The cost of pedestrian and cyclist injuries totals an approximate $55 billion (adjusted for inflation to 2015 dollars) in lifetime expenses for victims, according to an article in the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. Bicyclists often sustain severe if not fatal injuries in bicycle traffic accidents, so the damages listed on the accident claim or lawsuit are often extensive.
After an injured cyclist (or his/her family member) files a claim or suit against the driver involved (defendant), the driver’s insurer or attorney will likely refute some or all of the liability for the accident, using one of various defenses. It’s important for victims to enlist the help of a skilled accident attorney to help prove their cases and tear down any bogus or exaggerated defenses.
Common Defenses Drivers Use in a Bike Accident Claim
If a driver uses a defense and convinces the court or insurer of its authenticity, the injured cyclist may not receive compensation for damages.
Below are a few common defenses drivers/insurers have used in bicycle accident cases.
- Helmet use: If the driver can prove that the cyclist is at least partly at fault for the injuries, the driver will reduce his own liability. Many drivers’ insurers say that because the cyclist was not wearing a helmet, s/he is partly responsible for his/her injuries, and thus is entitled to less compensation.
- Not obeying traffic rules: The driver can also say that the cyclist was at fault because s/he was not following the rules of the road. Common examples include speeding, not coming to a complete stop when appropriate, and riding against traffic.
- Distraction: The driver can use this defense against the claim by saying that the cyclist’s distraction is what caused the accident. For example, s/he may be have been wearing headphones, talking on the phone, or simply daydreaming when struck.
- Lack of visibility: Drivers often say that they couldn’t see the cyclist and that had they seen the rider, they would have been able to prevent the accident. Sometimes this can be established if the cyclist didn’t have rear lights on the bike or was wearing dark clothes at night.
Don’t Let Your Claim Fall to a Baseless Driver Defense, Call Our Firm
Call Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines for a free legal evaluation to discuss your case. Our lawyers can review your accident, build a strong case, and be prepared to dispute any defenses that may be used. Contact our office today at 515-440-2852.