What happens if a road hazard causes a bicycle accident?
If you’ve been injured in a bicycling accident, you may want to contact a bicycle accident lawyer in Central Phoenix, AZ trusts for legal counsel. Bicycle accidents that involve road hazards can be very complex, but it may be possible to collect compensation for your financial losses in an injury claim. At Kamper & Estrada, PLLC, we’ve been helping Phoenix residents win personal injury settlements for years. We know that these types of claims can be difficult to win, but with the guidance that a bicycle accident lawyer in Central Phoenix, AZ can provide, you may be able to recover a substantial settlement.
Bicyclists are legally allowed to share the road with other vehicles, but bicycles are affected much more than motorized vehicles when they encounter a road hazard. Bicycles are lighter in weight and provide far less protection against the external road and environmental hazards.
Some of these hazards are natural and no single party can be held liable, but in other cases, the local government might be held liable.
Liability and Road Hazards for Bicyclists
If you’ve been injured on a bicycle due to any of the following reasons, you might have a valid injury claim:
- Cracks in the pavement
- Construction work
- Protruding sewer grate
- Protruding curb
- Deteriorating railroad tracks
- Fallen branches
The key when determining validity for an injury claim is to establish whether or not negligence or wrongdoing occurred. In the event of a bicycle accident, bicyclists have the right to ride on a road that is reasonably free from hazards; if there is a clear hazard in the road, the government may have a duty to repair it. Failure to repair the hazard or provide adequate warning about the hazard could be deemed as negligence.
For example, it’s common for bicyclists to seek counsel from a Central Phoenix bicycle accident lawyer after being involved in an accident because of a pothole. Potholes can be a natural effect of wear-and-tear on the road and are especially prevalent after inclement weather. Local governments are expected to repair potholes in a reasonable timeframe or provide a warning sign. If a pothole had only been present for a few days before injuring a cyclist, the government might not be liable. However, if the pothole had been present for months (or even years) and the government simply failed to repair it, there may be a reasonable argument for negligence.
When Reckless Drivers Cause Bicycle Accidents
When you go out on the road, you generally expect that all motorists are driving responsibly. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and you may come into contact with drivers who are acting recklessly. Thankfully, there are laws designed to bring irresponsible drivers to justice. An experienced Central Phoenix, Arizona bicycle accident lawyer at Kamper & Estrada, PLLC can help. If you have been struck by a reckless driver while riding a bicycle, read on to learn more about what you can do when it comes to filing a legal claim.
What is reckless driving?
Reckless driving is defined as driving with a willful disregard for safety and with the disregard for any consequences or actions. A person that is driving recklessly doesn’t generally pay close attention to road laws and endangers others with their actions.
What are some examples of reckless driving?
Reckless driving is often used as an umbrella term. An experienced Central Phoenix, AZ bicycle accident lawyer can help to explain how reckless driving laws may impact your case if you were struck while biking by a motorist who was:
- Drunk driving or driving while intoxicated
- Racing another driver
- Tailgating another driving
- Operating without proper signal use
- Driving 25 mph or more over the marked speed limit
- Eluding a police officer when they have signaled for the vehicle to pull over
- Passing when visibility is limited
- Texting or using a phone while driving
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Failing to yield to an emergency vehicle
- Driving too fast for weather conditions
- Operating a vehicle with known faulty defects
- Not using lights during times of low visibility.
What precautions do I need to take if I have become a victim of reckless driving?
First and foremost, seek medical attention. Many victims think that they need to wait to see a doctor until they have begun their lawsuit, but this is untrue. Your health and wellbeing come first.
Once you are able, contact a Central Phoenix, AZ bicycle accident lawyer. An attorney will not only act as your legal advocate and speak on your behalf — they will be a great resource in helping you determine the next steps to take. Personal injury cases are timely and there is a statute of limitations, so make sure you don’t hesitate in scheduling a consultation as soon as possible.
Arizona Bicycle Laws to Keep in Mind
In the state of Arizona, bicycles are classified as vehicles, which means the same laws that apply to drivers apply to bicyclists. Bicyclists are expected to stop at stoplights and yield to pedestrians. It also means that bicyclists are expected to receive the same amount of respect for the road from other road users. Bicycles are considered specialized “vehicles,” and have additional laws that pertain to them that both cyclists and drivers are expected to follow. As a cyclist you should follow these:
- Riding as close to the curb as possible when traveling on city streets. If there is no sidewalk then you should ride as close to the edge of the road as possible without putting yourself in danger.
- Do not ride on the sidewalk. Your bicycle is considered a vehicle and the sidewalk is designated for pedestrians.
- Never ride more than two cyclists next to each other in a traffic lane.
- You must mount a white light on the front of your bicycle if you choose to ride at night. At a minimum, the light must be visible to cars coming towards you from 500 feet away
- Your bicycle must have a red reflector light in the back if you choose to ride outside during daylight hours so that vehicles behind you can see in front of them.
Bicyclists endure risks every time they ride. One of those risks is riding around unprotected. Bikes aren’t equipped with seat belts, airbags, or protective walls. One of the best ways to ensure your safety while riding your bike is wearing safety gear like a helmet. This could also be a preventative measure to help you walk away from an accident without any major injuries. However, that’s not always the case when it comes to bicycle accidents.
Arizona has no statewide laws that require cyclists of any age to wear a safety helmet, however, it is recommended. There are a few municipalities that have codes that do require riders under the age of 18 to wear a bike helmet. Those municipalities include Flagstaff, Pima County, Sierra Vista, Tucson, and Yuma. Otherwise, wearing a bike helmet is up to the individual cyclists or their parents to decide. With that being said, if you get into an accident and the at-fault party tries to blame you for the accident because you weren’t wearing a helmet, you can remind them that helmets are not required by law.
While it might not be required by law in Arizona to wear a helmet, wearing one could make a significant difference between life and death during a collision. Studies in the past have indicated that wearing a bike helmet can reduce the odds of serious brain injury by almost 85% — it is your best protection. If you find yourself with an injury from a bicycle accident and you weren’t wearing a bicycle helmet, a bicycle accident lawyer in Central Phoenix, Arizona will remind you that it doesn’t make you responsible for your injuries in the accident.
What should I bring with me to my consultation?
If possible, bring as much evidence as you can. This includes any medical bills, insurance forms, the original police report, victim testimonials, and pictures of the accident. The more information you have, the stronger your argument will be in civil court.
What compensation am I entitled to if I win my case?
The number of damages you are eligible for depends on your specific case and situation. Typically it is common to expect payment for any pain and suffering you have experienced, coverage for medical and insurance bills, and any lost wages. You don’t have to deal with a reckless driver lawsuit by yourself. Contact a Central Phoenix, AZ bicycle accident lawyer to set up a consultation and our firm will help navigate the legal complexities of this situation on your behalf.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Central Phoenix, AZ Depends On
At Kamper & Estrada, PLLC, we’re proud that Phoenix residents know they can turn to our firm when they need a bicycle accident lawyer in Central Phoenix, AZ they can count on.
To speak with a bicycle accident lawyer in Central Phoenix, AZ residents trust, contact Kamper & Estrada, PLLC today at 602-730-7988.