If a car turns right in front of a bicycle and hits said bicycle, either party may be at fault depending on the circumstances of the accident. In many cases, bicycle accidents are caused by motorists, but this is not always the case. Right turn bicycle accidents, also known as “right-hooks”, are among the most common and dangerous types of bicycle accidents.
If you’ve been in a right-turn accident, you may be wondering what your options are. Determining fault is crucial to the outcome of your case. In order to prove liability, you will need proper evidence of negligence, which a personal injury attorney can help you with. A personal injury attorney will be able to ensure that you receive the damages you deserve.
Here is what you need to know about accidents when a car turns right in front of a bicycle and what you should do if you are involved in a right-hook accident.
What Happens In Right-Hook Accidents?
As previously mentioned, accidents when a car turns right in front of a bicycle are among the most common types of accidents with bikes and cars. In the most fortunate cases, a cyclist may just have a scare and avoid injury. In the worst cases, right-hook accidents can be fatal.
These accidents most commonly occur at intersections, but they can also occur in parking lots and neighborhoods. Wherever there are bicycles and a car passes them on the left and then turns right in front of them, they can either hit a cyclist or the cyclist may be unable to avoid hitting them.
Determining Fault In Right-Turn Accidents
In many cases, the motorist is at fault in bicycle accidents, but not always. There are many factors involved with these types of accidents, which is why you often need a personal injury attorney on your side in order to ensure that you receive damages for the harm you suffered. Your attorney will be able to investigate the accident, gather evidence, and fight for you to obtain justice.
Here are some of the factors that can impact fault in right-hook accidents.
Drivers Not Paying Attention
When cars make right turns and hit bicycles, it’s often because they did not see them. Motorists are accustomed to watching oncoming traffic in order to be able to turn safely, but many instances of right-turn accidents occur when the motorist fails to check the sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes.
Driver Does Not Stop Or Yield
This ties into the above point. Drivers often do not stop when they are making a right turn. This can cause them to collide with a cyclist when they were supposed to stop and yield to the said cyclist.
Right Of Way
This is crucial for this type of accident. If it is found that you did not have the right of way, it is likely that you will be determined at least partially responsible for the accident. In cases where the car clearly signaled that they were turning and they had passed the cyclist for a significant amount of time, the car may have the right of way and the cyclist may need to have been the one to yield. In other cases when a car cuts a cyclist off or does not signal intent, it is likely that the cyclist had the right of way.
Sometimes, even if the motorist looks for cyclists, they may not see them before attempting a right turn. This can lead to a right-hook accident. You will need the help of a lawyer to determine fault.
Similar to the above point about blind spots, sometimes vigilant motorists do not see cyclists due to nighttime darkness, poor weather, and other such circumstances that lower their visibility. Cyclists need to ensure that their bikes have lights and that they are wearing reflective gear so that motorists can more easily see them.
Ultimately, motorists need to ensure that they are looking for bicycles and giving them plenty of time and space before attempting to turn right in front of them. Cyclists need to ensure that they are visible, following traffic rules, and err on the side of caution.
There are many different factors that can influence fault in right-hook accidents, so even if the other party was doing something they shouldn’t, like speeding, you may be found to be at fault, depending on the circumstances.
What To Do If You’ve Been Involved In A Right-Hook Accident
If you’ve been involved in a right-hook accident, you will want to ensure that you follow the same steps you would in another type of bicycle accident. Our previous blog, 5 Things To Do If You Are In A Bicycle Accident, goes over the essential steps you should take after an accident, such as seeing a doctor, gathering insurance information, and more.
You will need a personal injury attorney on your side to help you through the process and to ensure that you receive the damages you deserve. The attorneys at LeBaron & Jensen have extensive experience with many different types of bicycle accidents. Contact us today for your free, no-obligation case consultation.