Collisions Involving Cyclists
New Mexico has the second-highest rate of bicycling fatalities of all the states in the country. This has been attributed to a lack of designated bike lanes and high rates of drug and alcohol abuse. Thirty-six cyclists were killed in the state from 2009 to 2013. Collisions involving cyclists typically result in far graver injuries to the cyclist than the driver of a passenger car. There is much less material protecting a bicycle from the force of a crash than there is protecting the driver of a car. At the Fine Law Firm, our car accident attorneys can assist Albuquerque residents who have been injured due to another's negligence.Bringing a Negligence Claim for Compensation
It is not uncommon for a passenger car driver to claim that a bicyclist violated the rules of the road and that the crash was caused by unsafe bicycling rather than negligent driving. In order to recover damages from a driver whom you believe is at fault for a bike accident, you would have to establish by a preponderance of the evidence the other driver's duty, a breach of that duty, causation, and damages.
If the driver can show that you were partially to blame for a cycling collision, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault under the doctrine of comparative negligence. For example, if you were not bicycling in a bike lane and swerved into the path of a moving car to avoid slamming into an open car door of a parked car, you might get run over. Although you were directly injured by the driver of the car alongside you, the car's driver might allege comparative negligence, arguing that you had time to brake or swerved too wide.
The jury would evaluate your total damages and then assign a percentage of responsibility. If the jury found the total damages $100,000, but it found you were 30% responsible for your injuries while the driver of the parked car was 30% responsible and the driver of the other car was 40% responsible, you might be able to receive up to $70,000 of your damages from those parties.
Under the mitigation of damages doctrine, you must prevent an injury from becoming worse and minimize your damages by avoiding unnecessary expenses or losses. Mitigation of damages can arise when a defendant claims that the plaintiff sought excessive treatment or failed to use reasonable efforts to keep damages down. It can also occur when a plaintiff fails to go to the doctor right away, and for that reason, the injuries are worse than they would have been with prompt treatment.
It is important to visit a doctor immediately after your cycling accident and to follow the doctor's instructions for recovery. A defendant may not be held liable to a plaintiff who fails to get immediate treatment or who seeks unnecessary treatment for injuries. For example, if you decide to seek alternative medicine treatments for pain after a cycling accident and there is no medical evidence to back it up, you may not be able to recover that cost. Similarly, if a doctor releases you to return to work, but you refuse, you may not be able to recover your lost income.Enlist a Motor Vehicle Collision Attorney in Albuquerque to Protect Your Rights
After a car accident, a cyclist may suffer catastrophic injuries or even death. You should consult an experienced motor vehicle collision lawyer to explore your options after an Albuquerque crash. Contact us via our online form or call us at (505) 243-4541 to set up a free consultation. The Fine Law Firm also represents injured people in Rio Rancho and other areas of New Mexico.