Whether you enjoy biking on the Arnold City Park Trail along the Meramec River or use your bike as transportation into St. Louis, cycling is a great way to exercise and a popular form of transportation in Missouri. Even though you may follow all of the laws of the road and use reasonable caution to stay safe, accidents can still occur. They may come in the form of a careless motorist or another cyclist who isn’t paying attention in the bike lane.
If someone careens into you while you are riding your bike, you are likely facing a long recovery time and expensive medical bills, particularly if you suffer a head injury. Fortunately, you might be eligible for compensation from the reckless party responsible for your injuries. A Eureka bicycle accident lawyer understands your plight and is here to help. One of the experienced injury attorneys at our firm could review the circumstances of your collision and collect the necessary evidence to hold the negligent party financially accountable.
Motorists Have Obligations to Bicyclists
Motorists are usually aware of other motorists they share the road with, but they sometimes do not notice bicyclists in their side mirrors or when turning corners. Dooring accidents are common, occurring when a motorist parks a car on the street and opens the door to exit, unaware of an approaching bicyclist who plows into the driver’s door. Motorists should act responsibly to keep bicyclists’ safe by:
- Reducing speed when approaching cyclists from behind
- Giving bicyclists the right of way at intersections
- Leaving at least three feet to pass a bicyclist
- Being mindful when crossing bike lanes or narrow streets
Failing to drive safely could mean a person is behaving negligently and could be held responsible for any injuries they cause. A skilled Eureka bicyclist crash attorney could look for any elements of negligence to build a case for monetary damages.
Bicyclists Must Also Follow Safety Rules
Just as motorists are expected to abide by the rules of the road, the state of Missouri also expects bicyclists to follow traffic laws to keep themselves and others safe. Cyclists should come to a complete stop when signaled by a traffic light or sign. In addition, they should ride with the traffic flow in appropriate bike lanes or close to the right-side curb. Bikes should also be mechanically sound and equipped with appropriate lights.
While Missouri state law does not require bicyclists to wear helmets, it does recommend them. Though, local ordinances—like St. Louis County—require bicyclists younger than 17 to wear them. A knowledgeable and well-practiced bike injury lawyer in Eureka could go over all applicable cyclist laws in greater detail during an initial consultation.
What Compensation Is Available After a Bike Crash?
In many accidents, bicyclists sustain severe injuries because there is little protection if they are hit by a careening car. They are especially at risk for head injuries, and although helmets can help, catastrophic injuries are still possible. With a long recovery ahead, injured bicyclists must consider how to pay bills and take care of their families if they are away from work. If someone else is responsible for a collision, compensation may be available directly from them or their insurance company.
Economic damages are those that reimburse the cyclist for measurable expenses, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damages. Non-economic damages provide money for more subjective losses, such as pain and suffering, loss of future wages, and loss of consortium and family life. Together, economic and non-economic damages are known as compensatory damages.
When Are Punitive Damages Awarded?
Punitive damages are meant to dissuade a defendant from committing the same act that injured the bicyclist. In August 2020, the state of Missouri adopted Senate Bill 591, which changed how plaintiffs could assert claims for punitive damages. While plaintiffs could previously claim these special damages in their initial pleadings, they must now petition the court with enough evidence and be granted the right to seek them.
Additionally, in the past, plaintiffs had to prove defendants acted with complete indifference or conscious disregard for their safety. Whereas, now, plaintiffs must prove that defendants harmed them on purpose without a good reason or acted with deliberate and egregious disregard for others.
A Eureka Bicycle Accident Attorney Champions Your Best Interests
Bicycling around St. Louis County is an ever more popular pastime for many residents. It is economical and healthy in an area with many trails and lots to see. However, when sharing the road with reckless motorists, you could be at risk.
If you were harmed because someone else acted irresponsibly while you were out biking, immediately contact us. Our team of dedicated legal professionals can walk you through the process of determining fault and building a case for financial recovery. Call now to speak with a proactive Eureka bicycle accident lawyer today.