Bicyclists enjoy the same rights and have the responsibilities as other drivers on the road, but they do not have the same protection from collisions with other vehicles. Although many bicyclists wear helmets and other forms of protective gear, the frame of a much larger, heavier, and faster passenger vehicle can cause severe injuries to someone with only the frame of a bicycle between them and the impact.
Anyone injured in such a collision should speak with a Franklin County bicycle accident lawyer to discuss their potential legal options. A qualified personal injury attorney can review the aspects of your crash and work to establish another individual’s liability.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, hundreds of bicycle accidents that lead to injuries or fatalities occur in the state of Missouri each year. The frequency of these accidents continues to rise, though, and many more bicycle-vehicle crashes involving only minor injuries tend to go unreported.
As a Franklin County bicycle accident attorney can advise, the negligence of other drivers on the road often leads to collisions that injure bicyclists. Distracted driving, texting while driving, driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, failing to use turn signs, disregarding traffic lights and signs, and speeding all may be negligent actions that could give rise to a bike wreck case.
Negligence and Bicycle Accidents
Most personal injury claims that stem from bicycle accidents are grounded in the concept of legal negligence. Since drivers have a duty to follow traffic laws, drive safely, and reasonably protect others from harm, any failure to live up to that duty could constitute negligence on their part.
Drivers who are reckless in causing an accident that leads to injuries could possibly be held liable in court for damages incurred by a plaintiff. Missouri also is a comparative fault state according to Missouri Revised Statutes §537.765, which generally means that multiple parties could be partially liable for an accident, including an injured individual. In other words, both the driver and the bicyclist could be at found at fault for the same accident.
However, even if the bicyclist is found partially at fault for the accident, he or she still may be able to seek compensation from other at-fault parties. However, the amount of damages that could be recovered would be reduced proportionately by your own percentage of fault for the accident.
Statute of Limitations in Bicycle Accident Cases
Deadlines, called statutes of limitations, govern almost all personal injury claims. Some types of personal injury claims have different statutes of limitations under Missouri law. As a result, it is essential to discuss the applicable statute of limitations with a bicycle crash lawyer in Franklin County as quickly as possible following an accident that causes injuries.
Mo. Rev. Stat. §516.120 states that personal injury actions based on negligence generally must be filed within five years of the date of the accident that led to the injuries. Injury victims who fail to meet this deadline or statute of limitations may lose their opportunity to recover compensation from those whose negligent actions caused their injuries.
However, there are some exceptions to the general statutes of limitations. For instance, if injury victims do not discover an injury until after the five-year statute of limitations has expired, they may still be able to file a claim in some circumstances under what is known as the discovery rule. Likewise, intentional tort claims and accidents resulting in death are often subject to different statutes of limitations. In a bicycle accident, exceptions to the five-year statute of limitations are probably rare, so it is critical that those who are seriously injured in a crash involving a bicycle and motor vehicle immediately talk with a Franklin County bicycle lawyer.
Work with a Franklin County Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
Personal injury claims are not always straightforward, and insurance companies frequently try hard to avoid paying claims in many circumstances. Enlisting the assistance of a Franklin County bicycle accident lawyer may be the most effective strategy to recover compensation for your injuries. Call us at Terry Law Firm, LLC today to get started on your case.