People commonly think of bicyclists as the victims of traffic accidents involving bicycles, and they often are. However, bicyclists also can be a danger to others on the road like pedestrians, who are the least protected of all.
For example, a sixty-seven-year-old woman was severely injured in a crash with a bicyclist while visiting San Francisco with her husband in July 2011. Police reports state that the woman was almost across Mission Street in the crosswalk during the morning rush hour when she was hit by a bicyclist on the Embarcadero.
The 25-year-old bicyclist ran into the woman after running a red light, and he stayed at the scene to cooperate with police. The woman was immediately hospitalized, and after a month of care she passed away from head injuries suffered in the accident.
According to Streetsblog San Francisco, data from the San Francisco Police Department reveals that deaths resulting from pedestrian-bicyclist accidents are uncommon. In 2010, 881 pedestrians were injured by drivers, whereas 18 pedestrians were injured by bicyclists. Even though they happen relatively rarely, this accident demonstrates the tragic outcomes that may occur.
The bicyclist may face criminal charges similar to those a driver would face for causing the death of a pedestrian in a crash. Regardless of whether the bicyclist is charged with a crime, however, the family of the victim may be able to bring a claim against the bicyclist in a wrongful-death lawsuit.
When someone dies in an accident caused by another person’s wrongful or negligent act, the family of the victim may be able to recover damages from the person responsible for the accident and hold him or her accountable for it. Through a wrongful-death lawsuit, the family may obtain compensation for:
Funeral and burial expenses
Loss of future financial support, gifts and benefits
Loss of love, companionship, care and support
People who have lost a loved one in a traffic accident should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss any legal options they may have.