Fatal collisions between motor vehicles and bike riders have risen dramatically over the last decade, as bicycling becomes more popular and motor vehicles become larger and more dangerous to non-motorists. The National Safety Council reports 712 cyclists died in collisions with motor vehicles nationwide in a single recent year. At the same time, the Missouri Department of Public Safety says that four bicyclists died, and 500 were injured in crashes with vehicles in just one year.
If you’ve suffered injuries in a bicycle collision involving a careless motor vehicle operator in St. Louis, our lawyers want to help you seek the financial compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, property damage, and other losses. The St. Louis bicycle accident attorneys at Sumner Law Group, LLC, have more than 50 years of combined personal injury experience and have recovered millions for our clients.
Contact our office today for a free initial consultation and legal advice about your options for pursuing a bicycle accident case.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents in St. Louis
While many different potential causes for bicycle accidents exist, some of the more common include:
- Motor vehicle drivers failing to “share the road” with bicyclists
- Distracted drivers
- Aggressive drivers
- Intoxicated or otherwise impaired drivers
- Drivers failing to yield the right of way
- Drivers failing to check mirrors or blind spots before turning
- Drivers speeding, running red lights, or violating other traffic laws
- Drivers and passengers not checking before opening a car door
- Potholes, uneven pavement, or other road defects
- Poor weather conditions
Most Common Types of Bicycle Accidents in St. Louis
Bicycle accidents occur under many different circumstances. However, some of the more common types of bicycle accidents include:
- Intersection accidents — Drivers often aren’t looking for bicyclists when they make turns at intersections, leading to preventable collisions.
- Passing accidents — Missouri law requires drivers to maintain a safe distance from cyclists when the cyclist is traveling in their lane – a law that many motorists ignore. Failure to allow bicyclists a safe buffer can cause a driver to clip the side of the bicycle or lead the cyclist to crash into a vehicle that suddenly passes them and slows down or turns into their path.
- Dooring accidents — On crowded streets, drivers and passengers need to watch cyclists whenever they open a door. Otherwise, they may open the door into the path of a passing bicyclist and cause a “dooring” collision.
- Rear-end collisions — Drivers who are impaired, distracted, speeding, or otherwise negligent can rear-end a cyclist in their path if they aren’t careful. Rear-end collisions can throw a cyclist from their bike, leading to additional injuries.
- Hit-and-run accidents — Some motorists flee the scene of an accident after striking a bicyclist, significantly increasing the chance that the victim doesn’t get the medical attention they need. If the motorist who hit you attempts to leave the scene without assisting you, try to get a picture of the vehicle and its license plate so that that police can locate the criminal.
Types of Bicycle Accident Injuries in St. Louis
A bike accident involving a motor vehicle can leave cyclists with devastating injuries due to the size imbalance of the vehicles involved and the lack of protective features on bicycles. Cyclists can also become ejected from their bikes and experience a second impact with the ground or another hard surface.
Some of the more common serious injuries that occur as the result of bicycle accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bone fractures
- Internal injuries and bleeding
- Joint damage
- Road rash
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Chronic pain from serious injuries
What Are My Legal Rights After a Bicycle Accident?
Bicycle accident victims have the same rights as any driver who’s been injured in an accident. That means that if you can establish that the driver behaved negligently and that their negligence led to your injuries, you can file a personal injury claim to pursue compensation from them.
Can Damages Be Recovered After a Bicycle Accident?
If a motor vehicle struck you while riding your bicycle in Missouri, you can seek financial compensation for your injuries by filing a personal injury claim against the driver of the car that hit you and their insurance company.
By taking the following steps, you can protect your well-being and improve your chances of receiving compensation:
- Call 911. Your health is of absolute importance following a bicycle collision involving a motor vehicle, so call emergency medical services if you are able, or ask a bystander if you are not. Calling 911 will also bring the police to the scene, who can file an official report that can provide helpful information to pursue a bicycle injury claim.
- Document the accident scene. If you’re physically able, use your phone to take pictures of your injuries, the vehicle that hit you, the vehicle’s license plate number, and the surrounding area. If there’s anyone nearby who might have seen the accident, get their contact information.
- Hold on to all your medical records. To recover full compensation, you’ll need to thoroughly document your injuries, as well as the financial losses you’ve suffered as a result of the accident. Your medical records are a crucial piece of evidence for calculating damages in a personal injury claim.
- Don’t talk to any insurance companies. Anything you say to an insurance company can potentially be used against you, so your best bet is to say nothing until you’ve spoken to an attorney.
- Talk to an experienced bicycle accident lawyer. A lawyer can determine whether you have a valid personal injury claim and, if you do, help you recover the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled.
With help from an experienced St. Louis bicycle accident attorney, you can seek compensation in bicycle accident claim for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and reduced future earnings
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and mental pain and suffering
- Damaged personal property
Does an Auto Policy’s UM/UIM Coverage Apply in Bicycle Crashes?
If you’ve been injured in a collision with a driver who fled the scene or lacked sufficient coverage to pay for all your losses, your auto insurance policy’s uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) provision could cover your injuries and other expenses, provided you have the optional coverage.
The UM/UIM coverage on your auto policy can also apply to children and others in your household if they are hurt in a traffic accident while riding a bike.