Bicycle Accident Injury

Seeking Compensation With a Bicycle Accident Personal Injury Claim With Partial Fault 

It can be especially hard dealing with your injuries after a bicycle accident when the insurance company claims you are partly to blame. You may struggle to keep up with medical bills and lost wages. The comparative negligence laws in Kansas and Missouri allow cycling accident victims to pursue compensation even if they share partial fault in causing the bike crash. Our Kansas City bicycle accident lawyers can guide you through the complex legal process and fight to protect your legal rights in these difficult cases.

Call a Kansas City Bicycle Accident Lawyer Right Away

As soon after the accident as reasonably possible, it is prudent to book a consultation with a Kansas City personal injury lawyer. They can assess your bicycle accident case and help outline possible legal options to secure compensation for your losses and injuries. Insurance companies for other parties involved in the bike accident may try to contact you. It’s important to recognize that they are not on your side and are only out to protect their best interests. This means they are trying to reduce liability for their clients, minimizing or even denying any claims you may have for damages. 

The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Missouri is five years. The Kansas statute of limitations is only two years. Insurance companies will often try to close your case well before then. Signing any settlement papers can preclude your rights to future compensation. This is why it’s so important to hire a lawyer to protect your legal rights as early in the process as possible.

Reasons Cyclists May Be Partly at Fault for Accidents

When you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, insurers may try to place part or all of the blame on you. Possible reasons for partial fault may include:

  • Your bicycle lacked the required reflectors or lamps for visibility.
  • You were not wearing a helmet, which worsened your injuries' severity. 
  • You were riding on the sidewalk or the wrong side of the street.
  • You were distracted by your smartphone or listening to music. 
  • You failed to observe traffic signs to stop or yield. 
  • You made a dangerous or unexpected maneuver while on your bike.
  • You made improper use of the bike or other traffic lanes. 
  • You were riding your bicycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Missouri Pure Comparative Fault Laws for Accident Claims

One of the most critical accident legal terms to understand is comparative fault. It is also sometimes called comparative negligence and stands in contrast to contributory fault laws. 

In Missouri, revised statute 537.765 states that the doctrine of pure comparative fault applies in liability claims. This includes personal injury claims arising from bicycle accidents in Kansas City, Missouri. If you are partly at fault for an accident, you can still seek to recover damages from other parties. The caveat is that the awarded settlement is proportionately diminished based on the level of assigned fault.

For example, say that you sustained $100,000 in damages but were 40% to blame for causing the bicycle accident. In this case of partial fault, you may still be eligible to claim up to $60,000 in settlement. Contributory negligence still applies if you were mostly to blame. If you were 80% at fault for the same accident, you may still recover up to $20,000. But, the other party may also file a lawsuit against you for 80% of their losses and expenses. 

Kansas Modified Comparative Negligence Doctrine

Critically, eligibility to seek damages in a bicycle accident with partial fault depends on whether the accident occurred in Kansas or Missouri. Kansas City, Kansas (KCK), has slightly different laws than Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO). Kansas state law observes modified comparative negligence.

While damages are still reduced by the assigned percentage of fault, you can only seek compensation if you were less responsible for causing the accident. This is sometimes called the 50% Bar Rule. If you were 25% to blame, you can seek to recover up to 75% of your damages. If you were 50% to blame, though, you would no longer be eligible to seek compensation. 

The situation is further complicated when multiple parties are involved. If you are 30% at fault, Party B is 20%, and Party C is 50%, you may be able to sue Party C but not Party B. 

Contributory Negligence Laws in Other States

The principles of comparative negligence in Kansas and Missouri are more lenient than contributory negligence laws observed in other states. Under contributory negligence, anyone partly to blame for causing an accident cannot recover compensation. This is true even if you are only 1% at fault. 

Special Protection for Child Cyclists and Victims

Many Missouri laws are in place to protect pedestrians and cyclists in the case of an accident. this is particularly true for children. Motorists are expected to exercise greater caution around parks and schools where children may be present. When assigning fault, children typically cannot be expected to exercise the same level of precaution as adults. 

Communicating With Kansas City Insurance Companies

When an insurance company says that you are partly to blame for your bicycle accident, they are employing a tactic to reduce your claim amount. They are aiming to reduce their liability so they don’t have to pay out for your damages. It’s a scare tactic meant to intimidate and dissuade you from pursuing compensation for your injuries.

A crucial role of a Kansas City bicycle accident lawyer is to represent your interests with the insurance company. Your attorney can speak on your behalf and handle every interaction with the insurer. This includes minimizing the impact of allegations you were partly to blame, managing all the paperwork in filing the claim, and negotiating vigorously to earn the fair settlement you deserve. 

Vital Evidence to Prove Liability in Bicycle Accidents

Building a strong case and defending your rights against other parties is not a simple shouting match. To improve the chances of a positive outcome, work with your personal injury attorney to gather evidence in support of your claim. Examples may include:

  • Work records
  • Medical reports
  • Lab test results
  • Personal injury journal
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Police reports
  • Insight from relevant experts
  • Photos and video footage

You may feel like you aren’t eligible to make a pain and suffering claim due to a preexisting condition. This simply is not true. In a personal injury claim, plaintiffs can still hold at-fault parties responsible for damages if the accident aggravated preexisting conditions. This is sometimes called the “eggshell plaintiff” principle. 

Possible Damages to Recover in Your Personal Injury Case

When a car or truck collides with a cyclist, the driver and passengers of the motor vehicle are often left unscathed. As cyclists are comparatively far less protected in bicycle accidents, they can sustain much more serious injuries when they are struck by a vehicle. Damages and losses cyclists may seek to recover in a personal injury claim may include:

  • Lost wages and reduced future earning potential
  • Emergency medical care and ongoing medical bills
  • Rehabilitation and in-home assistance costs
  • Property damage, like repairing or replacing a damaged bicycle
  • Pain and suffering, including emotional distress
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Punitive damages

Your bicycle accident attorney in Kansas City can consult with medical and industry experts to estimate the fair total value of your claim. Settlement amounts can be substantial. In one case, Foster Wallace represented a client who was struck by a car in a crosswalk in Edwardsville. We made a policy limit demand and helped secure a $100,000 settlement from the insurance company.  

Proceed Confidently With Foster Wallace in Your Corner

Do not allow insurance companies to bully you after your cycling accident. Even if you are partially at fault for causing the accident, you must still defend your legal right to fair compensation. Pure and modified comparative fault doctrines allow you to seek payment for your losses. 

The first step on the road to recovery is to hire a personal injury attorney who can represent your interests. The compassionate Kansas City bicycle accident lawyers at Foster Wallace have a proven record of success. Our keen insight and experience can help guide you through this challenging time. 

Brian Wallace
Connect with me
Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney