Like most other car wreck cases, a case involving a cyclist hit by a car is likely based on negligence. In short, negligence means that someone failed to do something that he or she should have done. As a legal term and basis for a lawsuit, however, it means a little more than that. There are four elements to negligence that you have to prove in order to win your case.
The first element your car accident attorney must prove is: We must prove that the driver of the vehicle owed you, as the cyclist, a duty. In most situations, this is not a huge hurdle. Any driver on our roads owes certain duties to those with whom he shares the roads. These duties include following:
- Applicable Alabama traffic laws
- Following the rules of the road
- Being aware of his/her surroundings
- Conducting himself as any other reasonable driver would
The second element your injury lawyer in Birmingham must prove is: We must show that the driver somehow breached that duty. Usually, if a wreck occurs, someone has breached a duty. If everyone involved was following traffic laws and paying attention to their surroundings, then most wrecks would not occur. Any of the following questions could show that the driver of the vehicle breached the duty he owed to the cyclist. The following questions often come up:
- Was the driver speeding?
- Were they texting while driving?
- Did the driver make an improper lane change?
The third element of negligence is usually the one that all lawsuits eventually boil down to – causation. Did the driver’s breach of his duty cause the injuries sustained by the cyclist? Sometimes, even though the driver owed the cyclist a duty, and he breached that duty, his breach did not cause the cyclist’s injuries. For example, consider the following scenario:
- A driver is driving his vehicle at 70 miles per hour in a 45 zone. At the same time, on the same stretch of road, a bicyclist attempts to do a wheelie and runs off a cliff, injuring himself. While it is true that the driver had a duty and that duty was breached, his breach did not cause the cyclist’s injuries. Therefore, the cyclist in that scenario probably does not have a case against the driver of the vehicle. To have a successful case, the cyclist must show that the driver’s actions caused the cyclist’s injuries.
The fourth element your bicycle accident attorney must show is: We must show the cyclist sustained damages from the accident. If the driver was driving like a maniac and that caused the cyclist to fall off of his bicycle, but there was no damage, then there is no case to take to the court. In any case, the complaining party asks for certain relief, which is asking the judge to do something specific to make things right.
As a general rule, the court deals in dollars, so most lawsuits ask for a certain sum of money to make things right. If there is no damage, there is nothing to ask of the court. If the cyclist was injured, however, then he has medical bills, various out of pocket expenses, missed work, and possibly other damages. Those types of things can be quantified and presented to a judge.