A bicycle crash can alter your or your loved one’s life in an instant. Often, a critical element to making a full recovery and getting justice is working with a capable Columbia bicycle accident attorney.
If you need immediate help with a bike accident case, do not hesitate to contact a Columbia bicycle accident lawyer at Shealey Law Firm for a free consultation. To learn more about bike accidents, consider the following points about bicyclists’ rights and how an attorney can help after a collision.
How Does a Columbia Bicycle Accident Attorney Assist Clients With Claims?
The scene of a bike accident is usually full of turmoil. The lack of protection that cyclists have in comparison with other vehicles often leads to more severe injuries.
The cyclist should seek any necessary medical attention, provide a statement to the police and get the contact information of the other parties. From that point, the injured person can speak with a Columbia bicycle accident attorney for guidance.
A lawyer helps a client:
- Care for necessary paperwork and administrative elements
- Acquire statements from witnesses and investigate the situation to determine who is liable
- Communicate with insurers and the other parties’ attorneys
- Determine the full extent of potential compensation from the accident
This assistance allows those injured to focus on their mental, physical and emotional recovery. Clients can also avoid missteps that could reduce the amount of recoverable damages.
Why Do Bike Accidents Happen?
The pleasant weather in Columbia, SC, allows cyclists to take to the streets year-round. The area also attracts many cycling events, and the city has a popular bike-sharing program.
Unfortunately, motorists do not always respect the space of cyclists, leading to bike accidents. The greatest risk is often at intersections for many reasons:
- A driver might misjudge the speed and route of a bicycle.
- A car might cut off a cyclist while making a turn.
- A driver might not be paying attention and fail to see a cyclist.
Even parked cars can be dangerous for cyclists. A driver or passenger may not consider the surroundings and open a vehicle door in the way of oncoming traffic. No matter the reason for the collision, a Columbia bicycle accident attorney can offer practical assistance.
What Are Common Accident Injuries to Cyclists?
Injuries to bicyclists can range from minor scrapes and scratches to catastrophic wounds.
External physical injuries
Most bikers experience soft tissue injuries or musculoskeletal trauma in accidents. Broken bones, severe burns and facial injuries are common occurrences. Worst of all, a person can suffer death due to an accident.
Cyclists must also contend with serious injuries that are invisible to the naked eye. Back injuries may not appear until days after the accident because of the surge of adrenaline that happens. Bicyclists can also suffer whiplash, leading to persistent neck and joint pain.
Additionally, bone fractures are not always readily apparent. Organ damage can create major health complications, and internal bleeding is another dangerous possibility.
A concussion or other traumatic brain injury can have long-term consequences. A person’s cognitive abilities and emotional constitution can change significantly as a result.
Mental or emotional distress
Finally, mental and emotional trauma can arise from an accident. In all of these cases, loved ones can approach a Columbia bicycle accident attorney for help recovering damages.
What Rights Does a Bicyclist Have in South Carolina?
South Carolina law establishes that cyclists have the same rights to the road as vehicles.
How must drivers operate around bicyclists?
Motor vehicles must share the road with bicycles and stay on the lookout for bike riders. It is against the law for drivers to intimidate or harass bicyclists. An aggressive action that causes an injury could make a driver liable for damages, even if the individual does not make physical contact with the bicyclist.
The state code also says that drivers must maintain a safe operating distance from the cyclist. Again, a driver who comes too close to a bicycle may be responsible for an ensuing accident.
Where there are bicycle lanes, motorists may not block the lane and must yield to a bicyclist in the path before entering or crossing the lane. Where there is no bicycle lane, bicyclists have a right to use the regular roadway.
Where may cyclists ride?
While cyclists may ride on the shoulder of the road as a courtesy to drivers, the law does not mandate a cyclist move to the shoulder for other vehicles if there is no bike lane.
While some states ban bicycles from riding on sidewalks, South Carolina has no regulations against it on the state level. However, local ordinances can vary.
How long do bicyclists have to file an injury claim?
After an accident, South Carolina cyclists have up to three years to file a personal injury claim. However, a tort claim against a governmental entity only has two years.
What Compensation Is Available for a Bike Accident?
You may recover any expenses that you incur due to a bike accident. These expenses include economic damages, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages, income and benefits
- Property losses
- Decreased earning capacity due to long-term injuries
You can also recover non-economic damages for physical and mental harm. This compensation is often challenging to determine unless you have the help of a Columbia bicycle accident lawyer.
Electric Bike Accident Claim FAQs
Are the rules of the road different for electric bikes in South Carolina?
Electric bikes that do not exceed 750 watts of power have the same rights and responsibilities as other bicycles. The state considers electric bikes with power over 750 watts the same as mopeds.
Do you have to carry insurance for an e-bike?
Electric bikes are not subject to registration or licensing, so the state does not require insurance, a license or a license plate to ride them. A cyclist can speak to a Columbia bicycle accident attorney on options for recovering compensation after a collision.
Contact a Columbia Bicycle Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
When you need a bike accident attorney, call the Shealey Law Firm at 803-590-3917 or send us a message through our website. We bring our years of experience and aggressive litigation to bike accident victims who deserve justice. Begin your case by scheduling an appointment with our firm.