When a pedestrian or a cyclist is hit by any type of vehicle, the resulting injuries are usually serious, since the injured person had little or no protection. Our North Carolina car accident attorneys have seen the serious injuries and fatalities caused by drivers who were not paying attention, distracted, on their cell phone, texting or impaired.
Pedestrian injuries often occur at intersections where there are marked crosswalks. Unfortunately, motorists end up striking pedestrians because they are watching for vehicles rather than people, are in a hurry, or are otherwise distracted.
Cyclists are frequently injured when struck from behind by the driver of a vehicle traveling in the same direction. The next most common accident involving cyclists is when the driver of a vehicle turns into the path of a bicycle at an intersection or crosswalk.
Just recently, we wrote about such a tragedy that occurred on the Fourth of July in Raleigh. A logging truck traveling in the same direction as a cyclist struck it from behind. The accident claimed the life of Steven Jordan, the Director of North Carolina’s Mental Health Division. Police investigation revealed that the accident could have been prevented if the driver of the truck had moved over a sufficient distance to pass safely or maintained a safe distance behind the cyclist until it was safe to pass.
Unfortunately in cases like this the injuries are generally serious, often resulting in death. Even if it appears that there should not be any issue about who is at fault, the insurance company representing the driver of a vehicle involved with a pedestrian or a cyclist will often try and place some blame on the victim. Unfortunately, North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, meaning, any amount of negligence by the injured party will prevent his recovery of damages.
Since pedestrian and cyclist accidents involve individuals with little or no protection, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and even death, are likely outcomes of being struck by a vehicle. The medical expenses and loss of income suffered by those victims can be overwhelming. In order to recover, it must be proven that the driver of the vehicle was negligent and that their negligence caused the resulting injuries, whether it be from going too fast, not maintaining a safe distance, failing to yield the right of way, momentary inattention or driving while impaired.
In cases where the injured individual has medical expenses and other losses that exceed the liability limits of the at fault person, he can look to his own automobile policy and make a claim under his uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Even though they are a pedestrian or a cyclist, their own personal automobile policy will provide coverage if they are struck by an uninsured motorist, a hit-and-run driver or someone who has inadequate coverage to fully compensate them. Your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can compensate you over and above the negligent driver’s insurance up to the limits of your policy.
If you, a family member or a friend have been involved in pedestrian or cyclist accident, you should seek the advice of an experienced car accident attorney.
Auger & Auger is a personal injury law firm that has devoted its practice to a wide array of personal injury matters, including pedestrian and bicycle accidents. For over 40 years, the attorneys at Auger & Auger have devoted 100% of their practice to personal injury and insurance law.
For your convenience, we have five offices. We have three offices in Charlotte and one each in Greensboro and Raleigh.
Contact us to schedule your appointment for a confidential consultation to discuss your particular case. Our cases are handled on a contingency basis, so that you will never owe our firm any fee unless we make a recovery for you.
Related Blog Posts:
What You Should Know About Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, July 27, 2012
Bicycle Accident Claims Life of North Carolina Mental Health Director, North Carolina Personal injury Lawyer Blog, July 9, 2012