Contact an experienced Columbus bicycle accident lawyer at Babin Law if you've been injured. You may be entitled to compensation and we will help to answer your questions. There are no upfront costs and you pay no fees unless you win your case.
Last January 9, 2021, Franklin Johnson Jr lost his life in yet another bicycle-related incident in Columbus Ohio. The 23-year-old was riding his bicycle when a vehicle crashed into him from behind, killing him.
Sadly, this is not an uncommon incident for the state of Ohio. In 2020, there were a total of 1,024 bicycle-related accidents in the state, and most of them involved a motorist. Because bicycles are smaller and more fragile, motor vehicle accidents put bicycle riders at a disadvantage, usually coming out of crashes with more injuries or fatalities.
If you are injured as a result of a bike accident, you may find yourself scrambling for funds because of your medical bills. Worry not, because the law protects bicycle riders, especially if they are the victims of an automobile crash. A personal injury attorney may be able to help you file a claim and receive compensation for your injuries.
Common Reasons For Bicycle Accidents
Bicycles usually have their own lanes and they run slower compared to motor vehicles. So why are bicycle crash statistics showing a high number of accidents per year? Here are just some reasons why bicycle accidents happen in the state of Ohio:
- Road or Sidewalk Defects - depending on your local ordinance, bicycles usually have their own bike lanes, use the sidewalk or use the farthest side of the road. Accidents have been known to happen due to road or sidewalk defects like holes, uneven paths, or potholes.
- Distracted Driving - Distracted drivers are usually busy doing other things such as texting or eating, instead of keeping their eyes on the road. Because bicycles are smaller in nature, it's easier to miss them if you're not paying attention properly.
- Intoxication - Motorists under the influence of alcohol usually get into accidents because their sense of judgment is impaired and they make mistakes. In an accident, it's not always the motor vehicle driver who is intoxicated; sometimes, the bicycle rider could be the intoxicated party.
- Bicycle Malfunction - Sometimes, bicycle riders get into accidents on their own, meaning there is no other party. This usually happens if they are riding a defective bicycle and the mechanisms lock up or fail, causing them to lose control over their bikes.
- Poor Weather Conditions - Bicycles don't come with lights by default, so responsible riders should always have reflective lights or anything that would make the bicycle more visible. Poor weather conditions such as snow, fog or rain can cause other motorists to lose sight of bicycles.
What You Should Do After A Bicycle Accident?
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, you should already consider the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the other party if they were at fault. Hence, your actions following the accident should focus on strengthening your case, as well as recuperating.
It's always better to be safe than sorry. Some people hesitate in calling the police because they're not sure if the accident is serious enough to warrant police intervention. As a precaution, it's always better to call the police, and let them decide the severity of the situation. The dispatcher will most likely call an ambulance to administer first aid, even if it's for minor accidents. Involving the police means that you can gain access to police reports, which can help you in your claims.
Call Your Insurance Provider
Although bicycle riders don't carry motor vehicle insurance unless the riders also own tor vehicles, bicycle riders should call their insurance company to see if they can use their homeowners' insurance to offset initial medical costs while the claim is being processed.
If your injuries are not severe, you can start taking pictures of the accident site. Don't forget to take pictures of your injuries as well. If you are severely injured and need to be taken to the hospital immediately, the police will most likely interview witnesses to get their accounts of the accident and gather evidence on your behalf.
If an ambulance is dispatched to the accident scene, get yourself checked right away. They will treat minor injuries such as scratches and bruises, but they will send you to the hospital if they suspect something major, such as spinal cord injuries. Head injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, don't always show up immediately after an accident, so don't neglect your health even if you feel relatively okay.
Call Your Columbus Bike Accident Lawyer
Hiring a bicycle accident lawyer might seem over the top to a lot of people; however, it's important to protect yourself and your rights, especially if you've been wronged. If you want to file a lawsuit against the negligent party, hiring bicycle accident attorneys from the get-go can help your case a lot. Your Columbus bicycle accident lawyer can help gather evidence on your behalf while you are hospitalized, they can negotiate with the insurance companies involved, and they can also help process your claim, especially if you're incapacitated at the hospital.
Common Situations Involved In Bicycle Accidents
While accidents between bicycles and motor vehicle drivers are the most common type of bicycle-related accidents, these situations come in all forms and shapes. A single accident can have several parties involved, and can even include the government.
Bicyclist versus Motorist
This is when the accident involves a bicycle and another vehicle, typically a car or a truck. Even in areas where bicycles are restricted to the sidewalks or bike lanes, accidents can happen because bikes need to go on the road when they cross streets, and vehicles can go on sidewalks and bike paths when they're trying to access garages and parking lots.
Bicyclist versus Bicyclist
An accident involving two bicycle riders. Usually, accidents like these only result in minor injuries because of the speed and the weight of the vehicles involved. Accidents like these can happen when one bicycle rider crashes into another while trying to avoid a pedestrian.
Pedestrian versus Bicyclist
Bicycle riders are obligated to use the sidewalks in some areas, sharing the space with pedestrians. In cases like these, the offender is usually the bicycle rider.
Bicyclist versus Government
Bicycle riders can meet accidents even if there is no other party involved. A bike rider may simply lose control over their bike after going over a pothole. Poorly maintained roads are the fault of the local government. If you sustained injuries due to defective roads, you can sue the city for damages.
Bicyclist versus Manufacturer
Bicycle manufacturers need to ensure the quality of every bike that leaves their factory or store. If a biker purchases a defective bike without their knowledge, and the biker gets into an accident because the bike malfunctioned, the manufacturer can be liable for damages.
Bicyclist versus Solid Objects
Bicyclists can trip and fall easily from colliding with obstructions. Usually, these accidents go unreported, not only because they only result in minor injuries, but they're also frequently the fault of an inattentive bicycle rider. However, if a rider collides with a wayward restaurant sign that has no business being in the middle of the sidewalk, the owner of the restaurant can be held liable if an accident occurs.
Compensation Awarded to Bicycle Accident Victims
Even though bicyclists are not covered by Ohio motor vehicle insurance laws, because compensation will be taken against the insurance policy of the guilty party, you can still receive maximum compensation, especially if the liable party owns any kind of 4-wheeled vehicle.
Motor vehicle insurance is mandatory in the state of Ohio. All motor vehicle drivers should carry car insurance with the following coverage conditions:
- $25,000 for the injury or death of a single person
- $50,000 for the injury or death of multiple people
- $25,000 for property damage
Here are the economic and non-economic damages that may be awarded to you as a victim of bicycle-related accidents:
The liable party may compensate you for medical expenses you incur because of the accident. This includes everything from the ambulance ride to the hospital, to the prescription meds you need to take after you're discharged from the hospital.
This also may include any medical costs you will incur in the future, as long as it is related to the accident. This includes doctor's fees for future check-ups, long-term physical treatment, and mobility aids.
Loss of Income
During your hospital stay, you may be unable to work. Therefore, the liable party may compensate you for any income or wage that you cannot earn because of your injury. You may also receive disability benefits if you cannot return to work for a long time because the accident resulted in a temporary disability.
Sometimes, disability is permanent. Even with an extended hospital stay, there are cases wherein medical help cannot completely cure a person, and they end up with lifelong disabilities or paralysis. In cases like these, disability payments can go on indefinitely.
If your bike was totaled because of the accident, you can ask for compensation to offset bike repair costs.
In situations where the bicyclist died after the accident, the surviving family can be compensated for any funeral and bereavement costs incurred.
Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by the surviving family if the bicyclist dies because of the incident.
Pain and Suffering
This refers to the emotional trauma suffered by the victim in relation to the accident.
Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycle accidents are not as linear as people think. Because the incident can involve several parties, and may even involve powerful parties such as the government, hiring an experienced attorney may give you a better chance of winning your case.
Here at Babin Law, we have several personal injury attorneys with several years' worth of experience in handling bicycle accidents. Our bike accident lawyers will work hard to try to get you maximum compensation, so you don't have to worry about anything else except recuperating after your ordeal.