When people say that “crime doesn’t pay,” they’re not exactly being truthful. While it is true that crime won’t end well for anyone involved, it can end in expenses for both the perpetrator and the victim.
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In a lot of ways, Minnesota is a bicycle lover’s paradise. Our state is home to some of the best mountain biking in the world. The Twin Cities are home to fantastic biking corridors. And closer to home, the trail systems in and around Duluth and along the shoreline of Lake Superior get more expansive every year.
Just how bike-friendly are we?
According to The League of American Bicyclists, our state is the third-best in the entire nation, with 31 bicycle-friendly communities, 95 bicycle-friendly businesses, and six bicycle-friendly universities. Bottom line: if you want to head out for a ride, Minnesota is a great place to be.
However, there is a dark side to all of this biking, and at LaCourse, Poole & Envall, we know it all too well. Namely, our strong cycling culture brings with it lots of crashes… and injuries. In 2018, the last year for which statistics are available from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, almost 600 people suffered injuries in bicycle accidents with motor vehicles, and seven actually died.
If you or someone you love was injured in a bicycle accident due to the negligent actions of another, you should not have to pay for their mistake. Unfortunately, all too often that is exactly what happens. Not only were 65 of those accidents described above hit-and-run incidents, when cyclists are injured they frequently find themselves dealing with high medical bills, lost income, and more.
How can you avoid getting stuck with the bill?
That is where we come in. The experienced Minnesota injury attorneys at LaCourse, Poole & Envall have been fighting hard for hard-working people in and around Duluth for years, helping them get the fair and just compensation they deserve when they are hurt due to another’s actions. We understand the nuances of injury law in our state, and what it takes to give you the best chance to win your case and hold the other party accountable for their actions.
Riders are not without blame in bicycle-motor vehicle accidents. Cyclists are still required to follow the rules of the road, and about half of the contributing factors in these incidents are actually attributed to riders.
That, however, does not change the fact that far too many drivers engage in negligent behaviors that get them into accidents with cyclists. In fact, in study after study across the country, drivers have been found responsible for these crashes far more often than bike riders — anywhere from 51% to 83.5% of the time.
Sadly, when that happens, it is almost universally the rider who suffers the most. Because unlike people in motor vehicles, they do not have the benefit of being protected behind glass, steel, and plastic.
Simply knowing that, however, does not help you win the compensation you deserve. You need to understand the types of behaviors that drivers engage in that can lead to crashes. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, failure to yield right of way is the number one reason drivers hit cyclists, but in actuality that one phrase can mean lots of different things:
Motor vehicles can hit bicycles whether they are attempting to turn left or right. Both instances are related to failing to yield — and often simply not realizing a cyclist was there.
When turning left, drivers often hit cyclists who are coming from the opposite direction. Either they do not see the rider or believe that they can “beat” the cyclist by making the turn before they get close enough.
When turning right, drivers tend to hit cyclists who are attempting to turn right themselves and have been riding to the motor vehicle’s right or slightly behind them. These accidents can occur whether or not there is a bike lane.
Few drivers enjoy being behind a bicycle out on the road. Unfortunately, sometimes this leads to motor vehicles attempting to pass them in an unsafe manner and causing an accident.
This type of behavior would not be acceptable if they were passing another car, and it is not okay to do when a bicycle is involved, either.
Bike lanes are a great way for cyclists and drivers to share the road while adding a bit of clarity and formality to where each should be on the asphalt. However, some drivers treat bike lanes as optional, using them as just another part of the road as the need arises.
When this occurs, so do accidents.
Opening the door of your car is not something that most people put a lot of thought into. It is simply a necessary part of getting in and out. However, few things are more dangerous to cyclists than a door opening in front of them as they are attempting to ride past a row of parked cars.
Because of this, it is the responsibility of drivers to check before entering and exiting their vehicles — especially when parked on streets.
Quite simply, it takes bicycle riders longer to come to a stop than it does for those operating motor vehicles.
Why does this matter? Because sometimes drivers cause accidents by misjudging this braking speed and unintentionally cutting cyclists off by not giving them enough time to stop.
Additional behaviors drivers engage in that can lead to crashes with bicycles include backing up without using their mirrors and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
It is not uncommon for Duluth cyclists who get hurt in a bicycle accident to experience serious injuries. Things like broken bones, face and skull injuries, and friction burns on their skin.
Actual physical injuries are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the types of damages you can receive compensation for, however. Depending on the specific nature of the accident and your injuries, you may be able to ask for compensation related to:
Before helping you file your claim, our lawyers will look closely at every aspect of your case and talk to you about the various things you have had to undergo related to the accident. Our goal is to make sure that you are fairly compensated for everything that you have endured. That way, you not only have the best chance at a full recovery but can do so without emptying your bank accounts.
Recovering from a cycling accident is not easy. Having to do so while you are worried about where the money is going to come from is even harder.
We can help you hold the responsible parties accountable and fight for the compensation you need — but we cannot get started until you reach out. Start battling for the justice you deserve today by getting in touch with our office for a free initial consultation. Call (218) 727-5384 or (800) 535-1665, email Andrew@NorthlandLawyers.com, or fill out our online case evaluation form.