Cyclists are on our roads for many reasons—they may be training for competitions, commuting to and from their place of employment, or they may be casual riders—but wherever we go, people on bikes are a common sight. In Nashville, Gallatin, and other Tennessee communities, we’ve seen cycling become more and more popular. And even though we know that, in general, cyclists make every effort to keep themselves safe, a bike traveling on roads with larger and heavier vehicles can be a dangerous way of getting from point A to point B.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that in the year 2012 alone, 726 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents, with approximately 49,000 people injured. The Governor’s Highway Safety Office in Davidson County reports that, in 2012, there were 81 cycling injuries and one death. These numbers are frightening! What’s even more disturbing is the impact these accidents must have had on families across the state and, worse, the fact that these accidents might have been prevented if drivers had shown more consideration and used reasonable care when sharing our roads.
If you’ve been unfortunate enough to be in this situation and you’ve been seriously hurt or lost a loved one in a cycling accident, it’s very important that you understand your legal rights. Cyclists who’ve been injured by bad choices made by negligent or reckless drivers do have the right to seek financial compensation for the injuries they’ve suffered. You can count on the highly experienced and competent Nashville bicycle accident attorneys at Jeff Roberts & Associates, PLLC to explain your legal rights, conduct negotiations with the relevant insurance company, and work to make negligent drivers take responsibility for their actions.
Contact us online or by phone at (615) 205-0904 to request your complimentary, confidential case evaluation today.
Cyclists Are Not Always to Blame for Accidents
Tennessee law provides that cyclists are to obey the rules of the road just like any person operating a motor vehicle. There’s a general misconception that cyclists don’t follow the rules and ride recklessly on our roads. Many times collisions occur with automobiles. The operator/driver of a vehicle is required to leave a space of three (3) feet and shall maintain the clearance until safely passing a cyclist on the roadway. Many motorists resent having to share the roads with cyclists! Like it not, the law grants the cyclist all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle. So, of course, when an accident occurs, the cyclist is often blamed for the accident. This unfortunate bias against cyclists often means that they’re not fairly compensated following an accident. More often than not, motorists are to blame for bike accidents. It’s the responsibility of the cyclist to be extremely vigilant when they’re riding on the road, but even the most experienced cyclist is unable to predict when careless or reckless drivers are heading their way.
Many bike accidents occur in the Nashville area because:
- Motorists make the decision to drink and drive
- Motorists don’t understand the rules concerning cyclists
- Commercial drivers aren’t looking for (or find it difficult to see) cyclists
- Drivers are distracted (in various ways) behind the wheel of their vehicle
- Motorists are passing cyclists much too closely
- Drivers are breaking traffic laws by speeding, following too closely, and so on
- Drivers are disrespecting designated bike lanes and routes
- Motorists are not paying enough attention at intersections
- Motorists aren’t looking out for cyclists on the road
- Parked drivers open their car doors, causing dooring accidents
Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
Cyclists face serious injuries following traffic accidents, simply because their bicycles offer little or no protection compared to motor vehicles. Cyclists aren’t protected by shock absorbers and bumper bars, meaning that the destruction and harm caused by these accidents is usually higher than in accidents between motor vehicles. An accident between two vehicles generally has an entirely different outcome than an accident of the same force between a vehicle and a cyclist.
Some of the injuries experienced by cyclists include:
- Brain and other head injuries
- Broken femurs
- Facial injuries
- Broken hips
So it stands to reason that, if you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident through no fault of your own, it’s only right that you shouldn’t be held responsible for paying the costs simply because a driver wasn’t prepared to share the road with you.
Protecting Your Rights after a Bike Accident
So, you followed the rules of the road and another driver did not—because of this you’ve been injured in an accident. So, what happens next?
By completing a personal injury claim, injured cyclists in Tennessee have every right to apply for compensation for the following damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Past, present, and any future medical needs related to injuries
- Lost wages and any changes to future earning capacity
- Other losses caused by this accident
However, trying to achieve this on your own can be extremely difficult. Insurance companies have a lot of expertise in blaming the victim and minimizing claims and if you have little or no experience in negotiating this type of claim or dealing with the law, it will be almost impossible for you to protect yourself against the tricks and traps used by insurance companies. That’s why you must remain vigilant about protecting your rights, even when insurance companies or drivers appear to be concerned about your injuries.
If you’ve recently been injured in a cycling accident or you know someone who has, and you have concerns about what to do next, here’s our advice on how to protect yourself and your rights:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible
- Take notes (and photographs if possible) of the accident scene, the driver involved, any witnesses, and the injuries you’ve sustained
- Do not give a recorded statement and certainly don’t sign anything you don’t fully understand from an insurance company
- As soon as you can, get in touch with a lawyer with extensive experience in bicycle accident cases
Investigate Your Legal Rights with a Bike Accident Lawyer in Nashville
Perhaps your injuries are not serious and pursuing a claim is not worth your time or the hassle involved. But, if you’ve been seriously injured and/or suffered major losses because of the accident, it’s very important that you speak with a competent lawyer. At Jeff Roberts & Associates, PLLC, we can explain your rights and your options if you decide to move forward. We offer free case reviews, so why not take advantage of this and ask to speak to one of our attorneys? Then, armed with this information, you can make an informed decision on how you wish to proceed.
The bicycle accident lawyers at Jeff Roberts & Associates, PLLC fight to ensure that you’re treated fairly and respectfully by the insurance company. We can also help you receive the medical assistance you need.
Call Jeff Roberts & Associates today at (615) 205-0904 or complete our online contact form to receive a prompt response from our team.