Many incidents involving bikes are traffic-related, and the driver of the motorized vehicle is often at fault. Like many personal injury cases, the legal basis for liability is negligence. To succeed in a claim for compensation, you must prove four essential elements:
- The motorist had a duty to drive safely, so as to not cause an unreasonable risk of harm to others;
- That person breached this legal duty through careless or reckless actions;
- There is a direct link between the breach of duty and the bicycle accident in which you were injured; and,
- You suffered physical, emotional, and financial losses due to your injuries.
To illustrate how these elements operate, some examples may be useful. A driver may be negligent if he or she was:
- Speeding in excess of the posted limit;
- Traveling too fast for conditions;
- Failing to yield to you as the bicyclist;
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; or,
- Engaging in other unsafe actions while behind the wheel.
In addition, distracted driving has become a serious problem in Las Vegas and throughout the US. Despite statutes regarding texting, talking, surfing the internet, and other cell phone use, many motorists ignore the law. Plus, there are other forms of distracted driving that are dangerous, such as eating, grooming, using a GPS, and other activities that take attention away from safe operation of a vehicle.
Since many bike accidents involve a motorized vehicle, the first step in seeking monetary damages is to file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. The process presents numerous challenges, from complicated forms to dealing with the claims adjuster. Insurers are reluctant to pay out injury claims, including bicycle collisions, because they adversely affect profits. You can expect considerable pushback from the claims adjuster, either through a low counteroffer or denial. Insurance company employees are trained to look out for the business, not your best interests.
If you cannot reach a settlement agreement with the insurer, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in court. Litigation is even more complex than the claims process, incorporating many statutes, case precedent, and court procedural rules. Unless you have a legal background, you may be overwhelmed by the insurance company’s legal team.
When you retain a bike accident lawyer, you’ll feel confident that your case is in good hands. Attorneys know the tricks claims adjusters use during settlement negotiations, and they’re well-versed in the litigation process. You’re in a better position to get the top compensation allowed by law when you have experienced counsel on your side.