Blount County is a popular area for bike riding in Tennessee. Unfortunately, negligent motorists, defective equipment, and poor road conditions can sometimes turn a leisurely ride into a tragedy. Maryville bicycle accident attorney Mark C. Hartsoe can help you if you were injured while riding a bike due to the carelessness of another. Mr. Hartsoe has handled numerous bicycle accident cases throughout his twenty-year career as a personal injury lawyer. He can help you fight for the compensation you need. If you were injured in a bicycle accident, call us today to discuss your case.Bicycle Accidents in the U.S. and Tennessee
Bicycle accidents can lead to serious injuries. Most bicyclists are injured in traffic crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 48,000 bicycle injuries and 677 deaths were the result of traffic crashes in 2011. Children in particular are more susceptible to bicycle accidents. Approximately 8,000 of those injured were under the age of 14. In Tennessee, the Department of Safety reported 413 injuries and eight fatalities in traffic accidents that involved bicycles in 2012. In many cases, these accidents are caused by drivers who fail to see or properly share the road with bicyclists.
Negligent motorists are not the only cause of bicycle accidents. The bicycle itself may pose a danger to the rider. Defects in design, framing, or assembly can lead to serious injuries. Even a helmet, which is designed to protect against head injuries, can be defective and cause trauma.
Dangerous conditions on Tennessee roads can also cause bicycle accidents. With their light weight and thin tires, bicycles lack the structure to handle defective road conditions, such as potholes and buckled pavement. These can all lead to traumatic injuries to a bicyclist.Liability for Bicycle Accidents
Several factors may result in a bike accident, and more than one person or entity may be responsible for the injuries. Motorists in Tennessee have a duty of care when they operate their vehicles. A motorist breaches this duty if he or she acts carelessly by speeding, texting while driving, or failing to yield the right-of-way. Motorists must be particularly cautious when they are near children because children are held to a lower standard of care when they ride their bicycles.
A bike manufacturer also has a duty of care to its consumers when it comes to the manufacture of their products. They may breach this duty, however, if they choose to cut costs by rushing a bicycle’s design, assemblage, or using subpar materials.
If a defective road condition causes a bicycle crash, the public municipality or state agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can potentially be held liable. There are special rules, however, that apply in cases against government entities. Tennessee gives government agencies what is called "sovereign immunity,” which means an agency can only be held accountable if their reasonable maintenance of the area could have prevented the accident. Certain procedures must be followed in these cases before a person can even initiate a lawsuit.Compensation and Recovery
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bike accident, you may be able to hold the negligent parties responsible. Whether the injury was caused by an inattentive motorist, defective bicycle, or dangerous road condition, you can seek to recover for your injuries and the damage to your property. Your own auto insurance carrier will have an uninsured/underinsured motorist provision in your policy which can protect you even if an uninsured motorist hit you. Compensation may include current and future medical bills, lost wages and earning capacity, permanent impairment, emotional distress, and property damage.
Tennessee law also allows you to file a wrongful death claim if your relative was killed in a bicycle accident involving someone else’s negligence. You can recover for their medical expenses, burial and funeral costs, and loss of consortium.Personal Injury Attorney Ready to Help You
Maryville personal injury lawyer Mark C. Hartsoe is ready to help you in your bicycle accident case. Mr. Hartsoe will investigate the accident scene, interview witnesses, and hire reconstruction and engineering experts to prove your case and help you seek the maximum compensation for your injuries. He will work with the at-fault party's insurance company, handle the paperwork, and negotiate on your behalf so you can focus on your recovery. Contact us today at (865) 524-5657 or online for a free, no-obligation consultation.