Like many other types of personal injury cases, bike accident injury claims typically center around the legal concept of negligence. While negligence is easily understood, proving it in court can be far more difficult. For this reason, it is crucial to retain a skilled Philadelphia bicycle accident attorney immediately if you’ve been hurt in such a crash. In this blog, we take a look at the four elements of negligence, and how they can impact a bike accident case.
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1. The Motorist Owed You A Duty
Both drivers and cyclists alike have certain obligations when traveling on the road. These include, but are certainly not limited to, your duty to:
- Stop at red lights/stop signs
- Drive in accordance with the speed limit
- Checking before merging lanes
In a bicycle accident injury claim, your attorney must first prove that the motorist owed you a duty. In a typical “left cross” accident, for example, the driver has a duty to wait until there is sufficient room before making a left hand turn.
2. The Motorist Breached This Duty
Once you’ve proved that the motorist had a duty to act in a certain way, you then must prove that they breached this duty. In our previous example, the driver had a duty to wait until it was safe to make a left turn. If they turned too quickly and hit a passing cyclist, they have failed in this duty. Again, this is easy to understand, but much more complex to prove in court.
3. The Breach Directly Caused Your Injuries
At this point, you have established that the motorist had an obligation to you, but failed to live up to this. You must then prove that this breach of duty actually caused your injuries. Things like medical records and expert witnesses are often crucial in this stage.
4. Your Injuries Are Eligible for Compensation
This step is in part a negotiation over how much your injuries, and other damages, are actually worth. Things like damage to your car are easy to assign value to, but pain and suffering can be much tougher. Your attorney will need to often need to rely on medical experts to determine fair compensation.
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