How Do You Prove Fault in a Bicycle Accident Case?
Bicycle accidents can become very complicated very quickly. Whether your crash involved a car, a truck, a pedestrian, or was an isolated incident, you will want to take certain steps in order to preserve your right to compensation for your injuries.
If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a bicycle accident in the greater Lancaster area, you are likely dealing with a number of challenges that are making daily life a struggle. When someone else is responsible for your injuries in a bicycle crash, that person should be the one to pay for your expenses.
The dedicated bike accident lawyers at David Blackwell Law have been fighting for the rights of injured people across South Carolina since 2003. Call (803) 232-7274 or contact us online to set up a free consultation, and learn how we can make a difference for you.
Evidence That Could Help Prove Fault After a Bicycle Accident
In order to win compensation for your bicycle accident injuries, you will have to prove negligence on the part of the party who caused you harm. There are four components of negligence that must be proved as part of a personal injury claim:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care to keep you safe.
- The defendant violated that duty of care in some way.
- The violation directly caused your injuries.
- Your injuries caused you significant damages.
Your attorney will have to gather sufficient evidence to prove each of these four components.
One of the most important pieces of evidence in most bicycle accident cases is the police report. You should always contact the local law enforcement agency after any bike crash. Contact police even if a driver asks you not to, as people will not always keep promises they may make at the scenes of accidents. When police are contacted, they will generally include their own opinions about how an accident occurred and may issue citations to negligent motorists.
Other valuable evidence that you can obtain yourself includes pictures of the accident scene. Get photographs of everything involved, including people, vehicles, and other factors like skid marks or obscured road signs. You should take as many pictures as you can, getting photographs from multiple distances and angles. If you are too injured to take photos, ask a friend or someone else at the scene to take them and send them to you.
It is also important to keep your medical records and any bills from expenses relating to your accident. These will be vital to proving that the accident caused you serious injuries and damages.
What to Do Immediately After a Bicycle Accident
Seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. Even if you are worried about paying for your care, you should visit a doctor for a thorough medical evaluation. Many serious injuries involve delayed symptoms or get worse over time if untreated, so waiting to get medical help can jeopardize your health further. In addition, a delay in treatment can damage your ability to collect compensation.
If you are not immediately taken to the emergency room, you should contact authorities and take photographs of your accident. Also see if any people saw your crash and ask them for their names and phone numbers, as these people could be valuable witnesses. If you cannot take these steps yourself because of your need for medical care, then seek the help of a friend, family member, or neighbor.
When you return home, avoid speaking to any insurance company until you have legal representation. Similarly, do not post about your accident to social media. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Know Your Rights and Duties as a Bicyclist
South Carolina does not require bicyclists to wear helmets, but it is wise to do so anyway to prevent serious head injuries in the event of a crash. Even when a person does wear a helmet, it won’t prevent all of the different injuries a bicyclist could still suffer in an accident.
Bicyclists must obey all traffic lights and signs, and they are required to signal for turns on any roadway, bike lane, or shared-use pathway. Bicyclists can receive traffic tickets in South Carolina.
Bicyclists should always ride in the same direction as traffic on the right side of the road. Sidewalk use is generally discouraged but can be required in certain circumstances.
Know Your Rights and Duties as a Motorist
South Carolina only requires drivers to provide a “safe operating distance” between motor vehicles and bicycles. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reported that many states were adopting 3 feet as the safe passing distance to be provided when passing bicyclists.
Drivers should always be aware of bicyclists, and they should have a full understanding of what bicyclist signals mean. The general bicycle hand signals are as follows:
- Left Turn — Left arm extended, pointing to the left.
- Right Turn — Right arm extended, pointing to the right, or left arm out with the hand up and palm facing forward.
- Stop — Left arm out with hand down and palm facing backward.
Drivers must share the roads with bicycles, so it is important to respect the space of bicyclists and give them the necessary room to operate safely.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
Did you suffer catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a bike crash in South Carolina? Our knowledgeable bike accident lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence to build a strong case for the financial compensation you deserve.
David Blackwell Law has offices in Lancaster and Indian Land, South Carolina. You can call (803) 232-7274 or contact us online to discuss your rights after a bike accident. A consultation is free, and you only pay us if we secure compensation for you.