In a personal injury legal claim, the person that was allegedly harmed by another party, who is commonly referred to as a plaintiff, makes a claim that they have sustained an injury due to an act or failure to act by the person who allegedly did them harm, commonly referred to as a defendant. Then, if the plaintiff is successful in their personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, the court may then award the plaintiff monetary damages for their injuries.
It is important to note that the events which form the basis of a personal injury claim may also typically form the basis for criminal charges. For example, a defendant may face a civil lawsuit for injuring a person riding on their bike and a criminal DWI charge or other related motor vehicle violation for failing to obey the law.
A personal injury can cause various damages to a plaintiff, including harming their emotional health, physical health, or a combination of both. Mental health injuries can include emotional pain and anguish. Physical injuries can include injuries to organs, bones, joints, muscles, or other parts of the plaintiff’s anatomy. It is important to note that the injury sustained by a plaintiff does not need to manifest itself instantly and may develop over time.
Examples of events or accidents which may form the basis of a personal injury claim include:
- Accidents and injuries, such as motor vehicle accidents or accidents involving a motor vehicle striking a cyclist or pedestrian;
- Construction accidents;
- Dog bites and animal attacks;
- Defective products (class action);
- Elder abuse;
- Nursing home abuse;
- Premises liability;
- Product liability injury;
- Toxic exposure (class action);
- Unsafe drugs (class action); and
- Wrongful death.
What Is A Negligence Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim over negligence is a legal claim in which a plaintiff claims that the defendant caused injury to the plaintiff by breaching a duty of care that the defendant owed to the plaintiff as far as what duty of care is owed to a plaintiff, which will depend largely on the circumstances of each specific case.
As far as what duty of care is owed to a plaintiff, that will depend largely on the circumstances of each specific case. However, typically a defendant is under a legal duty to exercise a degree of care that an ordinary person would use under a particular set of facts.
For example, in personal injury cases involving a motor vehicle, all motorists owe other motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and anyone else the duty of care to responsibly operate the vehicle and follow all traffic laws.
Once again, whether or not a duty of care to a plaintiff exists will depend upon the foreseeability or predictability of harm that may result if the duty is not exercised. For example, if a driver of a motor vehicle owes other drivers the duty to follow all of the motor vehicle laws, and they fail to keep a proper lookout or maintain a safe speed, they will likely be considered to have violated their duty of care.
Once a defendant breaches their duty of care to another person, and that breach of duty results in an injury that causes damages to another person, the defendant will have committed a personal injury through negligence. In fact, one of the most common negligence personal injury claims is auto accidents.
What Is A Bicycle Accident?
A bicycle accident is a type of automobile accident where a motorist hits an individual that is on a bicycle, and that incident results in personal injury to the cyclist or property damage. Bicycle accidents may also occur when one cyclist strikes another cyclist.
After a bicycle accident in which a person has been injured, it is important first to figure out which party is at fault. This is important because the at-fault party will typically be the party that is liable for the damages to the party not at fault. Once fault has been determined, the injured party will typically file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company to recover their personal injury damages.
However, if the cyclist was at fault, they would not be able to recover for their damages and may be on the hook for the property damage or injuries suffered by the other party.
If law enforcement is called to the scene of the accident, then they will almost always make a written accident report. Within that written accident report, there will usually be an officer’s report that identifies the at-fault party. The report will also contain the names and statements of each party involved in the accident and any witnesses.
To obtain a copy of the police report as evidence, either of the parties involved in the accident may contact the police department in the locality where the accident occurred and order a copy of the report. In some jurisdictions, receiving a copy of the report will be a small fee. There will also typically be fees associated with obtaining a copy of the report online, which is the most common mechanism for obtaining police reports in most jurisdictions.
In most accident cases, one of the drivers is found at fault almost 100% of the time, and the at-fault driver’s insurance company will typically not dispute the issue. For example, when a motorist runs a red light and strikes a cyclist, they will almost always be determined to be at fault and fully liable for the injuries caused to the cyclist.
Additionally, in an auto accident case where a person is found driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the person found to be driving under the influence is generally always at fault for the accident.
What Should I Do If I Was Involved in a Bike Accident?
As mentioned above, auto accidents are among the most common reasons for personal injury claims. Additionally, the injuries that result from a car accident can range from minor property damage to death. Death and serious injury are especially likely in cases where a motorist strikes a cyclist, as cyclists are not as protected in collisions involving a motor vehicle.
If you were involved in a bicycle accident, it is important to do the following:
- Know Your Insurance: The most important thing an individual can do to prepare for an auto accident involving a bicycle is to make sure and obtain a copy of any insurance policy that may cover anyone involved in the accident;
- Call the Police: The second most important thing to do in a bicycle accident is to contact the police.
- As mentioned above, a police report will typically state the party that is at fault in the incident and is crucial in proving liability;
- Further, police will typically also help coordinate emergency care in the case of a person being harmed and requiring medical care and transport;
- Take Pictures: It is also important to take photos of the scene of the accident, along with any damages to the vehicles or property involved in the accident and anyone harmed in the accident;
- Seek Medical Attention: If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, it is important to seek medical attention for your injuries and keep a copy of all medical expenses that resulted from the accident; and
- Keep Copies of All Other Documents: In addition to medical bills and the police report of the accident, it is important to keep a copy of any other documents related to the bicycle accident, such as estimates of any property damage or witness statements.
In addition to all of the above, it is also important to understand the personal injury laws governing your state’s auto accidents. Each state will have different laws regarding how fault is determined in bicycle accident cases.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Bicycle Accidents?
As can be seen, the laws involved in a personal injury case will differ by jurisdiction and require a plaintiff to prove various legal elements to recover for their injuries. As such, if you have been involved in a bicycle accident, it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer.
An experienced bicycle accident lawyer can answer any questions you may have as far as who may be held liable for your injuries. An attorney can also initiate a civil lawsuit against the party responsible for your injuries. Finally, an attorney can also represent you in court, as necessary.