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Motorists are required to exercise caution when cyclists are present because of the lack of protection that a bicycle provides. Bike accidents can result in serious injuries for the rider. If you were injured in Winston-Salem from a bicycle accident, you may be eligible for compensatory damages. A Winston-Salem bike accident lawyer may be able to help you seek damages which are awarded to compensate the injured for losses, and punitive damages, which may be awarded to punish the motorist. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to begin the claim filing process.

Cyclists are often unaware of their legal rights when there is an accident and that lack of knowledge could negatively impact their case dynamics following an accident. Therefore if you have been injured in a bike accident, contact an experienced Winston-Salem bicycle accident lawyer, who will help you get the compensation that you deserve.

Steps to Take Following An Accident

Following a collision, a cyclist should follow the same steps as a motorist that is involved in an accident.

  •         The cyclist should remain at the scene for the police to arrive and speak to the officer in an effort to get your statement in the police report
  •         If medical treatment is needed, request medical attention. If medical treatment is needed later, do not hesitate to seek it
  •         Get contact information for all involved parties and witnesses
  •         Complete a written statement about what happened as soon as possible after the accident
  •         Take photos of any injuries, your bicycle, clothes, and anything else that was in your possession at the time of the accident
  •         Do not make repairs to your equipment or provide any of the items photographed to anyone without speaking with your local Winston-Salem bike accident lawyer first

North Carolina Road Rules and Contributory Negligence

Under North Carolina law, a bike is considered a vehicle so bicycle riders have the same general road rules that are applicable to motor vehicles, with few exceptions. Cyclists are not required to have a license to operate the vehicle on a street and there is no insurance requirement. Cyclists are, however, prohibited from riding on highways that are in place for high speed, such as freeways and interstates.

North Carolina Department of Transportation laws require cyclists to:

  •         Ride in the right lane heading in the same direction as traffic
  •         Obey traffic signs and signals
  •         Communicate intended movements through hand signals
  •         Yield to whomever has the right of way and avoid collisions with pedestrians
  •         Pass to the left at least two feet away from the vehicle or bicycle that you are passing
  •         Equip bicycles with a front lamp that is visible from 300 feet and a rear reflector that is visible from 200 feet away, if riding at night

Failing to observe the road rules, as a cyclist, could establish that you had some fault in causing the accident, which could prohibit you from recovering. Pure contributory negligence is the standard that is applied in accidents involving motor vehicles in North Carolina. Pure contributory negligence prohibits the plaintiff from recovering if they have any fault in causing the accident.

How Bicycle Injuries Differ from Motorcycle Accident Injuries

There are a lot of similarities including road rash and orthopedic injuries. With motorcycle injuries, there are lower extremity injuries because motorcycle riders are putting a foot down to catch themselves. Essentially they would be treated the same way in court. Both would start with a thorough investigation, identifying witnesses, getting information about the scene where the incident took place, gathering as much information as available in the public records from the driver of the vehicle that was involved in the incident.

Winston-Salem bike accident lawyers have seen that both have the potential for very serious bodily injuries in different ways. Motorcycles are typically larger in size and have the electronic turn signals and mechanical breaks that bicycles typically do not. With a bicycle, the potential for a significant injury comes when a car collides with a bicycle directly. Whereas, with a motorcycle, that same risk applies but motorcycles are moving at a faster speed so there is great potential for injury without a direct content because the vehicle might stop suddenly, or slip and skid and eject the rider, causing road rash and other significant injuries.

Benefit of a Winston-Salem Bicycle Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in North Carolina, it is important to speak with an experienced Winston-Salem bike accident lawyer, who can help you understand your rights. An attorney will help in gathering all of the relevant evidence to establish a claim for negligence, investigate it fully, preserve all of the relevant evidence and make sure the claim is prosecuted fully.