Cycling is a popular activity for recreation, work, and commuting. When accidents happen, injuries can be severe. A bicycle accident lawyer may be able to help injured cyclists file a claim for damages.
Bicycle Accident Causes
Many bicycle accidents are caused by inattentive drivers. In personal injury claims, this is also called negligence which means that a person failed to act with the standard of care that a reasonable person would be expected to observe in the same situation. Motorists are expected to obey all traffic laws and avoid accidents whenever possible.
Some motorists may cause bicycle accidents by opening their car doors when a cyclist is attempting to pass or failing to give the cyclist enough room. If it can be proven that an accident was intentional, such as in cases where road rage was a contributing factor, it may be possible to recover punitive damages to punish the motorist for egregious conduct. Increasingly, bike accidents involve pedestrians who are distracted with headphones on and staring at their phones.
Some accidents are caused by bad roadways. For example, a large crack in the pavement can cause a serious bike wreck if the cyclist is unable to avoid the damaged area. Cities and business have a duty to the public to keep roadways and walkways safe for the public. Failure to do so may result in the city or business being held liable for costs associated with an accident.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident in Iowa
If you were involved in a bicycle accident in Iowa, the first thing you should do is seek immediate medical treatment. Next, file a police report. Filing a police report is usually a requirement for insurance companies if you need to file a claim later. If possible, have police come to the scene of the accident. If you are hospitalized, have police come to the hospital. If you left the scene and were not hospitalized, go to the police station and ask to make a report within 24 hours of the accident.
Never admit fault for an accident. Even if you believe that you contributed to causing an accident, there are many factors involved, and many accidents happen so quickly it is difficult to determine what happened immediately afterward. Many accidents involve more than one party who is at fault.
Next, it is important to speak to an attorney. Navigating the insurance claims process can be difficult, and there may be strict deadlines for filing a claim.
Bicycle Accidents and Insurance Coverage
Most bicycle accidents are covered by car insurance at no cost to either the cyclist or the driver of a motor vehicle involved in the accident. To recover compensation in Iowa, a person injured in an accident must prove that another party was at least liable for the accident, and the party asking for compensation must be 50 percent or less responsible for the accident.
Workers' compensation may cover medical bills and lost wages if a cyclist was involved in work activities within the scope of their employment when the accident occurred. This usually does not apply if the cyclist was commuting to work from home or acting as an independent contractor rather than an employee.
What happens if a driver says a bicycle accident was the cyclist's fault?
If a cyclist is found 100 percent at fault for an accident, he or she may be responsible for paying for the medical bills and other damages associated with the accident for all parties involved. Sometimes it is not immediately clear who was at fault for an accident.
Cyclists are generally supposed to obey all traffic laws that motorists are required to obey. Cyclists who must cross the street should avoid riding their bike through a crosswalk since a motorist may claim that the accident was unavoidable if the cyclist was not following traffic laws and entered the crosswalk before the driver had time to stop. The speed of the cyclist will likely be a factor in determining who was at fault for the accident.
Fault is a question of fact, and in many cases, more than one party was at fault. Just as there are two sides to every story, the parties involved in an accident may have differing accounts regarding what happened. If you have been involved in a cycling accident with a motor vehicle and the driver says the accident was your fault, a lawyer may be able to help you gather evidence to support your version of events. Some claims turn on evidence gathered months after the accident such as statements from a witness that was not included in the police report or camera footage from a nearby business that demonstrates what really happened.
Bicycle Accident Attorney in Iowa
If you or a loved one were injured in a bicycle accident in Iowa, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for you. Call Shawn Smith today to schedule a consultation. Contact the Smith Law Firm, PC online or call (855) 451-1260.