May 25, 2022 | Car Accident
Hitting a bike rider with your car in Louisville can cause serious injuries for the bicyclist. A motorist may panic and not know what to do after hitting a bicyclist. Remaining calm and calling for emergency medical services is the first priority.
Depending on the situation, you could face criminal charges for hitting a bike rider with your car. Therefore, it is wise to seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.
You Must Stop and Remain at the Accident Scene
Kentucky Revised Statute §189.580 requires motorists involved in an accident that causes death, injury, or property damage to stop at the accident scene. The driver must determine the severity of the injuries or situation and render aid as needed. If necessary, call 911 to request emergency assistance.
Drivers must also provide all other parties involved in the accident with the following information:
- Telephone number
- Insurance information
If you leave the scene of a bicycle accident, you could be charged with hit-and-run or fleeing an accident. The penalties for a hit-and-run conviction depend on the facts and circumstances of the case.
For example, if the bicyclist sustained minor injuries, the charge may be a misdemeanor. The court might impose a fine of up to $500 and sentence you to serve up to one year in jail. In addition, points may be assessed against your driver’s license.
However, if the bike rider sustains serious injuries or dies, the penalty increases substantially.
Serious injuries could be charged as a Class D felony. The penalty could be a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to five years. The court may also suspend your driving privileges for a period.
Other Criminal Charges You Could Face Because You Hit a Bike Rider With Your Car
There are numerous charges that you could face because of a bicycle accident. The facts and circumstances of the crash dictate the charges.
For example, if you were impaired at the time of the bicycle accident, the police officers may charge you with DUI. As a result, you could serve significant jail time in addition to fines, probation, and loss of driving privileges.
Other charges you could face include, but are not limited to:
In addition to facing criminal charges, the bicyclist may sue you for damages. A personal injury lawsuit is separate from any criminal charges you face. You could be personally liable for the bicyclist’s financial losses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
If the bicyclist dies, the family members may sue you for damages under a wrongful death claim.
What Should You Do After Hitting a Bicyclist With Your Car?
Stop and call 911 immediately to request emergency medical services. Stay at the accident scene and render aid as needed. When the police officers arrive, tell the truth about what happened, but do not admit fault for the accident.
While waiting for the police officers to arrive, try to take photographs of the accident scene and make a video with your cell phone. Gather contact information from eyewitnesses and bystanders. This information could help prepare a defense if you are charged with a crime.
Contact a criminal defense lawyer for legal advice. Just because you are not charged with a crime at the accident scene does not mean the police might not charge you after completing their accident investigation. A lawyer aggressively defends you against the charges and assists you with negotiating a plea bargain if that is in your best interest.
You Might Not Be Responsible for the Cause of the Accident
Most people assume that it is always the driver’s fault when a bicyclist is hit by a vehicle. It is true that all motorists have a duty of care to keep a careful watch to avoid causing an accident.
However, bicyclists also have a duty of care to avoid accidents. Therefore, bike riders must obey traffic laws and bicycle laws. If they violate traffic laws, they could be cited and held liable if their actions lead to an accident.
If the bike rider sues you for damages, your lawyer might raise allegations of comparative negligence. Kentucky’s comparative negligence law states that a person’s compensation for damages may be reduced by their percentage of fault for causing their injuries.
Therefore, your attorney searches for evidence that the bicyclist contributed to the cause of the bicycle accident. If the bike rider is partially to blame, you might not be liable for all damages the rider sustained because you hit them with your car.