What Happens When Cyclists are Hit by Cars?

Young Woman Looking At Unconscious Male Cyclist Lying On Street After Accident Near Car

A friend of mine was biking when he was hit by a car. His injuries are pretty severe, and he claims that the driver was texting when the accident occurred. He has a lawyer who is working on his case. But the incident made me curious about bike laws. What happens when cyclists are hit by cars?

Unfortunately, your friend’s situation is a common one. Many cyclists go to great lengths to make themselves visible on roadways, but accidents are still very common. The injuries, as you can imagine, are often severe. The motorist may have a few cuts and bruises, but the cyclist may suffer significant injuries that require extended medical care and rehabilitation.

Cyclists must obey many of the same laws that drivers obey. While cyclists don’t have insurance, they do have the same legal rights as they would if they were driving a vehicle and got into an accident.

But unfortunately, the injuries sustained while riding a bike are often far more severe. Head trauma can lead to life-long injuries that make daily life more difficult. Anterograde amnesia, while less common than retrograde amnesia, makes it difficult to form new memories.

“Since short-term memories are affected, people who suffer from anterograde amnesia experience a lot of frustration and confusion in their daily lives, because they have difficulty creating new memories,” explains David Boehrer Law Firm.

What happens if a cyclist suffers serious head trauma because of an accident involving a motor vehicle?

Usually, it will come down to who was at fault for the accident. Cyclists are generally considered a “vehicle,” so cyclists must follow the rules of the road.

If an accident occurs at an intersection, for example, liability will come down to who had the right of way – the car, or the bike? Right-of-way may be not be clear-cut if there is no traffic signal at the intersection where the accident occurred. There are many rules to be considered in this case:

  • The vehicle that arrives first has the right of way.
  • If both vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way.
  • If the intersection consists of a minor street intersecting with a major street, the traffic on the major street has the right-of-way.

Perhaps the motorist didn’t stop at the stop sign. In this case, liability is a little clearer as the motorist was not obeying traffic laws.

Whether or not the cyclist is compensated for injuries will all come down to proving liability. If the cyclist was all or partly responsible for the accident, he or she may not receive any compensation at all.

Determining liability can be a complicated process when the accident involves a cyclist and a motor vehicle. In this case, especially if serious injuries are involved, it’s important to consult with a lawyer. Cyclists can help their case by taking photos of the bike and car, taking photos of the scene, getting the vehicle’s license plate number and gathering witness information. They should also seek medical attention immediately and document all medical care.

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