Bicycle Accidents Attorney in Clarksburg, West Virginia
Many take pleasure in the action of riding bicycles. Bike users have little protection from the environment around them. Even at relatively low speeds and with protective equipment, the smallest car has the potential to permanently injure, disfigure, or even kill a bicyclist who is involved in a collision with it.
Cyclists have the same rights to travel on West Virginia roads as vehicles, and motorists must be aware of their surroundings. We frequently see the driver of a motor vehicle attempt to shift blame to the bicyclist, regardless of who was at fault. And it makes the accident case more complex.
The law firm of Thomas E. McIntire and Associates is dedicated to ensuring that negligent drivers and the insurance companies for those drivers are held completely responsible for the monetary, property, and emotional damages they cause. If you are a victim of a bicycle accident in Clarksburg, West Virginia, get in touch with us right now!
Why do I need a Bicycle Accidents Lawyer in West Virginia?
Following a bicycle accident, there are likely to be a lot of things going on at the same time. Recovering from your wounds should be your first concern at this point. Suppose you intend to pursue a legal compensation claim against the diver. In that case, Thomas E. McIntire and Associates, your knowledgeable bicycle accident lawyer in Clarksburg, can take care of anything else, including the following:
- Obtaining all police reports on the incident
- Getting evidence like surveillance footage and witness statements
- Having the crash scene reconstructed if needed
- Obtaining your medical records and calculating your monetary and non-monetary losses
- Represent in all legal negotiations like claim settlement or litigation
Accidents involving bicycles typically necessitate communication with several parties, including insurance firms that do not have your best interests at heart. With Thomas E. McIntire and Associates, you don’t have to worry about these things. Our Clarksburg bicycle accident lawyer will take care of all communications so that you won’t have to worry about doing so.
Reaching out early to a credible personal injury law firm may benefit your case more than you expected. Speak to us now!
Accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles on public roads can be caused by a wide range of reasons, the majority of which are the responsibility of motorists. The use of cell phones while driving as well as unsafe lane changes, turning without checking for bicycles, driving too close to bike lanes and shoulders, and turning without looking for cyclists are some of the most common causes.
West Virginia Bicycle Laws
West Virginia drivers frequently cause bicycle accidents by violating one of the state’s bicycle statutes. A violation of traffic regulations can bring a motor vehicle directly in the path of a bicyclist, resulting in an avoidable collision. If you feel that a driver’s violation of a traffic law caused your bicycle accident, a seasoned Clarksburg bicycle accident attorney can assist you in gathering evidence and submitting it to an insurance company, court, or jury.
Your case may include multiple bicycle laws in West Virginia:
- Bicycles as vehicles. According to West Virginia law, bicycles must follow the same traffic laws as motor vehicles. Bikers must follow traffic and obey all traffic signs and signals, including stop signs and traffic lights. Bicyclists have the same rights as motorists. Other drivers must respect bicyclists’ rights and treat them as they would other drivers.
- Rights-of-way. In most cases, if a motor vehicle has the right-of-way on a roadway, a bicyclist will also have the right-of-way. A driver, for example, must yield to a bicyclist who arrived first at a four-way stop. One of the most common causes of bike accidents in West Virginia is failure to yield.
- Bicycle helmet law. In West Virginia, a bicyclist over 15 is not required to wear a helmet. However, West Virginia Code Section 17C-11A-4 requires anyone under 15 to wear a helmet when operating or riding a bicycle on any public roadway.
Do not assume you are ineligible for financial compensation if you were breaking one of these laws at the time of your accident. According to West Virginia’s modified comparative fault standard (West Virginia Code 55-7-13A), even if the plaintiff contributed to the damages, they may still be entitled to a percentage of compensation. Thomas E. McIntire and Associates, a bicycle accident law office in Clarksburg, can assist you in dealing with the comparative fault defense.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
Because it is your responsibility as the injured party to prove fault and liability, one of the first steps is to look for signs of causation in your type of bicycle accident. The kind of accident can indicate who or what caused your collision. In West Virginia, the following are the most common types of bicycle accidents:
- Stop sign and intersection accidents. When someone fails to yield the right of way at a stop sign or an intersection, an accident occurs. If a driver fails to come to a complete stop and yield the right-of-way to a bicyclist, for example, they may cause a collision.
- Left-hand turn accident. Oncoming bicyclists’ distance and speed are frequently underestimated by drivers. They may turn left too close to a bicycle, resulting in a head-on or T-bone collision. When turning left, an inattentive or distracted driver may fail to notice an oncoming bicyclist.
- Rear-end collisions. If a driver follows a bicyclist too closely (tailgating), they may be liable for a rear-end collision. It is dangerous for a driver to leave less than three feet between the front of their vehicle and a bicyclist. Following or passing too closely can result in a rear-end or sideswipe collision.
- Dooring accidents. A dooring accident occurs when a driver opens their car door and collides with an oncoming bicyclist. These collisions are prevalent when bike paths run alongside parking spaces in congested downtown areas. Before opening a door, a driver must check their mirrors for approaching bikers.
Contact a credible bicycle accident attorney for legal advice following any type of bicycle accident in Clarksburg, WV.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can occur for a variety of reasons. Many of the most common causes of bicycle accidents involve mistakes by cyclists or other motorists. These are some examples:
- Distracted Driving
- Failing to Leave an Adequate Buffer
- Weaving Through Traffic
- Unsafe Lane Changes
- Turning without Looking
- Running a Red Light or Stop Sign
- Failure to Yield
- Impaired Driving
- Driver Fatigue
Whatever happened, if you were seriously injured in a bicycle accident, you should contact a Clarksburg personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Common Bicycle Injuries in West Virginia
A bicyclist can sustain serious to catastrophic injury in a bicycle accident. A biker hit by a vehicle in West Virginia, whether wearing or not wearing a helmet, can sustain life-changing injuries. Bicycle accidents frequently result in the following injuries:
- Bone fractures
- Bruises and contusions
- Road rash and lacerations
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Head trauma and skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Internal organ damage
- Catastrophic injury
- Emotional and psychological injuries
- Wrongful death
There are no bicycle accidents alike. Although certain types of injuries, such as tissue injuries and musculoskeletal trauma, are more common in these collisions, you are 100% unique as an injured victim. This is why you should hire a Clarksburg bicycle accident lawyer to represent you. A lawyer can emphasize what makes you and your case unique to fight for the financial outcome you deserve.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident in West Virginia?
Safety is paramount when riding a bicycle, but no matter how cautious you are, the odds may be stacked against you. Knowing what to do in the immediate aftermath of a bicycle accident can help you protect your rights or the rights of a companion who may be seriously injured. The checklist below can assist you in maintaining control and preserving critical information:
- Do not leave the scene and wait for the police officers to arrive.
- Get appropriate medical care.
- Fill out the police accident report with your version of what happened.
- Document driver and witness contact information
- Take pics of your injuries and document your pains.
- Save all relevant evidence.
- Don’t talk to the insurance companies, and don’t sign any document from a driver’s insurance company.
- Seek legal advice from an experienced bicycle accident lawyer in Clarksburg, WV
Bicycle Accident Liability in West Virginia
Bicycles traveling on West Virginia roads must follow the same traffic laws as cars and other motor vehicles. As long as they do so, they have the same legal right to use the roads as motor vehicles.
Drivers have a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care toward other road users, including bicyclists. Many bicycle-motor vehicle collisions occur as a result of a motorist breaking traffic laws or being otherwise negligent or reckless. When this happens, the driver may be held liable for the cyclist’s injuries.
Negligence and Bicycle Accidents
When a cyclist sues for compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident, the outcome frequently hinges on two questions:
- Is it possible that the driver’s negligence (or recklessness) was to blame for the accident, which led to the cyclist suffering injuries as a result of the collision?
- Is it possible that the cyclist’s actions led to or contributed to the accident in any way?
A driver’s negligence can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Speeding, running a stop sign, and drifting into a bike lane, for example, all constitute driver negligence or recklessness if done with a conscious disregard for the safety of others.
In a lawsuit alleging negligence by another person, plaintiffs must typically demonstrate that the defendant violated a duty owed to the plaintiff. In auto accident cases, this means failing to uphold the basic duty of care owed to everyone else on or near the roads.
Accident lawsuits are often decided by facts specific to the individual case, as well as the plaintiff’s ability to prove negligence through eyewitness testimony or other evidence. However, in car accident cases, behaviors that constitute traffic violations can be considered “negligence per se.” This means that if a driver was cited for a violation at the time of the accident, evidence of the violation counts as evidence of negligence. The defendant then bears the burden of proving that they did not cause the plaintiff’s injuries.
Whether a cyclist sues a driver or is sued for injuring someone else, cyclist negligence can influence the outcome of the lawsuit. Biker negligence includes riding the wrong way on a one-way street, failing to stop at a stop sign, and turning abruptly into traffic.
Negligent cyclists may be unable to recover damages for injuries sustained in car accidents. Such negligence is known as contributory or comparative negligence, and it means that the cyclist’s negligence caused the accident and thus caused at least some of the cyclist’s injuries. If a cyclist rode carelessly and caused injury to another, the cyclist may be held liable for that person’s injuries.
Courts hold drivers to a higher standard in accidents involving children riding bicycles.
Resolving a Bicycle Collision Claim
In West Virginia, there are two different approaches that can be taken to successfully settle a claim for injuries sustained in a bicycle accident. A settlement can be reached in many circumstances through the process of negotiation. In the event that claims cannot be settled out of court, the second option is litigation, an attempt to hold the person at fault accountable before a judge or jury.
Whether you pursue settlement or litigation, it is highly recommended to engage a well-experienced bicycle accident attorney in West Virginia to guide and represent you.
Bike Accident Settlements
In cases where a settlement is possible, the plaintiff will agree not to file a bicycle collision lawsuit in exchange for monetary compensation from the defendant. While many cases settle before filing a lawsuit, settlement can occur at any point during the civil claims process.
Settlement offers are common in bike accident cases, but not all of them are worth accepting. For example, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will almost certainly try to settle a case right away, knowing that many injured cyclists will not know the actual value of their injury claim. As a result, an injured bike rider may receive low settlement offers that do not adequately compensate them for their losses.
A West Virginia bicycle accident lawyer can help ensure that a settlement offer is reasonable. Reach us to us now!
Bike Accident Litigation
In some bicycle accident injury cases, settlement may not be an option. Sometimes the motorist who caused the biking accident will deny any liability. In some cases, the driver may be unable to make a settlement offer due to financial constraints. If they cannot afford to make a settlement offer, defendants in bike accident injury cases may go to trial.
A favorable judgment obtained through civil litigation can result in the financial compensation required by a cyclist to deal with their injuries following an accident. However, proving the defendant’s fault requires a plaintiff to gather and present evidence of liability to the court. A West Virginia bicycle accident attorney can assist injured bicyclists in recovering their accident-related losses through all available channels.
Proving Liability in a West Virginia Bicycle Accident
You must demonstrate that a driver was driving negligently and that their actions caused your injury. When drivers are on the road, they have an automatic duty to drive in a manner that keeps them and other road users reasonably safe.
If a driver caused the accident, they failed to perform their duties. Failure to uphold their duty and being the cause of your injury renders them liable, and a court will rule that the driver must compensate you for your injuries as a result of the incident.
Claimable Damages in a West Virginia Bicycle Accident Case
West Virginia allows bicycle accident victims to file a claim against other motorists for any injuries sustained in a bike accident. Your attorney will assist you in constructing a case and seeking compensation for damages such as:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- In-home nursing care
- New bicycle or repair reimbursement
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
To determine the potential maximum compensation claim you can pursue, seeking legal advice from a competent West Virginia bicycle accident attorney is highly recommended.
What is the Statute of Limitation in West Virginia?
Understanding the West Virginia statute of limitations is the first step in protecting your legal rights. The West Virginia statute of limitations is a law that specifies the maximum amount of time a party has to file a lawsuit against an alleged wrongdoer. That time is calculated from the date of the alleged offense, negligence, or other wrongdoing.
The statute of limitations for bicycle accident personal injury claims is generally two years. The two-year statute of limitations begins right at the time of the incident.
Filing a lawsuit within the two years timeframe is the best way to protect your legal rights. Seeking assistance from a skillful Clarksburg bicycle accident attorney can ensure your case is filed within the statute of limitation.
Call our Qualified Bicycle Accidents Attorney in Clarksburg, West Virginia, Now!
Although riding a bicycle may be beneficial to your health, there are situations in which the actions and behaviors of other motorists might put you in danger of suffering significant injury.
Bicyclists do not have the protective shell that a vehicle body does. If you or a loved one has been hit by a vehicle, you should speak with a West Virginia bicycle accident lawyer about your legal rights and other options.
Get in touch with us to start reviewing your case as soon as possible. We’ll be waiting for your call!