Most people aren’t prepared for what they need to do after a bicycle accident. Any accident, whether you’ve sustained any injuries or not, is a traumatizing event and it can be difficult to think clearly about your next steps. While Mississippi does have laws on the books to protect bicycle riders on the roadway, it still ranks as the seventh most dangerous state for cyclists in the country. If you’re in Flowood, Mississippi, or the neighboring areas of Brandon, Clinton, Pearl, Richland, or Rankin County, attorney Ronald E. Stutzman, Jr. is ready to help you make sense of this difficult time and advise you on the best course of action to ensure you’re taken care of.
Knowing what to do immediately after an accident can be crucial when the time comes to take legal action. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, you should:
Call 911: The safety of anyone involved in the crash is the number one priority. Calling 911 will allow the police and paramedics to arrive, assess the scene, and administer any immediate medical treatment that may be necessary.
Get Driver’s/Witnesses Information: Get contact and insurance information from the driver as well as contact information from any witnesses.
Document Details: If possible, take pictures of the scene of the accident as soon as possible, noting any damage to your body or your property. You will likely also be asked to provide a written statement to the police.
Seek Medical Assistance: You should always seek medical attention after being involved in an accident, even if you feel fine. Have a doctor check you out and retain a copy of their report. When a bicycle is hit by a car or another bike, even if the rider was wearing a helmet, there is a high likelihood that some injuries have been sustained.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney: No one should have to go through an accident alone, and with a qualified personal injury lawyer on your side, you’ll be able to navigate this complex situation with the help and guidance of a professional.
When bicycles and cars are sharing the roadway, it’s essential that both follow the rules of the road to reduce the chance of an accident occurring. In general, bicyclists must follow the same laws that a motor vehicle operator does, but there are a few additional rules that everyone — cyclists and drivers — should be aware of.
Equipment: When riding at night, all bicycles must have a white front light and a red back light that are visible from 500 feet away.
Bicyclists must ride as close to the right side of the road as possible when traveling slower than the speed of traffic, except when it is unsafe to do so, when they are passing another car or vehicle, or when they are making a left turn.
You may not ride more than two abreast when cycling on a roadway
Vehicles may overtake a bicycle only when it is safe to do so and must give them at least three feet of room when passing.
Even though Mississippi is an “at-fault” state (meaning the driver who’s found to be at fault is responsible for paying all damages), a jury may still decide that the liability should be shared between the two parties and find you partially to blame. If this is the case, they will then apply the “pure comparative negligence” rule to your settlement, which will reduce the total amount you receive. For example, if a jury believes you bear 20% of the blame for the accident, your payout will be reduced by that amount. If the total settlement was determined to be $20,000, you would only receive $16,000.
When pursuing a lawsuit, Mississippi allows three years after the date of an accident to file a personal injury claim. If you go beyond this time frame, the court will more than likely refuse to hear your case.
Don’t wait any longer to ask for help if you’ve been the victim of a bicycle accident. Attorney Ronald E. Stutzman, Jr. has years of experience helping his clients file personal injury claims and ensuring your insurance claim pays out the compensation you rightfully deserve. The firm proudly serves clients in Flowood, Brandon, Clinton, Pearl, Richland, and Rankin County, Mississippi.