Liability and Recovery for Bicycle Accidents
Drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care toward pedestrians and bicyclists. In most cases, motorists who violate traffic laws or are otherwise negligent or reckless are liable for injuries a bicyclist suffers in a collision. An injured bicyclist can recover compensatory damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, wrongful death, and other losses from the driver. Punitive damages may also be available for particularly egregious or negligent behavior, including cases of intentional injury.
A cyclist might also be able to recover from the city, county, or state if hazardous roadways contributed to the occurrence. If a road has potholes, dangerous blind turns, severely narrow lanes, or even debris, the road could pose a hazard. If the agency or department in charge of maintaining a roadway is negligent in its maintenance duties, it may be possible for the victim to hold the agency liable for some or all of his or her damages.
In rare cases, an accident may be caused by a defective bike or bike part; in this case, an accident victim may be able to sue the manufacturer or distributor in a product liability action.