How to Determine Fault in a Car Accident with a Bicycle in Colorado?
To determine fault in a car accident with a bicycle, you need to present a claim to the other party’s insurance company. It’s impossible to answer who is at fault without a thorough investigation. Complex legal questions can arise with these types of collisions, which is why it’s essential to speak with an experienced Colorado bicycle accident lawyer. At Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C., we can help you present a claim to the other party and increase your chances of recovery.
How to Prove Fault in Car vs Bicycle Accident in Colorado
How do you prove who is at fault if a car hits a bicycle? It is surprising to some that this process starts immediately after the accident.
Under Colorado law, you must present substantial evidence to prove who the negligent party is before you can demand compensation for your losses. However, it’s common for more than one party to share some fault for an accident, so it’s best to collect as much evidence as possible to assist in an accurate assessment.
Evidence to Examine
Examples of evidence that can help your claim include the following:
- Accident report;
- Property damage estimates;
- Physical evidence at the scene;
- Photographs of the scene;
- Video surveillance footage of the crash, if any exists;
- Medical bills and records;
- Expert witness reports; and
- Witness statements.
Investigators look at all of these things when trying to ascertain fault. Let’s take a look at some of these in more detail.
They will look at the scene to see if there are skid marks or other evidence that help recreate what happened. They will also look at the impact on the vehicle and bike for fault indicators. Some of the evidence might be at the scene even days later, but if possible, take photographs of the scene before the police clear the area.
If the driver or bicyclist got a citation from the police for violating any traffic laws, this helps determine who is at fault for the crash. If the driver violated any traffic laws, the fault will likely be placed on them. And witnesses are a great help as well. Much of this information is included in the police report, so be sure to call 911 after the crash so police respond to the scene.
Finally, when you hire a lawyer, they may recommend hiring an accident reconstructionist to help determine the likely cause of the accident. This is not always necessary, but it can sometimes be very helpful. Accident reconstructionists are experts in collisions and use their knowledge and experience to create a report detailing who is most likely at fault.
So, who is at fault if a car hits a bicycle in the crosswalk? In this situation, the driver is most likely responsible. The driver owed the bicyclist a duty of care, which they breached by striking the rider in the crosswalk. If the accident caused the injuries, the bicyclist could claim damages against the driver’s insurance.
Comparative Negligence in Colorado
Notably, Colorado follows a modified comparative negligence rule. That means you could be partially at fault and still collect compensation. However, your percentage of liability reduces your potential settlement amount. If your percentage of liability is 50% or higher, you will not receive any compensation under Colorado law. For example, if you’re 20% at fault, you’ll receive 80% of your damages.
Your percentage of fault can make or break your ability to recover compensation. If you’re an injured bicyclist, the driver’s insurance company will undoubtedly try to attribute at least 50% of the blame to you. By arguing you’re at least 50% at fault, the insurance company won’t need to reimburse you for your damages. When investigating bicycle vs. car accident fault, the best way to protect yourself is to hire a Colorado personal injury lawyer.
Common Causes of Bicycle vs. Car Accidents
Many causes can contribute to a bicycle and car accident. Some of the most common causes include a driver who is:
- Distracted and fails to see a bicycle that has the right of way;
- Violating traffic laws, such as speeding or running a stop sign;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Not looking in their mirrors before opening the car door; or
- Making an improper turn.
Bicyclists might contribute to accidents by:
- Ignoring traffic signals,
- Riding against traffic,
- Failing to use the crosswalk, or
- Not using designated bicycle lanes.
And it’s always possible that more than one cause contributed to the accident. For example, the driver might have been distracted and speeding when the crash occurred.
Contact a Colorado Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have questions about how to determine fault in a car accident with a bicycle, contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. We have years of experience fighting for injured victims in these types of collisions. Having a skilled lawyer representing you is crucial for maximizing your potential settlement. Please schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how we can assist.
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