Huntsville Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycling is gaining in popularity in America and Alabama is no exception. Cycling offers numerous health benefits and the weather in northern Alabama is often great for being outdoors for many months of the year. In addition, bicycling is a great way to get around without adding to the pollution in our environment. The rise in numbers of people riding bicycles has, however, led to an increase in accidents involving bicycles and automobiles. If you’ve been injured in an accident while riding a bicycle, the Huntsville bicycle accident attorneys at Conchin, Cole, Jordan & Sherrod can help. Here is what you need to know to make the best decision about your claim.
Laws Regarding Bicyclists in Huntsville, AL
Bicyclists are required to obey traffic laws the same as any other vehicle. This includes obeying stop signs and traffic signals. Bikers are required to come to a complete stop at stop signs before proceeding. They must also yield the right-of-way to other roadway users when appropriate. Bicyclists can ride in the roads but must travel in the same direction as traffic and as far to the right as practicable. In fact, it is illegal for cyclists to ride on sidewalks in Alabama, except in driveways. Bicyclists may ride two abreast of each other, but may not share lanes or lane-split with motor vehicles.
Drivers are required to share the road with bicyclists the same as with any other vehicle and should take care to look out for bicycles and other low-profile vehicles that may be hard to spot. It is illegal for a driver to open his or her door into an oncoming bicyclist (dooring). Bicyclists can improve visibility at night by obeying the state’s light and reflector requirements. Bikers must have front white lights visible up to 500 feet away and a rear red reflector visible from 600 feet. In Alabama, those under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Adults legally do not have to wear helmets while biking, but can drastically reduce their risks of head injuries by doing so. It is not a defense in Alabama for a driver to allege that a cyclist’s injuries would not have happened had he or she been wearing a helmet.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
In 2018, 857 bicyclists lost their lives in traffic accidents around the U.S. Bicycle accidents are typically preventable with due care and attention to the road. Accidents happen when motorists break traffic rules and fail to respect bicyclists’ rights to the road. While cyclists also have responsibilities and rules to obey, many serious and deadly collisions trace back to driver negligence. Most crashes are avoidable if all roadway users follow the rules and respect each other.
- Motorist fault. Drivers speeding, texting and driving, ignoring rights-of-way, driving distracted, drunk or drowsy can cause devastating bicycle accidents in Huntsville. It is every driver’s duty to comply with traffic laws, avoid impairment and ignore distractions. They must also respect bicyclists and not ride too closely.
- Nonmotorist fault. Pedestrians can cause bicycle accidents by stepping out in front of cyclists without giving them enough time to stop. Although pedestrians have the right-of-way, they may not step out if the bicyclist does not have enough time to brake. A biker could also be at fault for an accident if he or she breaks the rules or bikes while impaired.
- Infrastructure issues. Some streets in Huntsville may have inherently unsafe designs that contribute to bicycle-vehicle collisions, such as lack of bicycle lanes or narrow lanes that force cyclists to ride too close to other vehicles. Issues with lights, crosswalks, signs and poorly maintained roads can also cause bicycle accidents.
Bicycle accidents happen most often when people break laws, speed, drive too closely to bicyclists, ignore rights-of-way at intersections, cannot see bicyclists or drive while impaired. If you are unsure who or what caused your bicycle accident, speak to an attorney from Conchin, Cole, Jordan & Sherrod. We can investigate your accident and identify defendants you might not have realized played a role in your crash, such as the City of Huntsville for a dangerous roadway. Holding multiple parties accountable can improve your odds of obtaining fair compensation.
Injuries Resulting from Bicycle Accidents
Bicyclists involved in an accident with an automobile are at a distinct disadvantage and may suffer serious injury as a result.
Examples of injuries suffered in a bike accident include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Fractured Bones (including legs, arms, feet, and hands)
- Back and Neck Injuries
- Head Injuries
- Lacerations and Disfigurement
Injuries from a bicycle accident can result in expensive medical bills, prescription medication, specialized medical equipment for the home, and lost wages from missed time at work. These expenses can quickly mount up far beyond what an average person can afford to pay. However, if you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your economic damages as well as for pain and suffering. Working with a Huntsville bicycle accident lawyer will improve your chances of recovering compensation to cover for these unexpected expenses and emotional damage.
Contributory Negligence Laws in Alabama
The laws in Alabama can make receiving compensation after a bicycle accident difficult. Contributory negligence laws mean that if the insurance company can prove that you were even partly to blame for the accident or your injury, then they may be able to avoid paying any compensation whatsoever. Even if it is determined that the other party was 95% at fault, you may be denied all compensation due to the 5% you were deemed to have been at fault.
You may be found to have contributed to your injuries if you failed to obey all street laws leading up to the accident. Children under 16 who were not wearing a helmet may also be deemed to have contributed to the bike accident injuries they received.
Damages You Can Recover
At Conchin, Cole, Jordan & Sherrod, we do not believe injured bicyclists should have to pay for their losses out of pocket if other parties caused their accidents. We are passionate about bringing at-fault drivers and other entities to justice on behalf of injured cyclists in Huntsville. We will fight for maximum compensation for your myriad damages.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Lost wages
- Bicycle repairs/replacement
- Legal fees
- Punitive damages
These are all potentially recoverable damages during a bicycle accident personal injury lawsuit in Alabama. Find out what your unique claim could be worth during a conversation with one of our bicycle accident lawyers. We have the insights, experience, and knowledge to accurately evaluate your case and calculate a fair damage award. Then, we can use aggressive legal strategies to fight for the results we believe your injuries and losses demand.
In all cases involving serious injuries, it is a good idea to consult a bicycle accident attorney in Huntsville after a bike accident involving a car. The personal injury attorneys at Conchin, Cole, Jordan & Sherrod can help determine the amount of compensation you may be entitled to. Even when the case seems clearly determined one way or the other, our attorneys may be able to discover aspects of the case you have not considered that could significantly impact your ability to receive compensation. Contact us online today or call us at (256) 705-7777.