Injured in a Bike Accident in Mississippi? We Can Help
Mississippi drivers know that they need to share the road with not only other drivers but with pedestrians and bicyclists. However, this does not always happen. Either the driver fails to yield the right of way to the bicyclist or they simply don’t see them on the road. When a driver gets into an accident with a bike rider, there can be serious injuries involved.
If you get into a bicycle accident anywhere in Mississippi, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. The Mississippi bicycle accident lawyer at Giddens Law Firm, P.A. is prepared to help you with your claim and get you the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.
What Are the Common Causes of a Bicycle Accident?
Like car and truck accidents, the common causes of a bicycle accident include:
Drivers texting, fiddling with the radio, or trying to map out a route on a GPS can easily miss seeing a cyclist on the road. But distracted driving isn’t only a driving issue but a bicycling problem as well. A bicyclist may be more concerned about playing the next song on their phone than paying attention to the road.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that alcohol was involved in 34% of all fatal bicycle accidents in 2019. Although drunk driving is illegal, it is still a major problem in the United States today. Driving while impaired can lower a person’s reaction time in a time of emergency. If a bicyclist rides in front of a drunk driver, the driver may not have the sense to stop in time.
Failure to Yield
Bicyclists have the right of way on our roadways. But may drivers ignore this fact. They try to either cut off the bicyclist or speed around them. In turn, the bike rider may not be able to stop and hit the car head-on. You need to remember that bicyclists have the same rights and privileges as those driving a vehicle and when a driver fails to yield to a cyclist, a dangerous situation occurs.
When vehicles try to pass a bicyclist on the road, they may not realize how close their vehicle may be to the cyclist. The law states that drivers must give at least three feet of space when passing a cyclist but not all drivers follow this law. This results in a catastrophic accident.
Sometimes the driver just doesn’t see the bicyclist until it’s too late. If a cyclist is riding along a line of parallel-parked cars, a motorist may open their door in front of the cyclist’s path. The bicyclist may not be able to avoid striking the door, being thrown over the open door, and sustaining serious injuries.
We’re all in a hurry to get where we need to go and sometimes, we go faster than we should. Depending on the weather conditions, road hazards, and the amount of traffic, speeding can put everyone on the road at risk. The faster you go, the harder it will be to stop if something gets in your path, like a bicyclist turning in front of you.
How Often do Bike Accidents Occur in Mississippi?
Bike riding is a great outdoor activity that the whole family can enjoy. But unfortunately, it can also be dangerous, especially when sharing the road with cars and other vehicles.
According to the NHTSA, there were 846 cyclist fatalities across the United States in 2019. Bike accidents accounted for 2.3% of all traffic fatalities for that year. In addition, 49,000 bicyclists were injured in a traffic accident, a 5.4% increase from 2018. The majority of these accidents occurred in urban areas. And in Mississippi, there is one particular place where many accidents occur – the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Why is the Trace so Dangerous?
Affectionately known as “The Trace,” this 440-mile trail has become one of the South’s most popular spots for bicyclists, thanks to the hundreds of miles of beautiful scenery and the excellent condition of the asphalt. Bikers come from all over the world come to our beautiful state to enjoy this stretch of federal land.
However, bikers should use extreme caution when riding on The Trace. Natchez Trace is narrow, offers no bike lane and people on The Trace are not always using good judgment and occasionally hit these bikers. The combination of the narrow roadway and the scenic views make for a dangerous and sometimes deadly combination. Often drivers of motorcycles, cars, and RVs are not always looking where they are going, or are driving when fatigued or distracted by a cell phone.
There have been several serious injuries and some deaths due to these factors along the Natchez Trace Parkway. In November of 2017, a bicyclist riding on the Natchez Trace Parkway was struck by a car in Nashville, Tennessee. The accident, which was caught on camera, later died from his injuries. And just recently, a bicyclist was hit by a car along the Trace in Jackson, Mississippi, which resulted in serious injuries.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Bike Accident in Jackson, MS?
Many people believe that when there’s a bike accident in Jackson, the at-fault party is usually the driver. And while that is usually the case, there may be additional parties responsible for the accident. Even the biker themselves may be partially to blame.
For example, if you cut off a car that was unable to stop in time, you may be found 25% at fault for the crash. If your settlement claim is over $150,000, you would see it reduced to $125,000 since you were found partially at fault. This is called pure comparative fault.
That’s why if you were found partially at fault for a Mississippi bicycle accident, it’s important to speak with a personal injury attorney right away to learn what options are available for your claim.
How Can Giddens Law Firm Help You With Your Claim
For over two decades, the Jackson bike accident lawyers at Giddens Law Firm have been helping injury victims throughout the state. With a thorough investigation, we’ll learn who is responsible for your accident and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to make sure you get the full amount of damages you may have suffered.
With years of experience, a successful track record, and a wealth of resources available, Mississippi bicycle accident lawyer John Giddens is ready to take on the insurance company. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bicycle Accidents in Mississippi
What Are Mississippi Bicycle Laws?
According to Mississippi law, bicyclists have the right of way. In 2010, Mississippi had passed the John Frerer Bicycle Safety Act, which is aimed at protecting bicyclists in the following ways:
- When passing a bicyclist on the road, the motorist must leave a safe distance of no less than three between their vehicle and the bicyclist until they pass the bicycle.
- Motorists cannot throw items or harass a bicyclist
- Motorists cannot block the bike lane
- Drivers must check to see if they can open the vehicle’s door safely before opening
In addition, the driver has a responsibility to stay at the scene of the accident until emergency personnel arrives.
What Should You Do After a Bicycle Accident?
If you were involved in a bike accident in Jackson, MS, you should first make sure everyone is ok. Get to a safe place and call 911 right away.
While you are waiting for emergency services to arrive, try to get as much evidence of the accident scene as you can. Get photos of the area, take down the contact information of any witnesses, and make sure to exchange information with the driver.
Once the police arrive, make a brief statement about what happened. Remember not to admit guilt. Keep in mind that anything you say during this time can be used against you later on.
As soon as you speak with the police, seek medical attention right away, even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured. Injuries may take hours if not days to present themselves so it’s always best to get checked out by a medical professional after any type of accident.
Remember to contact your insurance company about the accident. Your auto insurance policy will be the first place you submit a claim.
Finally, contact an experienced Jackson bicycle accident lawyer at Giddens Law Firm. We can help you navigate the claim process and make sure you get a fair settlement that will pay for all your injuries. For more than two decades, our bike accident attorneys have been helping clients throughout Mississippi with their accident claims. Don’t wait, contact our personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation.
What are the Common Injuries of a Bicycle Accident?
As you can imagine, getting into an accident with a car or truck can lead to serious and life-threatening injuries to the bicycles. Some common injuries a bike rider may experience include:
- Head trauma, such as a traumatic brain injury, concussion, or a brain bleed
- Neck and spine injuries that couple lead to whiplash or paralysis
- Back pain such as a herniated disc or muscle spasms
- Internal bleeding and soft tissue damage
- Broken bones
- Cuts, bruises, and road rash
What Damages Are Available After a Bicycle Accident?
Following a bicycle accident, the injured party may be able to receive two types of damages – economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are meant to make up for any monetary losses you may have experienced following your accident. This includes but is not limited to medical bills, property damage, loss of wages, and loss of earning potential.
Non-economic damages are more subjective because they are meant to pay any non-monetary losses you may have incurred. The most common example is pain and suffering. There is no monetary value available to give to the frustration and pain that you have felt because of your injuries. This is what pain and suffering is attempting to do. Other types of damages include loss of enjoyment, loss of companionship, and mental anguish.
What Do I Do if I Don’t Have Car Insurance?
In Mississippi, it is illegal for drivers not to have car insurance. However, if you are a bicyclist who gets into an accident with an uninsured driver, you do have the opportunity to file a claim with your own insurance company to get your bills paid. This is a route that you may need to take if you are a victim of a hit and run accident.
But what happens if you don’t have car insurance of your own? If this is the case, then it may be possible to file a claim against the driver’s insurance.
It can be difficult to sort through a claim against an uninsured motorist. That’s why it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced car accident attorney lawyer to show you what your best options are for getting the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Bike Accident Lawyer?
Our law firm works on a contingency basis. What this means is you do not owe us a fee until we’ve reached a successful conclusion to your case. Once your claim is resolved, we will then take a small percentage of the recovery. However, if we are unsuccessful, you do not owe us a fee.
But remember, the longer you wait to file a claim, the harder it will be to get the compensation you deserve. In Mississippi, you have three years from the date of your accident to file a claim. So don’t delay; contact our bike injury law firm in Jackson, MS today for a free consultation.