Johnson City Bicycle Accident Lawyers
A Johnson City Metropolitan Planning Organization map from the Tennessee Department of Transportation shows that many areas of Johnson City have bicycle level of service grades indicating the roads are less suitable for bicycles. Nonetheless, bikes are becoming more popular for other recreational and transportation uses at normal elevation levels throughout the area. Some people rely on bicycles to get to and from work as part of an effort to reduce the money spent on gas and help reduce their carbon footprints. Many other individuals have taken a more significant interest in biking to help maintain or improve physical fitness.
Tennessee Code § 55-8-172 establishes that people riding bicycles are granted all the same rights and are subject to all the same duties as motor vehicle drivers. Under Tennessee Code § 55-8-136, all drivers are also required to exercise due care to avoid collisions. Unfortunately, motorists often fail to use due care, which can cause disastrous, even fatal, bicycle accidents. When a motor vehicle or other party is careless and you are injured while biking as a result, you can pursue a lawsuit against the liable party and hold them to justice.
Did you suffer severe injuries or was your loved one killed in a bicycle accident in the Greater Johnson City area of Tennessee? You could be entitled to financial compensation to pay for your injuries and expenses related to your accident. The Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC understand the potentially lifelong impact that bicycle accident injuries can have on victims and fights to help these individuals get justice. Call (423) 282-1041 or complete an online contact form to have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free consultation.
Do I Need a Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
Many bicyclists assume that when they are injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle, they are the victims and the driver’s insurance companies will automatically pay all related injury claims. As it turns out, insurers care much more about their bottom line than the wellbeing of injury victims, and usually will try to find reasons to pay as little as possible to resolve bicycle accidents.
An injury attorney will make sure your rights are protected in every conversation with an insurance company. Some insurers may offer lump-sum settlements to resolve cases, and you are right to think that you deserve more than what has been proposed. Insurance companies frequently make lowball offers to quickly resolve cases with the most desperate individuals. Some victims accept these settlements out of fear that they may not be able to recover any more than the current offer (or might not be offered anything else if they refuse). A lawyer will be able to identify when an offer is too low, and negotiate with the insurer to get you the money you really deserve.
Not all insurers make these offers though. Some insurance companies may aggressively take a stance, arguing that the bicyclist was the party responsible for an accident and should be the one to pay for it. When a negligent driver and their insurer are both claiming that you were at fault, you will want to have a lawyer on your side. They can gather the necessary evidence to prove that the motorist was at fault and get you the money you need.
Why Choose the Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC to Handle My Case?
The Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC use a team approach for every case we handle. You will have multiple skilled attorneys involved in your case and fighting to help you recover every dime of compensation.
Tony Seaton has more than 30 years of legal experience and is a board-certified specialist in Civil Trial Practice. He has also received an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, a peer rating denoting the highest level of professional excellence, and he was the winner of the Tennessee Association for Justice Paladin Award in 2012.
Robert Bates has extensive trial experience and has achieved seven-figure verdicts and settlements. He is a member of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association and was a Dean’s Scholar, graduating in the top five in his class at the Appalachian School of Law. In 2015, he was named to the Top 40 Under 40 by the National Association of Personal Injury Attorneys.
The Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC will negotiate a fair and full settlement to your case, but we will not be afraid to file a lawsuit when an insurance company refuses to provide adequate compensation. You should also know that our firm handles all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not pay anything to us unless you receive a monetary award. In the very unlikely event that we are unable to recover any compensation for you, you will never be charged for our services.
Types of Bicycle Accident Cases We Handle
In Tennessee, adult bicyclists are not required to wear helmets. The lack of protection for bicyclists leaves them susceptible to the types of injuries that can involve weeks, months, or even years of recovery. Unfortunately, even helmeted bicyclists can suffer devastating injuries in an accident
Some injuries can be quite severe. Not only do injured bicyclists accumulate numerous medical expenses, but they also deal with an inability to return to work—possibly permanently.
Injuries bicyclists suffer in bicycle accidents include but are not limited to:
- Road rash
- Neck injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Muscle strains
Many bicycle crash injuries are fatal. Family members can file wrongful death actions against negligent parties in such cases.
Most bicycle accidents involve motor vehicles, and the most common causes of these crashes include but are not limited to:
- Distracted driving accident
- Right-turn or left-turn accidents
- Failure to yield accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Intersection accidents
- Sideswipe accidents
- Head-on collisions
Some bicycle crashes may be entirely isolated incidents caused by defective or dangerous bicycles. In these cases, a part manufacturer could be liable for injuries caused by a defective part on a bike, a maintenance company could be responsible for injuries caused by faulty repairs, and a rental company could be liable for renting a bike that was dangerous or defective. Similarly, if an accident was caused due to problems with a roadway, a government agency may be held responsible for your injuries.
Tennessee Code § 28-3-104(a)(1)(B) provides that a civil action for a bicycle accident needs to start within one year of the date of the crash. This is a very short period, and bicycle accident victims should not delay in seeking help with their injury claims.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bicycle Accidents
TDOT states that a bicycle has the legal status of a vehicle, and bicyclists are required under state law to 1) ride on the right side of the road in the same direction as traffic, 2) obey all traffic signs and signals, 3) use hand signals to communicate intended movements, and 4) make sure their bicycles are equipped with both a front white light (visible from 500 feet) and a red reflector or lamp (visible from 500 feet). The agency also notes that the Tennessee Child Bicycle Safety Act requires all bicycle operators under 16 years of age to wear a bicycle helmet and all child passengers under 40 pounds or 40 inches to be seated and secured in a child restraining seat or a bicycle trailer.
Seeking medical attention should be your top priority after a bicycle crash, even when you do not believe you were hurt. Not all injury symptoms are immediate, and delays in treatment will likely lead to insurance companies raising questions about the severity of your injuries. You should also try to gather whatever evidence you can at the scene of an accident. Take pictures of your bike, the vehicle involved, and other contributing factors from different angles and distances. Collect the names and phone numbers of witnesses to your accident. When you return home, contact a personal injury lawyer.
The common law defense of contributory negligence (which prohibits a victim from pursuing damages in any case in which they were even partially negligent) was replaced with a system of comparative fault with the Supreme Court of Tennessee’s decision in McIntyre v. Balentine, 833 S.W.2d 52 (Tenn. 1992). The Supreme Court of Tennessee held that a plaintiff could recover damages when their negligence is less than the defendant's negligence, or they are not more than 50 percent at fault. Damages are also reduced in proportion to the plaintiff’s percentage of negligence, so a person who is awarded $100,000 in a truck accident case but is found to be 20 percent at fault will have their damages reduced by $20,000 and ultimately receive $80,000.
In 2018, the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security reported that 302 bicycle accidents occurred in Tennessee, including five fatal crashes, 280 injury accidents, and 17 property-damage-only crashes. Sullivan County had six injury accidents, Washington County had eight injury crashes, and Carter County had two injury accidents. No fatal crashes or PDO accidents occurred within the three counties in 2018.
In 2017, the Department of Safety & Homeland Security reported 435 total bicycle accidents, including eight fatal crashes, 375 injury accidents, and 52 property damage only crashes. Sullivan County had six injury accidents and no PDO crashes, Washington County had four injury crashes and three PDO accidents, and Carter County had three injury accidents and no PDO crashes. There were no fatal accidents within the three counties.
If you sustained catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a bicycle crash in Johnson City, act quickly to preserve your legal rights. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you recover all the compensation you need and deserve.
Contact a Johnson City Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC understands the types of issues that commonly arise in bicycle accident claims and helps people recover all the damages they need for past, present, and future expenses. You can have our attorneys review your case and help you understand all your legal options when you call (423) 282-1041 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.