Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bicycle accidents can be caused by motorists, road damage, parked cars opening their doors, pedestrians, and many other dangers on the road. These accidents have the potential to cause serious consequences including damage to your bicycle, traumatic injuries, expensive medical bills, and lost wages. If the accident occurred because another party acted negligently, an injured bicyclist could claim compensation against them in a potential lawsuit.
Our Boston bicycle accident lawyers could help you identify all the appropriate damages and include them in a demand letter to the parties responsible for your accident. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, you and our seasoned Boston bike accident lawyer John J. Sheehan could move your case forward to trial. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan for a free consultation today at (617) 925-6407.
Statute of Limitations on Bicycle Accident Injury Claims in Boston
Although people who were injured in a bicycle accident may be focused on recovering from their injuries, you should contact a Boston bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. Doing so can increase your chances of recovering damages for the injuries and other harms you faced.
As per Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 260, §4, the statute of limitations for bike accident cases is three years. This means plaintiffs have only three years from the date of their bike accident to file a legal claim. To file a complete claim and have confidence in a case, attorneys may need months of advance research and preparation to gather evidence, draft complaints and briefs, and file a claim. Contacting a lawyer shortly before the statute of limitations expires may limit a plaintiff’s ability to recover compensation.
Evidence to Use in Boston Bike Accident Injury Lawsuits
It is vital to provide strong evidence to achieve a successful outcome in a bike accident case. Pictures or videos of the plaintiff’s injuries and bicycle, pictures of the damage to any vehicles involved, and testimonies from bystanders may be significant pieces of evidence. It is also important to provide medical documentation of injuries that follows the doctor’s orders.
However, over time, those involved in the accident may forget key details about the accident. Physical evidence such as tire marks on the road or the condition of the bike may also change or disappear. When a plaintiff contacts a bike crash attorney in Boston as soon as possible after his or her bicycle accident, more evidence may be gathered and preserved, helping to set your case up for success.
It is also important to act quickly – and as early as you can in the process – to help preserve evidence. Your Boston bicycle accident lawyer can send letters to nearby businesses, other drivers, or the defendant to preserve any security camera footage or dash cam footage that might have captured the crash. We can also ask for pictures of the crash scene from the defendant, asking them to preserve them for the “discovery” stage of the trial.
You will also need evidence of the injuries you sustained in an accident to prove your case. This is a standard part of every injury case, and your attorney can help you collect medical bills, financial records, and other evidence to prove to the court what damages you faced and how much they cost you.
Common Causes of Bike Accidents in Boston
Most bike accidents are caused by drivers of cars and trucks that you have to share the road with. It is uncommon that the bike rider causes the crash since other cars and trucks are usually in a better position to stop, slow down, and avoid accidents. If a bike rider is blamed for a crash, it is usually because they were violating traffic laws (running stop signs, riding on prohibited sidewalks, etc.). In contrast, drivers often cause crashes because of serious negligence or inattention.
Most bike accidents are caused by drivers who were not keeping a proper lookout for cyclists. These drivers may make turns into bikers riding alongside them because they did not think to check for cyclists next to them or in their blind spots.
Driving Too Close to Bikers
Drivers of cars and trucks also underestimate their distance from cyclists while passing in many cases. If a driver’s car is too close to a biker when passing, they could force them off the road or reduce the maneuvering room they have to avoid potholes and debris in the street or bike lane.
Bike Lane Obstructions
Obstructed bike lanes are another significant danger for cyclists. Bike riders typically are allowed to leave marked bike lanes to go around parked cars, open manholes, and construction in the bike lane. When they do so, drivers should be aware of their slower speed and the space they need to give bikers. When drivers fail to leave space or allow bikers over into their lane, they can put cyclists at risk.
One other unfortunately common cause of bike accidents is when drivers and driver’s-side rear passengers open their car door into passing cyclists. Reaching with the right hand to open a driver’s side door is much safer and causes the driver/passenger to look back before opening the door to see if any bikers are in the way. Failing to keep a look to avoid opening a door into a biker could be an example of negligence.
Proving Negligence with the Help of a Boston Bike Accident Attorney
To win a lawsuit for a bike accident, you need to prove that the at-fault party – the defendant – was “negligent.” Negligence can usually be demonstrated in “negligence per se” cases by showing that the driver, pedestrian, or other defendant violated a law that was intended to keep bikers safe. For example a driver who was under the influence or who sped through a red light could be held responsible for the crash because it was caused by a traffic violation.
Other bike accidents are caused not by a specific traffic infraction but by other unsafe or reckless acts behind the wheel. For example, it is legal to operate your windshield wipers or radio while driving, but if a driver who does not know their car’s controls puts all their focus and attention to this task without pulling over, they could be too distracted and cause an accident.
After proving that the defendant did something wrong, you also have to prove that that negligent action or inaction actually caused the crash. Demonstrating that the accident would not have occurred “but for” the defendant’s negligence is typically enough to show that they caused the crash. If they can instead prove that you would have crashed regardless of what they did, then their actions cannot be the legal cause of the accident.
Lastly, you must prove what damages you faced in order to seek compensation for them in court. A skeptical judge and jury may need extensive evidence of your injuries, such as X-rays, medical records, or even a doctor’s testimony as proof of what injuries you faced because of the bike accident.
Talk to one of our Boston bicycle accident lawyers for help building your case and gathering the evidence necessary to prove who caused your crash and why they should be held liable in court.
Compensation for Damages in a Bicycle Accident Case in Boston
Plaintiffs who are injured in a bike accident may have incurred many damages. These damages are used in settlement talks and by juries to determine how much compensation the plaintiff may be entitled to. Some damages, known as economic damages, are often simple to calculate. These include damages for…
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning abilities
- Property damage
These damages can become harder to calculate if there are future damages in these areas that you might also be able to claim. For instance, if your injuries involve a serious back injury that will keep you from returning to your old job and you need to take a lower-paying job with fewer physical demands, you may be able to claim projected future wage-loss damages and reduced earning capacity damages. Your attorney may be able to use financial experts to help project these damages and provide evidence of their value to the court.
Other damages, referred to as non-economic damages, can be more difficult to quantify. These include…
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
The economic damages in your case must total at least $2,000 under Massachusetts law before you can claim pain and suffering damages in court. These non-economic damages are often very personal, and your testimony about how the injuries affected your life and your abilities.
Since each case is different, claimants in a bicycle collision case should discuss their situation and determine the value of their damages with the help of our Boston bicycle accident lawyer to ensure they receive fair compensation.
Talk to Our Boston Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
When insurance companies attempt to undersell claims, attorneys can file a necessary lawsuit and go to trial. To find out more about getting representation from our Boston personal injury lawyers for bike accidents and cyclists and how to receive your free case consultation, call today at (617) 925-6407. The Boston bicycle accident lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan are available to help.