Who May Be Held Liable for a Bicycle Accident?
Drunk Driving Accidents
Cyclists and bike riders have a uniquely difficult challenge to overcome when navigating American roads. Although the law usually allows them to share the same spaces as motorists, many drivers do not understand the protections that the law affords cyclists and bike riders. As a result, some drivers fail to respect the rights of these travelers.
In addition, not all roads were created with bike travelers in mind. Cyclists often face inconsistent and potentially unsafe road conditions when trekking from one place to another. Finally, cyclists and bike riders are at a consistent disadvantage when motorists become distracted at the wheel. While other motorists can use their horns to alert distracted drivers that their behavior is about to cause an accident, cyclists and bike riders cannot easily alert others to such danger and remain particularly vulnerable when seated in the path of an oncoming distracted driver.
Therefore, it is unfortunately not surprising that numerous bike accidents occur each year that could have been prevented if only road conditions were improved, driver education became more extensive and distracted driving behaviors were not so widespread. When the victims of these accidents explore their legal options, they are often surprised to learn who may and may not be held accountable for the harm they have suffered.
Potentially Liable Parties
When an individual or entity owes others any legal duty of care, they may generally be held liable for breaching that duty of care as a result of negligent, reckless or intentional action. Practically speaking, this means that motorists, governments responsible for road upkeep, employers tasked with ensuring the safe driving habits of their employees, etc. all may be held responsible in the event of a preventable accident, depending on the circumstances of the situation.
Depending on the accident in question, more than one actor may be held liable for unacceptable behavior leading to the harm of a cyclist or bike rider. For example, if a truck driver hits a cyclist because he has temporarily fallen asleep at the wheel, he may be held responsible for his reckless driving behavior. But his employer may also be held liable for pushing that driver to work harder than federal law allows. This kind of liability stems from the idea that when motorists (and governments and companies, etc.) fail to honor their legal duty of care to others impacted by their road-related behavior and harm results, legal consequences may reasonably follow.
Accident Claim Assistance Is Available
If you were recently involved in a bicycle accident and have questions about your legal options, please consider connecting with an experienced personal injury lawyer DC relies on. Any number of factors may impact your legal path forward, so it is important to speak with someone who can give you informed guidance.
Every bicycle accident is different, so you may need to consider several courses of action before settling on the best path for you. And it is important to remember that meeting with an attorney does not commit you to take any action whatsoever, so you should not hesitate to reach out in order to learn about your potential options.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into bicycle accidents and personal injuries.