Many people in Bridgeport enjoy cycling along the coastline and trails for exercise, recreation, or commuting to work. Cycling provides a cost-effective and environmentally friendly mode of transport. Unfortunately, as the popularity of cycling increases, so does the rate of accidents. Injuries to a cyclist in a crash can be serious—fractures and concussions are common, while severe spinal cord and head injuries happen with alarming frequency.
There are many possible causes for a bicycle accident but negligence on the part of another driver or poor road conditions often contribute to crashes. Depending on the circumstances, a negligent party may be liable to an injured cyclist. If you suffered injuries in a bicycle accident you should reach out to a Bridgeport bicycle accident lawyer. Attorney George W. Ganim, Jr., a dedicated personal injury attorney, will analyze your case and advise you on whether you have a good case for damages.
Common Examples of Negligence in Bicycle Accidents
There are many ways that negligence can cause or contribute to a bicycle accident. Collisions between bicyclists and other vehicles may happen because:
- The distracted motor vehicle driver did not see the bicyclist
- The driver of the motor vehicle failed to grant the right-of-way
- The driver of the motor vehicle failed to provide the bicyclist three feet of clearance as the law requires
- The driver of the motor vehicle was drunk or under the influence of drugs
- The driver of the motor vehicle was not properly paying attention
Hazards on or near a road also may cause a bicycle to crash. In that case, the body of government responsible for maintaining the roadway may have been negligent in not promptly correcting or removing the hazard. The same applies to hazards on bike paths or trails.
Sometimes the bicyclist’s negligence contributes to an accident. Poor bike maintenance can cause equipment failure that leads to crashes. Riding a bicycle after dark or in low light without the proper reflective equipment and lights can also lead to collisions. It is important for bicyclists to ensure their equipment is kept up to date and that they follow all traffic laws. This not only protects them physically but it can reduce the chance that they are deemed partially liable for any accident. A bike collision attorney in the area could analyze a bike to determine if improper maintenance played a part in an accident.
A Bicyclist’s Negligence May Limit Recovery
Connecticut General Statutes §52-572h follows the comparative negligence doctrine. This doctrine allows a person whose negligence contributed to an accident to collect damages from other negligent parties, as long as the injured person’s negligence was not the primary cause of the accident.
Determining fault is often a tricky part of negotiations with other responsible parties, as they will attempt to limit their liability by assigning most of the blame to the cyclist. If a case goes to trial, a judge or jury will determine the responsibility of each party, if the facts surrounding the accident warrant such a determination. A local bicycle crash lawyer can present evidence that shows someone other than the bicyclist bears all or the bulk of the responsibility for the accident.
A cyclist who is up to 50 percent responsible for an accident can still collect damages in Connecticut but the final damage award by will be reduced by the percentage of fault that the judge or jury deems the bicyclist to have contributed to the accident. For example, if the bicyclist is 20 percent at fault for the accident, their compensation will be reduced by 20 percent. If a bicyclist is more than 50 percent responsible, they are ineligible to recover any damages.
How Could Failing to Wear a Helmet Impact Civil Recovery?
It is against the law for any child age 15 years or younger to ride a bike, scooter, skateboard or any other similar non-powered apparatus on any public road without a protective helmet. In order to comply with state law, this helmet must meet or exceed the safety standards established by the Snell Memorial Foundation and/or the American National Standards Institute.
Breaking this law is not considered a violation, infraction, or any other kind of offense, and neither the child nor their parent is subject to comparative negligence in the event of an accident caused by another person. However, it is still a good idea for every bicyclist in the state of Connecticut to wear a helmet while riding, for their own personal safety.
What Kinds of Damages Could Be Recoverable?
If comparative fault does not restrict recovery altogether, an injured bicyclist can seek compensation for any economic or non-economic losses they suffered as a result of their accident. Depending on the circumstances, a bike accident lawyer in Bridgeport can help seek restitution for:
- Medical bills
- Physical pain
- Loss of work income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional anguish
- Property damage
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accident Claims?
For most personal injury claims based on bicycle accidents, the filing deadline is two years after the date of the plaintiff’s initial injury, as per CGS §52-584. However, this deadline is not the same for every type of claim. For example, anyone who wishes to file suit against a local government entity over negligent maintenance of a sidewalk must notify that entity within six months of the incident in question.
Improve Your Odds with a Bridgeport Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If someone else’s negligence was a primary factor in your bicycle accident, it makes sense to consult a lawyer. Insurance companies will try to draw out negotiations and run out the clock, but an experienced legal professional could keep you on track.
You should not have to endure the expenses of a serious accident by yourself. Having Bridgeport bicycle accident lawyer by your side could make a big difference in amount you could eventually collect. Contact Attorney George W. Ganim, Jr. today to discuss your case.