Knoxville Bicycle Accidents
Riding a bicycle has many great health benefits, and it is also much cheaper to pedal around town than to buy gas. Many college students in Knoxville use bicycles to get to and from class on the University of Tennessee’s campus. Since cyclists are virtually unprotected in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, they often suffer serious injuries, such as broken bones, head injuries, or scarring. The Knoxville bicycle accident attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz are experienced in such cases and fight to assist injured victims in pursing their damages. We are the largest personal injury law firm based in Tennessee, and we are interested in discussing how we may be able to help you.Proving Liability in Your Bicycle Accident Case
In general, bicyclists must abide by the same rules of the road as motor vehicle drivers in Knoxville. Bicyclists are generally allowed to use public roads or streets just like any other car or truck. Under Tennessee law, an injured bicyclist may assert a claim for property damage, medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, lost future earnings, scarring or disfigurement, and pain and suffering if a negligent motorist crashes into them. In order to succeed on this claim, the bicyclist must prove that the driver’s negligence caused the accident in question. This is often accomplished by proving that the driver failed to act reasonably under the circumstances.
What happens if the driver claims that the cyclist is at fault for the resulting collision? Can the bicyclist still recover damages to pay for medical bills and other expenses? It depends. Tennessee follows the rule of modified comparative fault. Under this rule, fault is allocated among all parties to a lawsuit. If the plaintiff’s fault reaches 50% or more, then the plaintiff’s claim may be barred. On the other hand, if the plaintiff’s fault is deemed to be less than 50%, then his or her damages amount can be reduced accordingly by the percentage of fault allocated to the plaintiff. Simply put, the plaintiff must not be equally or more at fault for the accident than the defendant, or there could be no recovery at all.
For example, suppose a bicyclist fails to look both ways before making a left turn in front of a speeding car coming from the opposite direction, and the car crashes into the right side of the bicyclist. If the jury finds that the bicyclist’s action of crossing in front of the car contributed 50% of the negligence that caused the accident, then the bicyclist is barred from recovering for his or her injuries and would receive no damages. If that same jury found that the car’s excessive speed was the main cause of the accident and attributed only 10% liability to the bicyclist, then the bicyclist would be able to recover for his or her injuries, but the damages amount would be reduced according to the percentage of liability attributed to the bicyclist.
A Knoxville lawyer experienced in handling bicycle accident cases can gather the evidence needed to prove the defendant’s liability. This may include interviewing witnesses or hiring experts when appropriate. The best time to contact a witness is usually as soon after the wreck as possible because memories tend to fade over time. This is one reason to act quickly following an accident.While people in cars at least have some structural protections, bicyclists in Knox County are completely exposed to careless drivers. When they are riding next to cars on roads like US-441, US-25, State Route 162, or Broadway, they may be struck and suffer serious injuries at any time and any place. However, the most dangerous hours on weekdays are in the mornings, while evenings saw the greatest number of fatal accidents in Knoxville on weekends in 2014. The rate of crashes declined from 38 in 2013 to 29 in 2014, but the geographical radius in which they occurred expanded. Accidents involving bicycles and trucks are less common, and only five people outside cars lost their lives to large trucks in Tennessee in 2014.
With Knoxville being a college town, there are many students cycling around campus and town, and motor vehicle drivers do not always watch out for and share the road with bicyclists as they are required to do, resulting in numerous car-bike crashes. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you should immediately consult with a bicycle accident attorney in Knoxville to discuss your legal rights. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has recovered more than $1.5 billion for our injured clients and may be able to assist you as well. Contact us toll-free at 800-LAW-4004 for a free consultation today, or complete our online form for more information about how our injury lawyers can serve you.