The state of Ohio has a simple principle regarding bicyclists on public roads: they have the same rights and the same obligations as motor vehicle drivers. However, the increasing number of bicycle accidents, resulting in fatalities, indicates that bicyclists’ rights are not protected by other road users, although they are the most vulnerable. If a negligent driver hit you while you were riding your bike, an experienced and compassionate Columbus bicycle injury attorney at Babin Law may be able to help you file and negotiate your personal injury claim.
In our experience, a bicycle accident victim suffers severe injuries, which require extensive treatments and a long time in the hospital. They result in high medical care expenses, as well as lost wages during the period until you recover. In some cases, your accident injuries may prevent you from returning to work or from performing any type of work at all. All these financial losses are ultimately caused by the at-fault driver who caused your bike crash. The goal of a bicycle injury attorney is to win the maximum compensation allowed under personal injury law in Ohio.
Bicycle Accident Statistics – Where Do Most Bicycle Crashes Occur?
Bicyclist accidents happen on roads all over the US. Here are some bicycle crash statistics:
- 78% of bicycle accidents occurred in an urban area
- 64% were not at an intersection
- 49% happened during daylight hours
These are actual information extracted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by analyzing all the non-fatal and fatal bicycle accidents across the United States in 2019.
An encouraging statistic is the decreasing number of fatalities in bicycle collisions. According to the National Safety Council, in 2020, 806 bicyclists died in motor vehicle collisions across the US, compared to 846 in 2019. However, this number represents 2.4% of all traffic accident fatalities on city streets and highways, while the number of bicycle riders represents just 1% of all road users.
This data shows how vulnerable bicyclists are when they do not have a dedicated bike lane and have to share the road with trucks and passenger vehicles.
What Are the Traffic Laws on Bicycle Safety in Ohio?
The state of Ohio does not have mandatory bike helmet laws. However, in Columbus and other cities, local laws require all bicyclists under 18 years old to wear a protective helmet. Statewide helmet mandates exist for e-scooters and motorized bikes, but not for the traditional bicycle.
As for the general laws for sharing the road, bicyclists must follow the basic traffic rules, such as:
- they must ride with the flow of traffic
- they must equip their bike with safety measures: a white light at the front and a red reflector and red light at the rear
- they must follow the traffic signs and traffic control devices (stop at the red light)
- they must ride close to the right side of the road
Also, some cities, including Columbus, introduced specific rules prohibiting bike riders from using the sidewalks.
Does Not Wearing a Helmet Invalidate Your Claim?
Many people who suffered bicyclist injuries after a collision with a car wonder if they lose the right to file a claim for damages because they were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. An experienced bicycle injury attorney recommends that everyone wear a helmet at all times because it can prevent severe injuries, including traumatic brain injury.
However, the simple fact that you did not wear a helmet does not invalidate your case in Columbus, even if you are under 18 (and subject to the city law described above). The state of Ohio uses the comparative fault principle in personal injury matters. And this principle states that your share of fault does not prevent you from seeking damages from the liable parties if your percentage of fault is no greater than that of the negligent party.
In other words, as long as you are less than 50% at fault for the bike crash, you have the right to file a claim or even a bicycle accident lawsuit. If you’re not sure you have a valid claim, reach out to a Columbus bicycle injury attorney for advice.
What Types of Injury Can You Suffer in a Bicycle Accident?
When a car collides with a bicycle, this event has devastating consequences on bike riders. We have already detailed the high number of bicycle fatalities number across the US. Those who survive their bike accident are faced with a long and painful recovery from their injuries, which may include:
- bone fractures (including skull fractures)
- nerve damage
- spinal cord injuries
- brain injuries
- internal injuries
These catastrophic injuries may not fully heal, so even after long and expensive hospitalization and treatments, the injured bicyclist may be left with permanent disabilities, reduced bodily functions, disfiguring scars, and other impairments.
In order to win the fair compensation you deserve for your suffering and losses, you may want to seek representation by an experienced bicycle accident law firm in Columbus.
Types of Damages You May Recover after a Bike Accident
A Columbus bicycle injury attorney will help you recover all the eligible damages under Ohio personal injury law. These are:
Economic damages cover all the costs, expenses, and financial losses you sustained as a result of your bicycle accident injury:
- hospital bills
- costs associated with medical treatments and prescriptions
- lost wages
- loss of earning capacity (if you are unable to work after the bike crash)
- cost of physical therapy
- cost of assistive devices
- nursing care costs (if you are left with severe disabilities)
Non-economic damages are a form of compensation for the physical pain and emotional trauma you suffered as a result of your accident, as well as for:
- loss of consortium
- loss of enjoyment of life
- humiliation as a result of disfiguring scars
Punitive damages can be awarded if the liable party acted with gross negligence, malice, or intent in causing your bicycle crash. In the state of Ohio, punitive damages are capped at the double amount of compensatory damages (economic and non-economic damages).
Hire a Dedicated Columbus Bicycle Injury Attorney to Help With Your Case
At Babin Law, we are dedicated to helping all personal injury victims win the fair compensation they deserve from the negligent party who caused their injuries and economic losses. We have the resources and experience to negotiate with insurance companies or to represent you in a bicycle accident lawsuit, and will fight for the maximum compensation allowed by law.
We do not ask for any upfront fees. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we take our fees out of the compensation amount we win for you. This means that you do not have to worry about whether you afford an experienced bicycle injury attorney, because there are no out-of-pocket expenses.
Schedule an initial consultation with us as soon as possible after your accident to see if we can take on your case: 833-SURVIVORS!