Many Arizona citizens use bicycles for exercise, leisure, or to commute in a more environmentally-friendly manner. While biking has several wonderful benefits, it’s important to acknowledge the reality that bicycles use the same streets as cars and are therefore beholden to many of the same laws.
Bicyclists have a duty to operate their bikes safely, and other drivers on the road have a duty to use caution when driving near cyclists. All road-travelers and passengers should have a solid understanding of what to do following a bicycle accident in Scottsdale or anywhere else in Arizona.
Common Bicycling Accidents
Just like car drivers, bicyclists have a duty to act with reasonable care while on the road. To secure compensation, a person who suffers injuries and other damages in a biking accident will need to prove that another party was negligent and that the negligence caused their damages. There are several possibilities for defendants in a bike accident case depending on the nature of the accident.
Cars parked on the side of the road or next to the bike lane pose a significant hazard to cyclists. If a driver fails to look before opening his or her door after parking, the driver could wind up opening the door directly in front of a passing cyclist, causing serious injuries. Cyclists who collide with open car doors in this manner often suffer broken bones, brain injuries, and spinal injuries. When car drivers fail to adhere to the rules of the road and strike bicyclists, they incur liability as they would in any other accident but the damages are likely to be far greater. Cyclists do not have the protection afforded to drivers of larger, enclosed vehicles.
It’s important to recognize the fact that bicyclists must follow the rules of the road just like car drivers; failing to do so can lead to liability for cyclists as well. Arizona follows a pure comparative negligence law, meaning that a plaintiff may still recover damages in a lawsuit even if he or she was partially at fault for the incident, even 99% at fault. A judge will determine the plaintiff’s fault percentage and reduce the plaintiff’s compensation by that percentage. For example, a plaintiff found 10% at fault in a $10,000 case will lose 10% of the case award and only receive $9,000.
Filing Your Bike Accident Claim
If you’ve suffered an injury due to a cyclist or suffered injury due to the actions of another driver while riding your bicycle, there’s likely a police report of the incident. Drivers are legally required to notify the police of any accident that causes injury or property damage, so try and obtain a copy of the police report for your accident. This will be an important piece of evidence for your case and will include all of the information the police gathered from those involved and any witnesses who saw the incident take place.
Your first priority after any accident should be to seek medical attention. Even if you think you were only slightly injured, it is imperative that you see a doctor as soon as possible following an accident. Your doctor will provide a medical report that lists the extent of your injuries, their possible long-term effects, and your physician’s treatment plan for your injuries. This is another crucial document that will help you and your attorney build a case.
It’s important to note that the reasons for seeing a doctor as soon as possible after an accident are twofold. First, some injuries take time to manifest noticeable symptoms, especially internal injuries. By seeing a doctor as soon as possible, you mitigate the chances of a threatening issue going unnoticed for too long. Secondly, any delay on your part when it comes to seeking treatment will appear suspicious to a jury. They will likely assume that your delay in seeking medical attention means your injuries were not very severe, which may hurt your chances of winning your case.
Bike accident lawsuits can be complicated, so hire a reliable, experienced attorney to represent your interests in court. The Law Office of Chris Bode wants injured individuals in Scottsdale and the rest of Arizona to know they can come to us for legal representation in all manner of practice areas. Reach out to our team to schedule a case evaluation for your bike accident case today.