Bicycling is not only the cleanest means of transport, but it is also affordable and has health benefits. Unfortunately, cyclists are at a high risk of being involved in accidents. Suffering injuries in a bicycle accident can harm you financially, mentally, and physically. Luckily, you can seek reimbursement for the injuries. At the G. Dallas Horton & Associates, we understand that the essential factor about receiving maximum compensation is through knowing all the types of damages available. For this reason, we have highlighted various types of compensation below.
Filing a Bicycle Accident Personal Injury Claim
The process of seeking compensation for bicycle accident injury claims begins after the accident. The first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Later, your attorney will try to recover compensation from the liable party through a settlement. Most personal injury claims are resolved through negotiations alone.
In case the offer by the party at fault is not appealing, you can move to court for the matter to be heard in a trial. When the case gets to trial, you will need evidence. Some of the evidence your attorney can introduce at this stage includes:
- Video surveillance footages from the scene
- Medical records and medical expert testimonies
- Eyewitness statements
- Accident reconstruction expert testimonies
- Weather report for the daay the accident happened.
Remember, in injury claims, you and your attorney carry the burden of proof. You must introduce mass evidence to show that the defendant is liable.
Determining Liability in Nevada for Bicycle Accidents
A different law governs bicycles from vehicles in Nevada, but both are required to adhere to the same traffic rules. For this reason, it can be confusing to find the person responsible for your injuries. And remember, you can’t receive compensation without identifying the person answerable for your injuries.
As such, it’s advisable to hire an attorney who understands personal injury law so that he or she can help you identify the various parties that may be responsible for your injuries. Some of the potential defendants in bicycle accidents include:
- The other driver or cyclist on the road
- Bicycle manufacturer
- City or county responsible for the road where the accident happened
- The manufacturer of the bike helmet
Elements of Proving a Bicycle Accident Claim
As a plaintiff, there are multiple claims you can bring against the defendant. You should allow your attorney to decide which claim is favorable based on the nature of your case.
In Nevada, a plaintiff must prove some of the following elements to show that the defendant was negligent:
- The answerable person or defendant had a legal duty of care
- He or she violated this obligation
- The violation of the onus of care is the source of your injuries
Drivers and bicyclists owe other road users a legal duty to drive safely. If they fail to do so and cause an accident, then they should take the blame for your injuries since they acted negligently.
Negligence Per Se
A driver is responsible for bicycle accident injuries as per the negligence per se rule if he or she hits a bicyclist. If you decide to pursue this claim, you must prove the following elements:
- It was the driver’s duty to follow the law
- The purpose of the law is to ensure your safety as a plaintiff
- The driver violated the law that should keep you safe
- The bicycle accident was avoidable if it was not for the violation of the law
- The violation of the law by the defendant caused your injuries or damages
Under negligence per se, you must have suffered injuries or incurred property losses. Also, the defendant, which in most cases is a driver, must have flouted safety rules through their negligent behavior. Additionally, you must show a relationship between the violation of the law and your injuries.
If a bicycle accident occurs without involving a vehicle or motorcycle, your attorney should begin investigating the bicycle for defects. In case a bicycle accident occurs when you are alone, you can only pursue a product liability claim. Some of the elements you must prove under the claim include:
- The bicycle was defective because of design, manufacturing or warning error
- The defect existed before the bicycle left the hand of the manufacturer
- You used the bicycle in a reasonably foreseeable manner by the defendant
- The defect was the cause of your injuries
Wrongful Death Claim
A bicycle accident can be fatal at times. If someone you love dies in a bicycle accident, you can pursue a wrongful death claim. You will be awarded compensation if you can prove the following elements:
- The victim of the bicycle crash is dead
- The death was as a result of wrongful act or negligence
- You as the plaintiff are an heir or personal representative of the casualty
- You suffered monetary damages as a result of the death
Types of Compensation for a Bicycle Accident
Injuries stemming from a bicycle accident can take a toll on your life in many aspects. You might end up with trauma, loss of income, financial, and health issues. It is the reason you have a legal right and option to sue the liable party for compensation so that you can live a better life under the new circumstances. The compensation you will receive will come in the following forms:
Special damages, also called economic damages, is the primary category of financial compensation offered to casualties of bicycle accidents. The damages manifest tangible effects, unlike general damages, and they seek to reimburse the victim for the costs incurred during and after the bicycle accident. Primarily, these damages include lost income and medical expenses. The damage of property also falls under economic damages.
Non-economic damages also referred to as non-economic damages and are aimed at compensating victims for intangible impact or harm. The intangible harm includes emotional trauma, mental anguish, and psychosocial harm caused by bicycle accident injuries. Some of the damages classified under general damages include loss of enjoyment of life, companionship, affection, psychosocial harm, and emotional stress.
Compensation for Damages Incurred in a Bicycle Accident
If you are a casualty of a bicycle accident and win a personal injury claim against the person responsible, you can recover the following compensatory damages:
Existing and Future Doctors and Rehabilitation Costs
Cyclists are always at risk of sustaining severe injuries in case of an accident because bicycles do not have a body to protect them against the pavement or car. Other times, you might sustain minor injuries like bruises as a cyclist. Whether you suffer major or minor injuries, seeking medical attention is critical. You should do it right away because injuries like TBI, when not treated early, can cause serious health complications or even death.
Remember, after an accident, even though you know the person responsible, you cannot request them to pay your bills. You have to pay out of your pocket for all the costs relating to the treatment of the injuries.
Once you have received treatment, your attorney will request all the medical records and bills to calculate the amount of money spent towards treating your injuries.
In case you have suffered severe injuries that require long term treatment and therapies, your lawyer can request doctors to estimate the cost of future treatment as of the date of registering a claim. That way, he or she can seek maximum compensation for medical bills.
If you are awarded compensation for medical bills, you get to recover all the costs you incurred receiving treatment. The money will also help you pay for future doctor’s bills and therapies.
Take note that if a victim of a bicycle accident receives treatment for some time before passing on, you can claim medical bills and still register a wrongful death claim. The compensation for medical bills helps descendants of the decedent to recover all the costs incurred in treatment before the demise of the victim.
Lost Income and Future Earning Potential
Bicycle accident injuries are likely to make you miss work for some time or even permanently. If this happens, you are entitled to reimbursement for lost income or wages. If you are entitled to medical and retirement benefits, the jury will order the defendant to repay. However, to receive compensation, your doctor must state that you are not fit to resume work. You will receive reimbursement for lost wages from the time of the accident to the time of trial or settlement.
If there is a possibility of long-lasting disability, your attorney should inquire about it from your doctor so that they can claim loss of future earning potential. You claim these damages if there is a possibility you might not work again because of the severity of the injuries.
If injuries are catastrophic or severe, you will be spending a lot of time in hospital due to mobility issues or in physical therapy sessions. For an employment person, it is easy to provide proof of employment, which means they have higher chances of receiving compensation compared to unemployed or self-employed individuals.
For persons in informal employment or those that are self-employed, the evidence is mandatory to demonstrate to the jury the wages you have lost during the period you have been unable to work.
Take note that when receiving compensation for loss of future earning, several factors come into account. The court considers your training, talent, skills, occupation, years of experience, and life expectancy.
Your previous wages before the crash are used to estimate the reimbursement you should receive after the injuries from the bicycle accident hamper your potential to make a living in the future. Compensation for lost wage and future earning capacity seek to take care of the income you could be earning if the bicycle accident had not occurred.
After a bicycle accident, victims might experience anxiety, fear, or PTSD, which causes emotional stress. Several ways are available in which you might suffer emotional distress. It might manifest in the form of depression, insomnia, or anxiety. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is an indicator of emotional distress, and you should talk to your doctor about it. Your doctor will evaluate the signs and prepare a medical report indicating emotional stress. Medical documentation of emotional distress will help with your lawsuit and when claiming compensation from your insurer.
Note that emotional distress is subjective, and it varies from one casualty of a bicycle accident to another. There is no formula for measuring emotional distress, which means the jury relies on reports from doctors and your personal diary to place a dollar value on the emotional distress you have suffered. It is for this reason that you are encouraged to jot down different feelings daily during your recovery. These can serve as evidence of the emotional distress the bicycle accident injuries caused.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
A bicycle accident can cause injuries that can have you spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair or on scratches. They will stop you from taking part in cycling competitions, sports, and other recreational activities. Severe injuries can also affect your sexual function or prevent you from getting fulfillment. When injuries deny you the chance to participate in physical and mental activities, your overall health and life become compromised. For this reason, you miss the chance to enjoy the pleasure you used to have before the accident.
Where it is possible to value the loss of life enjoyment, you can be awarded economic or special damages in your injury lawsuit. But where it is impossible to attach a dollar value to the loss of enjoyment, the amount of compensation you will receive depends on the discretion of the judges. You can get ideas on the amount to demand by speaking to your friends or family about what they would demand as compensation if they found themselves in your shoes. Besides, you can consult with G. Dallas Horton & Associates to get advice on the value you should expect as compensation.
Pain and Suffering
Injuries from a bicycle accident can cause mental and physical pain and anguish. There is a possibility that you will live with the pain and discomfort for the better part of your life. A monetary award for pain and suffering is meant to zero in on the amount of pain you have had to endure because of the injuries. It is apparent that no amount of compensation can take away the pain you endure. However, the only thing the justice system can provide you for the pain is compensation.
This type of compensation depends on the severity of the physical injuries sustained, pain, and projection of future pain. If the physical injuries are minor, and you recover after a short while, the number of damages you will receive will be half your doctor’s bills. But if the injuries sustained are severe, the amount of pain and suffering damages to be awarded will be much higher than the medical bills.
To ensure maximum compensation for these damages, you will need a personal injury attorney even to project future pain following the bike bicycle crash. An attorney will help you gather crucial documents, including your personal diary, to help demonstrate the kind of pain the injuries caused you, the duration the suffering went on for, and the losses incurred due to the pain.
Under this form of reimbursement, there are multiple forms of pain and suffering. These are:
- Possibility of future deterioration or worsening of injuries
- Emotional trauma and mental suffering
- Severe disfigurement can compromise your professional reputation as the claimant
The biggest challenge with these damages is that it is impossible to quantify them or attach dollar value, which makes it hard to negotiate and arrive at a settlement. Also, it is difficult to verify the intensity of another person’s pain. However, writing down what you feel every day when healing from the injuries can ease the process of placing value on these damages.
Loss of Consortium
Bicycle accident injuries affect not only the victims but also their spouses. Nevada statutes allow partners or spouses of the casualties to register a claim for loss of consortium. The jury can order you to be awarded loss of consortium compensation if the bicycle accident injuries have resulted in the loss of:
- Ability to bear kids
When you sustain physical injuries, you are also likely to have some of your stuff damaged too. The court awards property damage compensation for the value of the property that has been damaged. If it’s a feature of the bicycle, clothing, or cycling helmet that has been damaged, you will get compensation for the dollar value of the item.
If the cost of repairing the bike is lower than the value of the bicycle at the time of the collision, you can seek reimbursement for the cost of mending the bicycle. If the number of repairs and maintenance exceeds the value of your bike during the accident, then you will be compensated for an amount similar to the bicycle’s value.
Take note that you won’t just tell the court that you spent a certain amount to repair the bicycle after the crash to obtain the damages. You must present documents or paperwork from a reputable bicycle repair shop showing the amount of money spent on repairs. You will also need receipts to prove the amount of money the bicycle is worth if buying a new bicycle is more reasonable than doing repairs.
If the bicycle has not yet been repaired or you don’t know its market value at the time of registering a claim, you can involve bicycle experts in the appraisal process. The expert will help you determine the market value of the bicycle before the accident. Remember, the value you attach to the bicycle during appraisal should match the value of the bike at its current state in terms of model and year.
If you want to determine the cost of repairs, the bike expert can assess the damages and come up with a cost estimate for repairs and maintenance. An expert will also help you with the appraisal of the bicycle immediately after the accident, although its price at this time is often low unless it includes other components.
Punitive damages are types of compensation awarded to the plaintiff for the exact or definite damages you and the bicycle have incurred after the accident. The purpose of the damages is to rebuke the defendant whose misconduct led to the bicycle crash. You can only obtain these damages if you prove the defendant exhibited gross misconduct or misbehavior when the accident happened.
Wrongful Death Damages
Not everyone that gets involved in a bicycle accident survives. Some victims pass on at the scene of the crash while others die when receiving treatment. Wrongful death damages enable the descendants of the deceased or a representative of the estate to claim damages for:
- The costs of treatment incurred before the demise of the victim
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Emotional trauma for losing a loved one
- Loss of financial support, if the deceased was the breadwinner in the family
However, you will not obtain these damages that quickly because you have to prove the elements mentioned earlier in wrongful death claims.
Where the victim has sustained severe injuries to the extent, they depend on others to perform daily routines, there is a need to get compensation. The money received helps hire people who will be looking after you since it is a demanding job. Hiring a professional to care for you is the best thing instead of having to rely on family and relatives who have to drop everything else to care for you.
Before the jury offers these damages, you must prove that you cannot perform the routines you need help with. Your doctor or physician can help you gather the evidence to prove this.
Find a Bicycle Accident Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
In case of a bicycle accident that leaves you with injuries, you should reach out to G. Dallas Horton & Associates at 702-820-5917. We understand that these accidents can cause many losses and damages, which is the reason we are available to help you receive various types of compensations for the injuries.