Bicycling is a popular form of recreation and transportation in East Tennessee. Unfortunately, many drivers do not pay attention to bicyclists on the road or take special care to avoid harming a bicyclist, even when there are designated bike lanes. Serious injuries to the head or even death may result. If you lost a loved one to a careless driver, Maryville bicycle accident lawyer Mark Hartsoe is ready to assert your rights.Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim Based on a Bicycling Fatality
In Tennessee, bicyclists have the same rights as drivers of cars and trucks. Cyclists are required to pass on the left except when a vehicle is making a left-hand turn, and they must signal turns with their arms. They are allowed to ride two abreast, as long as they do not impede reasonable traffic movements. Helmets are not required for bicyclists over the age of 16 under state law, which is significant because many bicycling fatalities result from traumatic head injuries. Nevertheless, a failure to wear a helmet is not damaging to your wrongful death case if your loved one died from head injuries. In fact, under Tennessee Code section 44-52-106(c), a failure to wear a protective bike helmet may not be admitted as evidence in a civil trial.
You will need to establish negligence in a wrongful death case against an at-fault driver. Being able to recover damages from a driver for the death of your loved one depends on your proving that the driver did not drive safely and thereby caused the crash. Even after someone has died, an insurance adjustor for an at-fault driver may try to pin the blame on the victim. It is important to be aware that a victim’s family may be barred from recovery or receive a reduced award if the victim was partly responsible for the wreck. This provides incentives for insurance adjustors to try to pin the blame on a victim.
A wrongful death lawsuit that you bring in civil court for a bicycling fatality is independent of any criminal action that may also be pursued against an at-fault driver. The burden of proof for the prosecution in a criminal case is higher than it is for a victim’s family in a civil case. Specifically, the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that a defendant may be acquitted in a criminal case but still be liable for monetary damages in a civil lawsuit.Discuss Your Bicycle Accident Case with Maryville Lawyer Mark Hartsoe
The loss of a loved one may have a serious impact on your finances. For example, you may have difficulty keeping up with a mortgage, paying for groceries, and caring for your children after losing your spouse. Nothing will bring back your loved one, but pursuing a lawsuit for damages may allow you to make ends meet. If a devastating crash left you without a loved one, Maryville bicycle accident attorney Mark Hartsoe can explore your options and provide knowledgeable representation. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm at (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form to schedule a free consultation. Hartsoe can assist families who need a wrongful death attorney in many areas of East Tennessee, including Blount, Knox, Monroe, Loudon, Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, Campbell, Hamblen, Greene, Anderson, Cumberland, and Fentress Counties.