Can I Sue if a Bicycle Hits My Car?
May 13, 2021 | Car Accidents
Yes, you can sue if a bicycle hits your car. You must gather evidence, prove negligence, and establish the value of your losses. The process of dealing with the accident is nearly the same as a car accident. You must collect evidence, exchange information, and you must get in contact with a bicycle accident lawyer immediately as you may recover compensation for your injuries.
Most cases resolve out of court
The American Bar Association (ABA) notes that most personal injury cases are settled through insurance claims––not litigation. So, if a bicyclist damages your car, you could recoup your losses through an insurance claim. Yet, bicyclists are not required to carry insurance in Illinois or Missouri, so you might have to file a claim with your own insurer.
If the insurer denies or undervalues your losses, you could file a lawsuit against the negligent bicyclist.
The process of filing a lawsuit in civil court
If you file a lawsuit against a bicyclist for hitting your car, this is what you can expect from litigation:
- Discovery. Once you file your lawsuit, your lawyer and the bicyclist’s lawyer will exchange information. This is to make sure that everyone has access to the case’s information. You may have to take part in a deposition, where you answer questions on the record about your case.
- Mediation. Before your case goes to court, you may take part in mediation. Basically, this is where you and the other party sit down with your lawyers and a third-party mediator to negotiate a settlement. This is intended to resolve your case without going to court. However, it does not happen in every case. If you are offered a fair settlement at mediation, you wouldn’t need to move forward with your lawsuit. However, if not, you would take your case to trial.
- Trial. In court, your lawyer will argue that because the other party was negligent, they owe you damages. They will present the judge and jury with evidence, object to any unfair questions, and interview witnesses on the stand. The judge and jury will determine your settlement. They will take various aspects of your case into account when awarding damages.
Who is at fault if a bicycle hits my car?
When a bicyclist hits your car, you can pursue compensation the same way you would in a car accident. You have to determine who is at fault in the accident. If the fault rests with the bicyclist, you can sue for damages. You also have a right to legal representation.
How can you prove fault in a collision?
Take photos of the accident scene and any damage to your vehicle. Talk to any witnesses that were around when the accident happened. Bicyclists must follow their state’s bike laws while riding on the road.
How could a bicyclist be liable for your losses? If there is a bike lane, this must be used, but if there isn’t a designated bike lane, bicyclists are required to ride as far right as possible near parked cars. If a bicyclist is riding in the middle of the street or another part of the road and isn’t doing so to avoid debris or other obstructions in their path, the bike rider may be found at fault for the accident.
You could be liable for your car’s damage after a bicyclist hits you
If a bicycle hits a car and is following all road rules, it may be determined that the motor vehicle driver is at fault in the accident. If a bicyclist is rounding a corner at the same moment that a car is turning right and an accident occurs, by default the driver of the motor vehicle is at fault.
It is a basic road safety rule that motor vehicle drivers should only execute a turn once the path is clear.
Both you and the bicyclist could share liability
Illinois and Missouri both have laws in place that limit the amount of money you could get if you contributed to the accident.
- In Missouri, even if you contributed to 99 percent of the accident, you can seek damages.
- In Illinois, as long as you did not contribute to most of the accident, you could seek damages.
In both states, your portion of fault will reduce your final settlement or award. This makes proving fault critically important in your case. Yet, with our team on your side, you don’t have to worry.
Another party could share liability for your losses
After a bicyclist runs into your car, you might automatically think they were negligent. However, after concluding your case’s investigation, we might find otherwise.
For instance, if the bike’s manufacturer produced a faulty product, you could file a product liability claim against this party. You could argue that because the bike itself was unsafe, you suffered losses in an accident.
You have legal options if you were in a collision
If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident with a bicycle, not only could you sue the bicyclist, but you could also work with a bike accident lawyer from our firm. We can analyze your case to see if you have grounds for compensation.
You could have these options when pursuing the bicyclist for damages:
Filing an insurance claim
If you or the other party had insurance for this type of situation, you could file a claim. This isn’t easy, though, as insurance companies are notorious for denying or devaluing damages.
With our team on your side, we can:
- Manage your claim’s paperwork
- Determine which policy applies to you
- Communicate with all involved parties, including claims adjusters
- Evaluate your losses and calculate your case’s overall value
- Counteract any bad faith insurance practices
- Negotiate a possible settlement
In an insurance claim, you can only collect up to the liable policy’s limits. So, if you sustained $5,000 in damage, but the liable policy only covers $2,500, you could have to pay the rest out of pocket. This may compel you to file a lawsuit against the bicyclist to get the full cost of your losses.
Filing a lawsuit
If a lawsuit is deemed necessary in your case, you must file within your state’s statute of limitations.
The following deadlines may apply to your case:
- If your accident happened in Illinois, you typically have five years to file your property damage lawsuit, per 735 ILCS 5/13-205.
- If your accident happened in Missouri, you also have five years to file your lawsuit, per Missouri Revised Statutes § 516.120.
If you file your case outside of your state’s deadline, you could lose the right to seek damages via litigation. This could limit your recovery options and force you to pay for your losses out of pocket.
Damages that you could claim if a bicycle hits your car
Not everyone will receive damages for their case, but depending on the circumstances of your case you may be eligible to recover damages. If a bicycle hits your car and the bicyclist is found to be liable for the accident, they must pay out of pocket for your damages. Most of the time, car insurance coverage doesn’t apply to bicycle accident damages.
If a motor vehicle driver is ruled at fault for an accident where a bicycle hits their car, the driver of the vehicle could be sued by the bicyclist and their insurance company will have to pay for the bicyclist’s damages, or if they don’t have car insurance, they’ll have to pay out of pocket for the bicyclist’s damages.
Examples of compensable losses in your case
Some of the most common damages that are claimed from suing a bicyclist that has hit your car include:
- Bodily damage expenses – If there is any damage done to your vehicle from the accident, such as scratches, nicks, dents, and more, the amount to fix these issues can be included in the damages that you are seeking from the other party.
- Personal injury-related losses – If you suffered any injuries from the accident, such as whiplash, bleeding, or other injuries, be sure to seek medical attention for these injuries after the accident. A medical report will be filed detailing your injuries and how they occurred which can be used by your lawyer when recovering damages.
- Emotional distress – Accidents happen suddenly and can leave lasting mental effects. If you require therapy after the accident, you may be eligible to recover any monetary costs that are associated with your emotional distress, including appointment fees, medication, and more.
- Loss of wages – Injuries can prevent car accident victims from working (in some cases). If you had to miss work at all due to your injuries from the accident, you could be eligible to recover lost wages that occurred because of the crash.
- Rental vehicle – If your vehicle is damaged in the accident and is being repaired in the shop, you can recover any money that you paid out of pocket for a car rental because of the accident.
- Pain and suffering – You could recoup damages for the hardships associated with being in an accident. The value of this expense depends on the facts of your accident. For instance, people who suffer serious injuries usually can recover more for pain and suffering than those who are mildly hurt.
- Loss of consortium – If your accident affected your relationship with your spouse, you could recover compensation for any harm done to your marriage.
- Disability – If the accident will leave you with a long-term or permanent disability, you could include this hardship in your claim. The value of these expenses largely depends on the nature of your condition.
- Scarring/disfigurement – If your accident left you with injuries that will permanently affect your appearance, you could seek this non-economic damage in your case.
Why work with our law firm?
We have recovered more than $50 million for our clients since we first opened our doors. We have handled dozens of car accident cases, and we are prepared to resolve your case.
We can help you by:
Sending your demand letter to the insurer
We can identify the liable insurer and detail your losses in a demand letter. We can include the damages you’re seeking from the other party, what grounds you have to claim those damages, and how much you’re seeking.
Finding evidence to support your case
Using our investigative skills, we can find and use the following evidence to support your case:
- The police report
- Your property damage receipts
- Your medical records (if you were hurt in the collision)
- Traffic camera footage
- Eyewitness testimony
We may even consult with accident reconstruction specialists on your case.
Working on a contingency-fee basis
We don’t charge our clients anything to get started on their cases. We work on a contingency-fee basis, so you don’t pay anything upfront. We mutually decide on the percentage we will take from your settlement or court award. If we don’t win your case, we don’t request payment for our time and efforts.
Determining the cause of your accident
Most accidents result from human error, such as:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Failure to yield
- Failure to obey posted traffic signals
- Improper turns
- Failure to use a bicycle lane
- Failure to maintain a safe distance from another vehicle
Once we establish the cause of your accident, we can build a case that pursues damages from the responsible party.
Proving negligence in your case
The law requires us to prove that the other party in your case acted negligently.
Using the evidence we find during our investigation, we must show:
- The bicyclist owed you a duty of care. This means they had an obligation to ride appropriately and share the roadway with others.
- The bicyclist breached this duty of care by riding without regard for others’ safety.
- The bicyclist caused your accident (or most of it).
- Because of the collision, you suffered financial losses.
Establishing these elements on your own isn’t easy. Our team can help.
Assessing the severity of your injuries
To recover compensation for your losses, we’ll have to show the severity of your injuries either to the insurance company or judge and jury. While we’re not doctors, we can consult with professionals in the healthcare field. They can examine your condition and determine the length of your recovery period, the treatments you need, and your overall quality of life.
You might suffer from these injuries following your bicycle accident:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
Again, we encourage you to seek medical care if you have not already done so.
We can address all of your questions and concerns about your case
When partnering with us, you’ll understand all the details surrounding your case. We’ll provide you with timely updates, either via email or over the phone, and we will also address any of your concerns.
Here are some questions we can answer right now:
How long does it take to resolve a bicycle accident case?
We will do everything possible to keep your case moving forward. Yet, preparing a case for trial takes time, especially if you want a positive outcome. It could take days, weeks, or even months to recover compensation for your losses. We still encourage you to refrain from accepting the first settlement offer that comes your way since it may not fairly compensate you for your losses.
What should you do after being involved in an accident?
- Seek medical attention
- Get your car checked out by a mechanic
- Write down your account for events
- Track your losses
- Get the contact information of any witnesses
- Follow through with medical care
Your lawyer can provide further insight into what measures could help your case.
What should you avoid after being involved in an accident?
You should do countless things after a collision. You must also avoid:
- Giving a recorded statement
- Accepting the first offer
- Communicating directly with the insurer
- Posting about the event online
- Refusing medical care
Each of these things could have detrimental impacts on your case.
How much is your case worth?
The value of your case will depend on:
- Your injuries
- The extent of your vehicle’s damage
- Your out-of-pocket expenses
- Your mobility
- Your necessary treatments
We will evaluate the cost of your case using the evidence we find.
What if the insurer treats you unfairly?
Our law firm does not have time to deal with uncooperative insurance companies.
We will protect you when:
- The insurer offers you a low settlement.
- The insurer denies your claim without a valid reason why.
- The insurer tries to pressure you into accepting an unfair offer.
- The insurer stalls your claim to discourage you from pursuing compensation.
- The insurer demands that you give a recorded statement, which you have a right to refuse.
Both Illinois and Missouri have bad faith insurance laws. These are intended to protect you against unscrupulous insurance providers.
What if the bicyclist fled the accident scene?
When an involved party leaves the scene of an accident without giving their contact information, this is considered a hit-and-run. Both Illinois and Missouri have laws surrounding these situations, which could include criminal charges if the other party is located.
You still have options if a hit-and-run bicyclist hits you. You could file a claim with your own insurer to seek damages. Our law firm will do everything we can to locate the negligent party. We can do this by interviewing eyewitnesses, reviewing traffic camera footage, and using evidence from the accident scene.
What can you expect from your free case review?
When you call our firm, you’ll connect with a team member who will ask questions about your situation. We will ask questions about the nature of your condition, the details of the crash, and any expenses you have incurred.
The answers to these questions will let us know if we’re a good match. If so, we may offer to take your case and pursue the damages you need.
How much is your pain and suffering worth?
Your pain and suffering’s value depends on:
- Your missed time from work
- The nature of your condition
- The treatments you needed
- The details of the accident
- The cost of your tangible losses
- Whether you will fully recover from your condition
We may employ multiple methods to learn more about the value of your pain and suffering.
How our legal team can help
It can be easy to assume that the driver of a motor vehicle is at fault in an accident with a bicycle, but if the bicyclist caused the accident, we can help prove this and recover damages.
You can expect that:
- Your bike accident lawyer will pursue justice for your pain and suffering that occurred because of the accident.
- Your lawyer will negotiate for the highest settlement.
- If the other party refuses to pay out of pocket for your damages, your lawyer will file a lawsuit against the bicyclist and fight for your case in court.
You can also expect a free case review when you connect with our firm. Here, you can ask a team member anything about your case and what to do after a bicycle hits your car.
It can be difficult to know what damages you should seek from an accident and how much you should claim for damages that don’t have a set cost such as pain and suffering. If you are unsure of what damages you should claim from your car accident with a bicyclist, don’t worry. Your bicycle accident lawyer has likely handled dozens of accident cases and can guide you in the right direction.
Your lawyer will help you write a detailed demand letter that includes the damages you’re seeking from the other party in the accident, what grounds you have to claim those damages, and how much you’re seeking for each of the damages. The demand letter will be included when you file your car accident claim with your attorney against the bicyclist that caused the accident.
Speak with a bicycle accident lawyer about your case
It can be easy to assume that the driver of a motor vehicle is at fault in an accident with a bicycle, but if the bicyclist caused the accident, your lawyer can help you prove this and recover damages for any suffering that occurred on your part. Your bike accident lawyer will fight for your car accident claim and make sure that you get justice for the pain and suffering you endured because of the accident.
Your personal injury accident lawyer will negotiate for the highest settlement, and if the other party refuses to pay out-of-pocket for your damages, your lawyer will help you file a powerful lawsuit against the bicyclist and fight for your case in court until you receive the maximum compensation possible.
If you or someone you know was in an accident because a bicycle hit your car, contact The Dixon Injury Firm immediately for a free consultation. Call (314) 208-2808 to get started.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132