North Carolina Wrongful Death Bicycle Accident Lawyer

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A bicyclist approaching a motion-blurred grey sedan from the side, about to be involved in an accident.Many people use bicycles as an easy way to travel around urban areas and also as a fun recreational activity. Many communities have bike paths and special lanes specifically for cyclists traveling on the roads.

These accommodations are being expanded in cities as a way to create a safer and more convenient environment for cyclists.

The increase in the number of bicycles sharing the streets with motor vehicles has also led to an increase in accidents involving cyclists. Serious injuries and death are often the result of a collision involving a bicycle.

Collisions may include another cyclist, a car, truck, motorcycle, or pedestrian. Depending on who was at fault for the collision, you may be able to pursue compensation for the death of the victim.

What Types of Damages Can a North Carolina Wrongful Death Bicycle Accident Attorney Help Me Claim?

The deceased victim’s family is the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit. If successful, the court will order the defendant to pay the plaintiff’s claimed damages.

The determination of the value of the award for damages potentially includes the following factors:

  • Funeral Expenses
  • Transportation Of the Deceased
  • Burial or Cremation Expenses
  • Medical Bills For the Deceased As a Result of the Accident
  • Lost Wages the Victim Would Have Earned Had They Lived
  • Pain and Suffering of the Deceased
  • A Reasonable Value For Non-Economic Damages

Funeral Expenses

According to Funeralocity, the average cost for a funeral in North Carolina is just over $8,000 and varies depending on the city, elected services, and service provider. Bicycle accidents are unplanned events that can leave families unable to pay for funeral arrangements.

Transportation of the Deceased

Not all bicycle accident victims die close to home. The cost to bring them home varies wildly depending upon the following criteria:

  • Distance They Must Travel
  • Fees for Shipping Arrangements
  • Method of Transportation
  • Weight of the Deceased

Burial or Cremation Expenses

Direct burials without the cost of a funeral added range between around $1,200 – $1,600. Cremation is approximately just under $1,000. The cost for each method fluctuates depending on location and the type of coffin or urn chosen.

Medical Bills for the Deceased As a Result of the Accident

Bicycle accidents are often horrific, especially when high speeds are involved. With the advancements in safety gear, emergency medical care, and technology today, many people survive initial crashes.

Unfortunately, some still succumb to injuries and die in the hospital. Any treatment they received before their death, including transportation to the hospital, will be charged to their estate.

While families are not responsible for paying these expenses, medical bills are expensive and would take a large portion, if not all, of the deceased’s estate. Some families could be left with nothing, especially if assets were only in the deceased’s name.

Lost Wages the Victim Would Have Earned Had They Lived

The income the deceased would have earned if the accident had not happened is also calculated in a claim for damages. This amount is significant to families who depend on the victim as the household’s primary income source.

Pain and Suffering of the Deceased

The family can also receive financial compensation for any pain the victim experienced from the accident until death. Some deaths happen instantly, while other victims experience extreme pain from their injuries, and they may have suffered for a long time before help arrived or if they were trapped somewhere.

A Reasonable Value for Non-Economic Damages

Family members are owed compensation for the loss of their loved one. Non-economic damages are for the loss of the individual.

For example, a child who lost a parent also loses a guide, counselor, and comforter. A spouse is losing a companion, support, and consortium. They are losing future memories and will suffer emotionally for the rest of their lives.

What Are Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in North Carolina?

There are many causes of bicycle accidents, and they can happen at any time in any location. Some situations are more commonly seen as reasons why an accident or collision has occurred.

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the most common cause of bicycle accidents is getting hit by a car. This is also the most deadly type of collision for cyclists.
  • Poor road conditions, objects on the road, or poor road maintenance are common causes of cyclists being involved in an accident and receiving injuries.
  • Times of low visibility, such as dawn, dusk, rain, or foggy conditions, are especially dangerous for cyclists because of their small profile. Bicycles are difficult for drivers to see because of their small size, as well as their speed and maneuverability, and low visibility, which increases the risk of being struck by a vehicle.
  • Pedestrians and animals are unpredictable in their movements. They do not use signals to indicate their intentions; therefore, cyclists must sometimes swerve to avoid collisions. An unexpected swerve may cause another accident, depending on the circumstances. For example, a dog may run across the path of the cyclist, leaving the leash blocking the bicycle. The cyclist would have to swerve either around the person or the dog to avoid hurting them but fall or swerve into traffic or a tree as a result.

The cause of a bicycle accident is a crucial determinant for receiving fair compensation for the damages incurred. Whoever caused the accident is liable for the damages the victim suffered as long as they owed that person a duty of care.

Anyone using a public road owes a duty of care to everyone else sharing that road. This means that they must drive safely and obey the rules of the road.

Even pedestrians must be aware of other people sharing the road and pathways and should avoid interfering with the safety of cyclists.

Why Are Collisions Between Bicyclists and Cars So Common?

With only a few exceptions, bicyclists have the same right to use the road as cars. They are, however, required to ride on the far right side of the road, whether there is a bike lane there or not.

Bicyclists riding on the far right are at risk of being struck by cars turning right either off of or onto the road. They are also in danger of colliding with an opening door of a parked vehicle.

The liability for the accident will depend upon who caused the accident and who had the right of way.

Cyclists are extremely difficult to see because of their small size. They are often traveling at a different speed than motorists and have superior maneuverability that allows them to seemingly “appear out of nowhere.”

The best way to prevent a collision as a cyclist is to increase your own visibility. Wear high-visibility clothing, make sure your bicycle has all the required reflectors and lights, and avoid making any risky maneuvers, such as weaving between slower or stopped vehicles.

A common scenario that bicycles actually share with motorcycles is when a car turns left in front of the oncoming bike, and they collide. The driver typically either did not see the bicycle or misjudged their speed, and they are held liable for the bicyclist’s injuries or death.

What Are Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents in North Carolina?

Bicycle accidents can result in a large range of injuries, from minor scratches to death. The circumstances of the accident are what would impact the severity of the injuries suffered.

The most common injuries include the following:

  • Hand and wrist injuries from the impact with the ground
  • Broken bones
  • Dislocations of joints
  • Road rash
  • Lacerations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Knee injuries from impact with an object, vehicle, or the ground, such as a torn anterior cruciate ligament or the medial collateral ligament
  • Facial injuries, including eye injuries
  • Dental damage
  • Impalements, often from handlebars or objects such as signs or benches by the road

A common cause of injuries among cyclists is when someone in a parked vehicle on the side of a street opens their door without looking to see if the way is clear. The cyclist may not see the door open in time or may not have enough time to react before colliding with the open door.

This common type of accident typically involves the following injuries:

  • Concussions
  • Whiplash
  • Internal bleeding
  • Internal organ damage

Wearing a helmet has saved the lives of thousands of cyclists and has greatly decreased the number of victims with traumatic brain injuries. Other protective gear also helps prevent injuries, while high visibility clothing reduces the risk of collisions with vehicles.

Unfortunately, collisions still occur, and even the best safety gear is not enough to protect a cyclist from an impact on a motor vehicle. Wrongful death is a reality for many cyclists.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

According to North Carolina Law, a wrongful death occurs when a death is caused by neglect, a wrongful act, or default of someone else. Therefore, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed against the party whose negligent or intentional actions caused the crash that claimed the victim’s life.

Personal Injury Claims in North Carolina From Bicycle Accidents

Cyclists who survive their accidents are often left with severe injuries and expensive property damage. Most cases for compensation are completed by settlements with an insurance company.

However, insurance companies tend to make an early offer claiming that it will be enough to cover the victim’s damages, but victims who accept this initial offer often find that it is not sufficient to cover their expenses and are forced to pay the difference on their own.

Victims may need ongoing care, such as physical therapy or rehabilitation, that would not have been accounted for in a rushed settlement offer. A full understanding of your injuries and losses will ensure a fair settlement.

Insurance companies often portray cyclists as being reckless and ignorant of the rules of the road. They use these misconceptions to build a case against the cyclist in an attempt to limit how much they have to pay for the accident.

The insurance adjuster may use tactics to make the cyclist or their family feel intimidated so that they can be manipulated into accepting unfair settlement offers. An experienced bicycle accident attorney knows all the tricks that insurance adjusters use, and they also have knowledge of how much certain injuries and damages are worth.

Having an attorney on your side ensures that you recover the full and fair amount of compensation so you can focus on your recovery or on your family’s well-being after a loss.

Contact a North Carolina Wrongful Death Bicycle Accident Law Firm in North Carolina Today

Accidents involving bicycles often result in serious injuries or death. If you or your family member has suffered a loss from a bicycle accident, we are so sorry this happened to you, and we are here to help.

Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters has a strong team of wrongful death bicycle accident lawyers in North Carolina who will explain your rights and discuss your options for financial compensation with you. Call (800) LAW-0804 for a free consultation.

Tatum & Atkinson has over 65 years of combined legal experience, so they know how to handle any situation. They put your best interests first and fight hard on your behalf to hold the negligent party accountable for their negligence that hurt your family so terribly.

They will always be honest with you about their ability to help your unique case and will give you the best possible advice. They never charge you anything until you receive your settlement or a favorable judgment, so there is no risk to you.