Bellingham is blessed with many trails throughout the interurban trail system that make for easy, scenic travel routes for cyclists. Whatcom County's many picturesque county roads are great for riding too. The downside is a cyclist is at an extreme disadvantage in collisions with a vehicle, and is exposed to significant injury. For this reason, bicyclists should take every precaution possible to avoid involvement in an accident and, should they be involved in an accident, do everything they can to recover compensation for their injuries.
A common injury that occurs when bikes and drivers share the road is called a right hook accident. What is a right hook accident?
Right hook accidents are specific types of accident that occurs when a vehicle traveling in the same direction as a bicyclist turns right at an intersection and collides with the bicyclist. These accidents can either involve the vehicle directly striking the bicycle or driving into the path of the cyclist in such a way as to cause the cyclist to hit the vehicle. Right hook accidents tend to occur in circumstances in which a bicyclist is traveling in the far right portion of the right lane and goes unnoticed by other motorists using the same lane.
Who is at fault for right hook accidents?
Determining fault in a right hook accident can be complicated, which is one of the reasons that victims should always retain an experienced attorney. If the motorist taking the right turn simply failed to notice the bicyclist and drove directly into him or her, the motorist would likely be at fault. The same would be true if the car turned in such a way as to make the accident unavoidable. On the other hand, if the driver turned with ample room and the bicyclist failed to notice the car, the person on the bike may be deemed at fault. In many cases, the critical issue is the amount of time that passed between the car passing the bicyclist and taking the right turn that resulted in the accident.
What kinds of injuries can occur after a right hook accident?
The injuries that bicyclists can sustain in right hook accidents can be extremely severe. In some cases, these injuries may result in medical complications that could affect them for years. This is particularly true in cases where a bicyclist is thrown from his or her bike and falls onto the pavement on the other side of the vehicle. Some of the injuries that are commonly sustained in right hook accidents are detailed below:
Traumatic Brain Injuries – TBIs are a serious type of injury that affect the way the brain functions. In serious cases, TBI victims can develop long-term problems including issues with speech and understanding, issues with coordination, emotional problems, and memory issues.
Spinal cord injuries – Spinal cord injuries, or SCIs, occur when trauma damages the spinal cord, which is the bundle of nerves that allows the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. In serious cases, an SCI can result in complete paralysis below the site of the injury.
Broken bones – Bone fractures have the potential to be extremely painful and result in disfigurement and other serious medical complications.
Personal injury claims are complicated, and no one who was injured in an accident that was not their fault should seriously consider negotiating with insurers without legal guidance. Accidents can happen in a split second, and can lead to serious injury. If you were injured in a car accident while riding your bike, call experienced bike accident lawyer Bill Coats immediately.