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St Louis Bicycle Accident Lawyer

bicycleaccident

St. Louis Bicycle Accident Lawyer

St. Louis is a relatively bike-friendly city. In the spring of 2021, the League of American Bicyclists acknowledged St. Louis with a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award. The award recognizes the city’s commitment to significantly improving the bicycle network and increasing accessibility and safety for all cyclists of all abilities.

Despite these efforts, however, bicycle accidents in St. Louis are not rare. Like many other cities, there is still a significant risk for cyclists who share the road with motor vehicles. Driver distraction, intoxicated driving, and other forms of negligence are responsible for thousands of bicycle accident injuries and deaths all over the country yearly.

Did you or a loved one suffer injuries in a St. Louis bike accident? Did another person’s negligence cause the accident? If so, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the responsible parties.

The St. Louis bicycle accident lawyers at Injury Lawyer Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, can help to ensure you are adequately compensated for your damages.

Contact our St. Louis bicycle accident attorneys today for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.

How Frequently Do Bicycle Accidents Occur?

Cycling is becoming a popular hobby and mode of transport as people look for cheaper, healthier, and more eco-friendly ways to get around. Unfortunately, this increased interest in cycling makes bicycle accidents more common.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports 425,910 emergency room-treated injuries caused by bike accidents in 2020. The actual number may be much higher, considering that not all bicycle accident victims go to the emergency department for treatment.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there were 1,260 bicycle fatalities in the US in 2020. Bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles accounted for 806 deaths, while 454 cyclists died in non-traffic incidents. The statistics also show that:

  • Bicycle accident deaths peaked in warmer months from May to October
  • Males accounted for 89% of bicycle-related deaths
  • The highest number of bicycle-related nonfatal injuries involved children between 10-14 years

Bicycle Accidents in St. Louis

In 2020, 51 people suffered injuries in bicycle accidents in St. Louis. Four of six crashes occurred on Grand Avenue between Flad Ave and Forest Park Parkway. Other high-crash corridors include Kings Highway, Natural Bridge, N. Florissant, Broadway, and Forest Park Avenue.

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents

Usually, bike accidents result from the negligence of drivers, other cyclists, or pedestrians. Some common causes of bike accidents include:

  • Distracted DrivingWhen drivers are not paying attention to the road, they may hit or collide with a cyclist trying to cross an intersection or ride alongside their vehicle. Typical forms of distracted driving include texting, talking on the phone, eating, and using a navigation system.
  • Drunk Driving: Drugs and alcohol impair a driver’s coordination, concentration, judgment, and reaction time, increasing the risk of an accident.
  • Aggressive Driving: Speeding, swerving, tailgating, and other aggressive driving behaviors increase a vehicle’s chances of colliding with cyclists and other cars, especially on smaller roads. Aggressive drivers may also force cyclists to react unexpectedly, increasing the risk of an accident.
  • Failing to See a Bicycle: Drivers should always be aware of other vehicles around them, including bicycles. Many bicycle accidents stem from drivers’ lack of awareness of others sharing the road with them, especially in blind spots.
  • Passing Too Closely: Since cyclists don’t travel as fast as cars, many drivers tend to pass them. However, if a vehicle passes too closely to a bicycle, it may hit the cyclist from the side or throw them off the road.
  • Not Respecting the Bike Lane: Some negligent drivers drive too close or enter the designated bicycle lane. If they block a cyclist’s way, the bike may fail to stop in time and crash into the vehicle.
  • Not Obeying Traffic Laws: Drivers and cyclists are responsible for following traffic rules for their corresponding vehicles. Any driver or cyclist that fails to neglect their duty while on the road puts themselves and others at risk.

 

Other factors that can cause a bike accident include:

  • Poor Road Conditions: Poorly maintained roads pose a more significant threat to cyclists than drivers in cars, buses, or trucks. Debris, rough roads, uneven pavements, and other hazards can cause cyclists to lose control of their bikes, fall off, or veer off the road.
  • Inclement Weather: Rain and snow make the roads slippery and reduce visibility. Without proper caution, a driver or cyclist can crash into another vehicle or get into a non-traffic accident (e.g., crashing into a stationary object due to slippery roads).
  • Lack of High-Visibility Apparel and Gear: Cyclists need high-visibility apparel to make them more noticeable to other drivers, especially when riding at night. High-visibility gear, such as reflective stickers and bike lights, is also essential in preventing accidents.

Common Bicycle Accident Injuries

Bicycle accident victims can sustain serious injuries in bicycle collisions, even if they wear safety gear. Common bike-related injuries include:

  • Head Injuries: Some cities, including St. Louis, don’t make helmets mandatory for cyclists. Unfortunately, the lack of helmet policies increases the risk of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and other forms of head trauma. These head injuries include concussions, brain hemorrhaging, skull fractures, and more.
  • Fractures: The impact of a bike accident can easily break a cyclist’s bones, especially in a bike accident involving a car. Moreover, a cyclist is vulnerable to breaking multiple bones, including in the arms, legs, fingers, and hips, since they don’t have the same protection as a car driver.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: A cyclist that damages or penetrates any part of their spinal column may sustain a spinal cord injury. Trauma to the spine can cause significant complications, including chronic pain, numbness, and partial or complete paralysis.
  • Cuts and Bruises: These injuries are common in bicycle accidents and can range from mild to severe. A mild accident can result in minor cuts or bruises, but a severe one can cause deep lacerations and hematomas (clotted blood outside the blood vessels).
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: A cyclist may sustain a sprain or strain if they twist or stretch a ligament in the accident.
  • Road RashMany St. Louis bicycle accidents involve cyclists getting thrown off their bikes and scraping off their skin on the road. Road rash is an abrasion caused by friction between the skin and a hard surface, such as pavement.
  • Crushing Injuries: These serious injuries occur when a person gets crushed between two hard surfaces, such as when a cyclist gets pinned between the hood of a car and a road divider. A crushing injury can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.
  • Amputation: Serious accidents can lead to instant dismemberment or injuries that require amputation.
  • Organ Damage and Internal Bleeding: The force of a bike accident can be strong enough to injure internal organs (e.g., liver, kidneys, spleen), causing organ damage, internal bleeding, and other internal injuries. An injured organ may require surgery to repair the damage and restore organ function.

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What to Do if You Get into a Bicycle Accident

Like car accidents, bicycle accidents can be scary and panic-inducing, especially involving a motor vehicle. Therefore, it helps to know what to do in case you find yourself in this situation:

  1. Go Somewhere Safe: Head to the nearest sidewalk to avoid further injury or collisions.
  1. Call the Authorities: Call 911 if you have suffered severe injuries that require immediate medical attention. Otherwise, call the police to document the scene. Do not let the other party discourage you from calling the police; a police report may be essential in your personal injury claim.
  1. Document the Scene: Unless you have to go to the hospital immediately, take the time to document the accident scene. Take pictures of your bicycle, injuries, and other vehicles involved. Write down the date, time, and location where the accident occurred.
  1. Seek Medical Attention:  Go to the hospital for an assessment, even if your injuries seem minor. Some injuries take longer to manifest into physical signs and symptoms and may worsen if you don’t receive immediate treatment.
  1. Document Your Injuries: Record your pain, ongoing emotional trauma, financial losses, and other effects of your bicycle accident.
  1. Call a Personal Injury Lawyer: Injured cyclists often need bicycle accident lawyers to file a case against negligent drivers, pedestrians, or other cyclists. If you get into a bicycle accident, you must have an experienced St. Louis bicycle accident lawyer to help you seek compensation from responsible parties.

Who May Be Liable For Your St. Louis Bicycle Accident?

According to Missouri law, anyone who directly or indirectly contributes to a bicycle collision may be responsible for the injured party’s damages.

Depending on your case, the at-fault party may be any of the following:

  • A Negligent Driver: You may be able to hold a motor vehicle driver responsible if their negligence directly or indirectly led to your bicycle crash (e.g., drunk driving).
  • Another Cyclist: Not all cyclists are responsible on the road. If another cyclist caused your accident, you could hold them accountable in your personal injury case.
  • A Pedestrian: A pedestrian may be liable for your accident as long as they acted carelessly (e.g., walking on the bike lane or crossing the road while the traffic light is green).
  • The Employer of the Negligent Party: If you were hit by a commercial vehicle, you could hold the driver’s employer responsible for your injuries.
  • A Property Owner: A property owner may be liable for your accident if their negligence contributed to it (e.g., putting obstructions on the bike lane.) However, you may not be able to recover compensation if you were biking in an area where cyclists are not allowed.
  • The Government: You could file a case against government agencies responsible for road maintenance if poor road conditions caused your accident.
  • Manufacturers: If bike defects or faulty safety equipment caused or contributed to your accident, you could hold the manufacturers responsible.

Missouri follows a pure comparative negligence system, which means you can recover compensation even if you share fault in the accident.

This rule means that if you are, for instance, 20% at fault for the accident, the court will reduce your damages by 20%.

If you need a deeper understanding of this rule, ask your St. Louis bicycle accident attorney about it during your free case evaluation.

Filing a St. Louis Bicycle Accident Claim

Motor vehicle drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians are legally required to exercise reasonable care to prevent injury to others. When a person acts carelessly or negligently on the road, they can cause a bicycle accident, leading to injury or even death to others.

Did you or a loved one get into a cycling accident involving another motor vehicle, cyclist, or pedestrian? If so, you may be entitled to financial compensation, even if you played a part in the accident.

However, you must prove that:

  • The defendant owed a duty of care to you (everyone has the responsibility of care to prevent injury to others in any setting)
  • The defendant breached their duty of care
  • This breach caused your bicycle accident
  • The bicycle accident led directly to your injuries and damages

Evidence

You need substantial evidence to support your bicycle accident claim to be successful. Your St. Louis bicycle accident attorney will help you obtain forms of evidence, such as:

  • Photos of injuries
  • Medical records
  • Photos of the accident scene
  • Surveillance footage
  • Witness accounts from other drivers and pedestrians

Damages

Filing a personal injury case against at-fault parties could reward you with financial compensation for the following:

  • Medical Expenses: Compensation for treatment costs, including hospitalization, medication, surgery, treatment, and anticipated future medical bills.
  • Disability: Compensation for disability-related damages if your accident leads to permanent disability. These damages may include loss of future earning capacity, mobility aid expenses, and rehabilitation costs.
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical and non-physical injuries, including physical pain, emotional distress, mental trauma, etc.
  • Lost Wages: Compensation for wages, income, and benefits lost while recovering from your injuries or caring for an injured loved one.
  • Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for quality of life lost following the bicycle accident.
  • Property Damage: Compensation for personal property lost or damaged in the accident, such as your bicycle, phone, laptop, etc.
  • Wrongful Death: Compensation for death-related damages if your loved one dies in a bicycle accident, including funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical expenses, and grief.

Your St. Louis bicycle accident attorney will estimate the potential value of your settlement during your free consultation, which should help you avoid taking low-ball insurance offers.

Settlement

After filing a personal injury claim against the defendant, their insurance company may offer you a settlement. If your accident involves a motor vehicle, the driver’s insurance company may cover your damages. If it is a property owner, they may use their general liability insurance, and so on.

However, one thing is common among all types of insurers: they rarely offer high amounts to protect their bottom line and the interests of their customers. Hence, you may receive an offer lower than the amount you deserve. If you accept it, you can no longer file for additional damages.

An experienced St. Louis personal injury lawyer will help you negotiate with the negligent party’s insurance company and ensure you receive the amount you deserve. Once you receive an offer, let your attorney handle the negotiation process.

Other Legal Options

Your bicycle accident lawyer could help you file a bicycle accident lawsuit if:

  • Your bicycle injury claim is unsuccessful
  • The defendant refuses to take responsibility for the accident

If you take your case to court, a judge or jury will hear evidence from both sides and determine a verdict. Your attorney’s role during the litigation process is crucial; they will prepare your case thoroughly to ensure the court sees that you deserve compensation for your damages.

However, not all St. Louis bicycle accidents require a trial to arrive at a solution. To avoid a trial, your St. Louis bicycle accident lawyer could help you pursue compensation through other processes, such as mediation or arbitration. These alternative dispute resolution methods are often less expensive, less formal, and less time-consuming than litigation.

Statute of Limitations

The general statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit in Missouri is five years (Section 516.120 of the Revised Missouri Statutes).

Our personal injury attorneys will ensure your suit is filed on time to avoid losing crucial evidence or the opportunity to recover damages.

How to Avoid Bicycle Crashes

You can significantly reduce your risk of a bike accident by following these cycling safety tips:

  • Stick to designated bicycle lanes whenever they are available
  • Stay out of motor vehicles’ blind spots
  • Follow traffic rules
  • Wear safety equipment, including a helmet, knee pads, and high-visibility clothing
  • Stay to the right side of the road
  • Use arm and hand signals to indicate turns
  • Maintain your bike regularly
  • Exercise extreme caution when riding at night
  • Never ride too close to another vehicle
  • Be mindful of other bike riders

The Role of Personal Injury Lawyers in Bike Crashes

Our personal injury lawyers can help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve. To do that, an experienced bicycle accident lawyer will work with you to:

  • Gather evidence to support your claim
  • Negotiate with the defendant’s insurer
  • Consult with medical experts and other St. Louis bicycle accident lawyers
  • File your claim or lawsuit on time

Learn more about the responsibilities of our personal injury lawyers during your free consultation.

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Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with Our St. Louis Bicycle Accident Attorneys

Most bicycle accidents occur due to driver negligence. Some result from the carelessness of pedestrians and other cyclists. But regardless of who is at fault for your bike accident, you deserve to receive fair compensation.

The experienced St. Louis personal injury lawyers at Injury Lawyers Team can handle your bicycle accident case and maximize your financial recovery. Contact our law offices today for a free case evaluation.

All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.

Our bicycle accident attorneys handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay for our legal services unless we win your case.

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