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Charleston Personal Injury Lawyers / Blog / Bicycle Accidents / Determining Who is Liable in a Bicycle and Car Accident in Charleston

Determining Who is Liable in a Bicycle and Car Accident in Charleston

In Charleston, South Carolina, where countless drivers and cyclists share the roads, it’s crucial to maintain awareness of our responsibilities to keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, accidents can still happen, and determining liability can be challenging.

Common Injuries from Bicycle and Car Accidents

Bicycle and car accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries to cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Head injuries can range from mild to severe, even leading to permanent disability or death.
  • Spinal cord injuries: These can be life-altering, causing partial or full paralysis and requiring long-term care.
  • Fractures and broken bones: Cyclists often suffer fractures in their arms, legs, or clavicles, while vehicle occupants may experience various broken bones.
  • Internal injuries: Organs and blood vessels can be damaged in high-impact collisions, sometimes leading to life-threatening complications.
  • Soft tissue injuries: Muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries can cause long-lasting pain and disability.

Common Causes of These Accidents

Car and bicycle accidents typically occur due to negligence or recklessness by one or more parties involved. Some common causes include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failing to yield properly
  • Poor road conditions
  • Defective bicycle or vehicle equipment

Liability in Bicycle + Car Accidents

Who Could Be Responsible for a Car and Bike Accident?

In Charleston, liability for a car-bike accident can fall on one or more parties, depending on the circumstances. Parties that may be held responsible for these accidents include:

  1. Motor vehicle driver: The driver of the car may be held responsible if they were speeding, distracted, intoxicated, or failed to yield the right-of-way.

  2. Bicyclist: The cyclist may be partially or fully responsible if they were riding against traffic or not following traffic rules, such as stopping at stop signs or using proper hand signals.

  3. Government entities: If poor road maintenance or inadequate traffic control devices contributed to the accident, you might be able to hold government entities accountable.

  4. Vehicle or bike manufacturers: If defective equipment or parts played a role in the accident, the manufacturers could be liable for the incident.

This is not an exhaustive list but includes the most common liable parties in these accidents.

What Compensation Can Be Recovered?

Victims of a bicycle-car accident may be entitled to recover various types of compensation, including:

  • Medical expenses: including past and future hospital bills, medications, rehabilitation, and other medical treatments.

  • Lost wages: both past and future lost earnings due to time spent recovering, attending medical appointments or being unable to work because of lasting disabilities.

  • Pain and suffering: compensation for the physical and emotional distress caused by the accident.

  • Property damage: the cost of repairing or replacing your bicycle and other personal property damaged in the accident.

In some cases, victims may also be awarded punitive damages to deter the defendant from engaging in similar conduct in the future: “Punitive damages may be awarded only if the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that his harm was the result of the defendant’s wilful, wanton, or reckless conduct.”

Proving Liability

To establish liability in a bicycle-car accident, you need to prove that the at-fault party’s negligence or recklessness directly led to the accident and your injuries. Here are some tips on how to prove liability in these cases:

  1. Preserve evidence: Keep all photographs, videos, clothing, and damaged property from the accident scene to help your lawyer build your case.

  2. Obtain witness statements: Contact any witnesses and get their account of the incident. Witnesses can provide valuable information that may help to establish liability.

  3. Keep detailed records: Maintain a record of all medical treatments, lost wages, and expenses related to the accident. These will be useful in calculating the extent of your damages.

  4. Consult an attorney: Seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the legal process, gather evidence on your behalf, and build a strong case to prove liability.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle or car accident in Charleston, don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel to fully understand your rights. Contact a Charleston bicycle accident attorney today to schedule a free consultation for your case.

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