Having an Auger & Auger Columbia bicycle accident attorney in your corner clearly distinguishes between merely adequate and excellent. We have seen how cycling injuries can have lasting consequences — in addition to sustaining physical wounds and loss of income, the cost associated with a lengthy recovery can be financially devastating. Defending the rights of the victims should always be honored by holding the at-fault party accountable.
Currently, approximately 30% of all bicycle accidents involve collisions with vehicles, but this percentage can definitely be reduced if drivers and cyclists accept more education about bike safety. The Bike Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) offers educational opportunities to keep our citizens safer as our bike-sharing initiative hits the city.
Between 2009 and 2017, there were 339 bicycle crashes in Richland County, accounting for just over 7% of bike accidents in South Carolina. When drivers were found at fault, the number one cause was failing to yield the right of way (26%), followed by distracted driving (10%) and driving too fast for conditions (6%). When you see that the top three causes of bicycle accidents in our area are caused by negligence, it’s easy to understand why safety education is so important.
Columbia’s new bike sharing program, Blue Bike, means that more cyclists will be pedaling over city streets — increasing the safety factor as well. Blue Bike will eventually have 25 stations around the city and 275 bicycles; some will be electric. While discussing the program with the press and the public, Mayor Benjamin has stated, “It’s going to take everyone working together to focus on safety.”
According to Section 56-5-3420, bicyclists are granted the same rights and are subject to the same responsibilities as drivers. Being held equally accountable in the eyes of the law means that the duty of maintaining safety is shared between driver and cyclist. While bike-sharing in other cities has shown that the programs may reduce the number of bicycle accidents — it is up to drivers and cyclists to refrain from distracted movements, each anticipating the behaviors of the other.
As a Columbia bicycle accident attorney practice, we fully understand that words on a piece of paper do not physically protect cyclists; it takes common sense and respect. By remaining aware of their surroundings, drivers and bicyclists can avoid many of the top causes of these accidents — some of which can be catastrophic.
You can’t control what other people, including vehicle drivers, do on the road. But you can reduce the risk of accidents by adjusting what you can control. Here are some tips to help protect yourself from accidents:
You should always ride or drive carefully, no matter where you are. However, you’re most likely to get in a traffic accident at or near an intersection. Often this overlaps with “failure to yield” accidents, where the vehicle driver doesn’t see the bike until it’s too late.
Here are some common causes of bike accidents at intersections:
But intersections aren’t the only place accidents happen. Another common crash type is the sideswiping accident. Again, both cars may go in the same direction when the car moves over and clips the bicycle. This doesn’t sound like a serious accident, but it can be for the bicyclist! Unfortunately, any collision between a car and a bicycle will have more severe consequences for the bike rider. Motorists should always look carefully before changing lanes and should keep an eye out for people in the bike lanes or on the sidewalk.
Hopefully, the first thing that happens is you assess your injuries and ensure you’re not still in the path of traffic. If you’re able, get to a safe place, call 911 to report the accident, and ask for an ambulance if you’re injured. It’s always a good idea to let the paramedics examine you, even if you don’t believe you were seriously hurt. Initially, you may feel fine, but sometimes people don’t feel the full effect of their injuries right away. If you develop any new pain or symptoms within the next few days, see a doctor and mention your accident.
Treating your injuries should be the priority, but if possible, give the police a statement about what happened. You should respond to their questions, but there is no need to speculate about whose fault the accident was. Many people mistakenly believe it was their fault without knowing all the details of what happened.
You should also ask the car driver for their contact and insurance info during this time. If they refuse to give it, don’t get into an argument with the driver. Instead, wait until the police arrive and explain that you tried to exchange info with the driver, but they wouldn’t cooperate. The police can ask for proof of insurance after an accident, and this usually helps you get the information you need.
If you were hurt or even needed to go to a doctor or hospital for further examination, you might wonder what to do about the bill. Should you file a claim with the driver’s insurance policy? In most cases, yes. If you believe the accident was their fault, their liability insurance should pay for your medical bills, as well as property damage to your bike.
What if you’re not sure who was at fault? We recommend you request a copy of your accident report (you can usually get one by contacting the law enforcement agency that responded), then speak with a Columbia bicycle accident attorney. They can help you sort out what happened, explain your options for pursuing compensation, determine what your damages are, and file a claim.
Unfortunately, insurance company adjusters work very hard to save their employers money. This often means that they deny a claim they should have approved. Here are just a few possible reasons they might deny a claim:
No matter why your claim was denied, you can fight to have it reexamined, but don’t do this alone. Contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney who knows how to navigate the maze of red tape insurance companies like to construct for injured parties.
When you are injured in a bicycle accident, you deserve aggressive representation. Not a day goes by that we don’t concern ourselves with our clients’ struggles. Our goal is to ensure that the financial difficulties they face are alleviated to the greatest extent possible.
Contact a Columbia bicycle accident attorney with Auger & Auger today to discuss your accident. Our team prides itself on the outstanding reputation built through hard work and perseverance. Because we believe that confidence and actions are inextricable — we provide a zero-fee guarantee because expert legal representation shouldn’t add to your financial worries.
Call (803) 470-5298 for your free consultation, with no fees due until recovery!