Posted by Sansone / Lauber Trial Lawyers on April 18, 2014SHARE IT
The dangers of texting and driving are becoming more and more apparent as text usage becomes more common than voice phone calls. In fact, even though Missouri does not have very strict laws about texting and driving, if you are caught texting and driving and hurt someone, you could end up in jail. See Missouri Girl Goes To Jail for Texting & Driving.
Texting and driving not only leads to more car accidents, but it is even more hazardous to bike riders. All too often, drivers don’t pay much attention to cyclists,now compound that with a driver looking at their smartphone. One such situation arose where a woman struck and almost killed a bicyclist. Under the circumstances, the bike rider was luck the accident only put him in the hospital for 3 months with a spinal injury instead of killing him. Video of bike accident news story.
Many studies have shown that texting and driving is as dangerous and causes as many car accidents as drunk driving, yet someone who texts and drives is usually not punished, while drunk drivers are often harshly punished, and if they hurt someone they can be charged in Missouri with a felony, even if it is their first DWI offense. Throw in the victim as a bike rider and not another car, and the odds of the texting driver being punished are even less.
As if often discussed on this blog and as stated very well by the late Rodney Dangerfield, bike riders “don’t get no respect!” Many drivers see bicyclists as a nuisance rather than having a right to be on the road. This opinion of cyclists bleeds into all aspects of bike accident investigation and injury case. The driver blames the cyclist, witnesses seem to want to blame the cyclist, police officers right the accident report with bias against the bike rider, and unfortunately, many jurors will have prejudices against a bicyclist and these issues need to be dealt with by a good bike accident lawyer.
I will give you an example of a real case we have that shows this bias I see all the time.
A bike rider crossed the road along the marked crosswalk and crossing traffic that was stopped because of a red traffic light. See picture below, the crosswalk is right in front of the yellow school bus:
A driver in a minivan that was behind the school bus that was stopped for the red light (light is green in pic but all witnesses say and van driver admits light was red when this occurred). The driver chose to drive her car on the right of the white line around the bus and she hit a cyclist that was crossing along the cross walk and they collided right as she came around the front of the school bus.
Obviously the van driver fault, right? Despite the facts being very simple and very clear the police officer did not write the driver a ticket. When I spoke with the witnesses their initial comments were “the kid on the bike was going pretty fast” and “the driver could not see him (the bike rider) till after he came across the front of the bus”
Now, any good lawyer will resolve those bias statements and show the witness how incorrect they are in 5 minutes; and I did just that with these witnesses. They quickly agreed the driver should not have driven around the bus on the shoulder and against a red light. But the important thing to realize here is that their initial instinct was to blame the cyclist! As a bike accident lawyer I must always assume witnesses will be automatically biased against my client simply because they were on a bike and not driving a car.
Additionally, most, if not all jurors, in a bike accident injury trial will be daily car drivers and probably rarely if ever ride a bike. Why should they care that some driver did not see a pesky bike rider? The best personal injury lawyers know that the case must be more than about just your client. In the crosswalk case above the van driver admitted she could have hit a pedestrian, a jogger, runner, or anyone using that walking and bike path. Additionally, the intersection was by two schools, and kids could be using that crosswalk so you need to be careful.
Now the case is not about a pesky bike rider, it is about a driver who violated the law and could have hurt or killed anyone using that crosswalk. That is how you win bike accident cases.
Call bike accident attorney Ben Sansone today for free at (314) 863-0500, or submit your case online for a free review.