Riding a bicycle is a healthy and effective way to get around the St. Cloud area in the spring, summer, and fall months. If you have the time, you can save money on gas, reduce your carbon footprint, exercise, and enjoy the fresh air.
Unfortunately, there is a downside – as a bicyclist, you are left very exposed, and if you are struck by a motor vehicle, the outcome can be devastating.
If a St. Cloud driver is at fault for causing an accident while you are riding your bicycle, they can be held liable for your damages and injuries. At Nelson Personal Injury, LLC, our experienced bicycle accident Attorney can help you seek justice and recover compensation after a bicycle accident.
In Minnesota, bicycles are often treated the same legally as vehicles, which means cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. It’s imperative to follow traffic signals, signs, and lane markings.
Additionally, when riding after dark, your bicycle must have proper lights and reflectors to enhance visibility. Understanding these laws is crucial because, in the unfortunate event of an accident, they play a significant role in determining fault and liability.
Common Causes of St. Cloud Bicycle Accidents
It doesn’t matter if you ride a bicycle or drive; it is essential to learn how to coexist safely on the roads. Unfortunately, even with taking all precautions, accidents are still a part of the landscape. Some causes of St. Cloud bicycle accidents are more common than others. Learn about some of the most common causes of these accidents here.
Distracted Driving and Riding
Distracted driving remains a leading cause of all traffic accidents, including those involving bicycles. Motorists who are not fully attentive to the road can easily miss the presence of a cyclist, leading to crashes and significant injuries. However, cyclists can also contribute to accidents by not paying full attention to their surroundings, potentially missing traffic signals, or emerging hazards.
St. Cloud’s infrastructure, like many cities, is not always optimized for bicycle travel. Potholes, inadequate bike lanes, and unclear signage can create dangerous conditions for cyclists. When riders are forced to swerve or stop suddenly due to poor road conditions, the likelihood of an accident increases substantially.
Minnesota’s weather can be unpredictable and challenging, with conditions that can change from clear to hazardous swiftly. Slippery roads due to rain, ice, or snow are hazardous for cyclists. Limited visibility during heavy rain or snowfall also adds to the risk, as motorists may have difficulty seeing cyclists on the road.
Turning and Intersecting Paths
Accidents frequently occur when motorists make turns without noticing a nearby cyclist. Whether a left turn across the path of an oncoming bicycle or a right turn cutting off a cyclist’s trajectory, these maneuvers can lead to collisions that may result in serious injuries.
Understanding these common causes of bicycle accidents is the first step in preventing accidents and protecting our community’s cyclists.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
After a bicycle accident, the steps you take can significantly impact your ability to receive fair compensation. First and foremost, prioritize your safety and health. Seek immediate medical attention even if you believe your injuries are minor. Some injuries, particularly those related to the head and spine, may not be immediately apparent.
Some of the most common injuries seen in bicycle accidents include:
- Head Injuries: Helmets reduce the risk, but cyclists can suffer from concussions, skull fractures, or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) if they hit their head during a fall or collision.
- Facial and Dental Injuries: Impact on the road or a vehicle can cause broken jaws, facial fractures, dental fractures, or severe lacerations to the face.
- Road Rash: Sliding across the pavement can result in severe abrasions or “road rash,” leading to scarring and infection if not properly treated.
- Broken Bones: The force of a collision can easily break a cyclist’s bones, with common fractures occurring in the wrists, arms, and legs as they instinctively brace for a fall.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Damage to the spinal cord or vertebrae can occur, potentially resulting in paralysis or other long-term mobility issues.
- Internal Injuries: Blunt trauma from a bicycle accident can cause internal bleeding or damage to internal organs, which might not be immediately apparent.
- Muscle and Joint Injuries: Sprains, strains, and dislocations can result from the body twisting or turning unnaturally during a bicycle crash.
- Limb Injuries: Severe accidents may lead to traumatic injuries to limbs, which can result in long-term disability or even amputation in extreme cases.
Next, report the accident to the local St. Cloud authorities. A police report is an essential piece of evidence when filing a claim. Gather as much information as possible from the scene, including contact and insurance details from the other party involved, and take photographs of the accident scene, your bicycle, and any injuries you sustained. If you are unable to right away, have someone you know and trust get to the scene as soon as possible to take photographs and document the scene.
Remember, before discussing the incident with insurance companies, it is wise to consult with one of the experienced bicycle accident attorneys at Nelson Personal Injury, LLC. Insurance adjusters are trained to minimize the payout, and an innocent conversation could inadvertently undermine your claim.
The Impact of Comparative Fault on Your Claim
Minnesota operates under a modified comparative fault system. This means that if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault. For instance, if you are deemed 10% at fault, and the total damages are $100,000, your compensation would be reduced to $90,000.
Our role is to investigate the accident and build a solid case that accurately represents your situation. We navigate the complexities of comparative fault to ensure your responsibility is fairly assessed, and you are not unjustly blamed for the accident.
Seeking Compensation for Your Losses
After a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for various losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, bike repairs or replacement, and pain and suffering. In tragic cases where a bicycle accident leads to a fatality, we provide compassionate legal assistance to the families of wrongful death claims.
We work meticulously to quantify all your losses to ensure you seek appropriate compensation. From negotiating with insurance companies to taking your case to court if necessary, we are prepared to advocate for your best interests so that you can focus on your recovery.
Why Choose Nelson Personal Injury, LLC
At Nelson Personal Injury, LLC, we possess a deep understanding of bicycle accident claims and have a proven track record of helping our clients in St. Cloud and throughout Minnesota. Our approach is tailored to the unique circumstances of each client, and we pride ourselves on providing personalized, professional, and passionate representation.
We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no attorney fees unless we win your case. This allows you to pursue justice without the stress of upfront costs.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident in St. Cloud, do not navigate the legal process alone. Contact Nelson Personal Injury, LLC today to schedule your free consultation. Our Bicycle Accident Attorney will review your case, inform you of your legal options, and guide you toward recovery and fair compensation. Trust us to be the cycle of support you need during this challenging time.
Remember, in Minnesota, time is of the essence due to the statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Contact our law firm immediately so we can begin working on your case to help you recover compensation.
Let Nelson Personal Injury, LLC be your guide and advocate in pursuing the compensation you deserve. Contact us today and take the first step toward recovery.