Cyclist at Fault Car Accident
A collision between a car and a bicycle can cause severe injuries and ongoing legal issues. It is a common misconception that motor vehicle drivers are automatically at fault in bicycle accidents. However, negligent cyclists can cause car accidents and be liable for any damages, even if they were the party that was significantly injured.
Have you or a loved one suffered an injury in an accident involving a cyclist? Contact the personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate advice and schedule a free legal consultation.
A personal injury lawyer experienced in bicycle accident lawsuits will help you fight for your deserved compensation. Bicycle accident cases can be challenging, so you must seek legal representation when pursuing compensation.
Our bicycle accident lawyers accept all cases on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures you pay nothing until your issue is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury trial award.
When Is an Accident a Cyclist’s Fault?
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that half of all fatalities in road traffic accidents are cyclists or pedestrians. As the cost of fuel rises, the number of cyclists on the road increases, as does the accident rate.
Motor vehicles and cyclists need to share the road and follow the traffic laws to avoid bicycle accidents. In a recent analysis of accidents, 44% of car and bike accident fatalities occurred due to the cyclist's fault.
Cyclists can cause accidents by failing to adhere to traffic laws, not paying attention to the vehicles around them, and partaking in negligent and risky behavior. Although most injuries and damage occur to the cyclist, they can be at fault and face liability for damages to the other party.
Common Vehicle and Bike Accident Scenarios
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), cyclist fatalities from traffic accidents rose by nearly 10% in 2020.
Typical vehicle and cyclist accident scenarios include:
- The cyclist being hit or brushed by a car
- A cyclist being hit by a car turning right
- A cyclist running into an open door of a vehicle
- The cyclist was hit by a car reversing out of a driveway
- A cyclist riding against the traffic
- The cyclist riding on the wrong side of the road
The injuries sustained in a bike and car collision can be severe, and both you and the other party should seek immediate medical attention.
What Traffic Laws Apply to Cyclists?
Cyclists have the same liability and duty of care on the roads as vehicles and must adhere to the same traffic laws.
Specific traffic laws for cyclists include:
- Follow pavement markings: cyclists must adhere to road markings such as centerlines, white stop lines, and pedestrian crossings.
- Right turns: a cyclist must only turn right from a right-hand lane
- Left turns: a cyclist should complete a left-hand turn as a vehicle would, ensuring they pay attention and stay alert when crossing the intersection.
- Traffic signs and signals: cyclists must follow a stop sign signal, traffic lights, and railroad crossings.
- Use hands and arms to communicate: bicyclists should use their hands and arms to signal their movement on the road.
- Ride in the direction of traffic: cyclists must ride in the same direction as the traffic.
There are specific bike laws that apply to each state. Cyclists in Illinois must adhere to the regulations found in Chapter 11 of the Illinois Vehicle Code.
Proving Negligence in a Bicycle Accident
The law requires victims to determine fault before processing any compensation claims. Assessing who is at fault when a car hits a bicycle is not always straightforward. The theory of negligence is based on the principle that people have a duty of care to not harm another through careless or reckless behavior.
There are four elements in proving a negligence claim:
- Duty of care: Did the defendant owe the plaintiff a legal duty of care?
- Breach of care: Did the defendant fail to provide reasonable care owed to the plaintiff by acting careless or failing to act reasonably? An example of this may be failing to adhere to traffic law.
- Causation: Was the breach in duty of care by the defendant a direct and proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury?
- Damages: The court must be able to compensate the plaintiff for damages associated with the injury, such as financial burden and emotional and physical suffering.
Examples of Motor Vehicle Driver Negligence
- Using a mobile phone while driving
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving while tired
- Consuming food while driving
- Failing to adhere to road rules such as stop signs and traffic lights
- Driving aggressively or deliberately antagonizing the cyclist
- When a car hits a cyclist by opening a door
- Reckless driving, such as speeding or darting between lanes
- Not maintaining a safe distance from the cyclist when following or passing
Examples of Bicyclist Negligence
- Riding while under the influence of drug or alcohol
- Listening to music or partaking in another distracting activity
- Riding in the wrong way against the traffic
- Failing to use the bike lane if one is available
- Ignoring other drivers and pedestrians
- Riders fail to adhere to road rules, such as stop signs or traffic lights.
- Failing to provide adequate signaling to indicate the direction of movement
- Riding without lights at night
- The cyclist did not yield to a motor vehicle
Contributory and Comparative Negligence
Determining who is the negligent party in a car and bike collision is not always easy. When a vehicle hits a cyclist, there may be a shared fault. In accidents where it is determined that both parties are at fault, the law requires that the theory of contributory and comparative negligence applies.
Under Illinois law, contributory negligence means that you may not be able to claim compensation for the complete total of damages if you were partially at fault for the accident.
In some states, contributory negligence law prohibits a negligent bicyclist from recovering compensation if the victim was partially at fault for the accident.
The Modified Comparative Fault Rule in Illinois
In Illinois, the legal theory known as the modified comparative fault rule is applied when multiple parties are at fault for an accident. In this scenario, a judge or jury will determine the responsibility assigned to each party that contributed to the accident.
Evidence is gathered from the accident scene to determine shared fault in an accident. Eyewitnesses, photographs, a police accident report, and video footage may all be utilized in analyzing and assessing negligence and the level of fault for each party.
In Illinois, the accident victim or plaintiff must be less than 50% at fault to recover damages and compensation.
How Does an Insurance Company Cover a Cyclist Accident?
A car accident involving a cyclist can be a complex legal matter, and insurance companies may be challenging. You must contact our law firm and engage a bicycle accident attorney to ensure that your case is handled professionally and receive your compensation.
Car Insurance Coverage
A motor vehicle driver liability policy generally involves two types of insurance coverage:
- Uninsured coverage: covers damages when an uninsured driver is at fault.
- Underinsured coverage: covers damages when the driver at fault was underinsured.
If a cyclist is injured in a car accident, the compensation claim will be lodged with the negligent at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the negligent vehicle driver does not carry insurance, a claim may be made against the cyclist’s auto insurance policy.
In cases where contributory and comparative negligence is involved, the insurance company may need additional time to access a police report and any other evidence available to complete the investigation. Car accidents that involve collisions with a bicycle are complex and often involve multiple insurance claims.
How Do I Claim Compensation for a Bicycle Accident? Contact Our Personal Injury Law Office!
Did a bicyclist cause an accident that resulted in you or a loved one sustaining any injuries? Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.
An accident injury claim may provide compensation that covers:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Physical rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
Call our legal team today at (888) 424-5757 for a free consult with our lawyers.
Our law firm accepts all personal injury cases on a contingency fee agreement and always offers a free case evaluation to properly assess your personal injury case. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our law firm remains private through an attorney-client relationship.