The health and financial benefits of cycling have been embraced in Arkansas. In 2019, the governor saw the need to keep bicyclists safe, making Arkansas the second state in the United States to legalize the “Idaho Stop” law. This means that bicyclists can use rolling stops to slow down at stop signs – to maintain their riding momentum, but completely stop at oncoming traffic. Accidents sometimes occur because some drivers show no courtesy and engage in hostile behavior because they view cyclists as a nuisance. And if you’ve been hurt in a bicycle accident, talk to a skilled Little Rock personal injury lawyer to fight for your compensation. While the law in Arkansas does not consider bicycles as motor-vehicles, it still gives them the right to access most roadways and follow similar rules as other motorists. If a car vs bicycle accident happens, for instance, several people could be at fault.
Who Can be Responsible for Bicycle Accidents?
Fault needs to be established before compensation is accorded. It can lie with:
- The Driver. If a driver knocks down a bike rider, the liability depends on who had the right of way. They could be accountable for the cyclist’s death or injuries if they violated traffic laws, speeding, driving under the influence, or distracted on the road.
- The Car Owner. In some instances, the car owner, who is not the driver, can be held liable for the bicycle accident.
- An Alcohol Beverage Retailer. A retailer that sells alcohol to someone that looked intoxicated can be held responsible if they get into an accident later.
- The Government. The government has a responsibility to protect bicyclists by putting traffic signals where necessary and designing crosswalks correctly. If the lack of it resulted in the accident, a Little Rock bike accident lawyer could guide you on the unique process of filing a claim against a government agency.
How is Negligence Established?
Both bicyclists and drivers are required to act with the level of care that a reasonable person would in similar circumstances. If your behavior created a potential danger to others, and you didn’t act in a manner that would reduce or eliminate the risk, you can be considered negligent. Here are factors that can prove negligence:
- The plaintiff suffered an injury
- The accused owed a legal duty to the complainant
- The defendant breached the legal duty
- The defendant’s breach of legal duty directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries
How is Shared Liability Treated?
Arkansas uses the “modified comparative fault” rule to handle shared negligence in an accident. Liability in such cases is assigned according to each party’s level of contribution to the crash. For example, if a driver hits you, but it is discovered that you were also over speeding, your shared liability may be established at 80:20. So you will receive $80,000 out of the $100,000 damages. However, the modified comparative rule is subject to the 50-percent rule. This means that you will only receive compensation if your contributory fault is 49% or below. What you need to do after sustaining injuries in an accident is to speak to an experienced bike accident attorney in Little Rock and discuss the critical aspect of liability.
What Rules Must I Follow to Avoid Contributory Fault?
Cyclists are expected to follow some cycling laws in Arkansas. Here are some rules that can save bicyclists from negligence claims:
- Use sidewalks except in specific Arkansas communities and business districts, but be aware of pedestrians using them
- Obey traffic signals and traffic devices
- Yield to crossing traffic on important or large roads
- Ride on the right
- Signal intent through gestures
- Ride with the flow
- Position yourself correctly when entering an intersection
- Have a bell or something of that sort; to warn pedestrians if you are riding in Fayetteville or Little Rock
- Have a red tail light on the rear and white headlight in front that is visible from 500 feet away
What is Required of Drivers?
Drivers should note that bicyclists have a right to use the road like other motorists. They need to:
- Share the road and give bicycles a wide berth
- Avoid cutting-off bicyclists or tailgating
- Drive predictably and avoid making erratic decisions because bicyclists may not be able to react quickly enough
- If proceeding in the same direction as the bicyclist, the driver should overtake to the left and move at least 3 feet away
- Drive cautiously at night and anticipate for bicyclists since most fatal bicycle accidents occur at night
What Types of Injuries Can be Compensated?
If you are lucky to survive a vehicle crash, you may suffer severe or catastrophic injuries. These injuries may cause a lot of pain and suffering or require a lifetime of care. And if someone else was at fault, you deserve compensation for the wages you lost during recovery and the expenses on medical care. Common injuries include:
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Bruises, scrapes, and cuts
- Soft tissue injuries
- Damage to internal organs
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic head injury
What Should a Bicyclist Do If a Driver Hits Them?
Injured bicyclists need to act swiftly to fight for justice. Here are the steps to take:
Get Medical Attention
Even if you can’t see any external injuries, it is important to visit the hospital. Remember that internal injuries do not show immediately after the accident. And if the accident was serious, call 911.
Notify the Police
A police report is crucial evidence for your personal injury case. So make sure that the police were notified of the crash.
Collect Information from the Scene
Note the license, model, and make of the car. Also, get the name, insurance information, and contact of the driver. Don’t forget to speak to witnesses and take their contact information. You can take photos and take note of the weather, road work, and traffic conditions.
Preserve the Physical Evidence
Do not fix your bike or throw away clothing or helmet because they are essential pieces of evidence.
Speak to an attorney
To avoid being wrongfully blamed, speak to an Arkansas personal injury attorney before contacting insurance companies.
A Knowledgeable Attorney Protecting Your Interests
Experience and resources are necessary to convince the insurance adjusters of the strength of your case. Skilled bicycle accident lawyers work with financial experts, investigators, and your doctors – to make sure your medical needs are well-documented in the report, the accident scene is examined, and your losses, as well as your family’s, are properly valued. You have probably spent so much already on recovery and don’t need the hustle of raising legal fees. Fortunately, you can work with a contingency-based law firm that doesn’t require you to pay anything until you collect your compensation. Get started by calling (501) 725-8099.