Just like motorcyclists, bicyclists do not have the same protection from physical injuries in a collision that motorists and vehicle occupants have in a crash. Therefore, many bicycle accidents result in traumatic and fatal injuries for riders. For that reason, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced Kansas City bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Proving fault and liability for a bicycle accident is crucial if you want to recover maximum compensation for your medical bills, losses, and damages.
Highlights from this article:
- Proving Fault in a Bicycle Accident Case
- Comparative Negligence as a Defense in a Bicycle Accident Claim
- Compensation for Bicycle Accidents
- Bicycle Accident Statistics for Kansas and Missouri
Proving Fault in a Bicycle Accident Case
One or more individuals or parties could be at fault for a bicycle accident. Parties that may be responsible for causing a bicycle accident in Kansas or Missouri include:
- The Bicyclist — Cyclists may have liability for negligence cycling behaviors such as riding on the wrong side of the road, disobeying traffic laws, distracted bicycling, failing to yield, and failing to ride in bicycle lanes
- Drivers of cars, trucks and other motor vehicles — Many bicycle accidents are caused by negligent and careless drivers who are speeding, distracted, impaired, or drowsy.
- Bicycle and Parts Manufacturers — These companies could be held liable if a defective bicycle part contributed to the cause of the crash.
- Trucking Companies and Other Commercial Companies — A company or corporation might be liable if the accident involved a commercial vehicle or another company-owned vehicle.
- Government Entities — Government entities may be held liable for hazardous road conditions, accidents involving public transportation vehicles, and defective road designs.
Quickly and correctly identifying the liable parties in a bicycle accident is crucial. A Kansas City bicycle accident attorney conducts a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the bicycle accident and who is responsible for causing the accident. The attorney must also gather evidence proving the party was responsible (at-fault) for causing the accident.
Only parties who contributed to the cause of the bicycle accident can be held liable for the injuries, damages, and losses caused by the bicycle accident. If you cannot prove that a party had some responsibility for the factors that led to the cause of the crash, the courts will not require a party to compensate the victim for damages.
Comparative Negligence as a Defense in a Bicycle Accident Claim
The term comparative fault or comparative negligence refers to allocating damages between at-fault parties based on each party’s percentage of fault. In a personal injury case, comparative fault or comparative negligence is used to determine how much compensation a person may receive for damages caused by an accidental injury. If a person has any responsibility for causing the accident that resulted in the injury, any compensation owed to the victim is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to that person for causing the accident.
For example, a bicyclist is injured in a traffic accident. After a trial, the jury determines that the driver of the car is 70 percent at fault for causing the collision and the bicyclist is 30 percent at fault. If the bicyclist’s damages total $100,000, the maximum amount the bicyclist can receive for the injury claim is $70,000 (total damages less 30 percent assigned fault).
Because comparative fault and contributory negligence claims can significantly impact the amount of compensation paid for a bicycle accident claim, it is wise to consult a Kansas City bicycle accident attorney. It is recommended you talk to an attorney before discussing your injury claim with the insurance company or attorney for the driver or another responsible party.
Comparative negligence laws vary by state, and the laws of Missouri and Kansas are different.
Missouri Comparative Fault Laws
Missouri has chosen to adopt pure comparative fault laws for personal injury claims, including bicycle accident claims. Pure comparative fault allows a victim to recover compensation for injuries and damages even if the person is 99 percent responsible for causing the bicycle accident. Therefore, a bicyclist could file a claim and recover 1 percent of the damages caused by the accident.
Kansas Comparative Negligence Laws
On the other hand, Kansas has adopted a modified comparative negligence statute that includes what is referred to as the 50% Bar Rule. Compensation for an accident is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the bicyclist. However, if the bicyclist is found to be 50 percent or more at fault for the crash, the bicyclist cannot recover any compensation for the accident.
Compensation for Bicycle Accidents
The compensation available for a bicycle accident claim depends on numerous factors, including fault, comparative negligence, financial losses, and severity of physical injuries. A Kansas City bicycle accident attorney can help you determine the value of your injury claim based on the facts of your case.
In most bicycle accident cases, injury victims are entitled to receive compensation for:
- Physical injuries and pain
- Cost of medical care and personal care
- Loss of income, including loss of earning potential
- Emotional distress and mental suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to the bicycle accident
In the event of a wrongful death, family members may be entitled to receive compensation for damages and losses by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Bicycle Accident Statistics for Kansas and Missouri
According to the Traffic Safety Facts for cyclists released by the NHTSA in June 2019, 783 pedalcyclists died in traffic accidents in the United States during 2017. Additionally, thousands of people are injured each year in bicycle accidents nationwide.
In Kansas during 2017, 333 pedal cycle accidents were reported. Five people lost their lives in bicycle accidents, and another 298 people were injured that year riding bicycles. During that same year in Missouri, there were 570 bicycle accidents reported that resulted in nine bicyclist deaths and 493 bicycle injuries.
Contact a Kansas City Bicycle Accident Lawyer for More Information
The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus represents injury victims in Kansas and Missouri who have been injured in bicycle accidents. If a negligent driver caused your injury or you were injured because of government or other third-party negligence, you might be entitled to compensation for your losses and damages.
Contact our office by calling 816-203-0143 to schedule a free consultation with a Kansas City bicycle accident lawyer. Learn about your legal rights and important information you need to know before filing a bicycle accident claim from a trusted and experienced bicycle accident attorney in Kansas City.