More than 1,000 bicycle riders are injured in crashes involving motor vehicles every year in North Carolina. Countless others are also injured by other bicycle riders. For those injured by a negligent driver, the results can be catastrophic. There isn’t much protection for a bicycle rider between a bike and a giant mass of steel and glass.
If you or someone you know has been struck by a motorist while riding a bicycle, you might be wondering what you can do to hold the negligent driver accountable. The steps you take are very similar to those you would take had you also been operating a motor vehicle. Perhaps the most crucial step is to talk to a North Carolina personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney can help you explore all of your legal options for damage recovery and answer any questions you might have about what comes next.
Over the years, Life Law has worked with hundreds of clients pursuing personal injury claims in Raleigh, Wake County, Johnston County, Franklin County, and Durham County, and everywhere else across North Carolina. Our firm is proud to help accident victims seek the compensation they deserve.
Immediately after an accident, if you are able, there are five simple steps that you should follow to help protect yourself and help your case for recovering damages. These five steps are as follows:
Call 911 so law enforcement, first responders, and other emergency medical services can respond to the scene.
As with any auto crash, get the vehicle driver’s insurance and contact information, and the names and contact information of any witnesses who can account for what happened.
Get medical treatment at the scene. If immediate care is not necessary, you should still get evaluated at an emergency room, urgent care center, or your primary care physician upon leaving the scene.
Document your recollection of what happened down to the last detail. This includes detailed information about who was involved, where you were, weather conditions, etc. — all while everything is still fresh in your mind.
Contact a personal injury attorney to explore your legal options for filing a personal injury claim.
In general, bicycle riders must observe the same rules of the road as motor vehicle operators. North Carolina considers bicycle riders to be “drivers” and permits cyclists on all roadways, except for certain highways such as the interstate. As a bicycle rider, you must obey all of the following rules of the road:
Ride in the right direction
Stay in your lane
Obey traffic signs, traffic lights, and speed limits
Ride at a safe speed for weather conditions
As with operating a vehicle, bicycle riders are prohibited from riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If riding at night, bicycles must also be equipped with a rear reflex mirror and a lighted lamp on the front that is visible from at least 300 feet. The bicycle must also have a red light on the rear visible from 300 feet or the rider must be wearing clothes visible from that same distance.
Bicycle riders must ride on the right-hand side of the road unless overtaking to pass, avoiding an obstruction or hazard, or traveling on a three-lane or one-way roadway. Riders should make right and left turns from the rightmost side and use arm signals before doing so. They must yield before changing lanes and before merging onto a larger roadway, just like vehicles are required to do.
Children under the age of 16 are required to wear helmets, although wearing one is recommended for riders of any age.
Vehicle operators entering or leaving an alley, building entrance, private road, or driveway must yield the right of way to a bicycle on a sidewalk crossing the place where the vehicle is entering or exiting. As required when passing another vehicle, a driver must leave at least two feet between the vehicle and the bicycle it is passing and must not return to the right lane until the vehicle is safely past the bicycle.
The same rules that apply to injured victims after a car crash also apply to bicycle riders who wish to file a personal injury claim against a negligent driver after an accident.
North Carolina is considered an at-fault state, which means that the driver whose negligence led to an accident that caused injuries to someone else can be held liable for any damages sustained by the injured party. North Carolina is also a contributory negligence state. This means that anyone found to be even 1% at fault for the accident will be prohibited from recovering compensation from someone else, even if the other person is 99% at fault.
The statute of limitations for settling a personal injury claim or filing a lawsuit in court is three years from the date of the injury.
At the end of the day, it is difficult to make any personal injury claim under North Carolina’s contributory negligence rule. Insurance companies need only provide evidence of a minimal amount of liability on your part to deny your claim, and they will work extremely hard to do so.
Due to their vulnerability, bicycle riders often sustain devastating injuries when hit by a vehicle. Medical expenses, lost wages, disfigurement, and permanent disability are damages that many victims never fully recover from. If you have been injured while riding your bicycle, you need an experienced and aggressive attorney to help you recover some of what you have lost due to the negligence of someone else.
Our attorneys at Life Law have spent years working with injured victims and their families in Raleigh and across the entire state of North Carolina to help them pursue fair compensation. We will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and fight for the compensation you need to cover your medical expenses, damages, and any additional pain and suffering that you’ve been forced to endure. Don’t face this battle on your own. Call or reach out to our firm today to see how we can help you get the justice you deserve.
At Life Law, we represent clients who have been injured in bicycle accidents in Raleigh and throughout the entire state of North Carolina. We are dedicated to doing everything we can to help injured victims get their lives back on track. Filing a personal injury claim in North Carolina may be difficult, but with our attorneys on your side, we can help you hold the responsible party accountable. Life Law provides free consultations to injured riders who want to explore the potential of a liability claim. You have nothing to lose, so don’t wait. Call Life Law today to schedule a free one-on-one case consultation.