A bicycle accident can bring about an immense amount of distress and injuries. Unfortunately, bicycle collisions happen just about every day on South Carolina roadways. This is usually because of the reckless driving of motor vehicle drivers.
Injuries can be catastrophic when a bicycle collides with a motor vehicle. A Forest Acres bicycle accident attorney can help your case move forward with the best potential possible. Contact the Shelley Leeke Law Firm today to speak with one of our Forest Acres personal injury attorneys.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
According to the National Safety Council, the number of preventable deaths by bicycle accidents increased by 16% in 2020 in the United States. In South Carolina, there were 14 bicyclist fatalities in 2020. Thankfully, that number has decreased from 2019.
The bicyclist fatality rate in South Carolina declined from 0.50 in 2019 to 0.27 in 2020. This means there were 12 fewer lives lost compared to 2019. In comparison to the rest of the nation, South Carolina’s 2020 rate was just under the national rate of 0.28.
Drivers need to be held accountable for bicycle accidents. Bicycle accidents can have potentially lifelong consequences. While the rate went down, there is still more work and awareness to spread.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
There are many factors that contribute to bicycle crashes. The crashes can be minor to severe. Some of the most common causes our attorneys at Shelly Leeke see include:
- Speeding drivers who end up swerving into bikers or don’t see the bicyclist until the last second.
- Negligent driving, such as failing to yield the right of way to cyclists.
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving by using a cell phone or another activity that takes their eyes off the road.
- Passing a bicyclist too closely or improperly.
- Opening vehicle doors in the path of a cyclist.
- Defective bike parts that cause tires or brakes to malfunction.
- Dangerous road conditions such as rain or snow and ice that lead to falls or another car sliding into a bicyclist.
While there are many causes of bicycle accidents, drivers still need to be held accountable. You do not deserve to suffer or pay for damages at the expense of their negligence. A lawyer can help you throughout the process, so it is not so difficult.
Proving Liability for Your Case
Some cases go smoothly, and there is not a lot of back-and-forth. However, other cases will need all the bases covered. If you experience injuries, you will need to make sure you have all the right documents for your bicycle accident.
When you file a claim, you will need to prove your injury to the insurance company. Sometimes, they can make this tricky, so you will want to make sure you have all the documentation in order. The best way is to show pictures and videos of the accident scene and your injuries.
However, if the accident already occurred, you should see if any buildings nearby had a camera. Most homes have a doorbell camera or something similar, so you can also look for that. Aside from the photos and video, you should keep all of your paperwork from your doctor or the hospital you went to for your injury.
What to Document About the Scene
You should document the scene whenever you get into any type of accident. Documentation is one of the most important aspects of your case. The following is what you should have.
- Photos of the scene
- A note of the location, time, and date
- Witness statements
- Make and model of the vehicle that collided with you
- Condition of your bicycle after the incident
- What you were wearing at the time of the accident
- Road conditions
- Any injuries you experienced
- Anything else relevant to prove your case
Without any documentation, it can be harder to win your case. The documents are a major form of evidence that you were not at fault. A lawyer can help you organize all of your proof and documents.
Make Sure Police Are Involved
When you have an official police report, it strengthens your case. While you should have your own documentation of what happened, a police report is needed for the insurance company. If you did not get a copy of the report on the day of the incident, you can still obtain a copy at the police station.
If you did not contact the police during your accident, there is still hope. There are some situations where a vehicle collides with a bicycle, and a police officer is not called to the scene by either party. It is common to think you feel fine and are not injured.
However, in a few days, or even in a month, you could start experiencing some pain.
In this situation, remember that South Carolina has a 3-year statute of limitations. This means you can gather all of your medical records and other documents and hire a bicycle accident attorney in Forest Acres to help.
When a Bicyclist Causes an Accident
While it may seem like most of the time, it is a vehicle’s fault for causing a bicycle accident, sometimes it is a bicyclist’s that can cause a car accident. This can happen in different instances. For example, if a bicyclist is riding down a busy road and is cutting between cars improperly.
Another scenario could be if a bicyclist decides to turn down another road or switch lanes without looking to see if there is any upcoming traffic. When this happens, it is too late to stop, and the accident happens. In these situations or something similar, you still should fill out all of the proper documentation and get a police report.
A bicyclist who causes the accident can be at fault. Sometimes, it can also be shared fault. Either way, you should have legal representation on your side to help build a strong case.
Filing a Lawsuit or Seeking a Settlement
Once you send a letter to the insurance company, they will send you a settlement offer. Most often, they will send you the lowest amount possible. However, you do not have to accept it.
Working with a Forest Acres bicycle accident lawyer is vital to get the most compensation you deserve. You can legally negotiate with the insurance company until you get the amount you deserve. The negotiation process can take longer but is often worth the time.
Most often, claims will be settled during the negotiation phase. However, if you cannot come to an agreement with the insurance company, you will need to file a lawsuit. The case will then get sent to court, and you will have to go to trial with them.
Get the Most Out of Your Compensation with a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Forest Acres
If you experience a bicycle accident, you do not need to go through the steps alone. Our team at Shelly Leeke Law Firm can help you negotiate with the insurance company and make sure you have all the proof you need for a strong case. Contact us today for a free consultation so we can help walk you through it.