When a car and a bicycle collide at an intersection, it is not always clear who is at fault. However, you may consider a few general guidelines to help determine who is liable in such a situation. In most states, bicyclists have the same responsibilities and rights as drivers, and drivers have a duty of care to exercise caution around bicycles on the road.
In 2020, there were 932 cyclist fatalities in accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles in the United States. If you’re a cyclist who’s been struck by a motorist, contacting a bicycle injury attorney at Fieger Law can help determine who is at fault.
The personal injury attorneys at Fieger Law can review the circumstances of your accident to assign liability and help you pursue fair compensation for your injuries.
Factors That Determine Who Is at Fault
Accidents involving cars and bicyclists can be especially dangerous for the cyclist. Cyclists don’t enjoy the same protection as motorists have in a covered vehicle. As a cyclist, you are completely exposed to vehicles, concrete, and objects, placing you at a higher risk of injury.
Your car accident lawyer at Fieger Law can examine the following factors to see who acted negligently on the road and caused your accident.
Right of way
Bicyclists have the right of way at an intersection when approaching from the right, and there is no traffic signal. They also have the right of way when turning left, and there is no oncoming traffic. Many bicycle accidents occur because drivers don’t yield this right of way to cyclists and instead assume their vehicle has the right of way.
Speed plays a factor in determining bicycle accident liability. Speeding accounted for nearly one-third of national motor vehicle fatalities in 2020 and caused 11,258 deaths. A speeding motorist is less likely to see cyclists making left- or right-hand turns, crossing an intersection, or riding on the far right of the road. Cyclists will also likely sustain more serious injuries from fast-moving vehicles.
If the motorist is distracted by their smartphone or something in their field of view, they may not see a cyclist until it’s too late. Texting, adjusting the radio, or applying makeup can lead to distracted driving and a collision.
Similarly, cyclists can ride into a car’s path if they aren’t focused on navigating their bicycle. Drivers and cyclists should put away devices and other distractions to prevent a collision.
The driver’s condition
The driver’s condition during the accident can indicate liability. If they are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are more likely to hit a cyclist due to slowed reaction time, blurred vision, and reduced cognition.
Cyclists who operate their bikes under the influence can also cause an accident by crossing an intersection without looking or steering erratically and swerving into the road.
Road and weather conditions
Everyone on the road is expected to adjust their driving behavior according to road and weather conditions. Motorists and cyclists must exercise caution if a stretch of highway is being repaved or there are potholes in the asphalt. Failing to do so can result in a collision.
Weather conditions also require increased awareness from motorists. Rain or fog can make it difficult to spot a cyclist, while snow and ice can make braking uncontrollable.
Seeking Compensation After a Crash
If you’re a bicyclist who’s been involved in a traffic accident, there are a few things you can do to seek compensation.
First, it’s important to seek medical attention for your injuries and file a police report as soon as possible. This will document the incident and can give you the basis to start legal action. Keep all medical reports and exams and share them with your attorney.
Next, you’ll need to gather evidence from the scene of the accident, including photos and videos of the damage and witness statements. Once you have this information, your attorney can plan and advise you on the best course of action.
If the accident occurs due to the motorist’s negligence, you can recover economic damages such as medical expenses and lost wages. Your attorney can also help you recover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney for Your Claim
Being struck by a car while riding your bicycle can leave you with debilitating injuries and threaten your livelihood. Pursuing compensation is vital for covering your medical expenses and returning to your everyday life.
If you decide to file a lawsuit, the Detroit bicycle accident lawyers at Fieger Law can help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Although we are based in Michigan, our experienced attorneys represent clients nationwide. Check out our winning track record and call us for a free consultation today.