Fort Mill Bicycle Accident Lawyer
It is common to see cyclists on Fort Mill roadways and highways commuting to work or enjoying recreational exercise. Both cyclists and motorists with whom they share the road should respect the road rules and use reasonable care to avoid causing an accident. A cyclist is exceptionally vulnerable to devastating injuries if a motorist fails to comply with their legal duty of care and hits them.
A Fort Mill bicycle accident lawyer may be able to help if you have been injured in a cycling collision. If you believe that you have a claim for financial damages, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer who can provide an honest evaluation of your potential case.
Assessing Legal Blame in a Fort Mill Bicycle Crash
To pursue a civil lawsuit after a collision, the injured cyclist must be able to prove their case based on negligence. The legal theory of negligence has four components: a duty, violation of duty, cause, and harm. Each part needs to be proven to pursue a viable claim for damages.
In a bicycle crash case, the injured individual needs to show that the defendant driver violated their legal duty to operate their vehicle with reasonable care. A negligent motorist could violate this duty in several ways, such as by getting behind the wheel drunk, speeding, or driving aggressively. Once a duty and breach of duty has been established, the injured cyclist must show that the driver’s negligent actions were the direct cause of their injuries. Further, the bicyclist’s injuries must have resulted in physical or financial damages.
Legal blame may not rest entirely with the driver in some bicycle collisions. When the court determines based on the evidence presented that the injured cyclist is partially to blame for the crash as well as the defendant driver, this impacts the amount of compensation the cyclist can recover. If the injured cyclist is found to be 50 percent or less at fault for their accident, they will be entitled to a reduced award of damages, per South Carolina Code of Laws § 15-38-15. However, if the injured cyclist’s percentage of fault is equal to or greater than 51 percent, they can recover nothing. The state’s negligence laws are complicated, so it is best to work with a Fort Mill attorney who is well-versed in them and can defend an injured cyclist against unjust allegations of fault.
Injured Bicyclists May Be Entitled to a Range of Damages
Bicyclists have very few protections against grave or fatal injuries in the event of a collision with a motor vehicle. When a cyclist suffers injuries due to a driver’s negligence, a skilled Fort Mill accident lawyer can help them seek compensatory damages from the court.
Compensatory damages are divided into two categories, including economic and non-economic damages. A bicyclist’s economic losses from the crash could include things like:
- Property damage to their bicycle
- Lost wages
- Ambulance bills
- Hospital bills
- Caregiver costs
- Therapy and rehabilitation expenses
- Prescription drug costs
Non-economic damages are the intangible losses someone sustains due to their injuries. For instance, if the cyclist’s injuries prevent them from returning to work at their former capacity, they may be entitled to compensation for future wage loss. Other common non-economic damages include pain, suffering, mental trauma, and emotional distress.
A third and separate type of damages that are available in some cases are called punitive damages. Usually, the court only awards punitive damages in a bicycle collision claim if the defendant driver acted with egregious negligence or was intentionally reckless.
A Fort Mill Bicycle Accident Attorney Can Help
A Fort Mill bicycle accident lawyer could help you explore your potential legal options if you were injured by a negligent driver while riding your bike. An attorney can provide a thorough explanation of your rights and what the next steps may be. For more information about filing a personal injury claim for your bicycle wreck, call Schiller & Hamilton today.