If you or a loved one sustain injuries in a bicycle accident because of a blocked lane, you may be able to sue drivers or other parties responsible for blocking these areas. Many bicycle accidents result from the negligence of motorists and others, warranting compensation for victims and their families.
Understanding the potential causes of bicycle accidents and who to sue for accidents caused by blocked bike lanes can help you recover costs in an injury claim.
Determining What Caused Your Accident
In the event of a bicycle accident, there are many potential causes. However, in most cases, motorists are responsible for these accidents when they fail to yield the right of way or watch for cyclists. Other parties could be liable for these accidents, including pedestrians, municipalities, maintenance workers, or even the cyclists involved.
The following are some causes of bicycle accidents:
Often, drivers cause bicycle accidents through their negligence. For example, they may become distracted while on the road and fail to notice bicyclists near them. They may also speed or engage in other reckless driving behaviors that reduce reaction times and put cyclists at risk. Some drivers may also follow cyclists too closely, tailgating them and preventing them from stopping in time if the cyclist needs to slow down or stop.
Failing to Yield the Right of Way
Drivers could also cause bicycle accidents by failing to yield to cyclists. They may not see cyclists entering an intersection or making a turn, leading to a collision.
In some cases, motorists may make improper turns that lead to accidents with cyclists. For example, a cyclist might be in a bike lane on the right side of the road, and a driver makes a right turn without checking the side view mirror and blind spots for cyclists. The driver may also neglect to turn on his or her turn signal. As a result, the driver may collide with the cyclist when turning unexpectedly.
Open Car Doors
This is another common cause of bicycle accidents. Motorists and passengers may open their doors into the path of a cyclist without checking, causing the cyclist to collide with the open door.
Certain conditions could make it difficult for motorists and cyclists to see clearly on the road, potentially resulting in accidents. Cyclists can help prevent accidents in these conditions by equipping their bikes with lights and donning reflective apparel, such as vests and reflective stickers.
Bad Road Conditions
Cracks, potholes, and other defects in the road could contribute to bicycle accidents, especially if cyclists cannot see them until it’s too late.
The Absence of Bike Lanes
In some areas, bike lanes may not be present, forcing cyclists to ride on the road and exposing them to vehicle traffic. Motorists must give ample space to cyclists in these areas, slowing down and driving out of the way as needed. However, many drivers neglect to give cyclists the space they require in these locations, leading to accidents.
Blocked Bike Lanes
Certain objects could block bike lanes and cause an accident. For example, drivers may swerve into a bike lane unexpectedly or park in these lanes illegally, failing to leave enough room for the cyclist to pass and leading to a crash. In other instances, maintenance equipment or other objects blocking the bike lane might cause the cyclist to get into an accident.
Who Is Liable for a Blocked Bike Lane Accident?
Depending on the nature of the blockage in a bike lane, different parties may be liable. Typically, in accidents involving blocked bike lanes, vehicle owners are liable for parking in these lanes. In many cases, vehicles may block bike lanes in areas where cyclists can’t prepare for them and move out of the way, leading to an accident.
The people responsible for blocked bike lanes may vary. They could include negligent drivers who park in bike lanes and present a hazard to cyclists, or road maintenance crews who park their vehicles in bike lanes and fail to put up proper signage warning cyclists of work ahead. Road workers and others may also be liable if they leave equipment or other objects in bike lanes that can obstruct cyclists’ paths of travel and cause collisions.
Ultimately, different parties may be responsible for a blocked bike lane accident, depending on the circumstances. You may be able to file a claim or lawsuit against these individuals or entities if their negligence contributed to an accident resulting in injuries and other damages.
Common Types of Injuries Sustained in Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents result in many types of injuries to cyclists. They’re often more vulnerable to serious, life-altering injuries that can lead to lifelong disabilities, as they are exposed even when wearing protective gear. Even when cyclists wear helmets and other protective gear while riding, they could get into an accident that leads to concussions and other serious injuries to the head and other body parts, which is why motorists must take extra care when driving around cyclists.
Some common bicycle accident injuries include the following:
- Neck and back injuries or spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Cuts, lacerations, road rash, and burns
- Fractures and broken bones
- Soft-tissue injuries
Can You Sue If You Were Hit by a Car While on a Bicycle?
If you’re on a bicycle and a vehicle hits you, you may be able to file a car accident lawsuit. In a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you may be able to recover compensation from negligent drivers who caused an accident.
Depending on the nature of the accident, there are a variety of potential damages that may result and warrant large settlements.
What Can You Sue for in a Bicycle Accident?
There are multiple types of damages you can sue for in an accident lawsuit. Many of these cases involve a mix of economic and non-economic damages. Some could also involve punitive damages.
Economic damages are the specific financial losses that accident victims sustain because of bicycle accidents and other types of incidents. These can include medical expenses for immediate and ongoing care, lost income, lost earning capacity, property damage, and other losses sustained because of the bicycle accident.
Injured victims may also recover various non-economic damages that cover the pain and suffering that victims and their loved ones experience after an accident. For example, cyclists could experience physical pain because of injuries, along with psychological distress, trauma, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life, among other non-economic damages.
If a driver or another party acted with gross negligence or deliberately caused the accident, the courts may also award punitive damages. These are only available in a trial setting, and judges and juries award them to help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. As such, these damages are different from economic and non-economic damages that aim to compensate injury victims.
If you want to know what you can sue for in a car accident lawsuit or claim, an experienced bicycle accident lawyer can help determine who is liable and calculate all the damages involved in your case. He or she may then begin to gather evidence to support your claim or lawsuit.
How to Prove Negligence in Bicycle Accident Cases
To succeed with a bicycle accident case, you must be able to prove that another party was liable for the accident and subsequent damages.
Specifically, you must prove the following items to succeed with your case:
- The negligent party owed a duty of care.
- This party breached that duty of care.
- By breaching this duty of care, the liable party caused the accident.
- The accident resulted in defined damages, including economic and non-economic damages.
To prove each of these items, you’ll need plenty of evidence to support your case. There are many types of evidence that can come into play in your case, making it crucial to gather as much of it as possible.
Some of the many types of evidence that you may want to collect could include medical records, police reports, photos and videos of the accident and damages, witness statements, and bills for bicycle repairs or replacements.
It’s often difficult to prove negligence and gather sufficient evidence in bicycle accident cases, but an experienced attorney can help. A bicycle accident lawyer will have knowledge of these types of cases and may help you collect and organize all evidence in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. He or she can then build a case and negotiate a settlement with the liable party’s insurers or attorneys.
If your bicycle accident results from a blocked bike lane, you may be able to sue for damages from liable drivers, service crews, and others whose negligence led to the accident and resulting damages.
Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.