Although many bicycle accidents happen when the rider is struck by a vehicle, there are situations where a driver’s actions could be considered negligent even if he/she never makes contact with the bike. These types of cases can be very complicated, which would likely require legal counsel.
What are some examples of driver liability in a bike accident claim in the absence of direct contact?
If a bicyclist is attempting to avoid an accident, there is a chance he/she will end up crashing into something else. That can happen under a variety of circumstances in which a motorist may be responsible.
For instance, let’s say a bicyclist is approaching an intersection with the intention of going straight. A passenger car is on the opposite side of the street, intending to turn left.
But the driver doesn’t see the bike and so in order to avoid colliding, the bicyclist swerves and crashes into another vehicle or a light post on the side of the road. Making a left turn when it’s not safe is considered negligence and would likely apply to this type of case.
Another example is when a motor vehicle is attempting to pass a bicyclist. In Colorado, there should be at least three feet of distance between the vehicle and the bike.
If the vehicle starts to drift too close, it could cause the bicyclist to get out of the way and the rider may strike a nearby curb or post. Ignoring the law in terms of a safe distance can be considered negligence on the part of the driver.
Finally, if a car were to cut off a bicyclist causing the rider to lose control and collide with another object, that driver could be at fault and held liable in a bike accident claim. Any type of negligent action on behalf of the motorist could be considered a contributing factor to the accident.
How to Prove a Driver’s Fault When the Vehicle Never Strikes the Bike
These types of cases can certainly be challenging to prove. The best way to do so is by acquiring eyewitness testimony. Otherwise it might be very difficult to place fault on the driver. If a bystander can testify to the driver’s negligent actions, it would significantly help the case.
Another possibility is acquiring evidence from a red-light camera or even video footage from a camera mounted nearby. It may depict what happened. And of course, some drivers will outright admit to their actions.
I seek help from an attorney?
Anytime there are concerns with proving fault, an attorney should be consulted. A thorough investigation into the accident may end up uncovering information that can prove the driver’s negligence.
And if the injuries sustained were severe, then an attorney should also be contacted. It will be important to prove not only who is responsible but the types of damages that may be recoverable in a bike accident claim.
D.J. Banovitz is not only an attorney knowledgeable in bicycle accident claims; he is an avid cyclist himself and understands the repercussions of a complicated bicycle accident case such as this and what it takes to prove someone else was at fault.