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How To Determine Fault In A Car Accident Involving A Bicycle In Arizona?

By Karnas Law Firm |

Being involved in an accident as a bicyclist is terrifying. Bicycle accidents are extremely dangerous and can result in fatal injuries. At the office of the Karnas Law Firm, PLLC, we are passionate about helping injured cyclists navigate the claims process and seek compensation for their harm. If you have been involved in an accident and have questions about your rights or the process, call our legal team directly today. Here’s an overview of what you should know about bicycle accidents in Arizona, how to determine fault in a car accident with a bicycle, and how a bicycle accident attorney can help you—

Bicycle Accidents in Arizona

Every year, there are hundreds of bicycle accidents reported in the state. To be sure, in 2020, there were 830 bicycle accidents reported and 33 bicycle accident fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation (DOT). There were 812 bicycle accident injuries reported this same year. According to the DOT, over 90 percent of bicycle crashes occur in urban areas. When a crash occurs and a cyclist is injured, determining fault is an essential part of the claims process.

Causes of Bicycle Accidents

Most bicycle accidents occur as a result of negligence—the failure to exercise the required degree of care. Negligence can be on the part of either the driver or the cyclist, and might include actions such as:

  • Failing to yield
  • Failing to give a cyclist enough space when passing
  • Speeding
  • Drunk driving
  • Failure to look before turning (right-hand turn accidents are common)
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Weaving through traffic

Of course, the above list is not inclusive. Anytime a driver or a cyclist fails to exercise a reasonable degree of care and operate their vehicle/bicycle safely and responsibly, there is a risk of accident.

Damages from a Bicycle Accident

The damages and injuries from a bicycle accident can be particularly severe. Bicyclists have few protections to prevent injuries, putting them at risk of serious harm, including:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spine and spinal cord injury
  • Soft tissue injury
  • Bone fracture injury
  • Road rash injury
  • Internal injury

In addition to physical injuries, a harmed cyclist is likely to incur medical costs, economic damages in the form of lost wages, and noneconomic damages in the form of pain and suffering.

Who’s at Fault in a Car Accident with a Bicycle?

Arizona is an at-fault state, also called a tort liability state. This means that when an accident occurs, the at-fault party is responsible for paying for damages. If a cyclist is injured in a crash, the at-fault party will be liable for damages. This is why proving fault is so important after a crash.

As mentioned above, fault is based on negligence. After an accident occurs, a thorough investigation must be conducted that seeks to identify the cause of the bicycle accident and fault.

In some cases, fault may be shared between the cyclist, the driver of the motor vehicle involved, or/and another party. Arizona maintains a pure comparative negligence law, which means that an injured party can still recover compensation after a crash even if their own negligence contributed to the accident; however, their damages will be reduced in proportion to their degree of blame. For example, if a cyclist is found to be 10 percent at fault and the drive of a car is found to be 90 percent at fault, then the driver will be responsible for 90 percent of the cyclist’s total damages.

How Your Bicycle Accident Attorney Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident as a cyclist, working with a skilled bicycle accident attorney is strongly recommended. When you call our law firm, we can help you by:

  • Investigating your claim, including finding out what was seen by witnesses, working with accident reconstruction experts, and gathering evidence at the scene of the accident;
  • Proving fault and disproving allegations of fault made against you;
  • Calculating the value of your economic and noneconomic damages;
  • Representing you during the settlement negotiations process; and
  • More, including representing you during litigation if necessary.

We will be available and accessible throughout the entire process. Our primary job is to advocate for you.

Call Karnas Law Firm, PLLC Today

When you’ve been harmed in a bicycle accident, you have legal rights. To learn more about these rights and what you should do to prove fault after a car accident as a bicyclist, call the Karnas Law Firm, PLLC directly today. We have the experience and the reputation that you’re looking for in a personal injury lawyer.