Bicyclists Pedestrians | Personal Injury Lawyer Madison WI
What Happens When A Bicyclist Hits A Pedestrian?In an accident where a cyclist hits a pedestrian, a personal injury lawyer in Madison, Wisconsin can help you recover damages like medical bills and pain and suffering. Was The Cyclist Negligent? Obviously, if a cyclist has hit you, you are likely to reply with a resounding, “YES!” But in the eyes of the law, it is not quite that simple. There are four components to negligence, as the law defines it, and in order to make a successful claim of negligence, you and your attorneys have to be able to demonstrate that all four of these conditions exist: Duty, breach, causation, and compensable harm (actual damages).
- Duty – Did the cyclist owe you a duty of care? If the cyclist was, for example, riding on the sidewalk, he had a duty to take care not to hit pedestrians. In general, we all owe pedestrians the duty of not running them over, however, if the pedestrian was walking someplace he or she should not have legally been, this could weaken the claim of duty.
- Breach – Once duty is established, the next question is whether or not the cyclist was in breach of that duty. Did you suddenly step out of a doorway and into the path of a cyclist who was, otherwise, riding with reasonable caution? Or was he or she just speeding down the sidewalk, not paying attention, and plowed into you when a person exercising reasonable care would have been able to avoid hitting you?
- Causation – You need to be able to prove that the cyclist caused your injury, and that there was no unforeseeable or intervening cause. If the cyclist says he was riding on the sidewalk to avoid traffic on the street, this does not eliminate causation because pedestrian traffic was foreseeable. If the cyclist swerved to miss a piece of flying debris kicked up by a car, and he hit you when he swerved, there may now be an “unforeseeable or intervening cause” in the equation.
- Damages – Assuming that you can prove the other 3 elements of negligence, the last piece of the puzzle is that you must demonstrate compensable harm: Medical bills, damaged property pain and suffering, and lost wages, for example. But here comes the big catch: You may win your case and be awarded damages, but if the cyclist can’t pay the award or doesn’t have liability insurance, you may have a huge challenge collecting any money.