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Many people in Wilmington and throughout the Cape Fear region enjoy bicycling, both recreationally and as a means of transportation. Although lawmakers in the City of Wilmington and North Carolina have worked to make bicycling safer, accidents involving cyclists are still an unfortunate reality.
According to Watch for Me NC, a program that educates motorists and coordinates with local police departments to prevent pedestrian and bicycle accidents, about 850 bicyclists are struck by motor vehicles in North Carolina every year.
If you were hit by a motorist while riding your bike and the driver was at fault, you may be owed compensation. At the law firm of Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, we believe you should not have to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses caused by an accident that wasn’t your fault – and you deserve to be compensated for the pain and suffering you’ve endured. Let us help you demand it.
Contact our offices today for a free consultation with a bicycle accident lawyer in Wilmington and learn more about how we can help you pursue accountability and justice from the careless motorist who hit you.
Is Wilmington, NC, Bicycle Friendly?
The League of American Bicyclists designates specific communities that demonstrate a serious commitment to bicycling as Bicycle Friendly Communities. The organization named Wilmington to its list in 2016. That recognizes the significant strides the City of Wilmington has made in recent years, including the development of the Cross City Trail, the River to Sea Bikeway, and many other trails for bicyclists and pedestrians.
However, despite these positive developments and accolades, bicyclists can get struck by motorists in Wilmington, often leaving them with severe injuries and related financial losses.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Wilmington
Some common driver behaviors that can cause bicycle accidents are:
- Failure to yield
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Unsafe lane changes
- Opening the door of their vehicle into the path of a bicycle (dooring)
Poor road conditions, weather, lighting, bike path debris, and other factors can also contribute to bicycle accidents. However, drivers should be alert when traveling in these conditions and make appropriate adjustments to prevent accidents. Although a driver and their insurer may use these conditions to argue that they are not at fault, in many cases, they could still be liable if they were not driving safely under the circumstances.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Bicycle Accident?
Every bicycle accident is different, and sometimes more than one party can be liable. To prove someone else was at fault, you will need to demonstrate that they acted negligently in some way and that the negligent behavior directly led to the accident and your injuries.
In the context of traffic accidents, negligence typically means deviating from the rules of the road in some way, such as running stop signs, failing to check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes, or making left turns against traffic.
However, not all bicycle accidents are caused by motorists. Local or city governments or private organizations are usually responsible for maintaining bike paths and roads. Suppose you were riding in the designated bike lane and hit a pothole or debris in the road that caused you to be thrown from your bike. In that case, the entity responsible for maintaining that area might be liable for your injuries.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, as little as 10 percent of bicyclists escape a collision with a motor vehicle without injury. In one recent year, out of the 907 bicyclists struck statewide, only 85 were determined to be uninjured. Nineteen people were killed, 60 were seriously injured, 361 suffered suspected minor injuries, 347 were possibly injured, and 35 sustained unknown injuries.
Some common injuries from bicycle accidents include:
- Scrapes and road rash
- Facial and dental fractures
- Fractured ribs
- Broken bones
- Strained muscles
- Internal injuries
- Head and brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
Treatment for many of these injuries can be expensive and time-intensive. Some people who’ve been injured in bicycle accidents may never make a full recovery and may require physical therapy, assistive devices, and other medical attention for years to come.
Potential Compensation for a Bicycle Accident in Wilmington
Every bicycle accident is different, and the amount of compensation you could be owed will vary depending on the severity of your injuries and other factors. In general, you may be owed compensation for:
- Current and future medical bills
- Long-term care
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- The cost of medical devices such as wheelchairs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Although we cannot guarantee that you will receive any specific compensation, our attorneys can give you a better idea of what your case may be worth during a free consultation.
How an Attorney on Your Side Can Help
North Carolina has some of the strictest negligence laws in the country. If you are found to be even 1 percent at fault for the bicycle accident that injured you, you will be barred from receiving compensation from the party who is 99 percent at fault for the accident. That’s why it’s crucial to have an experienced North Carolina bicycle accident lawyer on your side – one who knows how to build a strong case and argue persuasively that the other party was entirely at fault for the accident.
Contact a Wilmington Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
The effects of a bicycle accident can be life-altering, but if the accident wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t be left to pay for these consequences yourself. The attorneys at Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, have more than four decades of experience and access to the medical and other resources you need. We are ready to handle even the most challenging bicycle accident cases. We treat our clients as part of our own family and are eager to support you through this difficult time.
Contact us today online or by phone for a free consultation with a Wilmington bicycle accident lawyer.