Indiana law protects bicycle riders the same as motor vehicle drivers. If you are injured while riding a bike due to another person’s negligence, you may be able to hold them accountable. An Indianapolis accident attorney could help you hold the wrongdoer accountable and recover compensation for your injuries.
Whether the bicycle accident results from a car driver’s negligence or a bike defect, you have a right to hold the wrongdoer accountable. Let an experienced personal injury attorney help you hold the defendant responsible for their actions.
Collisions With Motor Vehicles
Cars and bicycles often share the same road. Unfortunately, this can also lead to car accidents caused by the careless actions of car drivers. A lawsuit involving a car accident is typically brought under a negligence theory.
Car drivers have a duty to all other motorist sharing the roadways to drive lawfully and reasonably. When a driver handles his or her vehicle in an unreasonable or unsafe manner, they have breached their duty of care. Indiana motorists’ duties of care are promulgated by statute. Indiana Code § 9-21-1-22. Once the breach occurs, the driver becomes liable for any injuries arising from their negligence.
Establishing a driver’s actions were unreasonable requires proving how a reasonable person acts in similar circumstances. To establish the driver’s actions were unreasonable and caused a bicycle accident, contact an Indianapolis lawyer for help.
Bicycle Accidents and Product Defects
When purchasing a new bicycle, the consumer trusts that it will perform as expected. Unfortunately, mistakes are made when designing or manufacturing the bicycle, resulting in accidents. Holding a manufacturer liable for a bicycle accident could be difficult, but contacting an Indianapolis attorney may help your chance of success.
A design defect occurs when the bicycle design results in an inherent flaw or mistake. As a result of the flaw or mistake, the bicycle is dangerous when used by the consumer in an expected manner. The risk created by the defect must be foreseeable to the manufacturer at the time of design.
A manufacturing defect occurs in the production stage of the bicycle. Mistakes such as using the incorrect screw or forgetting a part constitute a manufacturing defect and result in a dangerous product. To recover for a manufacturing defect, the plaintiff must be injured while using the bicycle in an expected manner.
Bicycle Injuries Suffered By a Minor
The law does not allow a person under the age of eighteen to bring a lawsuit. The law does allow a family member or legal guardian to sue on behalf of the minor. An experienced attorney in Indianapolis could help bring a lawsuit on behalf of a minor injured in a bicycle accident.
Indiana Code §34-11-6-1 allows minors to wait until their 18th birthday to sue for their injuries. While the statute of limitations is two years from the accident date, an exception exists for minors. Once the minor turns 18, they have until they are 20 to bring a lawsuit for injuries sustained in a bicycle accident.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycle accidents can lead to devastating injuries. This is particularly true when a cyclist is struck by the driver of a car or truck. Bicycle accidents not only result in serious injuries from the impact of the motor vehicle, but injuries also occur when a cyclist is thrown from their bike as well. Some of those injuries include:
- Road rash
- Broken arms
- Sprains and strains
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken legs
Serious injuries cause more than physical pain. For cyclists that do not have insurance, an accident could cause significant financial harm as well. From medical expenses to lost wages, the cost could be extreme. The good news is that a personal injury lawsuit could help an injured cyclist recover the compensation they need to make themselves financially whole.
Developing a Theory of Negligence
In order for a cyclist to recover compensation for their injuries, they must establish a theory of negligence. If they cannot show the defendant in their injury lawsuit was negligent, they will not be entitled to recover a monetary award.
There are four elements that every plaintiff must prove in order to establish negligence. Failing to establish even one of these elements is fatal to a personal injury claim. The four elements of negligence include the duty of care, breach, causation, and damages.
The Duty of Care
To be entitled to a monetary award, a cyclist must first show that the defendant owed them a duty of care. These duties do not exist in every situation, and the lack of a duty will absolve a defendant of a any damages that occur. This element is typically not at issue in bicycle accident claims, as motorists that share the road with cyclists owe them a duty to drive their vehicles safely.
Breach of the Duty of Care
After establishing a duty exists, a plaintiff must next show the defendant breached it. A breach could occur in different ways in a bicycle accident lawsuit. For example, a motorist that fails to yield the right of way and strikes a cyclist has breached their duty of care.
A plaintiff must also establish a causal link between the injuries they suffered in the accident and the defendant’s breach. Without this link, a defendant is not responsible for the cyclist’s injuries. This element exists to ensure that a negligent party is only held responsible for the harm they caused. This prevents them from facing liability for any injuries that occurred outside of the bicycle accident.
The final element a cyclist must prove in these cases is damages. Even if the other elements are easily established, a cyclist is not entitled to financial compensation if they cannot show they suffered measurable damages.
Damages for Bicycle Accident Claims
Ultimately, cyclists that pursue legal action after an accident seek monetary compensation. However, this compensation could take different forms. While there are numerous types of compensation available in a personal injury lawsuit, each of them falls into one of two categories. These categories include economic and non-economic losses.
There are different types of measurable losses that can come with a bicycle accident. These measurable losses are commonly referred to as economic damages. Damages are considered measurable when documentary evidence can quantify a specific value for the losses. This could be done at trial by submitting documentary evidence like paid receipts or bills to show a jury the exact amount of compensation that is owed.
Medical bills typically make up the largest share of economic damages following a bike wreck. It could be possible to recoup the cost of a variety of medical treatment, including ambulance rides, surgeries, prescription medication, or emergency room visits.
Lost wages are another major example of economic losses. When a cyclist suffers injuries in an accident that prevent them from working, they could miss out on multiple paychecks while the recover. A personal injury lawsuit could help an injured cyclist replace their wages during this time. This could include not only the wages they lost prior to filing suit but also for any future lost wages as well.
The cost of repairing or replacing a damaged bike is another common example of economic loss. In general, it is possible to recover the cost of repairing a damage bicycle or even replacing it entirely if it is beyond repair.
Not all forms of damages are simple to measure. While it might be impossible to assign a uniform value to these claims, it could be possible to recover compensation for non-quantifiable losses. These are known as non-economic damages.
Non-economic losses are subjective. The most common example of these damages is for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering compensation is considered non-economic because no two individuals experience pain the same way. For example, a severe strained muscle could be an inconvenience to one person but a life-altering event for another. Although non-economic damages cannot be perfectly measured, pain and suffering damages are often tied to the amount of medical bills a plaintiff has.
Mental anguish is another example of non-economic losses. These damages are similar in some ways to pain and suffering. This is because there is no objective way to measure mental anguish or compare its impact from one person to another. Mental anguish is a term that describes the emotional strain of reliving a harmful accident. Typically, this only occurs after the accident happens and once the injuries have healed. Mental anguish can leave a person fearful of riding a bicycle again or bring up stressful memories of the traumatic event.
Let An Indianapolis Bicycle Accident Lawyer to Help Recover Compensation
Bicycle accident injuries can have a life-changing impact. Hold the defendant responsible for their actions and recover for your injuries. An Indianapolis bicycle accident lawyer could be the difference you need in your case.
Our firm has a team of attorneys ready to help you recover. Schedule a consultation today with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer.