Orangeburg, SC Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Cyclists injured in a bicycle accident might not know that they typically have the same rights to compensation and justice that anyone else injured in a car accident has. You can often file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or even sue them in court to get damages for your injuries.
Our lawyers help injury victims in all auto accident cases get compensation for their injuries, lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
For help with your case, contact our bicycle accident lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers at (803) 451-4000 right away.
Getting Compensation for Bicycle Accident Injuries in Orangeburg, SC
Talking to our bicycle accident lawyers about what damages you can get in a crash and how to get them is important. Many injured cyclists underestimate the seriousness of their cases and accept insurance payouts far lower than what they might be entitled to through a negotiated settlement or even an injury lawsuit.
In most injury cases, victims can claim compensation for three major areas of damages: medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Medical bills and lost wages fall under the category of “economic damages” in that there is a dollar amount you can calculate for these damages based on bills, receipts, and other financial documents. You can claim compensation for other economic damages, with some (like medical bills) accounting for the money you had to lay out and others (like lost wages) accounting for the income you missed out on. All in all, any expenses tied to your accident can be claimed, including property damage.
The name “pain and suffering” is often used interchangeably with “non-economic damages,” which are paid to account for things that have no financial value. The physical pain, the mental and emotional suffering of an injury, the discomfort, the fear of further injury, and the post-traumatic effects of the accident are all accounted for under these damages.
Often, economic damages are calculated by simply adding up all the bills. However, lost wages can be more complex, especially if you will miss wages going into the future. When you face a total or partial disability because of the accident, we will often need to hire experts to help calculate your damages.
Non-economic damages are potentially calculated in bicycle accidents by assigning a multiplier based on the severity of your accident and applying that multiplier to the rest of your damages. Alternatively, a per diem amount can be assigned and then multiplied by the number of days you suffered. This is harder to use in cases where you have ongoing pain and suffering with no clear end to the number of days you will face pain and suffering.
Suing vs. Filing Insurance Claims
In many cases, you can start with an insurance claim. However, our lawyers should handle negotiations with the insurance company to help make sure that you do not accept any settlements before fully understanding what they are worth, how that amount was calculated, and how it compares to our calculation of your damages. If the settlement falls short, we can try to negotiate with the insurance company for higher damages. If they do not raise the offer appropriately, we might be able to take the case to trial instead and get a full award from the neutral jury.
However, both settlements and trials have risks, so you should always work closely with your lawyer when deciding how to get compensation for your bicycle accident.
Proving Fault in a Bicycle Accident in Orangeburg, SC
For a driver’s insurance company to pay out damages – or for the driver to pay in a lawsuit – there must be a determination that the driver was actually at fault. In South Carolina, we use a fault-based system, where a driver’s insurance only covers accidents where they were the one who caused the crash. So, before we can get you any compensation, we need to provide proof of how the accident happened and why the other driver is at fault.
When determining fault, courts first look at who violated the law. If the other driver hit you while speeding, running a red light, driving under the influence, or otherwise breaking the law, then courts can usually say that the accident was their fault. Suppose there was no explicit traffic violation, but the driver was doing something unsafe, given the circumstances. In that case, that might also function as a violation of a legal duty that puts them at fault.
Sometimes, courts find that the injured cyclist was also partially at fault. As long as the other driver was more at fault than you, you can still get compensation. When you are partially at fault, the court will reduce your damages by the percentage of fault you shared in causing the crash. These accusations of shared negligence often come up if you were riding on the sidewalk or otherwise violating the law when the crash happened, but you were still seriously injured.
Often, drivers who hit cyclists are the ones who are at fault – and yet the cyclist is the one left with injuries.
You need evidence to convince an insurance company or jury as to who was at fault in your bicycle accident case. This often means producing photos or videos of the accident and the resulting damage and injuries. You will also be able to present your testimony about what happened, and any witnesses who saw the crash can also testify.
The police officer who responded to the accident should also be able to testify to what they saw and heard. Still, all their evidence will usually be from the aftermath of the crash and will have little to no information about what happened in the lead-up to the crash. Even so, if they ticketed the driver or noticed signs of drunk driving, their testimony can help your case, too.
Ultimately, based on the weight of both sides’ evidence and the totality of the circumstances, the jury will decide who they think caused the crash.
Call Our Orangeburg, SC Bicycle Accident Lawyers Today
If you were hurt in a bike accident, call the bicycle accident attorneys at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers (803) 451-4000 for help.