The common causes of bicycle accidents making the operator of a car liable for the bicycle accident are as follows:
- Car turning left - This happens when an oncoming car going the opposite direction of the bicycle turns left in front of the bicycle causing the collision.
- Car turning right - This occurs when the car turns right cutting off the bicycle.
- Opening doors - This occurs when someone exiting an automobile opens the door right in front of the bicyclist causing the accident.
- Failure to follow traffic signals - This occurs when the operator of the car neglects to stop at a stop sight or neglects to stop at a stop sign not seeing any other cars and strikes the bicyclist.
- Exiting or entering a parking lot - This occurs when the car negligently leaves or enters a parking lot not seeing any other cars and strikes the bicyclist.
- Overtaking of the bicycle - This occurs when the oncoming car going the same direction as the bicycle does not see the bicyclist and strikes the bicycle causing the collision.
- Large vehicles - This occurs when large trucks including tractor trailers, busses or RVs negligently turn a corner, as they are doing that they take up the space the bicycle is in causing the collision with the bicycle.
Common defenses to bicycle accidents raised by car operators attempting to blame the bicyclist can include an argument that the bicycle was speeding or an argument that the defendant did not see the bicycle as it was not visible. These defenses must be fully explored, sometimes it necessary to hire an expert to prove the bicyclist speed. In addition, if it claimed that the car operator did not see the bicycle as it was not visible a full interrogation of the car operator is necessary to ascertain why he did not see the bicyclist.
It is important to obtain the full police report, any police pictures and any police accident reconstruction. Often times it is necessary for the bicyclist's lawyer to hire their own accident reconstructionist, in order to properly represent the injured bicycle operator.
Lastly, if the bicycle accident ends up going to court to recover damages it is necessary to understand jury bias. Often times members of the jury, especially if they are not bicyclist, tend to blame the bicycle and these biases must be fully explored.
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