Personal Injury Lawyer Discusses Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents are governed by the same general rules that manage pedestrian, truck, and car accidents – namely negligence. Negligence is the primary legal theory of recovery for people who are injured in accidents, including accidents involving bicycles. If you have been involved in a serious bicycle accident, always contact a personal injury lawyer to learn your full legal options.
While bicyclists must follow the rules of the road, many states give greater leeway regarding traffic lights and stop signs. For example, some municipalities allow them to roll through stop signs when safe to do so and if coming to a complete stop would be dangerous.
Additionally, bicyclists are required to signal when turning and to remain in bike lanes (unless turning left). Finally, Pennsylvania legally requires anyone under the age of 12 to wear a helmet.
In the event a cyclist is injured in an accident, their personal injury compensation depends on two main questions:
- Was the driver negligent or reckless?
- Did the bicyclist contribute to the accident or his injuries?
Driver negligence depends on the circumstances of the accident. For instance, drivers who speed, run red lights, drive in bike lanes, and roll through stop signs exhibit negligent or reckless behavior. Drivers are required to act with an ordinary duty of care to all other persons who share the road and sidewalk; any actions taken outside of that duty constitute a negligent action and could result in liability.
Another common example is “negligence per se” which is a subset legal theory which holds that if the victim is injured by the tortfeasor (person who commits a civil offense) while the tortfeasor is breaking a law that is designed to prevent the injury suffered by the victim, the tortfeasor is presumed liable for the victim’s injuries. For example, if a vehicle driver uses the bike lane and hits a cyclist, then the driver is automatically liable because segregated bike lanes were created to protect cyclists from this exact accident.
Pennsylvania is a mixed comparative negligence jurisdiction, which means that the plaintiff’s compensation is reduced by the percentage for which they were responsible for the accident. For example, if the cyclist failed to signal before changing lanes and a vehicle driver hits the cyclist, the cyclist is partially liable for his injuries. The jury would be asked to distribute liability, and the judge would reduce the cyclist’s compensation by that percentage. In this scenario, if the jury determines that the cyclist was 20 percent responsible, then the cyclist’s compensation is reduced by 20%.
Call Alfred Abel Law Offices for A Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury cases can be complicated and having good legal counsel will increase the odds of a successful outcome. A personal injury lawyer from Alfred Abel Law Offices will address these issues and more. Contact our offices today for legal information and services.