The first thing that law enforcement and insurance companies like to do following a serious motor vehicle accident is determining who is at fault for the crash. The same goes for accidents involving motor vehicles and bicycles. These can be some of the most tragic accidents on the roads of Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. Bicyclists are not protected from the elements around them like drivers and passengers of motor vehicles are. That’s why the injuries to bicyclists can be so traumatic and deadly. Today, we will take a look at how you can establish who is at fault for a car vs. bicycle accident.
Which Party Broke a Traffic Law?
One of the first things that will be looked at is if a traffic law was broken by one of the parties involved in the accident. This can help determine who is at fault for the crash if it is not blatantly obvious or if there were no witnesses to the crash. Bicyclists are required to follow all the rules of the road, which means that they are to ride with traffic and not against it. They must also stop at stop signs and red lights. Where applicable, they must yield to pedestrians. The investigation following the crash will take a look at both parties and whether one or both of them broke a law leading up to the accident.
Was There Carelessness Involved?
If the police cannot determine if a traffic law was broken they will then look into carelessness. Was the driver of the car being careless? Or, was the bicyclist riding carelessly? There doesn’t necessarily have to be a traffic law broken in order for someone to operate a car or bicycle in a careless manner. Not every accident will have a law that has been violated, but there will be some degree of carelessness involved in every crash. Maybe the driver of the car was using their phone and not paying attention to the road. Maybe the person on the bicycle was weaving in and out of traffic. Either way, both parties exhibited carelessness at some point.
Contributory Negligence Could be Present
It’s not uncommon for bicycle vs. car accidents to feature contributory negligence, which is when both parties are to blame for the accident. The court will need to determine who had the higher percentage of fault in the crash in order for a lawsuit to move forward. If it is split 50-50, there is no basis for a lawsuit by either party. If you have lower contributing fault than the other party you will be able to file a personal injury lawsuit for compensation.
The Duty of Care
Motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists both have a duty of care they must follow when on the roads of Pennsylvania. This duty of care includes not driving or riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol, obeying all traffic laws, signaling for all turns, not driving distracted, maintaining a lane of travel and much more.
Contact an Erie Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Bike Accident Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a bicycle accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. represent clients injured because of bicycle accidents in Erie, Fairview, Meadville and throughout Pennsylvania. Contact us at 814-833-7100 or email us to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2525 W 26th St. Erie, PA 16506 as well as offices in Meadville and North East, PA.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.