Raleigh Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycles are popular for recreation and transportation to work and school in the Triangle. The cities of Raleigh, Durham, Cary and many communities across North Carolina have added hundreds of miles of greenways and designated bicycle lanes to accommodate the growing number of people riding bicycles. Unfortunately, many car drivers still do not respect the rights of cyclists or look out for bicyclists on the road. Careless or inattentive drivers may cause accidents, resulting in serious injuries to riders.
If you have been injured in a bicycle crash caused by a driver, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your medical bills and lost income from the driver’s auto liability insurance. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident and you believe a motorist caused the accident, let a bicycle accident lawyer at Hardison & Cochran review the details and discuss your legal rights.
Hardison & Cochran has been helping accident victims for more than 30 years. We handle bicycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis so you will not have any upfront costs to have a lawyer handle a claim on your behalf. We only receive a legal fee if we obtain money for you. Our experienced attorneys can help you seek bicycle injury compensation from the at-fault motorist.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Most serious bicycle accident injuries are caused by collisions with cars and other motor vehicles. Many are caused by drivers’ carelessness or failure to notice a bicyclist riding on the road.
Cyclists face a much greater risk of crash-related injuries than occupants of an automobile. Speed is often a factor in the severity of the injuries.
Many automobile drivers do not understand how to share the road safely with cyclists.
What Are the Most Common Bicycle Accidents?
The common types of accidents involving cars and bicycles include:
- Left cross—Drivers making left turns at intersections often underestimate the speed of an oncoming bicyclist. A driver turning left in front of the bicycle may violate a bicyclist’s right of way to proceed straight through the intersection and cause a crash.
- Right hook—Drivers who are turning right on red should look to the right and behind for approaching vehicles to avoid hooking a bicyclist who is approaching from the rear.
- Drive out—A driver who fails to look for oncoming bicyclists and pulls out unexpectedly into the path of a rider may cause the cyclist to collide with the vehicle and sustain serious injuries. Drivers pulling out of driveways and alleys should always look for bicyclists or pedestrians who are on the sidewalk.
Most Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Soft tissue injuries such as scrapes and lacerations and musculoskeletal trauma caused by sudden impacts are common injuries in bicycle accidents.
Bicyclists may sustain broken arms and legs, rib fractures, facial fractures or broken teeth in a bicycle crash.
A cyclist who is thrown over the handlebars by the impact of a high-speed collision may sustain a head injury such as a traumatic brain injury. Head injuries are potentially life threatening. They may result in long-term disabilities for a cyclist and death. A properly fitted helmet can provide protection in the event of a crash.
Adults ages 50 to 59 have the highest rate of bicycle accident deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most fatal bicycle accidents occur in urban areas.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident caused by a motorist in North Carolina or a loved one has been involved in a bike accident, contact a bicycle injury lawyer at Hardison & Cochran to review the accident and discuss your legal options. If we believe that you have a valid personal injury claim, we will offer to handle your claim on a contingency fee basis. You will not have any out-of-pocket expenses or owe an attorney’s fee unless we obtain compensation on your behalf.
N.C. Traffic Laws Applicable to Bicycle Accidents
Bicycles are subject to North Carolina traffic laws just like other vehicles on the road. Bicyclists have a right to use most public roads and a duty to ride responsibly. They are required to obey the same laws as other drivers. Bicyclists must ride with the flow of traffic.
Bicyclists are required to:
- ride on the right side of the road
- obey stop signs and red lights
- use hand signals
- be visible at night
A bicycle accident may occur at any time. But serious bicycle accidents occur most frequently in low light conditions—between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. when cyclists are harder to detect. It is important for bicyclists to make themselves as visible to other road users as possible.
Bicycles are required to have both a head lamp and a red taillight when ridden at night on public streets or greenways. Both the front and rear lights must be visible from at least 300 feet away. As an alternative to a rear lamp, the bicyclist must wear clothing or a reflective vest that is bright and visible from at least 300 feet to the rear.
Motorists should remain alert for bicyclists on all roads except where they are not expressly prohibited such as interstates. Bicycles are narrow and often are positioned near the right edge of the road. Their narrow profile makes them easy for motorists to overlook, especially in traffic.
Bicyclists have a right to a full traffic lane, but often ride to the ride side to allow faster vehicles to pass.
Motorists wishing to pass a bicyclist must pass with care, when there is abundance clearance. When passing a cyclist, motorists must follow vehicle passing laws and leave at least two feet of space between the car and bicycle. The motorist shall not move back into the right lane until completely clear of the bicycle.
All bicycle riders and passengers under age 16 are required to wear a protective helmet.
Bicycle racing on public roads is prohibited, except during events approved by state or local authorities.
A crash involving a car and a bicycle should be reported to law enforcement if the collision caused an injury, death or property damage of more than $1,000.
Can I Recover Damages from a Bicycle Accident?
If you are injured in a bicycle accident, it is important to determine the cause of the accident. If a motorist acted carelessly or violated traffic laws and caused your injuries, then you may have a right to file a bicycle car accident insurance claim.
A bicycle injury claim will seek compensation for your medical bills and other losses and expenses related to your injuries. Typically, you submit a bicycle accident injury claim and supporting evidence to the insurance company representing the motorist who was at fault in the accident.
The types of compensation that you may seek include:
- Medical bills including doctor, hospitals and rehabilitation costs
- Future medical expenses if your injuries require ongoing treatment
- Lost wages from missed work due to injury
- Pain and suffering
- Property losses for your damaged bicycle
Many factors affect the amount of damages that may be recovered. They include the severity of your injuries, the insurance policies available to pay claims and whether the at-fault party acted intentionally to cause the injury. Each bicycle accident case has its own set of facts. If someone else caused the bike accident and you were not at fault, you may pursue monetary compensation from the at-fault driver.
Why Do I Need a Bicycle Accident Attorney?
The bicycle accident lawyers at Hardison & Cochran understand the North Carolina laws that pertain to your bicycle accident. Our bicycle accident law firm is committed to standing up for bicyclists who have been injured by negligent drivers. Our knowledge of the North Carolina personal injury law may allow us to identify legal options that are not immediately obvious.
North Carolina follows the doctrine of contributory negligence in personal injury cases. This makes it important to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who has experience dealing with insurance companies.
It’s common for insurance companies to try to take advantage of the situation and claim that a cyclist failed to obey traffic rules. We seek to gather evidence to show that the bicyclist was not at fault and push back against attempts by the insurer to shift the blame for the accident to the cyclist. If you were partly responsible for your own injuries in a bicycle accident, you will be barred from recovering compensation from others who were also at fault. We will seek to show that the motorist was driving with disregard for the safety of others on the road.
You should seek the guidance of a knowledgeable bicycle accident injury lawyer before talking to the driver’s insurance company. Insurance adjusters are looking for reasons to deny your injury claim. Providing a recorded statement to an insurance company can undermine your injury claim.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident that was not your fault, contact the Raleigh bicycle accident lawyers at Hardison & Cochran.
Hardison & Cochran represents accident victims throughout North Carolina and has offices in Raleigh, Greensboro, Fayetteville, Southern Pines, Durham and Wilmington.