Since, under the law, bicycles are considered “vehicles” and are required to obey traffic laws, a cyclist who rides against traffic are breaking the law. Contrary to popular belief, riding against traffic is more dangerous and actually accounts for the majority of bike accidents. Another reason to refrain from riding against traffic is that it typically leave less time to maneuver away from an imminent collision. If you have questions regarding bike accidents or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.

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