Bicycle accidents in Nebraska are unfortunately frequent and often severe. Victims of these accidents should know that they have rights, including the option to pursue a lawsuit or file an insurance claim for compensation. A skilled bicycle accident lawyer can be a game-changer in this legal process, helping victims receive the compensation and justice they deserve.

Below, Liberty Law Group goes over important information concerning bicycle accidents, such as their types and causes, available legal avenues for victims, and the important role of a bicycle accident lawyer in navigating these complex situations.

Nebraska Personal Injury Lawsuits

The lawyers at Liberty Law Group are dedicated to providing support for personal injury claims. Our firm is experienced in handled numerous personal injury cases on behalf of injury victims in Nebraska and Iowa.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact our firm at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.

Bicycle Accidents

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Types of Bicycle Accidents

One of the most prevalent and dangerous bicycle accident types is the collision between bicycles and motor vehicles. These accidents typically occur in scenarios where cyclists and drivers are required to share road space, such as in intersections, roads without dedicated bike lanes, or congested streets. The extent of injuries in these collisions can vary widely, from minor scrapes to life-threatening situations, largely influenced by the vehicle’s speed and the specifics of the impact.

Another common type of bicycle accident is the ‘dooring’ incident, which occurs in areas with on-street parking. This happens when a car driver or passenger opens their door without noticing an approaching cyclist, leading to potential crashes either directly into the door or as a result of the cyclist swerving into traffic to avoid it. These are more common in urban areas where parking and cycling lanes are in close proximity.

Cyclist-to-cyclist collisions, while less common, typically take place in areas with high bicycle traffic, such as popular cycling routes or shared paths. These accidents can result from a variety of factors, including speeding, misjudgments in distance, or sudden turning by one of the cyclists.

Lastly, single-bicycle accidents, which involve only the cyclist and no other external party, are also notable. These can result from mechanical failures, loss of control, or quick movements to avoid road hazards.

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Causes of Bicycle Accidents

Distracted driving is a leading cause, with smartphones and other electronic devices creating significant distractions for both motorists. This lack of attention to the road can lead to missed signals, erratic movements, or failure to notice the cyclist, resulting in collisions.

Failure to yield the right of way is another major factor, particularly at intersections or when drivers are making turns without properly checking for cyclists. Speeding, both by drivers and cyclists, reduces reaction time for both individuals to avoid a collision.

Impairment due to alcohol or drugs is another critical cause, impacting judgment and reaction times and significantly increasing the likelihood of an accident. Poor visibility conditions, such as at night or during bad weather, also play a significant role, as cyclists are less visible to motorists, leading to higher risks of accidents. The road itself can be a major contributor to bicycle accidents. Potholes, debris, or uneven surfaces can easily cause a cyclist to lose control.

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High-Risk Areas for Nebraska Bicycle Accidents

In Nebraska, populated areas such as Omaha and Lincoln are common sites for bicycle accidents. These accidents are particularly prevalent in busy streets and intersections without clear cycling paths.

The rural parts of Nebraska present a different set of challenges. The higher speed limits, reduced shoulder space, and absence of bike lanes increase the risk of accidents for cyclists. The longer distances and lower visibility due to fewer streetlights also contribute to the risk.

Recreational trails are not immune to bicycle accidents. These trails can see their share of cyclist-to-cyclist collisions or falls due to uneven surfaces, obstacles, or sudden changes in the conditions of trails.

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Liability in Bicycle Accidents

Determining who is liable in bicycle accidents involves identifying who was negligent or at fault for causing the accident. The most common party held liable is the driver of a motor vehicle. If the driver was breaking traffic laws, such as speeding, running a red light, or driving under the influence, they can be held responsible for the accident in an insurance claim or lawsuit. In some cases, the liability may extend to the driver’s employer, especially if the driver was performing work-related duties at the time of the accident.

Apart from vehicle drivers, the governments or municipalities in Nebraska could also be liable, particularly if the accident were caused by poor road conditions or inadequate signs. For example, if a cyclist crashes due to a pothole that should have been repaired or due to missing or confusing traffic signs, the government might be held accountable.

In some instances, the manufacturer of the bicycle or a component could be liable, especially if the accident were due to a defect in the bicycle. For example, the accident could stem from defective brakes.

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Lawsuits and Insurance Claims in Bicycle Accidents

When bringing a lawsuit or insurance claim based on bicycle accidents, the process typically begins with filing a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance. This is the initial step in seeking compensation for injuries and losses suffered due to the accident. The cyclist or their attorney will need to provide evidence that demonstrates the other party’s fault. This might include police reports, witness statements, photos of the accident scene, and medical records.

Insurance companies often start the negotiation process with a low settlement offer, and it may take some back-and-forth negotiation to arrive at a fair amount. If a reasonable settlement can’t be reached with the insurance company, the next step may be to file a lawsuit.

Filing a lawsuit involves taking legal action against the at-fault party in court. This is a more formal process where evidence is presented before a judge or jury, who will then decide on the liability and compensation. It’s a more complex and time-consuming process than settling with an insurance company, but it may result in a higher compensation if the court finds in favor of the plaintiff.

According to Nebraska Revised Statute 25-207, individuals involved in bicycle accidents have a four-year statute of limitations to file personal injury lawsuits. This means a bicyclist injured in an accident has up to four years from the date of the accident to initiate legal proceedings for any damages incurred. Failing to file within this timeframe typically leads to the dismissal of the lawsuit, preventing the injured bicyclist from pursuing compensation.

According to Nebraska Revised Statute 30-809 and 30-810, families of bicyclists who die in accidents due to another’s negligence can file wrongful death lawsuits. This legal action must be filed within two years of the death and is generally pursued by the deceased’s legal representative. The lawsuit aims to get financial compensation for the surviving spouse and family members, covering things like loss of income, funeral costs, and the emotional trauma of losing a loved one.

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Types of Damages in Bicycle Accident Cases

In bicycle accident cases, the types of damages that can be recovered are generally divided into two main categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover the tangible costs resulting from the accident. This includes medical expenses, which can range from immediate emergency care to long-term rehabilitation or therapy costs.

Lost wages are also a significant part of economic damages, compensating the victim for the income lost due to their inability to work during recovery. In some cases, if the victim suffers permanent disability, future lost wages, or loss of earning capacity can also be claimed. Additionally, there may be costs for repairing or replacing the damaged bicycle and any other personal property affected in the accident.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, pertain to the more subjective, personal impacts of the accident. This category includes pain and suffering, which refers to the physical discomfort and emotional distress suffered by the victim. It accounts for both the immediate pain from injuries and any long-term effects, such as chronic pain or emotional trauma. Loss of enjoyment of life is another non-economic damage, compensating the victim for the inability to participate in hobbies, sports, or other activities they enjoyed before the accident.

However, under Nebraska Revised Statute 25-21,185.09, when a bicyclist involved in an accident sues for damages, their level of fault in causing the accident impacts the compensation they can receive. For instance, if the bicyclist is found to be 30% at fault, their compensation is reduced by 30%, granting them only 70% of the total damages. However, if their level of fault equals or exceeds that of the other party involved, they become ineligible to receive any damages.

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After the Accident

Following a bicycle accident, the victim or those at the scene should prioritize safety and medical attention. Calling for medical help, even if injuries seem minor, is important as some injuries may not be immediately apparent. If possible, the victim or a bystander should document the accident scene with photos, capturing road conditions, vehicle positions, and any relevant traffic signs. Collecting contact information from witnesses and the involved parties is also important for future reference. Reporting the accident to the police is necessary; their report can be a valuable piece of evidence later.

Preserving evidence, such as damaged clothing or the bicycle, can also support the victim’s account of the event. Lastly, it is advisable to contact a bicycle accident lawyer before discussing the accident with insurance companies. A lawyer can guide the victim through the process of dealing with the insurance company, ensuring their rights are protected and that they do not devalue their claim.

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Role of a Bicycle Accident Lawyer

A lawyer plays a major role in assisting victims of motor vehicle accidents and bicycle accidents. They start by offering legal guidance, helping the victim understand their rights and the legal options available to them. This includes an assessment of the case to determine the types of damages that can be claimed and the potential value of those claims. The lawyer also gathers and analyzes evidence to build a strong case. This may involve collecting police reports, medical records, witness statements, and any other documentation that supports the victim’s claim.

Negotiating with insurance companies is another crucial aspect of the lawyer’s role. Insurance companies often seek to minimize payouts, and a skilled lawyer can negotiate effectively to ensure that the victim receives fair compensation. This includes arguing for a higher settlement if the initial offer is insufficient to cover all damages. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the lawyer is prepared to take the case to court, representing the victim in all legal proceedings.

Moreover, a bicycle accident lawyer handles all the legal aspects, allowing the victim to focus on recovery. By providing legal representation and support, a bicycle accident lawyer can increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. They can work hard to help ensure that the victim receives the compensation they deserve for their injuries and losses.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I file a lawsuit for my bicycle accident in Nebraska?

Yes, if another party’s negligence caused the accident.

What types of compensation can I receive?

Compensation may include, but is not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

How long do I have to file a bicycle accident lawsuit?

The time limit is four years from the date of the accident.

What if I was partially at fault for the accident?

Compensation is still possible, but it may be reduced based on your fault percentage.

How long does a bicycle accident lawsuit take?

The duration varies, ranging from months to years, depending on the case complexity.

What should I do if the driver’s insurance company contacts me?

Consider consulting with a lawyer before discussing details with the insurance company.

Can I sue if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?

Yes, but the lack of helmet use can impact liability.

What if the driver who hit me fled the scene or was uninsured?

A claim can still be filed, possibly through uninsured motorist coverage.

How do I prove the driver was at fault?

Evidence like police reports, witness statements, and accident scene photos can establish fault.

What if the accident was caused by poor road conditions?

A claim might be filed against the entity responsible for road maintenance.

Can a child file a bicycle accident lawsuit?

A parent or guardian typically files a lawsuit on behalf of the child.

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Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Omaha, Nebraska | Liberty Law Group

At Liberty Law Group, our personal injury attorneys are experienced in filing and litigating personal injury lawsuits, oftentimes all the way through trial. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and believe a lawsuit might be the solution for getting the compensation you deserve, contact our office at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss your case with a qualified personal injury lawyer. Our firm proudly represents the communities of Omaha in Douglas County, Lincoln in Lancaster County, Papillion in Sarpy County, plus the surrounding Nebraska counties of Dodge, Washington, Saunders, and Cass. We also represent those in Iowa courts including the communities of Council Bluffs in Pattawattamie plus the surrounding counties of Harrison and Mills.

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