Bicycle Accident Injury Attorney In St. Louis
Avoiding traffic, reducing emissions, and staying healthy are only some of the many benefits associated with cycling down busy St. Louis thoroughfares like Kingshighway or Hampton, or bustling neighborhoods like the Central West End or University City Loop.
Unfortunately, many Metro East and St. Louis drivers don’t respect cyclists. Distraction, intoxication, and turning mistakes frequently lead to life-altering bicycle accidents in St. Louis. Additional factors, including damaged city bikes, poor street lighting, sideway obstructions, and roadway debris, also contribute to devastating cyclist injuries.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can happen for a number of reasons, but they are most often the result of negligence. When drivers, other cyclists, or even pedestrians are careless, distracted, or negligent, they can cause serious accidents that result in devastating consequences.
Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in and around the St. Louis area include:
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Following too closely
- Passing too closely
- Drunk driving
- Texting while driving
- Road rage
- Unsafe merging
- Failure to obey traffic devices
- Traveling too fast for conditions
- Failure to see the bicycle (keep a safe lookout)
In addition, many bicycle crashes are caused by road conditions that do not affect most cars, trucks, or buses. Improperly maintained roadways pose a threat to bicyclists.
Holding Negligent Drivers and Pedestrians Liable for St. Louis Bicycle Accidents
Personal injury litigators with a detailed understanding of multi-state bicycle regulations may help injured cyclists obtain accelerated settlements under negligence per se laws. This legal principle provides for automatic liability determinations if traffic violations caused the bicycle accident. For example, simply showing that an unlawfully parked delivery van blocked the bike lane, violating Mo. Stat. § 300.330, and caused the crash can result in a summary judgment or quick insurance settlements.
Attorneys may also pursue claims under general negligence theories. These cases frequently involve accidents occurring due to poor lighting, daydreaming, or vehicle blind spots. In rare cases, experienced bicycle accident lawyers might sue dangerous drivers for gross negligence (recklessness) resulting in injuries.
These claims often arise when drivers run cyclists off the road, clip riders while speeding, then flee, harass slower-moving cyclists, or cause drunk driving accidents. Reckless driving judgments may result in punitive (exemplary) damage awards and criminal liability.
Types of City Bicycle Accidents Resulting in Serious Injuries
Falls (General, Emergency, or Impact-Related)
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), falls—whether due to broken chains, uneven pavement, or sudden hazards—are the most common bike accidents. However, they are not the most serious. Falls frequently result in relatively minor injuries, such as road rash, fractured wrists, and shoulder strains, because cyclists only travel between 10 and 20 miles per hour.
Sudden falls may hurt, but they seldom result in long-term disabilities or bicycle accident fatalities. Bicycle accident lawyers in St. Louis may help injured cyclists obtain damages if negligent third parties caused or contributed to serious falls.
- Holding bicycle manufacturers liable for faulty parts (products liability).
- Suing municipal agents for dangerous roadway designs (premises liability).
- Holding pedestrians accountable for obstructing bicycle lanes (negligence).
Car crashes are the second main cause of bicycle accidents and the leading cause of serious cycling injuries in the United States. This is especially true in urban areas such as St. Louis, as nearly 80 percent of annual cyclist deaths occur in cities.
Lawmakers passed many of the city’s bicycle laws in response to the following common bicycle-vehicle crashes:
- Crossing Over/Turning Accidents – Drivers seldom check bicycle lanes before making right or left turns over designated bike paths. They see the green light or arrow and immediately start turning without checking for cyclists. Because turning drivers, not cyclists, must yield the right of way, these accidents often result in T-bone collisions. Drivers may hit cyclists on their sides, causing them to fall over the vehicles’ hood or onto the pavement. Cyclists might also smash directly into the vehicle, causing facial and chest damage.
- Dangerous Passing (Sideswipe) Collisions – Speeding vehicles often create airstreams that can force cyclists into the pavement without directly impacting the rider. Likewise, drivers traveling too close to bicycles may swipe them with their side mirrors. The force of these collisions, however slight, can result in fractures and serious run-over accidents.
- Run Overs – Drivers must keep a safe distance—both horizontally and vertically – between themselves and cyclists to avoid sideswipes and account for sudden falls. Oftentimes, cyclists suffer greater injuries from second vehicles that run over fallen riders after they were struck by moving vehicles. These are often fatal bicycle accidents in St. Louis.
- Read-Ended Crashes – Traditional fender-benders result in whiplash and minor vehicle damage but rear-end accidents involving bicycles often result in devastating head injuries and fractures. These sudden crashes may propel St. Louis cyclists into another vehicle or roadway while simultaneously causing brain and spinal trauma.
- Failure to Obey Traffic Control Devices/Yield – Although cyclists have the same rights as drivers, vehicle operators often mistakenly believe they always have the right of way. This can result in head-on collisions with cyclists, often resulting in fatal traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, and neck trauma.
- Reckless and Drunk Driving – Drunk and uncaring drivers frequently swerve between lanes, including bike lanes. They also commonly force other vehicles off the road and into cyclists. Drunk and drugged driving crashes often result in life-altering and fatal injuries. Unfortunately, fatigued driving mirrors the symptoms of drunk driving and can result in similar accidents. Most fatal bicycle accidents occur during happy hour and after work, between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Cyclists may generally recover damages from the negligent driver and/or vehicle owner’s auto insurance policy. They might also demand compensation from the driver’s employer, such as a delivery service or Uber if on-duty employees caused the St. Louis bicycle crash. Multiple drivers may also share liability for cycling accidents, as many crashes involve primary and secondary impacts.
Some cyclists (and even their household members) might obtain damages from their personal auto insurers, if any, as most underinsured/uninsured and hit-and-run policies cover bicycle crashes. Dedicated St. Louis and Metro East bicycle accident lawyers might help injured cyclists or their families maximize the value of their damages and recover needed financial compensation following St. Louis cycling injuries.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
In 2018, more than 45,000 cyclists were injured in bicycle accidents, and more than 700 bicyclists were killed in 2017. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in Missouri alone, there were eight bicycle fatalities in 2016.
While bicycle accidents aren’t always caused by negligent drivers, the vast majority are. Additionally, most bicycle accidents involve more than one type of negligence, such as speeding and distracted driving.
According to Missouri bicycle injury claim reports, the most commonly sustained injuries in bike accidents include:
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
If you were injured in a bike accident in Missouri and aren’t sure what to do next, it’s essential to stay calm, get treatment for your injuries, and discuss the situation as soon as possible with a St. Louis bicycle accident lawyer.
Many serious cycling injuries result in disabilities and have fatal complications. Helmets may prevent severe brain trauma, but they cannot protect riders from all concussions and spinal cord damage. Most cyclists are completely exposed and obtain both primary and secondary-impact injuries. Negligent drivers bear liability for direct-impact injuries, i.e., fractured ribs from turning accidents, and secondary-impact injuries, i.e., dislocated shoulders from the resulting fall.
The faster the vehicle was traveling when the impact occurred, the more serious the victim’s injuries were. However, even slow-moving vehicles can cause fatal trauma. St. Louis has a citywide 25 miles per hour speed limit to mitigate the damages associated with dangerous driving accidents, especially collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrians.
Recovering Financial Damages After Cycling Accidents in the St. Louis Metro Area
Both Missouri and Illinois allow injured cyclists (or their families in wrongful death cases) to demand economic and non-economic damages from negligent drivers and/or property owners. Attorneys might also demand damages from St. Louis bike-share companies and/or bicycle manufacturers if defective parts contributed to the crash. Whether experienced bicycle accident lawyers bring negligence, premises liability, wrongful death, or product liability claims, successful lawsuits entitle claimants to personal injury damages.
These damages may include the value of totaled bicycles and direct out-of-pocket costs, including:
- Ambulance and emergency room bills
- Hospital and doctors costs
- Physical and cognitive rehabilitation
- Massage and acupuncture therapy
- Medications and medical devices
- Medical transportation costs
- Household assistance (cleaning, cooking, bathing)
- Home nursing care
- Lost income (salary, business profits, and commissions)
- Lost employment benefits (healthcare payments and 401K contributions)
- Lost earning capacity and promotions
These damages may include past losses, including overdue medical bills and future anticipated expenses. St. Louis bicycle accident lawyers frequently retain economic and medical experts to help their clients calculate the true value of their damages and make accurate insurance demands. It’s essential to speak with dedicated personal injury counsel before accepting potentially low-ball insurance offers. Once you do, you cannot generally demand additional damages.
Because cycling is an important way of life, claimants often struggle with depression stemming from their physical pain, emotional anguish, and loss of life’s enjoyment. Spouses also frequently suffer from lost physical and emotional companionship. Importantly, injured cyclists might recover the estimated value of these non-economic (pain and suffering) damages. Insurers generally calculate these damages by multiplying the claimant’s overall economic losses.
The multiplication factor, generally between 1.5 and 7, depends on the seriousness of your overall injuries and crash factors. For example, drunk-driving accidents resulting in paralysis may result in high-value pain and suffering awards. Experienced St. Louis injury attorneys can demand insurers increase the value of pain and suffering settlements based on the unique circumstances of your case, including the loss of a previously active lifestyle.
Connect with the St. Louis Bicycle Crash Lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm for Free
Because our bicycle accident litigators accept viable cases on a contingency fee basis, we don’t get paid unless our clients recover needed compensation after devastating cycling crashes. This means St. Louis cyclists unlawfully injured in bicycle accidents can recover needed damages without any upfront fees or costs.
We help recently injured riders apply for insurance benefits, negotiate fair injury settlements, and even sue negligent parties for damages. Many bicycle accident cases settle for the full value of the negligent driver’s insurance policy.
Confidentially discuss your claims with our dedicated St. Louis cycling accident team by calling (314) 208-2808 or contacting us online.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Boating Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Car Accidents
- Golf Cart Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Metrolink Accidents
- Public Transportation Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Snowmobile Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
Ways to Prevent Bicycle Accidents
As the driver of a motor vehicle, it is important to keep in mind that bicycles do not possess the typical outline of a car or truck. Remembering that bicycles have a narrow silhouette can help motorists keep an eye out for cyclists along the roadway, leading to fewer accidents caused by drivers simply not seeing bicycles. Additionally, knowing the common causes of bicycle crashes provides drivers with increased awareness when navigating those particular situations.
Bicyclists should also take precaution by wearing helmets, protective gloves, shirt, pants, etc. In addition, it is extremely important for cyclists to have reflectors on their bikes and clothing. This increases visibility and will more easily allow motor vehicle drivers the opportunity to see bicyclists.
Missouri Bicycle Accident Settlements
If you are seeking compensation for damages, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. While Missouri’s statute of limitations allows victims to pursue claims against negligent parties for up to five years after an accident, failure to gather evidence, proof of injuries, and other information immediately after the accident can lead to the other party’s insurer attempting to shift blame in the accident, deterioration of evidence, and other consequences that can affect your settlement.
Consulting a lawyer right after the accident helps ensure that you have substantial proof from the accident, are protected from the at-fault party, and that your bike accident settlement is mediated as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Typically, bicycle crash settlements include compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Mental and emotional distress
- Loss of income/wages
- Future medical expenses
- Lost earning ability
The amount of compensation you will receive will vary significantly based on the severity of your injuries, who was at fault for the accident, and other specifics that can be identified by an experienced lawyer.
Contact a Bike Accident Lawyer Today
The St. Louis bicycle accident attorneys at The Dixon Injury Firm provide accident victims and their families with professional legal care and service. We approach personal injury cases with professional concern in our efforts to ensure quick and fair compensation for victims.
Remember: Even if a bike accident seems minor or you assume it’s your fault, it’s important to find legal help when medical expenses and personal well-being are on the line. Let our St. Louis personal injury lawyers know what we can do to help.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132