More and more people in Tennessee are enjoying bicycle riding for recreation, exercise, or commuting through Greeneville and the surrounding areas of beautiful East Tennessee. Unfortunately, reports indicate that bicycle accident fatalities have risen in recent years, right along with the number of Tennessee bicyclists.
If you recently suffered serious injuries in a bicycle crash caused by someone else’s negligence, contact us today by phone or online to get started with your free case review.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Greeneville
No two accidents are alike, and every bicycle accident in Greeneville and throughout Tennessee has distinct causes. However, one of the most common causes seen across all reported bicycle accidents in the U.S. is the negligence of motor vehicle drivers.
Many drivers simply do not show bicycles and bicycle riders the same consideration as they do other motorists – despite the fact that bicycles are legally classified as vehicles and are entitled to use the streets and roads of our state.
Here at The Terry Law Firm, some of the bicycle accident causes we see most frequently in our practice include:
- Drivers failing to yield the right-of-way to cyclists
- Drivers failing to stop at red lights or stop signs
- Speeding, tailgating, and aggressive driving
- Driver fatigue, distracted driving, and driving while texting
- Impaired driving and driving under the influence
- “Dooring” accidents, in which cyclists hit the open doors of parked cars
- “Right hook” accidents, in which cyclists are hit by drivers turning right
- Lane weaving, unsafe lane changes, and drivers turning without looking
- Rear-end crashes and blind spot accidents
Types of Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycle riders are far more vulnerable in a motor vehicle crash than car, truck, or even motorcycle passengers. Not only do they lack the insulation of carefully engineered steel frames that shield car and truck drivers from injury, bicyclists also typically wear less padding and protection than motorcycle riders do. This leaves bicycle riders directly exposed to other vehicles and objects when they collide in an accident. This places them at significantly higher risk for serious and sometimes fatal injuries.
The most severe injuries and accidental fatalities are a result of crash-related head trauma, but bicycle accidents can cause catastrophic injuries to nearly any part of the body. Some of the most common injuries sustained by bicycle accident victims include:
- Head trauma – Traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussions, neurological damage, skull fractures, and cranial hemorrhage
- Facial injuries – Scarring, burns, eye trauma, mouth and nose injuries, dental trauma, and disfigurement
- Neck and shoulder injuries – Whiplash, collarbone fractures, and vertebral injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries – Bulging or ruptured disks, nerve damage, partial paralysis, and total paralysis
- Abdominal injuries – Rib fractures, bruised or ruptured organs, and internal bleeding
- Skin trauma – Bruises, contusions, abrasions, lacerations, burns, and scarring
- Soft tissue injuries – Dislocated joints, swelling, sprains, and strains
- Arm and hand injuries – Fractured hands and fingers, broken elbows, and broken wrists
- Leg, knee, and foot injuries – Broken legs, knees, feet, and ankles
- Mental and emotional trauma – Anxiety, depression, PTSD, and newly developed phobias
Bicycle Laws in Greeneville, Tennessee
Tennessee law confers bicyclists with the same legal status as the operator of any other vehicle. Therefore, bicycle riders have the same rights as any other vehicle operator, as well as the same responsibilities to respect the rights and safety of others on the road.
However, there are several legal provisions that apply specifically to bicycles and bike riders in our state, such as:
- Bicyclists must ride in designated bike lanes, or if such lanes are unavailable, as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible, moving with the direction of traffic. Bicyclists are permitted to move away from the far right-hand side of the road if they can meet the speed of traffic, or if they need to make a left-hand turn or avoid an obstacle while riding.
- If bicycles are not equipped with electrical signals or blinkers, Tennessee law requires bicyclists to use hand signals to indicate their intended maneuvers to other vehicle operators.
- Bicyclists are required to furnish their bicycles with equipment, such as lights or reflectors, to increase their visibility to other vehicle operators on the road. Bicycles should have a white light in the front that should be visible from at least 500 feet and a red reflector or lamp visible from at least 500 feet to the rear.
- The Tennessee Child Bicycle Safety Act also imposes certain restrictions on minor bicycle riders or passengers. Specifically, all riders under 16 years of age are required to wear a bicycle helmet, and all passengers under 40 pounds or 40 inches are required to ride in a child restraining seat or pull-along bike trailer.
Compensation for Bicycle Accident Injuries
With a successful bicycle accident injury claim, injured parties may be able to recover compensation for a variety of accident-related losses, including:
- Medical bills and related treatment expenses
- Physical rehabilitation or therapy costs
- Lost income and future earning potential
- Mental anguish, pain, and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship or consortium
In many cases, compensation comes in the form of a settlement from your own insurance provider, the provider of the at-fault party, or both. All Tennessee drivers are required to carry minimum liability insurance coverage, which is designed to cover the significant costs often incurred in a vehicle wreck. Unfortunately, not all drivers are properly insured, regardless of the law.
If you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, however, you may be able to recover compensation from your own auto insurance if you elected for uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. Additionally, if your child sustained serious injuries in a bicycle accident, you likely have the option to tap UM/UIM coverage from your auto insurance policy to pay for related expenses.
It’s also important to note that Tennessee law imposes limits on the amount of compensation injured parties may recover in personal injury claims. First of all, if you bear any responsibility for your accident, the amount of compensation you can recover may be reduced by your overall percentage of fault. If you are assigned 50 percent or more of the blame for the crash, you will be unable to claim any compensation whatsoever.
Regardless of your level of fault, the most you can recover for non-economic damages, or subjective losses such as pain and suffering, is $750,000. In some cases, the maximum may be increased to $1 million, but only for circumstances involving catastrophic losses or injuries.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Attorney in Greeneville
The highly qualified lawyers at The Terry Law Firm have more than 50 years of combined legal experience and a proven track record of success. We pride ourselves on our approachable, responsive service, and we’re committed to providing the personalized advocacy and guidance you need for your unique situation.
It’s in your best interest to act quickly, so don’t hesitate to call our compassionate legal team anytime, 24/7, or contact us online now.