The Maine Department of Transportation offers the following statistics on bicycle crashes:
- The vast majority of bicycle accidents and personal injuries occur in urban areas. However, more fatal bicycle crashes are reported in rural areas;
- The most common scenario leading to a bicycle injury is motorists’ failure to yield to a cyclist with the right-of-way. Driver inattention ranked a close second;
- 85 percent of all accidents occur during the daytime, the vast majority under clear, dry conditions
Establishing Liability in a Maine Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
If you were in a bicycle crash that wasn’t your fault, we need to quickly preserve the evidence showing that the other driver was at fault. We do this by remembering the legal elements necessary for a successful automobile versus bicycle claim.
In general, those who use the roadways are under a duty to operate their vehicles ordinarily and carefully, taking care not to injure other people. This legal “element” is fairly easy to prove under Maine law.
The second element in a bicycle claim is to prove the defendant breached this duty to operate their vehicle in an ordinary, prudent manner. Facts showing that a collision occurred are generally sufficient to establish the breach element, as drivers acting cautiously are not usually engaged in catastrophic bicycle crashes.
Third, the plaintiff must connect the driver’s unreasonable conduct (e.g., failure to yield, inattentiveness) to the resulting injury. Lastly, the plaintiff must show they were physically and financially (or both) injured.
Under Maine laws, it is also possible for a plaintiff to contribute to his own injury and thereby reduce his overall recovery amount. Under a doctrine known as comparative negligence, a jury may find the injured plaintiff partially responsible for his own injuries. In this event, the verdict amount will be adjusted to represent the plaintiff’s contribution to the accident. Examples of comparative fault could include riding on the wrong side of the road, failing to use reflectors at night, or failing to abide by traffic laws. The insurance companies will hone in on this and try to find evidence that the injured person was at fault.
A Maine Bicycle Accident Lawyer That Can Truly Help
If you or a loved one recently endured a debilitating or fatal bicycle accident, the Maine bicycle accident lawyers of Hardy, Wolf & Downing can help you with your claim. We offer full-service representation for personal injury victims and will help you and your family navigate the bicycle injury lawsuit process from start to finish. For more information or to make your appointment at our Portland or Lewiston law offices, please call 1-800-INJURED to schedule a free legal consultation.