On June 5th, 2018, Jose Pacheco of Somerset was involved in a bicycle accident with an SUV that took his life.
Bristol County is a sleepy area on the Massachusetts coast and isn’t the kind of place a fatal bicycle accident occurs. However, the Jeep that hit Pacheco didn’t take that into account when driving that morning.
Bicycle accidents are not common in Bristol County. Pacheco’s tragic accident is the only one resulting in a fatality in Bristol County since 2016. When a bicycle accident does occur, the loss of your bicycle is the last of your issues.
The personal injury attorneys at Goldberg & Weigand, LLP have the experience litigating claims in New Bedford for 25 years. Don’t hand your livelihood over to someone who could cost you compensation. Call our office today for your free, bicycle accident consultation.
How Many Bicycle Accidents Happen in New Bedford?
Since 2016 there have been no fatal bicycle accidents in the city of New Bedford. Pacheco’s accident happened in Swansea, which isn’t far away. However, according to the MDOT’s records, since 2016, there have been 62 accidents involving vehicles and bicycles in New Bedford.
Of those 62 recorded accidents, 46 resulted in non-fatal injuries and the rest resulting in just property damage. Granted, that’s only around ten bicycle accidents requiring medical treatment in New Bedford a year.
Summertime is the most dangerous time to ride a bicycle in New Bedford. All 13 recorded bicycle accidents in New Bedford in 2019 occurred between April and July.
Who Is At Fault in a Bicycle Accident?
Bicycle riders are governed the same way car drivers are on public roads. Bicyclists must do the following:
- Obey all traffic laws
- Wear headlights and taillights at night
- No more than two cyclists riding side-by-side
- All riders under 16 must wear a helmet
- Babies under the age of one cannot be transported via bicycle
Also, vehicles are responsible for avoiding bicycle accidents by doing the following:
- Check for Bicyclists When opening doors
- Allow Bicycle riders to Pass on the Right
- No sudden right turns after passing a Bicycle
- Give safe distance for bicycle riders to pass
- Yield to oncoming bicycle riders on left turns
The burden of responsibility falls on the car driver to make sure a bicycle accident doesn’t occur. Many bicycle accidents in the state of Massachusetts happen because the driver isn’t paying attention. If you see a bicycle rider on the road, please proceed with caution.
How Much Compensation For a Bicycle Accident?
As in most personal injury cases, a bicycle accident claim will payout for the following factors:
- Medical Bills
- Property Damage
- Lost wages
- Pain and Suffering
The complicated aspect of a bicycle accident in Massachusetts is the no-fault laws involving car accidents. Most bicycle riders don’t have insurance on their bicycles, so the option of going to their insurance company for compensation is out of the question.
How to Report a Bicycle Accident With a Car
The only option a bicycle rider has for recovering compensation from a vehicle is the other driver’s car insurance. You’ll need to fill out an accident report from the Massachusetts DMV and submit three copies to:
- New Bedford Police Department
- Local DMV
- Other motorists insurance company
From there, you’ll need to see a doctor for injury documentation. Don’t waste any time on this — an urgent care center or emergency room is the best bet. From there, you can find a New Bedford bicycle accident lawyer to represent you against the insurance company.
A bicycle accident claim can get especially complicated if the police or the insurance company if they claim the bicycle rider is at fault. A lawyer will play a crucial role in making sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
It’s a bicycle accident lawyer’s job to sway the opinions of a court to see the bicycle rider as the victim and not-at-fault. Based on the shared negligence laws in Massachusetts, so long as the bicycle rider shares less than 50 percent of the blame — compensation is recoverable.
Hoe to Claim a Bicycle Accident on Personal Property
When a vehicle isn’t involved, these claims can get tricky. Massachusetts law states bicycles can only be ridden on sidewalks:
“…outside business districts when necessary in the interest of safety, unless otherwise directed by local ordinance”
So if you’re riding a bike on the sidewalk in a busy area, the state says the rider assumes liability for any accidents.
If there is a cracked piece of sidewalk or a foreign object on a path, the property owner can be held liable for not maintaining a duty of care.
In these cases, when one of these premises liability cases come to the fold, a lawyer can go through the homeowner’s insurance to gain compensation.
Again, neither of these claims is something to go alone. You need the personal injuries at Goldberg & Weigand, LLP to guide you on the right path to maximum compensation.
Bicycle Accident Lawyer in New Bedford
A bicycle accident claim is a complicated one which requires a keen understanding of Massachusetts liability laws. Don’t trust your case to just any personal injury attorney.
Blair Weigand and Peter Goldberg have a combined 50 years of legal experience litigating personal injury claims in New Bedford and Bristol County.
If you don’t have bicycle accident insurance, you need an aggressive team behind you. The other insurance company wouldn’t pay for your bicycle accident injuries unless they are fought to do so.
Call our New Bedford office at any time of the day at 508-203-6600 for a free, confidential consultation.