Bicycle Accidents: Who is at Fault?

When there is an accident involving a car and a bicycle, often the driver of the car is at fault. Bicycles are considered vehicles just as cars are, so it is possible for cyclists to also cause an accident. If you have been injured in an accident, you may be able to recoup some damages with bicycle accident lawyers such as Taylor & Gomez in the Phoenix area. If you have been injured in an accident, contact accident lawyers in Phoenix as soon as possible. A Tempe bicycle accidents attorney or a Tempe burn injury lawyer is essential if you have been injured in an accident in Tempe or the Phoenix area.

When bicyclists are at fault

In determining fault, the legal term “negligence” comes into play. It is assumed someone was negligent and that is what caused the accident. If a car hits a bicyclist from behind, or if a car swerves into the bicycle lane and hits a cyclist, the car driver will be the negligent one.

Cyclists also have a responsibility though and must follow the same rules that cars follow. This means cyclists must obey traffic signs, stop for signs or red lights. Cyclists must also have reflective markers or clothing, so they can be easily seen.  If there are bicycle lanes, cyclists should stay in those as much as possible. Cyclists should also avoid reckless or sudden lane changes.  Failure to do any of these things could make the cyclist the negligent one, and cause the cyclist to have personal injury payments reduced even if the car was primarily at fault.

Factors for Negligence

Motorists, cyclists, and even pedestrians have a responsibility to exercise due care in traffic. This means avoiding an accident if at all possible. A car should be able to stop and avoid hitting another car or a bicycle in front of the car. Not taking care to be able to do that would be negligence.

A cyclist would be negligent if he or she rode in the regular traffic lane when a bicycle lane is clearly available. Negligence can also be claimed when someone is not where they should be, or in an unexpected place. If there are bicycle lanes, riding in the regular lanes could be considered negligent.

Helmets are not required by Arizona law, so you would not be negligent if you did not have one. Even so most organizations recommend them.  If you ride at night, a light on the front and reflectors on the back are required. Failure to do that would be considered negligence on the part of the cyclist.

How a lawyer can help 

Accident lawyers Phoenix can help you by their knowledge of the law. If you are going against an insurance company in court, you can expect them to have a team of solid lawyers. You need a lawyer on your side in that case.

Even if the police rule you were at fault based on their investigation, your attorney will do his or her own investigation. Who was at fault, or negligent, can still be debated in a personal injury case. Your attorney can investigate and help build a case for why the other person was negligent.

In a personal injury case, you do not have to prove what happened beyond a shadow of a doubt. You must only prove the likelihood that the other person was negligent. Accident lawyers in Phoenix are well versed in making sound arguments for their clients.

Most cases are settled out of court, and having a personal injury law Phoenix can be valuable in those negotiations. When negotiations fail to produce a satisfactory settlement, you may have to go to court to settle your personal injury Phoenix. You need a lawyer who is not afraid to go to court, and who will take the case to trial if negotiations fail.