Bicycle Accidents Lawyers in Charlotte, Fighting to Help Injured Cyclists Get Fair Compensation
Bicycles were once one of the most important forms of transportation in the world. While the invention of the motor vehicle reduced reliance on bikes, there’s little debate that they still serve several purposes to the global population. Unfortunately, even the safest riders face significant dangers while pedaling on public streets. Simple mistakes or oversights on the part of passenger vehicle drivers can prove disastrous for an individual on a bike. If you or a loved one have been injured in such an incident, you may benefit from speaking with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer in Charlotte.
At Harman Law, we’ve spent years helping bike accident victims seek financial compensation for their injuries. While North Carolina has been quite successful in leaving behind its status as one of the most dangerous states for cyclists, there’s no doubt a substantial amount of work that remains to be done. And even in the safest areas where bicycle accident cases are relatively rare, it only takes one negligent, reckless, or illegal act by a third party to cause serious injuries to cyclists. If you’re dealing with lost wages, medical bills, or other losses (monetary or not), contact Harman Law today to schedule a free consultation.
Are Bicycle Injury Victims Entitled to Compensation?
One of the most common questions asked of Charlotte bicycle accident lawyers is whether an incident makes them eligible for compensation. Considering the difficulties a person can face after suffering injuries, this is an understandable inquiry. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of complexity involved when answering this question — particularly in North Carolina. That’s because our state recognizes the doctrine of pure contributory negligence. This means that a personal injury victim involved in a bike accident may be unable to recover compensation if they’re even 1% at fault for their own injuries.
In practice, this results in insurance companies and liable parties trying their best to prove that a cyclist contributed to their own accident. Even if you suffered severe injuries that you’ll have to deal with for the rest of your life, evidence showing negligence on your part can leave you with little recourse. This is why it’s so important that you don’t speak with an insurance adjuster or admit fault to the police at the accident scene. You need to first talk with a Charlotte personal injury attorney. If you’ve already made such a mistake, though, you should still speak with a lawyer. It may still be possible to seek compensation for your bicycle crash.
When a victim isn’t at fault for their injuries, it can still be difficult to secure compensation. That’s because it must be proven that the liable party violated a duty of care and that this violation led to your losses. Establishing that a duty of care existed is not difficult. For instance, merely getting behind the wheel of a car means a driver has a duty of care to avoid dangerous actions that could hurt others on the road. An experienced bicycle accident attorney may be able to help establish that such a duty was violated in a manner that led to preventable injuries. Schedule a free consultation at Harman Law today to learn how.
Are Bicycle Crashes in North Carolina Common?
Just a few years back, North Carolina was ranked in the top 10 most dangerous states for bicycle riders. We’ve slowly moved away from this image thanks to better traffic laws and increased focus on providing safe streets and trails for cyclists. In fact, we’re now ranked among the top 20 friendliest states for bicyclists. Unfortunately, such labels often hide truths that aren’t as appealing. For instance, our fatal bicycle accident rate is still higher than the national average. We could attribute this to there being no law requiring adults to wear helmets, but few states actually have such laws.
In reality, there are likely many reasons why traffic crashes involving bicycles so often turn fatal in the Tar Heel State. There are around 1,000 bicycle accidents yearly that are serious enough to warrant a police report. Around 20 cyclists die every year in our state in these accidents. Unfortunately, any type of negligence can cause such incidents. Drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving, failure to yield, improper lane changes, and road rage are just a few of the common causes of these wrecks. Sadly, unmaintained roads and obstructions also mean that government agencies can share liability.
Traffic accidents involving cyclists are common in North Carolina, so it’s important for everyone on the road to take appropriate safety measures. Even the untimely opening of a car door can destroy a bicyclist’s life, so every driver has a responsibility to be more aware of their surroundings. And if you or a loved one have suffered injuries in one of these collisions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Harman Law today. Our Charlotte bicycle accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so you’ll never pay a dime unless we recover compensation for you.
What Can You Be Compensated for in Bicycle Accidents?
When people think of financial recovery in personal injury lawsuits, they typically envision what are known as special damages. This is compensation awarded to cover monetary losses. For instance, your medical treatment, car repair, and lost wages at work all constitute financial damages on your part. Special damages reimburse these and future costs. General damages are granted for non-economic losses. For instance, accident victims who suffer head injuries may be able to seek recovery based on a loss of enjoyment of life. Victims also frequently recover compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other non-economic losses.
In rare situations, your Charlotte bicycle accident lawyer may even be able to help you recover punitive damages. These are separate from the compensation you receive based on your losses. Instead, a court will require punitive damages from an at-fault driver or other liable parties if their actions were considered egregious, excessively reckless, malicious, or otherwise unconscionable. For instance, maybe the negligent party purposefully opened their door to harass a cyclist. Perhaps the cyclist suffered a traumatic brain injury when this forced them into oncoming traffic. You should speak with an attorney to learn if punitive damages may be possible.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, it’s important that you speak with personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. That’s because there is a deadline for filing a case in our state. The statute of limitations for bicycle accidents in North Carolina is three years. Once that deadline passes, it becomes next to impossible to hold negligent drivers financially accountable. And while three years may seem like a long time, it’s important that you don’t procrastinate. Proving negligence in a personal injury case can become increasingly difficult the more separated you are from the incident.
For instance, imagine a scenario where you wait two years to file a claim against a delivery truck driver who ran you off the road. Yes, you are well within the statute of limitations. However, maybe the only person who witnessed the collision moved across the country. This will make it harder for them to testify. Perhaps the digital images taken by police were lost due to corrupted system data. There are innumerable issues that can happen to derail your case, and the potential that such problems will arise only increases as you wait longer to file a claim. Once the statute of limitations expires, an insurance carrier will have no incentive for offering a fair settlement.
Moral of the story: don’t waste time. Schedule a free consultation with our law firm today to learn more about your legal options.
What Are Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents?
Drivers of motor vehicles frequently suffer significant injuries when they’re involved in accidents. This is true even though passenger vehicles typically offer seat belts, airbags, and a few thousand pounds of metal to protect passengers. Unfortunately, no cyclist on the road has these types of protections. Even the most safety-oriented bike riders are usually only equipped with helmets. That’s why a bicycle accident case will often involve catastrophic injuries sustained by the cyclist. Here are just a few of the most common injuries you can expect from a bike crash:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Wrongful death
While this list touches on some of the most common and serious injuries bicyclists encounter, it’s also far from exhaustive. If you’ve been injured in any way — even if you’re simply dealing with emotional distress or pain and suffering following an accident — you may be able to pursue compensation. The injuries you suffer will play a significant part in your claim, but all bicycle accident cases are unique. Two similar claims could have drastically different outcomes. This is why you should reach out to a Charlotte bicycle accident attorney today to learn more about your case and how to move forward.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Charlotte Today
Most people have experienced a few bike accidents in their lives. For the majority of us, these were unserious events that occurred when we were young — a scraped knee and a bruised ego every so often. Unfortunately, bike riders face increased dangers once they’re no longer confined to old parking lots and hanging out with the neighborhood kids. If you’re involved in an accident with another vehicle or on a busy street, the outcome can be detrimental. Even in low-speed collisions, cyclists don’t stand a chance against passenger vehicles or asphalt streets. And if you’re not careful, you may end up dealing with your injuries all by yourself.
At Harman Law, we don’t think any accident victim should have to shoulder the burden on their own. We know that you’ve got a lot on your plate, and taking time to handle an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit is likely the last thing you want to deal with. Unfortunately, these endeavors are the only way you can secure fair financial recovery after suffering serious injuries in a bike accident. Let us advocate for justice on your behalf. Contact us today by calling (704) 286-0947 to schedule a free case evaluation. Our bicycle accident lawyers in Charlotte are on standby and ready to assist with personal injury cases.