How driving under the influence may influence an accident involving injured bicyclist
For a bicyclist, sharing the road with motorists can be dangerous enough. Despite lacking the protection other drivers have, such as a steel frame, airbags, and seatbelts, bicyclists are expected to obey the same traffic rules as drivers. When alcohol, and, subsequently, impaired driving are added to the equation, the results of a collision with a bicyclist can become deadly.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs can diminish a motorist’s cognitive abilities, increasing the likelihood of an accident. In a collision between a motorist who has been driving under the influence and a bicyclist, issues such as the driver being unable to see a bicyclist, especially at night, are heightened.
Laws are different in each state as it pertains to bicyclists. For victims in states requiring helmets to be worn by bicyclists, which include California, the District of Columbia, Florida, and Georgia among others, it is imperative that the victim have obeyed that law in order to receive compensation from the at-fault driver for injuries sustained as a result of a crash. It is always best to seek the assistance of an attorney to navigate this complicated issue.
For example, in some states, such as California, DUI courts do not have the jurisdiction to award damages to injured bicyclists. Instead, victims must seek legal representation and justice through civil court. The legal ramifications of the driver are two-fold, one being in the form of a personal injury case, and the other in the form of a criminal DUI prosecution. In California, the two cases can be carried out simultaneously and one outcome does not affect the other; there are two different burdens of proof for each case. In other states, such as Florida, bicyclists are considered to be equal to other motorists under the law, therefore receiving the same protections as other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians who may be involved in a drunk driving crash.
It is not unusual for a drunk driver to flee the scene of an accident. For collisions involving a bicyclist, there is a chance the driver did not realize that he or she had hit someone, and continues driving, unable to be identified and therefore found. Similar to victims of hit-and-run accidents involving a vehicle, bicyclists may be covered by their own uninsured motorist policies, which would cover related costs for damages caused by the injuries sustained as a result of the accident. Accident victims and their families can be left financially and emotionally drained. It is vital that injured bicyclists enlist help from experienced personal injury attorneys who can navigate the legal system to ensure justice is served. At Bond Legal, we go beyond just defending you; we’re there in every moment. We get to know you, your life, and the impact of your injury, then combine that with our hard work and tenacity to exact compensation that matches your injury. We routinely co-counsel with some of the top attorneys in the nation to get large verdicts and awards. Call us today at (866) 423-7724 to schedule your free initial consultation.