Bicycle enthusiasts all over Omaha and Nebraska pedal to their destinations or just for fun. The activity itself comes with physical and mental health benefits, and it’s a planet-friendly transportation alternative. Unfortunately, there are dangers associated with riding a bicycle. When negligent drivers get behind the wheel and injure an unsuspecting cyclist, our Omaha bicycle accident lawyers are prepared to step up and hold them accountable for their actions, so the bicyclist can recover in peace.
Not all motorists are aware of the dangers bicyclists face while navigating through cities, towns, and rural roads. As a result, distracted or reckless drivers risk the chance of striking someone on a bicycle and seriously injuring them, or worse. An injured cyclist will have to cope with medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our lawyers won’t let accident victims handle those burdens on their own.
If you’re planning on taking action against a negligent driver, you’ll benefit from understanding Nebraska’s bicycle laws, what you should do after a crash, how insurance companies typically handle claims involving cyclists, and how an attorney can help you receive full and fair compensation.
A Bicyclist’s Rights in Nebraska
Many drivers don’t realize that bikers and cyclists have the same rights that they do while using the roadways. This is a big contributing factor because drivers who neglect to share the road properly are more likely to cause an accident. In addition to having the same rights and being required to follow the same laws, like stopping at stop signs and traffic lights and yielding to the right-of-way, there are unique laws through the Department of Transportation that all motorists and cyclists need to be aware of.
Bicycles are not allowed on interstate highways or freeways. This is because of the speeds at which vehicles travel on those roadways. There’s no way for a bicycle to keep up and the risk of a fatal accident occurring is high. If on a state highway, however, bicyclists are required to ride single file. If the cyclist plans on leaving the shoulder, they must signal the turn and they are required to yield the right-of-way to all other vehicles.
At night, all bicycles must have reflectors and a light; however, the state does not recommend riding on rural roads at night because of the decreased visibility. Bicyclists are also required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks or on sidewalks.
In regard to motorists, there is a three-foot passing law. This means that drivers have to maintain a safe distance of no less than three feet when passing a bicycle.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident in Omaha
If you’ve just been in a bike accident, you may be confused about how to proceed, in pain, and overwhelmed. If you find that you are unable to move, stay where you are and it’s likely that the driver or witnesses will contact emergency services. If you believe you’ve sustained injuries but are able to move and speak, you can take control of the situation by following a series of steps.
Prior to riding a bicycle, it’s important to remember to ride with a cell phone, carry personal identification and emergency contact information, and something to write with. These items will aid you in the event you’re in a crash.
Once an accident has occurred, call 911 immediately. When the police officers arrive, you’ll want to file an official report. They’ll collect information from you, the driver, and any witnesses. They will also take photographs of the scene and collect other evidence.
You’ll also want to immediately seek medical attention. It’s likely you’ve sustained injuries, even if you feel okay. Getting examined also creates a record that the insurance company will need to justify offering you a settlement. Once you’re home and settled, consider speaking with a bicycle accident lawyer before making any statements with an insurance company.
How Insurance Companies Handle Bicycle Accidents
You might be surprised to learn that in the event a car hits you while you’re hit riding a bicycle, it’s likely your insurance company or the driver’s insurance company will cover your injuries and losses. It can be difficult to negotiate with insurance companies, which is why fully understanding your policy and how the claims process works will benefit you.
If you’re dealing with your own insurance company after a wreck, you’ll mainly be dealing with receiving payment for your medical bills. If you’re dealing with the driver’s insurance company, it’s likely they will try to offer you the lowest settlement possible or no settlement at all. Anything you say on record could be used against you. This is why you’ll want to ensure you have the help of an experienced lawyer behind you to handle the difficult negotiations.
Knowing When to Hire a Lawyer
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed while trying to handle the ramifications of a crash on your own. That’s why you’ll benefit from hiring an Omaha bike accident lawyer who will fight for you. Knowing when to hire a lawyer is crucial. There are some common situations where it’s in your best interests.
In addition to dealing with the insurance company, your lawyer will ensure you don’t miss any deadlines. There are statutes of limitations associated with personal injury cases and missing a deadline could jeopardize your right to compensation.
Your lawyer will also have access to a team of experts, including doctors and accident reconstructionists, who will be able to help build a strong claim to prove you were wronged and are owed compensation for what you were put through.
There are numerous benefits to hiring a lawyer while you’re dealing with complicated personal injury matters. If you’re ready to learn more about your right and options, our Omaha bicycle accident lawyers are here for you. To start, schedule your free case evaluation today.