Biloxi Bicycle Accident Lawyer
While many people enjoy cycling, there are dangers when others do not follow the safety rules that are designed to protect us all. Due to the lack of protection offered by a bicycle, any crash or collision with a motor vehicle could lead to severe and even life-threatening injuries.
If you or a loved one were injured in a cycling crash, you might benefit from consulting with a Biloxi bicycle accident lawyer about your legal rights. If the careless, reckless, or malicious actions of someone else caused your injuries, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney could work to gather evidence and file a claim for full and complete compensation for all damages suffered.
Duties of Drivers to Protect Bike Riders
Drivers in Biloxi owe a duty of care to other motorists on the road. In exchange for the right to use public streets, drivers agree to follow the traffic laws and not place other people at an unreasonable risk of harm. Accidents occur when drivers violate this duty.
A violation of duty forms the core of the legal cause of action called negligence. A negligent driver is liable to provide compensation for all of an injured person’s losses. However, it falls on the claimant to prove that the at-fault driver acted negligently. A Biloxi bicycle accident attorney could take the lead in demonstrating this negligence.
How Do Bicyclists Get Struck by Motorists?
Many collisions between bike riders and drivers are the result of drivers violating a safety rule of the road. Just as bicyclists must follow the rules of the road concerning yielding, lane changes, and stop signs, so too must drivers yield to bike riders. One powerful tool when pursuing bike accident claims is a police report. This can indicate whether an impartial police officer cited the defendant for breaking a traffic law.
Other accidents are the result of distracted driving. Drivers who talk on the phone, eat while behind the wheel, or carry on conversations are not breaking a law necessarily, but may be endangering the welfare of others. Drivers who write or read text messages or social media posts while driving, however, are breaking the law. Such conduct demonstrates reckless disregard for the safety of everyone else on the road and may lead to recovery of punitive damages – designed to punish the defendant and set and example to deter future conduct by all other drives in the future. A Biloxi attorney could investigate the cause of a bike crash to identify actions that a defendant took that leaves them liable.
It is rare that only one party is clearly at-fault for a collision. Under Mississippi Code §11-7-15, a court must evaluate the actions of all parties involved in an accident to assign blame. The court will reduce a plaintiff’s award based on the percentage of blame that is assigned to the plaintiff by the jury (although the jury will not be told its compensation award will be reduced). For instance, if a jury finds a defendant is 75 percent at-fault while a plaintiff carries 25 percent of the blame, a $100,000 compensation award will be reduced to $75,000 by the Court.
Types of Compensation for Cycling Injuries in Biloxi
When pursuing a claim, there are numerous forms of damages an injured plaintiff has a right to receive compensation for. For example, lost wages and a decreased earning capacity are recoverable “economic” damages, in addition to past and future medical expenses for things such as hospital bills, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. These are specific monetary payments that are designed to fix what can be fixed.
Furthermore, an injured bicyclist has a right to recover compensation for “non-economic” damages to provide fair compensation for the things that can’t be fixed, such as emotional distress, anxiety, mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, loss of consortium, and the like. However, current Mississippi law imposes a $1,000,000 cap on non-economic damages.
It might be difficult for an injured claimant to calculate their losses, especially as he or she recovers from an injury. A meticulous and compassionate Biloxi attorney could help an injured person to assess and recover the full extent of recoverable damages after a bicycle collision.
Along with damages to help an injured claimant, someone injured in a bicycle crash case and/or their loved ones might also have a right to punitive damages, which are in a category of their own. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the plaintiff, but instead, aim to punish the defendant for behavior that demonstrates a reckless disregard for the safety of others. Furthermore, punitive damages are designed to deter the defendant, and others, from engaging in similar behavior in the future. Because of the egregious or grossly negligent behavior that typically warrants punitive damages, these are only awarded by a judge or jury in certain situations.
According to Mississippi Code § 15-1-49, injured bicyclists may be able to pursue a legal claim within three years from the date of an accident in most cases (there are exceptions for injuries caused by employees of governmental entities, which require claims to be brought within one year). This time frame, known as the statute of limitations, is essential for any victim of a bicycle crash to follow.
While there might be exceptions, an injured cyclist who attempts to take legal action after the statute has expired might face a dismissal of all his or her claims. A proactive bicycle accident lawyer in Biloxi could work to ensure that a plaintiff files a timely claim for compensation.
When the careless, reckless, or malicious behavior of another person led to your or a loved one’s injuries, you should not have to shoulder the subsequent burdens alone. If you or a loved one were injured in a bicycling wreck, a Biloxi bicycle accident lawyer might be able to help.
Even when your injuries are apparent, navigating the legal system alone is often difficult. A well-versed attorney could work tirelessly to explain your rights and guide you through each step of the claims process so that you could focus on recovery. To begin working on a claim, contact Van Cleave Law to speak with a legal professional today. Consultations are always free.