Bicycle helmets seem to cause a stir whenever they are brought up in conversation. While nearly no one denies that they are effective in preventing serious head injuries in children, when it comes to adult cyclists, nearly no one can agree on a helmet’s place in the cycling world. Many people wear them to protect themselves in the event of a crash, but do not support legislature mandating their use by adults. Some anti-helmet advocates say that helmets are a hazard because they encourage dangerous riding and do not prevent most injuries — most personal injury lawyers find this argument to be fairly bogus. Some people simply see a helmet as something meant for kids or serious athletes, and just hit the road without one.Can You Recover Damages after a Bike Accident if You Were Not Wearing a Helmet?
The answer to your question depends heavily on the injuries that you sustained. While there is no helmet law for adults in North Carolina, it is still well-known that a helmet is an effective safety measure. Insurance companies know this, and will likely bring it up should you file a claim.
If your injuries involved hurting anything except your head and neck, your use of a helmet had no effect of whether those injuries would have happened. For instance, if you broke your wrists when a car Rear-Ended you, you would have broken them whether you were wearing a helmet or not. While the insurance company may try to argue this point, your damages were unrelated to helmet use, so your award should be unchanged.
If you suffered a head or neck injury as the result of your crash, however, you may have a more difficult time proving your case. The insurance company will argue that you did not take appropriate safety measures to mitigate your injuries, and they may attempt to prove that you are partially at fault for the severity of your injuries. As North Carolina is one of the very few states which observes the contributory negligence system, this could prevent you from collecting any damages at all.Enlist the Help of an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
The most important thing to remember is that despite the fact that you were not wearing a helmet, and that the absence of a helmet may have made your injuries worse, you are not obligated by law to do so. If you were injured by a negligent driver while riding your bicycle, you deserve compensation for your injuries, period. To discuss your case with us further, call us today for a free consultation, or click on the live chat feature to be connected with our office.
Should I Ride My Bike Differently in the Fall than I Do During Other Seasons?
Residents of Raleigh know that fall is one of the most beautiful seasons in this great state. The weather cools down a bit, the leaves change color, and spending time outdoors becomes enjoyable once again. Bike enthusiasts can tell you North Carolina is home to some of the best trails in the nation, including Abbott Creek Trail, the Buffalo Creek Greenway, and the Wakefield Trail. And although they all feature breathtaking scenery, they can become dangerous if the proper precautions aren’t taken.Fall Weather Can Mean Dangerous Biking Conditions
The weather certainly changes in Raleigh come fall, which means trail surfaces are often altered. You’ll need to follow a few precautions to increase your chances of staying safe, including:
Watching for slippery conditions. Leaves on asphalt could become quite dangerous if rain was recently in the forecast. Your tires could slip on the leaves and cause a dangerous collision. Steer clear of any situations in which you could slip in order to stay your safest.
Dressing appropriately. Not wearing the proper gear while riding could cause you to get into a crash. If your shoes become too wet they won’t be able to keep good contact with the pedals and you could slip, causing the bike to become unbalanced and possibly fall. Additionally, wearing gloves, a cap under your helmet, and cold-weather biking clothing can keep you warm and help you stay focused on riding, instead of distracted by how cold you are.
If you are struck by a motorist while riding your bike, you could face serious injuries that could leave you with astronomical medical bills. If you don’t think you should be held responsible for the costs since the accident wasn’t your fault, you’re not alone: We don’t think so, either.
The legal team at Maurer Law wants to help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to that could help cover your medical expenses. Contact us today through our website or by giving us a call to find out how we may be able to help.
Who Will Pay My Medical Bills after a Bike Accident?
If you are involved in an accident on your bike in the Raleigh Durham Triangle area, you should know that there are several potential sources of payment for your medical bills. Everything depends on the facts of the situation. For example, if you are riding your bike and you lose control and wreck because you are going too fast, the accident is your fault. If you are injured, your medical bills may be paid by your health insurance company if you have insurance. If, on the other hand, you wreck your bike because a car hits you, there are other potential sources of recovery. First, you would look to your health insurance because this is the fastest way to receive the care you need. With the help of a Raleigh area personal injury attorney, you could later make a claim against the at fault driver’s auto insurance company under their liability coverage. If they do not have insurance, as required by law, then you would look to your own auto insurance company.
Whether you know it or not, you are required to carry uninsured motorist (“UM”)coverage in North Carolina in an amount at least as much as your liability coverage–the minimum limit to which is $30,000. Thus, if you have auto insurance, you have $30,000 in UM coverage (at least). You would look to your UM coverage to compensate you for injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc. In a UM claim, your insurance company stands in the shoes of the at fault party.
Now, let’s look at another scenario. Let’s say you wreck your bike because there is a defect in the sidewalk you are riding on such that the sidewalk cracks in half when you ride over it. Sure, this is an extreme example, but it is designed to illustrate that here, you could potentially recover from the municipality or property owner who is responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk. You could also potentially pursue recovery from the company who poured and installed the sidewalk.
In almost any bicycle accident in which someone else is responsible for injuring you, there are potentially multiple sources of recovery. If your injuries are serious, you would do well to consult with the best Raleigh personal injury attorney you can find. The last thing you want is to be left with debilitating, life changing injuries, without exploring every potential source of recovery.
At Maurer Law, we help folks who have been injured in bicycle and pedestrian accidents where someone else is at fault for causing it. Attorney Mike Maurer is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who worked for years as an insurance defense attorney defending personal injury claims. If you would like a free consultation, give us a call today at 919-229-8359.
Always wear your helmet!
Do I Have to Wear a Helmet on My Bike in the Raleigh Durham Triangle Area?
No, but you should always wear a helmet. It is easy to recover from a broken arm or leg compared to a head injury, from which you may never recover (or worse). According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), helmet use has been estimated to reduce the risk of head injury by 85% and they have been shown to prevent 60% of head injury deaths. Those numbers are hugely important. No pun intended, but wearing a helmet should be a no-brainer! Protect it, because it can’t be replaced.Interestingly, 83% of bicycle all deaths are persons 20 and older. While only 2% of all motor vehicle wreck deaths were bicyclists, the majority of these deaths were due to head injuries. There is no law in North Carolina that requires adult bicyclists to wear a helmet, but there is a law that requires kids under the age of 16 to wear a helmet while riding on public roads, bicycle paths, and other public rights of way. There is even a Child Bicycle Safety Act, passed in 2001 by Governor Michael Easley. The law mandates that children wear helmets on a bike and the law even provides for a penalty for parents who knowingly allow a child to ride without a helmet. The fine is very minimal, only ten dollars, and it can be waived upon proof of the purchase of a helmet, but obviously, the aim of the law is to encourage parents and kids to be safer.
At Maurer Law, we handle bicycle accidents, car wrecks, and just about any other type of personal injury in the Raleigh Durham Triangle area. Attorney Mike Maurer is a board certified civil trial attorney who spent several years as an attorney for the insurance companies defending personal injury cases. If you or someone you know has been injured in a bike wreck that was caused by the negligence of someone else, call us for a free consultation at 919-229-8359.