People in Columbia and throughout Mid-Missouri have become particularly fond of bicycles. In these communities, motorists must share the road with many cyclists. In the fall of 2015, the League of American Bicyclists conducted site visits in Columbia and Jefferson City to help them create a bicycle-friendly environment. While promoting bicycles as a means of recreation and transportation has many benefits, it also increases the chance that bicyclists will be involved in collisions with motor vehicles. The Columbia bicycle accident lawyers at the A.W. Smith Law Firm have dedicated their legal practice to serving Missouri residents who suffer severe and catastrophic injuries. Our Columbia car accident attorneys are ready to help you fight for the compensation that you and your family deserve.
If you are a bicyclist or motorcyclist, and you have been injured in a collision with the driver of a car or truck, you may choose to bring a negligence claim against the responsible party to seek compensation. In a negligence claim, the plaintiff usually must prove that the defendant failed to operate his or her motor vehicle with the same ordinary skill and care that a reasonably prudent driver would use in a comparable situation. This includes obeying any traffic rules and regulations that are designed to protect bicyclists and motorcyclists.
Missouri Statute Section 300.347, for example, prohibits a motorist from driving within any sidewalk area and from blocking any designated bicycle lane. Similarly, Missouri Section 300.411 and 304.678 require motorists to overtake bicyclists at a safe distance and only when proceeding in the same direction. If a plaintiff can prove that the defendant violated a statute at the time of the accident, the plaintiff is entitled to a rebuttable presumption that the defendant acted negligently. This is known as the negligence per se doctrine.
After proving that the defendant breached the applicable duty of care, the plaintiff must show that this breach was the direct cause of his or her injuries. Since bicycle and motorcycle collisions can happen quickly, before the parties realize what happened, it may be necessary to retain an accident reconstructionist to help explain to the jury how the defendant’s conduct resulted in the crash.
Unfortunately, the harm suffered by the victim of a bicycle or motorcycle accident may be devastating, due to the lack of structural protections provided by these vehicles. In many cases, injured riders may be able to seek a wide range of economic and non-economic damages, such as medical bills, missed wages, loss of future earning capacity, the cost of future medical treatment, pain and suffering, and diminished quality of life.