According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, roughly 1,000 bicyclists each year are injured in crashes, while an average of 20 may lose their lives. Drivers often cause bicycle accidents through their careless actions.
When you can prove that the driver was to blame for the accident, you may be entitled to substantial financial compensation. First, you would need to go through the legal process, which may involve demonstrating responsibility for the accident and negotiating financial compensation with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You can count on the bicycle accident lawyers at Horton & Mendez in Wilmington to diligently represent you throughout the legal process.
Different Types of Bicycle Accidents in North Carolina
There are many ways that bicyclists can be injured in an accident. Here are some common types of bicycle accidents that can injure cyclists:
- Drivers may follow too close to a bicycle, not giving them the required space when passing (at least two feet from the bicycle)
- Drivers may follow too closely behind the bicycle in traffic
- Motorists may not check their mirrors before they change lanes and crash into a bicyclist
- Failure to yield the right of way to a bicyclist when required by law (bicyclists are legally entitled to their own lane in traffic, although they cannot travel on a freeway)
- Cutting off bicyclists when making a left turn
- Opening car doors into the path of a bicyclist
- The failure to see a bicyclist because the driver is distracted
These are just some of the many ways that drivers can injure bicyclists. The motorist would be legally responsible for injuries if they breached their duty of care by acting carelessly or unreasonably under the circumstances. The law requires motorists to use due care and act as a reasonably prudent person behind the wheel. This duty of care extends to all bicyclists.
You can be in a position to receive financial compensation for a bicycle injury when you have proof of what the driver did and can show that it was unreasonable. Since you are the one seeking compensation, you will have the burden of proof in your case. You must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the driver’s negligent actions caused your injuries.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
On average, bicycle accident injuries tend to be more serious than those suffered in a car accident. The bicyclist has little to protect them from serious injury, even if they wear a helmet. They will be directly impacted by the car, and they can be thrown through the windshield or to the concrete. There is very little chance that the cyclist will be unhurt in a crash with a car.
Many bicycle accident injuries can be permanent. Here are some potential bicycle accident injuries:
- Traumatic brain injuries from a blow to the head during the crash
- Broken bones and fractures from the impact with the car or hitting the ground
- Spinal cord injuries, when there has been trauma to the head, neck, or back
- Internal injuries (such as internal bleeding, ruptured spleen, or damaged organs)
- Lacerations and contusions
Bicycle accidents can often be fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control, roughly 1,000 bicyclists are killed nationwide each year in crashes with motor vehicles, in addition to the 130,000 who are injured. If your loved one died in a bicycle accident, your family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible driver.
Compensation for Bicycle Accident Injuries
There are two ways that you could be compensated for your bicycle accident injuries:
- You can file a claim against the responsible driver’s car insurance policy and negotiate a settlement of your claim
- You can directly sue the driver in court and let a jury decide the matter
Regardless of how you pursue financial compensation, you are legally entitled to be made whole financially for the injuries that you suffered. Money cannot reverse your bicycle accident injuries, nor can it restore your health. Money will compensate you for what you have endured and get justice for what happened.
Here is the compensation that you could receive for your bicycle accident injuries:
- The complete cost of your medical care
- Lost wages for the time that you missed from work (or any money that you could have earned but did not)
- Pain and suffering for the ordeal that you have experienced, both in terms of physical and emotional discomfort
- The loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium damages for a spouse or partner
If your loved one died in a bicycle accident, your family can file a lawsuit under North Carolina’s wrongful death law to be paid the damages that you suffered when you lost a loved one in an accident.
How a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, the last thing that you have the capability to do is deal with the insurance company. Not only do you lack the bandwidth, but you are also not sufficiently wise to the penny-pinching ways of the insurance company. Trying to deal with the legal process on your own will cost you a lot of money that you will need in the future.
Your lawyer is your advocate at every step of the way. They will begin by conducting a full investigation of your accident and gathering the evidence that you need to prove your claim. Then, your lawyer will estimate the damages that you have suffered. An attorney would file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf, reaching the best possible settlement or litigating your case if you cannot reach an agreement.
Contact a Wilmington Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
The attorneys at Horton Mendez will provide you with determined legal representation as you seek to make the responsible person pay for what they did. The first step is to contact an attorney to discuss your case in a free initial consultation. We can be reached by sending us a message online or by calling us today at 910-405-7751. You do not need to pay us anything unless you win your case.