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In order to recover damages from an allegedly negligent third party following a bike wreck, you or your bicycle accident attorney must first demonstrate that they are legally liable for causing the incident in question. When it comes to effectively proving liability in a Raleigh bicycle accident case, assistance from professional legal counsel can be invaluable.

What Makes Bicycle Accidents Different

Bicycle accidents in Raleigh can differ from accidents involving other types of vehicles because of the bicycle’s lack of a black box. Most vehicles built in 2005 and after have “black boxes” from which information about the vehicle’s speed and steering can be extracted in order to investigate the moments leading up to a crash.

However, bicycles typically do not have this technology and also tend to leave less forensic evidence at the scene—such as skid marks or gouge marks—compared to other vehicles. Alternatively, eyewitness accounts and surveillance footage are often utilized to verify the sequence of events and any physical evidence present at the scene of a bicycle accident.

Bicycle accidents are also unique due to the mobility of bicycles themselves. A bicyclist could ride down the road parallel to a car even if the road is only one lane. Because bicycles can be ridden in smaller spaces where vehicles cannot, they present unique challenges to themselves and others on the road.

For example, distracted driving can lead to bicycle accidents more so than pedestrian accidents, as the presence of pedestrians is often more predictable than the presence of bicyclists. Drivers know to be aware of pedestrians in areas with high foot traffic, such as parking lots or downtown areas, but bicyclists are more prevalent than pedestrians—and in many cases, drivers are more distracted than ever.

Calculating Negligence for Parties Involved in a Bike Wreck

North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, which means that if a bicyclist is injured in an accident that involved a car, the driver could defend themselves by stating that the bicyclist was also negligent in some way and contributed to the accident. If the driver’s defense is successful, the bicyclist can recover nothing from the driver.

For example, poor weather conditions could adversely affect one’s claim after a bicycle accident because in order to recover damages from someone else, the injuries must have been caused by the other person’s negligence. If a cyclist fell or lost control of their bicycle because of weather-induced roadway conditions and was subsequently hit, or if a driver could not see a bicyclist because of poor weather or improper lighting and hit them, the cyclist could be deemed partially liable and be unable to recover for any damages.

In short, bicyclists are legally held to the standard of ordinary care, which means that they are expected to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances to prevent harm. When it comes to proving someone else liable following a Raleigh bike wreck, representation from a qualified attorney can be crucial.

Preserving Evidence of Negligence

Following a bicycle accident, a cyclist should immediate contact a lawyer who can begin gathering all the crucial information that must be preserved as soon as possible after an accident, such as witness statements and forensic evidence. The other party’s insurance company will begin investigating and building their own case upon notification of the accident, and having legal counsel helps ensure that the cyclist will have a more level playing field in the aftermath of the accident.

The bicycle itself should be preserved immediately following an accident, as should as much evidence from the scene—either physically or through photographs—as possible, such as tire marks on the road or skid marks from a vehicle. The identities of any witnesses should also be documented.

How an Attorney Could Help Prove Liability in a Raleigh Bike Crash Case

A dedicated legal representative could help someone who has been involved in a bicycle accident in Raleigh simply by assuming primary responsibility for the claim, so the injured individual can focus on getting well. Their lawyer can establish the case and gather the necessary evidence to present their legal claim in a compelling, effective manner.

You generally should not try to handle a bicycle accident case yourself because of the many pitfalls that you could fall victim to because of your lack of familiarity with the legal system. You may inadvertently admit some degree of fault for the accident or miss vital pieces of evidence, precluding your ability to recover financially for your damages. Instead, talk to a skilled personal injury lawyer for help proving liability in a Raleigh bicycle accident case.