Determining Liability in Wisconsin Bicycle Accidents

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1,000 bicyclists die and over 13,000 are injured in bike accidents in the United States every year. If you are hurt in a bike accident, you might wonder how to prove the other party was responsible. This is a vital part of an accident claim as you can only recover compensation from the other party if you can prove they were at fault. The Milwaukee bicycle accident lawyers of Mingo & Yankala, S.C. can explain how to determine liability. You can also call us at 414-273-7400 for help.

Liability in Wisconsin Bicycle Accidents

Who Is Responsible for the Bike Accident?

Just because a bike accident occurs between a bike and a vehicle does not mean the motorist is automatically at fault for the accident. The driver may be at fault, however, other parties may be wholly or partly at fault, such as:

  • The bicyclist
  • The governmental entity responsible for road design
  • A product manufacturer that made a defective auto or bike part

When the Motorist Is Responsible

Motorists have a duty to drive safely to avoid injuring others. They must obey all traffic laws, including giving bicyclists the right-of-way when they are required to do so by law. They must also keep a proper lookout for bicyclists and other road users.

Some instances when the motorist may be responsible for an accident include when the motorist was:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted and drifted into a bike lane
  • Running a red light
  • Failing to stop at a stop sign
  • Driving while impaired
  • Failing to give the cyclist the right-of-way
  • Passing too closely to the bicyclist
  • Opening a door into the path of an oncoming bicyclist

When the Bicyclist Is Responsible

In other situations, the bicyclist may cause the accident. Bicyclists are generally supposed to follow the same traffic laws as drivers of motorized vehicles. Examples of when the bicyclist may be responsible for the accident include when they:

  • Ignore laws related to cyclists
  • Ride the wrong way down a one-way road
  • Turn into oncoming traffic
  • Fail to signal turns
  • Ride between lanes

Bike vs. auto crashes must be evaluated on an individual basis to determine who is liable for the accident based on the specific facts involved in the case.

When a Third Party Is Responsible

In accidents involving a product defect or defective street design or maintenance, a third party may be responsible for the injuries the victims sustain. Showing this liability often depends on conducting an in-depth investigation into the design and how it contributed to the accident.

In many accidents, more than one party is found at fault for the accident. In these situations, the accident victim can still pursue a claim against the other at-fault party as long as the victim is not found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident. The amount of damages the victim can recover is reduced by their degree of negligence.

Evidence to Establish Liability in a Bike Accident

There may be various forms of evidence that can help prove which party was responsible for a bike accident, including:

  • Accident reports
  • The rules of the road
  • Witness statements
  • Photos or videos of the accident scene
  • Reports from accident reconstruction experts

If you were injured in a bike accident, the experienced bicycle accident attorneys at Mingo & Yankala, S.C. are here to help. Call our office at 414-273-7400 to learn more during a free consultation.