- If I am struck by a vehicle while riding my bicycle and suffer injury, can I sue the driver?
- Are there others from whom I might be able to collect damages from for my bicycle injuries?
- What are the possible damages I might be able to recover for bicycle accident injuries?
- What if my child was injured while riding his or her bicycle? What rights do we have?
- What if I was in some way responsible for the crash – could I still recover damages?
- What are my responsibilities as a bicyclist under Massachusetts law?
- Do I really need an attorney to represent me after a bicycle accident?
- How long do I have to file my Boston bicycle accident lawsuit?
If you have been involved in a Boston bicycle accident, you have serious concerns. In addition to grappling with the physical pain, there is the upheaval that comes with any serious injury. There is also the uncertainty about the future and your options.
Boston bicycle injury lawyers at BikeAttorney.com, understand this turmoil and we’re here to help guide you through this difficult process. When your injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence, you have the right to be compensated fully for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Of course, every case is different. But with 7 in 10 bicycle crashes resulting in injuries and 48,000 injured nationally each year, there are commonalities.
Here, we offer brief answers to some of the most common questions. This is not intended as legal advice, and if you have specific questions, we encourage you to discuss these with one of our knowledgeable Boston injury attorneys.
A: Yes, assuming the driver was the at-fault party in the crash.
A.: It depends on the circumstances, but sometimes, yes. Some of those parties are:
- Negligent drivers of any cars, buses or trucks in cases where those drivers caused the crash.
- Owner(s) of the vehicle involved, assuming the driver was negligent.
- Employer of the negligent driver, assuming the driver was working at the time of the crash.
- The city, county or even state responsible for road maintenance, assuming the crash was the result of a dangerous condition on an unsafe road or intersection. (i.e., potholes, poorly-designed intersection, etc.)
- Repair shops or mechanics. This could apply to both bicycle repair shops and auto mechanics. The key in these cases is to show that a negligent repair of the bicycle or vehicle caused or in some way contributed to the crash or the severity of your injuries.
- Private property owners. This would be applicable in cases where a private property owner failed to maintain his or her property in a reasonably safe condition for users of the road. An example would be a property owner who fails to trim vegetation on the private property, therefore blocking driver visibility and contributing to the crash.
- Your own auto insurance company. You can file a claim with your own insurer for uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage if you are struck by a hit-and-run driver, a driver who doesn’t have insurance or a driver who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the full extent of your losses.
A: Because Massachusetts law grants bicyclists the same responsibilities and rights as motor vehicle operators, bicyclists are entitled to the same recovery for injuries as a driver or passenger would receive. That means you may be entitled to recovery for:
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Lost wages (past and future)
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss or destruction of personal property
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of ability to provide household services
- Emotional distress
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of consortium (filed by your spouse)
A: Children are generally not held to the same standard of care for their own safety as adults, and that’s why motor vehicle operators are required to be extra cautious when they know children are riding bicycles in the area. So that means even if your child was negligent in causing the crash, you may still be able to recover damages on his or her behalf, depending on the circumstances.
A. Probably. However, the amount of compensation is going to be limited. Mass. Gen. Law, Ch. 231, Section 85 expressly states that contributory negligence in and of itself is not a bar to damage recovery. However, the total amount of damages will be diminished to the extent you were responsible. So for example, if a judge or jury finds you 20 percent at fault for the crash, you will only be able to collect 80 percent of the damages.
A. There are a number of state statutes pertaining to bicyclists in Massachusetts. The key point is that bicycles are, for all intents and purposes, considered to be legitimate vehicles. That means they share most of the same rights and responsibilities as individuals driving a car. Mass. Gen. Law, Ch. 85, Section 11B requires bicyclists to obey all traffic laws, use head lights and tail lights at night and wear a helmet if they are under 16. (Helmets are advised but not required for older riders.) Cyclists are allowed by law to ride two in a lane, but not on roads with more than one lane in the direction of travel, in which case they must ride single file. Bicyclists are also allowed to pass motorists on the right.
A. Every case is different, but generally, yes. Think of this like you would any other motor vehicle accident. If you are seriously injured, the best chance you have of recovering full damages is by having an experienced injury lawyer handle your claim. There will be insurance companies to deal with, and there is also a chance there are potential defendants you may not have even realized existed. This requires meticulous investigation. Additionally, some cases necessitate the services of expert witnesses and other legal and medical professionals. These could be engineers, physicists, doctors and other specialists whose help will be needed to reconstruct the accident and prove the full extent of your damages.
For claims of personal injury, Mass. Gen. Law, Ch. 260, Section 2A requires all tort actions be filed within three years. The same goes for product liability cases (i.e., involving a defective bicycle or vehicle). Still, it’s best to consult with a Boston injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected.
Contact the Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman and BikeAttorney.com.