Cars & trucks are bigger than bicycles, it’s that simple. When a motor vehicle and a bicycle are involved in an accident, the injuries and damage sustained to the bicyclist are almost always much more severe than any damage there may have been to the vehicle. For this reason, it is important to know your rights and how your case should be handled.
How Much Is My Bicycle Accident Case Worth?
Because the severity of bike accidents can vary so much, so can the amount a case is worth. Recently in Wisconsin, a jury awarded over $7.25 million in damages to a boy that was severely injured after being hit by a vehicle. Although a figure that high is not common, it shows that juries are sympathetic to individuals that are wrongfully injured while riding a bike. On the other hand, juries have returned verdicts in favor of the driver and found that the bicyclist at fault.
If you are wondering how much your case may be worth, call the personal injury attorneys at Sand Law for a free case evaluation to know where you might stand.
What is Comparative Fault?
Minnesota Courts apply what is called the “Comparative Fault” method when assigning liability and calculating damages in personal injury cases. That means if you have been in an accident, there may be more than one party that is at fault. For example, if you are riding your bicycle down the street and are struck by a car the jury can assign fault to either the driver of the car, to you, or to both you and the driver.
The way this works in calculating damages is that if the jury does, in fact, assign a portion of fault to you then your damages are decreased by that percentage. So, If the jury awards you $100,000.00 and finds that the driver was 80% to blame for the accident and you were 20% to blame – then you are only entitled to recover $80,000.00.
Minnesota Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Generally, in Minnesota, the statute of limitations for personal injury matters involving negligence is six (6) years. However, if your case is against a municipality or other government entity – there may be certain notification requirements that shorten the statute of limitations period. That is why it is extremely important to contact a legal professional as soon as possible if you have been involved in a bicycle accident.
Bicycle Accident Factors
During the warmer months in Minnesota, we tend to see a dramatic increase in accidents that involve bicycles. This is generally because the weather is more suitable for biking outdoors. However, bicycle accidents can occur year-round and with Minnesota’s unpredictable climate – weather can always play a factor. You can view our St. Paul bicycle accident map to learn more about dangerous intersections and problem areas.
Rainy weather can cause streets to become slick thus making it more difficult for vehicles to stop. It also can limit a driver’s ability to be completely aware of their surroundings. For this reason, it is that much more important that driver’s slow down and drive with extra caution so as to not cause accidents.
Snowy weather can have many of the same effects as rain. It can make roads less safe and can limit a driver’s ability to see. For these same reasons, driver’s need to operate their vehicles with heightened care during bad weather.
There are a lot of reasons for these types of accidents. Most of these reasons have to do with negligence on the part of motor vehicle drivers. Too often, accidents between vehicles and bicycles are due to the fact that the vehicle driver was not paying attention to the road. Here are a few examples of things that distract drivers on our roads:
- Text Messaging
- Social Media Posting
- Talking on a Cell Phone
- Applying Makeup
- Use of Phone Applications
- Interacting with Passengers in the Vehicle
Bicycles are obviously not as prominent as motor vehicles. And drivers often are not looking out amongst their surroundings to be aware of bicyclists. However, drivers owe a duty to share the road with bikes. If they fail to adhere to that duty and negligently cause an accident, they then can be held liable for any injuries they cause.
Bicycle Crash Statistics
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the amount of bicycle-involved crashes with motor vehicles increased by 122 incidents in 2015, rising from 776 accidents in 2014 to 898. In 2016 pedestrian deaths were at their highest in 25 years with 60 fatalities, up from 41 the year before.
In Minneapolis, 88.3% of crashes occur between the months of April and October. 79.3% of these crashes occur during the week. Finally, bicyclists sustain some form of personal injury 87% of the time a bike is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle.
What Can I Recover From A Bicycle Accident Lawsuit?
Minnesota allows people that have been injured by the wrongdoing of another person to recover monetary damages in order to compensate them for their losses. Under the law, injured parties can recover money for:
- Past Lost Wages
- Future Lost Wages
- Medical Expenses
- Pain & Suffering
- Emotional Distress
The bicycle accident attorneys at Sand Law are experienced litigators work to maximize the amount of damages you can recover for your case. Call today to speak with one of our dedicated bike accident lawyers.