On July 7, 2018, Stuart Finkelstein of Madaket lost his life after just 58 years because of a bicycle accident. Cape Cod is not known for fatal bicycle accidents like Boston. However, that one summer saw a single mistake on the Finkelstein bike path cost a life. Bicycle accidents are not frequent in Barnstable County; Finkelstein’s untimely death is the only bicycle-related fatality in Barnstable County since 2016. If you are the victim of a bicycle accident, replacing your bike is the least of your troubles.
The injuries resulting from a bicycle accident can be severe. Massachusetts laws governing liability in bicycle accidents are tricky. Don’t even think about handling a bicycle accident claim by yourself.
Goldberg & Weigand, LLP’s team of personal injury lawyers have seen all types of claims on Cape Cod over 30 years. A personal injury novice isn’t going to know how to handle the complexities in a bicycle accident claim. Call our Hyannis office today for a free, bicycle accident consultation.
How Many Bicycle Accidents Happen on Cape Cod?
Outside of Finkelstein’s accident, there have been no bicycle fatalities on Cape Cod since 2016. However, when looking at the accident statistics for Barnstable, Falmouth, Yarmouth, Sandwich, and Bourne, there have been 150 accidents where a motor vehicle hit a bicycle rider.
In the 150 recorded bicycle accidents, 112 resulted in non-fatal injuries and the other 38 resulting in property damage. That’s an average of 42 bicycle accidents per year in just those five cities, not accounting for other towns like Dennis, Mashpee, Harwich Orleans, Wellfleet, Truro or Provincetown.
Summer is the riskiest period to ride a bicycle on Cape Cod. Of the 18 recorded bicycle accidents on Cape Cod’s five major cities, 13 happened between May and July.
Who Is At-Fault in a Bicycle Accident?
Bicycle riders are treated the same way motor vehicles are by Massachusetts law. Bicyclists are responsible for the following:
- Obeying all traffic laws (and riding with traffic)
- Wearing headlights and taillights at night
- Two cyclists riding side-by-side and no more
- Riders under 16 are required to wear a helmet
- Babies under the age of one cannot ride on a bicycle
Motor vehicles need to do the following to avoid a bicycle accident:
- Check for Bicycle Rider while opening a door
- Let Bicyclist Pass on your Right
- Sudden right turns are prohibited after passing
- Pass bicycles with a safe distance
- Left turns require a yield for bikes
Car drivers are primarily responsible for making sure bicycle accidents do not occur. The most common cause of Massachusetts bicycle accidents is driver negligence. If you share the road with a bicycle rider, make sure you follow the previous rules to avoid any accidents.
How Much Compensation Will be Paid For a Bicycle Accident?
The payout for a bicycle accident can depend on several factors, such as:
- Medical Expenses
- Wage Loss
- Pain and Suffering
- Bicycle Replacement
- Permanent injuries (scarring and/or disfigurement)
Massachusetts no-fault laws make litigating a bicycle accident claim especially tricky. There’s a strong chance your bicycle doesn’t have an insurance policy. Because of this, compensation for injuries will have to come from the other driver’s insurance policy.
How to Report a Bicycle Accident with a Car:
Unless you have a bicycle insurance policy, the other driver’s insurance company will be the sole source of loss recovery. Immediately after any bicycle/motor vehicle collision, the police should be called to come and investigate the incident. Then, make sure you fill out an accident report with the Massachusetts DMV and send copies to the police, local DMV and insurance companies involved.
More importantly, you need to see a doctor immediately after the accident. Call 911 and make sure an ambulance can tend to your injuries. The emergency room will document the injuries, and only then will you know if a bicycle accident case exists. When you call a Cape Cod bicycle accident lawyer, make sure you have:
- Medical Records Proving Injuries
- Accident Report Proving Liability
If the police or insurance company say the bicycle rider is at fault, that adds an extra layer of complication. Your attorney will have to prove in a court that the bicycle rider shared less than 51 percent of the blame in the accident to receive any compensation.
Massachusetts’ comparative negligence law states that blame may be shared in an accident, so the lower the percentage of fault attributed to the bicycle rider, the more compensation is recoverable. Documenting as much information as you can is vital to this claim.
How to Claim a Bicycle Accident on Personal Property
If a vehicle didn’t cause your bicycle accident, the claims become even more complicated. If you ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in Massachusetts, you need to ride:
“…outside business districts when necessary in the interest of safety, unless otherwise directed by local ordinance.”
A bicycle rider is going to bear the brunt of liability when riding on a busy sidewalk. So if your accident occurs on an active path inside city limits, any claim is going to be tough to prove.
There are opportunities to file for compensation under premises liability if the accident is caused by a defect on a residential sidewalk or some other defect where the rider is traveling.
If a broken sidewalk, foreign object or dog caused your bicycle accident, a homeowner’s insurance policy may cover your injuries.
No matter the cause of your bicycle accident on Cape Cod, the personal injury attorneys at Goldberg & Weigand, LLP will be here to provide advice and help you recover damages which you are entitled to.
Bicycle Accident Lawyer on Cape Cod
Bicycle accidents can be debilitating and leave you with a mountain of bills. Don’t let an insurance company skid away on paying for your injuries.
Fifty years of combined legal experience means the personal injury attorneys at Goldberg &nWeigand, LLP has encountered every trick an insurance company can pull in court.
Don’t leave your injuries and bills up to chance. Trust Peter M. Goldberg, Blair Weigand and the rest of the staff at Goldberg & Weigand LLP to be your advocates.
Call our Hyannis office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 508-203-6600 for your free, confidential consultation.