Who Is at Fault in a Bike and Car Accident?
Who Is at Fault in a Bike and Car Accident?
Determining who is at fault in a car crash or bicycle accident is the first step to receiving compensation for your injuries. However, it can be challenging to determine who is at fault in a bike and car accident.
In Ohio, traffic rules apply to bike riders and motorists alike. The law entitles injured parties to compensation based upon allocation of fault. Liability can be established based on information gathered by law enforcement during the investigation. This will include interviews of all available witnesses, an assessment of the scene, and other pieces of information (i.e., cell phone data, surveillance video, medical reports, etc.).
Read on to learn more about identifying liability for bike and car accidents in Ohio.
Ohio’s At-Fault Policy
Ohio is a fault-based compensation state. Fault-based states like Ohio require parties who caused injury to take on the costs incurred from medical expenses, lost wages, and other compensation. Under an fault-based policy, the liable party is responsible to cover the costs and provides compensation; but this is almost always actually paid by the at-fault party’s liability insurance provider.
The compensation provided by the liable party can cover the following in Ohio:
- Medical costs
- Wage loss benefit
- Pain and other non-economic damage
- Damage to the injured party’s vehicle
- Psychological or emotional trauma
Every driver in Ohio is required to maintain a liability insurance policy that provides bodily injury coverage of at least $25,000 per person, and $50,000 per accident. Drivers usually opt for higher coverage limits, and will depend on the liability policy in each case.
RELATED ARTICLE: When Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
When Can a Biker or Motorist Be Considered At-Fault?
Determining liability at the scene can be challenging for all parties present, including law enforcement. However, there are situations that will cause a motorist or biker to be liable for the incident.
Ohio’s Road Sharing Rules
According to the Ohio Revised Code, bicyclists are required to ride with traffic and “as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable ….” Sometimes it is not practical to ride all the way to the right side. If the roadway is in disrepair, or if there is an obstacle in the way it is not practical to ride all the way to the right. This makes most car/bike accidents very fact specific.
The Revised Code also requires bicyclists to ride no more than two side by side in a single line of the road.
Recently, the Ohio legislature enacted a law that requires cars and trucks to leave a safe passing distance of “at least three feet” when passing bicycles. In spite of this law, many drivers do not observe this requirement.
Disobeying Traffic Laws in the State
If a driver or bike rider injures someone after violating a traffic rule, he or she will be held liable regardless of the injuries sustained. These rules apply equally to drivers of motorized vehicles or self-propelled ones. For example, in Ohio, running a red light or stop sign by a car or a bike is a violation of ORC section 4511.12. A driver who collides into another car and causes an injury after violating this law will be held liable for the accident.
Driving Under the Influence of an Illegal Substance
ORC Ch. 4511.19 to 4511.197 explicitly prohibits driving while intoxicated with any banned substance in the state, including alcohol. At the scene of a car accident, law enforcement officers will subject drivers to an alcohol test if there is something to indicate a driver may be under the influence. Again, these laws apply with equal force to operators of cars and bikes.
A person found to be under the influence of illegal substances will be considered liable for any injuries caused during the incident.
Vehicle Modifications that Led to the Accident
Vehicle accidents are not always the result of substances, reckless or careless driving. There are instances where vehicle modifications cause accidents. For example, a trailer can sway and collide with a vehicle, causing injury to the vehicle’s passengers.
In such a scenario, the owner of the trailer will be held liable since the trailer is considered an unsafe vehicle modification.
Give Yourself the Best Chance
An experienced personal injury lawyer is the best option for any victim seeking compensation for their injuries. Their experience and knowledge of the system will benefit you and put you in a position to obtain the most compensation possible. It is essential to work with lawyers who have experience in the field. They can do all the heavy lifting in the case for you.
Our team is composed of experienced injury attorneys, and we are dedicated to helping get your life back on track.
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