Protecting Your Legal Rights in a Tennessee Bicycle Accident Case
Bicycle trips account for about 1 percent of all travel in the United States. Despite this low percentage, the risk of bicycle crash injuries and fatalities is significantly higher than that of occupants in all types of motor vehicles, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The injury and fatality rate is consistent in the state of Tennessee as well.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you need to understand your legal rights. This includes the right to retain the professional services of a skilled attorney to fully protect your legal interests.
Compensation in a Bicycle Accident Case
The financial recovery possible in a bicycle accident case depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident itself, coupled with the nature and extent of injuries you sustained. Understanding this important parameters, the types of losses for which compensation oftentimes is sought in a bike accident case includes money for medical bills and expenses as well as for pain and suffering.
In addition, compensation is also likely to be sought for mental anguish and emotional distress and lost wages. Depending on the case, compensation may be available for permanent disability or disfigurement.
Keep in mind that you are entitled to compensation not only for injuries, damages, and losses that you have experienced to date. The reality is that, as the result of a bicycle accident, you may experience losses into the future as well.
You may be in need of ongoing medical care and treatment. Pain may endure for an indefinite period of time. You may not be able to return to work any time soon. These all represent losses for which you may be entitled to financial recovery.
In some cases, you may be able to seek what are known as punitive or exemplary damages in a personal injury lawsuit. This represents additional compensation in situations in which the conduct of the party that caused the accident in the first instance is regarded as particularly reckless of egregious.
Proving Negligence in a Bicycle Accident Case
Tennessee law sets forth four elements that must be demonstrated in a personal injury case. Understanding these elements will aid you in understanding what is involved in pursuing an insurance claim or lawsuit arising out of a bicycle accident.
First, you must demonstrate that the person that caused the accident had a duty of care. For example, if your were struck on your bike by a motorist, that car driver had a duty to operate a motor vehicle in a reasonably safe manner.
Second, you must be able to show that there has been a breach of that duty of care. For example, if the motorist had a red light and yet drove through an intersection, colliding with you, that conduct of by the driver would be a breach of the duty of care.
Third, the conduct of the person causing the accident must be the actual and legal cause of the accident and the injuries you sustained. A motorist who runs a red light, hits you on a bike while you lawfully are in an intersection, engaged in conduct that factually and legally caused the accident and your injuries.
Finally, you must have sustained actual losses, damages, or injuries as a result of the accident. These cannot be merely speculative. The reality is that when a bicyclist is struck by a person operating an automobile, the losses, damages, and injuries typically are extensive.
Deadline for Filing a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
The state of Tennessee has a law on the books called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations sets forth a specific timeframe within which a lawsuit must be filed in a personal injury case, including a bicycle accident. The time period for filing a lawsuit is shorter in Tennessee than is the case in most other U.S. states.
Generally speaking, you have one year within which to file a bicycle accident lawsuit in Tennessee. If you miss the deadline, you are likely to be precluded forever from pursuing a lawsuit in your case, even if you sustained serious injuries in an accident caused by someone else.
Retain Legal Representation
The best course to take to protect your vital legal rights following a bike accident is to retain the services of a skilled, experienced Arlington bicycle accident attorney, like a member of the legal team at GKBM. The first step in retaining an Arlington bicycle accident attorney is by calling our offices at 901-526-2126.
We can schedule an initial consultation with you at our office, in your home, or even at the hospital. During an initial consultation, an attorney from GKBM will provide an evaluation of your case and answer any questions that you may have. There is no fee charged for an initial consultation with an Arlington bicycle accident attorney at GKBM.