Who Is at Fault If a Bicycle Hits a Car?

June 4, 2024 | Gary Annes
Who Is at Fault If a Bicycle Hits a Car?

Bicyclists rarely ride directly into cars. This would be dangerous for the rider and contrary to common sense. For this reason (and others), car drivers are often responsible when a bicycle collides with a motor vehicle.

When a bicycle hits a car, it often suggests that the car driver (or another liable party) did something to put the rider in imminent danger. In many cases, imminent danger leads to a serious accident, injuries, and even the death of a bicyclist. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident as a bicycle rider, hire a bicycle accident lawyer to seek fair compensation for you.

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What Car Drivers Do to Cause Collisions with Bicyclists

Several dangerous actions and failures by car drivers can cause collisions with bicyclists, including:

  • Veering or turning into a bike lane: Bicyclists have a reasonable expectation of traveling safely in bike lanes—that is what the lanes are for. If a motorist enters a bike lane when it is occupied by a rider, they can cause the bicyclist to strike the vehicle. Often, the car driver is at fault for such collisions.
  • Driving while distracted: Distracted motorists may not see bicyclists in their vicinity. Despite substantial awareness campaigns about the danger of texting while driving and other types of distraction, this continues to be a common cause of bike-vehicle collisions.
  • Failing to yield the right of way: If a car driver enters a crosswalk or engages in other behavior that violates a bicyclist’s right of way, they can cause an accident.
  • Speeding: When motorists speed, they are more likely to lose control of their vehicle, make risky decisions (like accelerating through a light about to turn red), and cause collisions. There are several ways in which a speeding motorist can cause an accident involving a bike rider.
  • Being impaired: Impaired motorists are also more likely to cause accidents. A motorist who is drunk, on drugs, tired, or emotionally unstable may engage in several acts that lead to a collision with a bicyclist.
  • Failing to obey traffic signals: Traffic signals, including stop signs and traffic lights, are meant to protect everyone, including bike riders. Anyone who disobeys these traffic signals increases the likelihood of a collision.

These are just a few circumstances that can lead to accidents between bicyclists and car drivers. Every bicycle accident requires careful examination, often showing that a car driver is responsible for the collision. Never wait to hire a bicycle accident attorney who can investigate the cause of your bike collision.

Is the Driver Responsible for Injuries and Damages the BIcyclist Suffers?

Bicycle Hits a Car

If a car driver is at fault for a collision with a bicyclist, they can be personally liable for the bicyclist’s injuries and related damages. The driver’s insurance company often has financial liability for the victim’s accident-related losses.

You may have a few options for pursuing compensation, including:

  • Filing a claim with your insurer
  • Filing a claim with the at-fault car driver’s insurer
  • Filing a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist (or any other liable parties)

The cost of your damages, the insurance status of the at-fault party, and other factors may influence your choice of how to seek compensation. You may file insurance claims first and then a lawsuit if negotiations do not produce the compensation you deserve. Your bicycle accident attorney will advise on the best avenues for compensation in your situation.

Other Parties That May Be Responsible for a Car-Bike Collision

While motorists are most often responsible for auto and bike accidents, others can also be at fault. Your attorney will determine if other parties are responsible for your accident-related damages, and these parties may include:

  • A motor vehicle manufacturer: Motor vehicle defects can contribute to or directly cause bicycle accidents. For example, if a motorist’s brakes or steering components fail, they may be unable to stop the vehicle and prevent an accident involving a bicyclist. A vehicle manufacturer or seller can be liable in such a case, though motorists can also be responsible for failing to maintain their vehicles.
  • Another bicyclist or a pedestrian: Car drivers must sometimes respond to pedestrians (or even bicyclists) in a way that triggers another collision. For instance, if a pedestrian ran into the roadway, a car driver might have to brake suddenly. This can cause a bicyclist to hit the vehicle that braked, perhaps in the bicyclist’s path.
  • A municipality: Municipalities must maintain safe road conditions. Dangerous roads, malfunctioning traffic signals, absent stop signs, and dangerous work zones increase the risk of accidents, and a municipality can be liable when such conditions lead to accidents and injuries.

Each bicycle accident happens under unique circumstances. Your lawyer will conduct a complete, open-minded investigation to determine the cause of your collision. This investigation will uncover all at-fault and liable parties.

What Bicycle Accident Victims Should Do to Seek Financial Justice

Once an accident happens, you shouldn’t waste time or effort on what might have prevented the collision (though your lawyer will). Your focus will turn to:

  • Getting treatment, diagnoses, and recovery plans for your injuries
  • Recovering as quickly as possible
  • Securing the compensation you deserve from liable parties (this will help with the overall recovery process)

If you haven't already, seek medical attention. Explain what happened to your doctor, voice any symptoms you have experienced, ask if medical imaging is necessary, and keep records of all diagnoses and treatments.

You should also hire a bicycle accident attorney. An experienced lawyer will work hard to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. This compensation can help cover medical expenses, ease the burden of lost income, and cover other damages resulting from the accident.

Why an Attorney Can Be a Priceless Resource for Bike Accident Victims

Many do not understand the immense value an attorney can provide, particularly when a bike accident victim suffers an injury. A lawyer can be a priceless resource for bicycle accident victims like you because:

  • A lawyer handles the claim (and any necessary lawsuit) from start to finish: Your case is vitally important, so it can sound casual to say a lawyer will “take it off your hands.” That, however, is exactly what a lawyer will do. Because a lawyer is handling it, you won’t have to worry or spend valuable energy on your claim or lawsuit.
  • Having a lawyer gives you more time for recovery: Many of the injuries associated with bike accidents, including brain injuries, can get worse. Your ability to recover from injuries may depend on how careful and treatment-focused you are after the accident. Hiring a lawyer prevents you from taking attention away from the recovery process.
  • Attorneys bring relevant experience to their cases: Completing an objective is easier when you have done it before. An experienced attorney will have obtained fair compensation for bike accident victims before. This prior experience allows them to build the quality of cases you may not build on your own.
  • Attorneys support bike accident victims financially: Your law firm will cover case-related expenses for you, including fees required by experts. You may be facing significant financial stress because of your accident. For this reason, having a law firm’s financial support may be immensely valuable for you.

Your lawyer will handle every detail of your case, which may provide a much-needed measure of peace during a time of stress.

There Will Be No Out-of-Pocket Cost to Hire Your Bike Accident Lawyer

Your bicycle accident lawyer will almost certainly use a contingency fee. This fee structure is ideal for those in financial distress (like bike accident victims) because:

  • You will not pay the law firm an upfront fee
  • Your law firm will pay all case-related expenses, including but not limited to administrative costs, filing fees, expert fees, and transportation costs related to the case
  • Your attorney will receive their fee as a percentage of the settlement or judgment they obtain for you (assuming they are successful)

You might notice that, in this explanation, you do not pay the law firm out of your pocket. This is because the attorney only receives their fee if they obtain compensation for you, with the fee coming from your financial recovery.

Accident victims benefit from not having to pay an upfront or guaranteed fee. This means the law firm accepts the financial risk of your case, so you don’t have to.

Your Attorney Will Prevent Rights Violations by Insurers (and Other Liable Parties)

A lawyer’s first order of duty is to protect the client. The advice your lawyer provides will help achieve this. Your legal team will also protect you by dealing with insurers in your place.

Your lawyer will appropriately respond to common bad-faith tactics by insurance companies, which include:

  • Denying your claim without justification
  • Claiming that injuries you are seeking compensation for occurred before the bicycle accident
  • Challenging the necessity of certain medical care
  • Disputing the cost of covered losses
  • Offering a lowball settlement
  • Refusing to negotiate in good faith after extending a lowball settlement
  • Delaying the claims process unnecessarily

Delaying the claims process can increase pressure on you to accept a lowball settlement. Your attorney will insist the insurance company move the claims process forward in a timely manner. If the insurer continues to delay, your lawyer will take appropriate legal measures.

Damages You Deserve Compensation For

Bicyclists can face grave danger when they collide with a motor vehicle. This means that recoverable damages in bike accident cases are often severe and expensive and can include the following:

Medical Bills

Damages Claim

While finances should never be a barrier to treatment, the cost of treatment after a bike accident can be significant. Your lawyer will work to ensure you can get all the treatment you need by securing fair compensation for:

  • Emergency medical services
  • Hospital services
  • Surgeries
  • All accident-related doctor visits
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Medications
  • Medical equipment
  • All other medical services and items related to the accident

Medical costs may be a substantial portion of your recoverable damages. Your lawyer will work to secure fair compensation for all of them.

Pain and Suffering

Most traffic accident cases have a non-economic component, and pain and suffering are the most common type of non-economic damage. This category of damages can include:

  • Physical pain, including both acute and chronic pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Emotional anguish
  • Psychological distress
  • Lost quality of life
  • Loss of sleep
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Each victim faces different challenges. Your attorney will arrange for you to see a mental health professional who will diagnose your pain and suffering.

The Cost of Mental Health Services 

If you need medications, counseling, or other care for your pain and suffering, your attorney will calculate these costs. Such expenses will likely be part of your attorney’s settlement demands.

Professional Harm

Accident victims often suffer professional harm, which can include:

  • Diminished earning power
  • Lost income
  • Lost chances to earn promotions, bonuses, and other incentives related to your performance

Being unable to work and support yourself may add to your pain and suffering.

Disabilities

Bike accident victims who suffer disabling injuries may face added expenses and non-economic damages, including:

  • The cost of medical equipment
  • The cost of caregiver services
  • The pain and suffering that comes with being disabled
  • Lost income resulting from the disability
  • The cost of changes to your home, such as ramps and handrails

Attorneys evaluate their clients' damages and reflect all recoverable damages in their settlement demands.

A Step-by-Step Guide to a Bicycle Accident Lawyer’s Services

Your attorney will lead every step of your case, including:

  • Investigating the accident, gathering evidence, and establishing fault
  • Filing a claim and any necessary lawsuit
  • Documenting your damages
  • Calculating a specific case value
  • Negotiating a settlement
  • Leading all necessary court proceedings, including trial

Attorneys also handle paperwork, communications, and the other duties to complete a claim or lawsuit.

Why It Is Critical to Hire Your Bicycle Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible

You should not wait to hire a lawyer because evidence may not be available for much longer. There is also a deadline for filing a lawsuit, and it is in your interest to not allow that deadline to expire.

Find your personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Gary Annes Author Image

Gary Annes

Partner

Personal Injury Lawyer With Over Twenty Years Of Experience

Gary Annes, a partner at Abels & Annes, P.C., has dedicated over two decades to practicing personal injury law, specializing in auto accidents, premises liability, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and sexual abuse. Since earning his law degree in 1995, Gary has led numerous jury trials, and adeptly resolved cases through arbitration and mediation, securing millions in compensation for his clients.

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