A bicyclist is checking her basket behind her to see if her books were alright and goes into an intersection and is hit by a car. Witnesses say the driver didn't stop at the stop sign. The bicylist sues for injury. Does the driver have any defense.
2 Answers from Attorneys
A bicyclist has the same rules of the road as an automobile. If the bicyclist had the right of way to proceed through the intersection (no stop sign?, or had already stopped at a stop sign?), then the driver of the automobile is responsible for the injury.
The bicyclist checking her books could possibly give rise to an argument that she has some comparable fault for not being careful while proceeding but that should not absolve the automobile driver from primary responsibility.
I have handled bicyclist injury cases and once the automobile driver's negligence is established, I have not had comparable fault significantly reduce my clients' damages.
Our website is www.atrlaw.pro if you are interested. Thank you.
Hi and thank you for your inquiry. Attorney Gamache is correct about the rules of the road and the car's driver being liable to the bicyclist. He also noted that the bicyclist might have "some comparable fault". In Maine, this means that the law may be interpreted to conclude that the bicyclist's conduct contributed to their injury...specifically, to the collision occurring. There is a doctrine called "The Last Clear Chance" that stands for the proposition that the person claiming injury due to another person's negligence, had an opportunity to take action to avoid the injuries. That would be the driver's defense here, although it is not an iron clad defense. However, if there are any real injuries, it is still worth pursuing, particularly if we can work with the facts that are known to the driver and their insurance company. These facts may not include the knowledge that the bicyclist was not looking ahead. You may reach me directly to discuss this further through my web site at: www.MarcheseInjuryLaw.com. Thanks again.