First and foremost, it is important that bicyclists understand that they should be defensive drivers on the road. Even though motor vehicles should be looking out for bicyclists, they often do not, which is why many accidents occur. Every cyclist should wear a helmet and other protective gear when riding, and assume that the only person who is going to keep them safe is themselves.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, the dynamics of a Clearwater bicycle accident can vary greatly. To best understand how to legally proceed with your accident claim, contact a Clearwater bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
Reasonable Person Standard
Bicycles are classified as a non-motorized vehicle in Clearwater. Those riding a bicycle are held to a reasonable personal standard in the eyes of the law. The reasonable person standard is an important dynamic to consider in Clearwater bicycle accident cases.
The reasonable person standard is usually enforced in a court of law when the insurance company argues for contributory negligence by claiming that the accident victim did not act as a reasonably prudent person would have acted. The insurance company will attempt to prove that whatever that person did was not reasonably prudent, and the jury will decide whether or not that person contributed to their injuries.
Risk of Serious Injury
The risk of serious injury is what provides cyclists with the same protection as pedestrians. Even though they are going faster than somebody walking, they are not surrounded by a heavy piece of machinery that protects them from collisions from other heavy pieces of machinery. This is an important dynamic to note when handling Clearwater bicycle accident cases.
They do not have a car, seatbelt, airbag, or windows surrounding them to protect them from collisions. Therefore, the way that laws are written, they are to be treated more like pedestrians because they do not have the physical protections around them. Should a motor vehicle versus bicycle collision occur, it is pretty clear that the person on the bicycle is going to get the worst end of the injuries, and those injuries are likely to be severe.
An Attorney’s Role
Often, an attorney will hire an investigator to go to the scene to see exactly how the collision occurred. They will review where the bicycle ended up versus where the collision occurred, and the rider’s stopping position in relation to these points. Many times, these can be three different locations, because when a motor vehicle comes in contact with a bicycle, it usually does not stop immediately.
Additionally, an attorney will analyze the insurance policies and see how they apply, and what language they contain in reference to bicycles and bicyclists. Because the injuries can be more severe in a bicycle accident, the injury attorney will have to make sure they gather and analyze all of the medical records and medical bills that are involved in the case, as well as any lost wages or pain and suffering that resulted from the accident. An experienced lawyer can efficiently review all dynamics of a person’s Clearwater bicycle accident.
Importance of Legal Representation
When a person injured in a bicycle accident tries to pursue compensation on their own, they often end up hiring an attorney when they discover how challenging the process can be. In some cases, by acting without counsel, they may have already done irreparable damage to their case. They might make a recorded statement that the insurance company can use against them.
It is very hard for someone who has just been hit by a car to do a proper analysis of the accident on their own, and any mistakes can be costly. The earlier a client hires an attorney, the better protected they are from these mistakes. An attorney will know the steps that need to be taken and will act as their client’s representative to the insurance company and the courts.