With 120 miles of trails and scenic routes, Racine is a great area for bicycling. In addition to recreation, many others in the area use their bikes to ride to school or work, a cost-effective mode of transportation. However, no matter how careful you are, careless motorists could jeopardize your safety while on your bike.
Sadly, all it takes is a small distraction for a motorist to cause a devastating accident. However, a skilled personal injury attorney could help. If you were struck by a reckless motorist while biking, a Racine bicycle accident lawyer could work on your behalf to get you compensated for your losses.
What are the Rules of the Road?
Bicycles are considered vehicles under Wisconsin law. Additionally, state law focuses on how vehicle operators conduct themselves to ensure the safety of others on the road. Wisconsin law states that:
- Bicyclists can share the road with motor vehicles
- Motorists can pass bicyclists but must maintain at least three feet of space between their vehicle and a bike
- Drivers must give bicyclists enough room to maneuver around sewer grates, potholes, and road construction
- Vehicle operators must move to another lane when trying to pass a bicyclist riding in a narrow lane
- Drivers must be cautious of fast-moving bicycles and anyone crossing in crosswalks or opposing lanes
Additionally, motorists must stay vigilant and observe bicyclists to avoid catastrophic accidents.
However, both parties must operate their vehicles in a reasonable fashion. Even a minor infraction, like coasting through a stop sign, could make a motorist liable for causing a collision. A seasoned personal injury lawyer could review the circumstances of your accident to determine the type of compensation an injured bicyclist may deserve.
Compensation for Bicycle Accident Injuries
Negligent motorists who cause crashes must compensate riders for any necessary medical treatment, rehabilitative care, lost wages, property damage, and non-economic losses like pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and diminished earning capacity.
When Both Parties are at Fault
Insurance companies often attempt to offer injured bicyclists as little compensation as possible, hoping they will be desperate enough to accept it. However, it is crucial to avoid doing so. Likewise, it is important to be aware of Wisconsin Statute 895.045, which defines the guidelines when an award granted on the basis of the plaintiff’s fault is reduced due to the fault assigned to the defendant’s actions. For example, a defendant’s insurer or attorney may accuse a bicyclist of failing to use hand signals for at least fifty feet before turning and claim the defendant didn’t know the bicyclist intended to turn.
However, in that particular example, under Wis. Stat. 346.34(1)(b), bicyclists do not need to give the signal continuously if the hand and arm are required to control the bike. A skilled personal injury attorney is familiar with insurance companies and defense attorneys and could help prevent a plaintiff from accepting an unfair settlement.
Statute of Limitations in Bicycle Accidents
If an insurance company offers a plaintiff an inadequate settlement for their accident-related injuries, bicyclists can ask the civil court system for compensation. Wisconsin gives the plaintiff three years from the date of the accident to file a complaint, with a few exceptions. However, filing after the Statute of Limitations expires will inevitably lead to a dismissal.
A Racine Bicycle Accident Attorney Can Help
Bicycle accidents are often catastrophic, leading to long recoveries and permanent injuries. However, if someone else was at fault for your collision, the damage can be even more upsetting. Fortunately, our legal team members with decades of experience can help.
An experienced Racine bicycle accident lawyer understands the tactics used by insurance companies and could fight to get you a favorable case outcome. Call the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. today to schedule a consultation.