Is Proving Fault In A Car Accident Different From That In A Bike Accident?
If you are a bike rider, you need to follow state and national laws about wearing reflective clothing, having reflective lights on your bike, and always wearing a helmet when you ride. It’s the law. If you fail to follow these rules, your personal injury lawyer will tell you that your chances of suing and obtaining a settlement may (and will) be severely hampered.
If you are a bike rider who is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, your personal injury lawyer will tell you that identifying the guilty party and establishing his or her fault is generally far from easy. Your lawyer will tell you that you can be found to be either partially or fully at fault in some instances. This is especially true if you violated a state or national law. This fact can dramatically affect your ability to file and win a personal injury claim or case!
Personal injury lawyers know that drivers of motor vehicles will oftentimes argue that the bike rider shares some of the fault in the personal injury accident. However, some other factors also influence personal injury accidents that involve motor vehicles and bicycles!
Traffic and helmet laws
Traffic and helmet laws are the two main types of laws that can influence the outcome of a personal injury case.
Personal injury lawyers in Watsonville know that most states have enacted “where to ride laws.” These laws restrict the areas and places where you can ride your bike. For example, if you are ever driving on a road, you’ll be required to drive as close to the right side of the curb or edge of the roadway as possible. You’ll also have to follow the “defined distance” and “three-foot passing laws.” These laws require you to keep at least three feet distance between you and another motor vehicle.
Other state laws you must follow include observing stop signs and traffic signals if you ride a bike. This is because you are still considered to be a motorist. So you could be fully at fault if you run a red light and are hit head-on by a motorist. If you violate traffic laws as a bicyclist, you could severely limit your chances of filing a claim or case and winning a settlement. However, there are exceptions to this!
Bike helmet laws
America’s national government doesn’t require you to wear a helmet when riding a bike. However, most states do if you are 18 or over. If you aren’t wearing a helmet when you have a personal injury accident, your ability to file a claim or sue and collect a settlement may be severely limited.
The Role That Negligence Plays In Car Vs. Bike Collisions
Negligence almost always plays a role in personal injury accidents that involve motor vehicles and bikes. This greatly influences liability in these accidents and cases. Part of the reason lies in the fact that these cases are fact-specific and require lots of evidence to prove. This evidence includes eyewitness testimony and police reports, among other things.
Just keep in mind that if you don’t heed state, local, and national laws when riding your bike, the other party can use the negligence per se argument to claim that your traffic violations were what directly caused the personal injury accident. This argument can ‘get the other party completely off of the hook in terms of fault!’
Comparative And Contributory Negligence
If you are a bike rider who is even 1% at fault for your personal injury accident, the motorist involved will almost certainly use that as an argument to have your settlement reduced. Indeed, it will be reduced by your share of fault if you live in a state that follows comparative negligence laws. If you live in a contributory negligence state, you may not be able to file a claim, sue, and/or collect a settlement at all.
If you are a bike rider, follow the laws.If you don’t and you get into an accident with a motorist, you’ll almost certainly be forced to hire a personal injury lawyer to file a claim or case and win a settlement.