There are many benefits that bike riders enjoy in Mississippi today that they did not previously enjoy. First, laws have been passed providing bicyclists increased safety in the state. One such law requires that motorists give bicyclists three feet when passing them on the roadway. Miss. Code Ann. §63-3-1309.
“a motorist shall leave a safe distance of not less than three (3) feet between his vehicle and the bicyclist and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the bicycle.”
Another Mississippi statute explicitly states that bicyclists must be treated as a motorist would treat another vehicle in the roadway and that:
“it is unlawful to harass, taunt or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle.”
These laws have raised awareness of bicyclists on the road and their rights, hopefully providing a safer roadway for all bicyclists in the state.
We have had several cases where bicyclists have had traumatic injuries due to a car hitting them as they rode their bike these individuals utilized their uninsured motorist coverage on their vehicle auto insurance to pay for some of their medical bills or damages. These coverages often pay for injuries occurring in cars, or caused by cars. For this reason we tell our clients to max out their uninsured motorist / underinsured motorist coverages.
Bicyclists Should Carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Policies of insurance vary in their language, but our experience so far with Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist coverages have provided coverage to bicyclists. Additionally, in Mississippi, uninsured motorists coverages stack meaning if there are multiple vehicles on a policy each vehicle will bring its value into a stacked value that you and the individuals living in your home are able to access when they are injured by a driver who doesn’t have enough insurance coverage.
The language of these policies often provides for injuries to pedestrians, injuries to bicyclists, injuries to passengers and any other injury caused by or in a car. In pedestrian and bicycle wrecks the injuries to the individual are often very serious and require as much of the insurance proceeds as may be available (the policy limits).
How much Uninsured Motorist Coverage can I buy?
Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured motorist coverages are capped based on the amount of liability coverage carried on the vehicle policy. So for instance, if you carry 25,000.00/50,000.00 in liability coverage on your policy then you will only be allowed to carry 50,000.00/100,000.00 in uninsured coverages. For this reason it may be worthwhile to update you liability coverages as you update your uninsured coverages in order to carry an appropriate amount of uninsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured Motorist coverages are the best buy in insurance in my experience and when you or a family member need it you will be glad that you have covered yourself against the individual that injured you not having nearly enough insurance to provide for your injuries. When you make a claim against an uninsured or underinsured policy you are dealing with your own insurance company. Your insurance company owes special responsibilities to you to investigate any claim you bring, evaluate claims quickly, to some exent gather medical bills and records and owes the highest duty between parties to you, a fiduciary duty. If the insurance company is caught failing to live up to these duties there could be dire consequences for the parent company.
If you have any additional questions about your current insurance coverages, would like an estimate of the types of injuries that could be caused in a bicycle wreck with an automobile or have a claim you need to make against an uninsured motorist policy, contact us, we will be glad to speak with you.
Runners and walkers are in increasing danger on the roadways of Mississippi. Walkers are frequently injured or killed and at a rate that is just behind injury or death to a passenger in a motor vehicle wreck. We teach our children to pay attention and look both ways before crossing the street. Sometimes this training is not enough to prevent injury or death while on foot as a pedestrian.
The injury rate for pedestrians is in the thousands every year, and with distracted driving due to cell phones, email and text messages, this number is only going up. Any pedestrian or bicyclist who is injured by an automobile has a potential claim for damages as a result of his injuries. If you or a family member are injured by an automobile while a walker our attorneys are standing by to answer any question that you have about your injuries and ongoing medical treatment.
At the scene of the wreck it is important to get any information you can about the wreck, the names of the drivers, get a police report for the wreck and get any medical treatment that you may need. Evidence at the scene of the wreck my also be important: information about the location of the wreck, the contact information of any witnesses, the contact information of the driver, and any insurance information that may be available at the scene of the wreck.
A witness of the wreck may be important to establish liability on the part of the at fault party. Usually, pedestrians have the right of way and vehicles should yield to them. It may be helpful to have an attorney assist you prior to giving any statement.
All over the country individuals continue to choose to use cell phones while operating cars and trucks. Activities like texting, emailing, surfing the internet and even looking up a phone number take the focus and attention of the driver off of the road and allow the unthinkable to happen to a bicyclist. New laws have been passed in Mississippi in order to provide that bicyclists would be more protected and protected on the roadways of Mississippi.
The John Paul Frerer Act, enacted in 2010, provides that bicyclists will be given all the benefits of vehicles on the roadway. Additionally the law provides that when passing a bicyclist on the roadway that a driver should provide at least 3 feet of space as the vehicle passes.
Distracted Drivers cause more wrecks
The roadways can be a much more dangerous place for bicyclists today when the focus required to see bicyclists which are roughly 1/3 less visible than cars or trucks is spent consistently fixated on electronic devices.
In order to stop or avoid an obstacle in the road, the driver of an automobile needs time to react. When electronic devices are in the mix in a car wreck involving a bicyclist that time to react is increased dramatically. A recent study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute shows that reaction time is doubled by cell phone use.
Questions are often raised in wreck cases that are handled by Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys of whether full attention has been paid to the road or if the driver of the vehicle that caused the wreck with a bicyclist was:
utilizing a cell phone,
sending a text message,
sending a tweet,
surfing the internet,
checking facebook, or
holding the phone in one hand.
There are methods that skilled attorneys can employ to forensically examine the cell phone of the driver, usage records, call records and other information to prove that an individual was in fact using their cell phone immediately before hurting a bicyclist on the roadway.
Time is working against you if there is any thought in your mind that a cell phone may have caused distraction in a particular bicycle wreck. Chat with our experienced attorneys at any time to learn just how quickly the process of obtaining and preserving this information can begin.
Obeying the law and personal injury
In Mississippi, when a driver injures another while breaking the law and that law was meant to protect from the type of injury that occurs it can be determined as a matter of law that the lawbreaker was negligent as a matter of law. For instance, in Mississippi, if a driver passes a bicyclist and fails to give the appropriate passing cushion of 3 feet and this action causes an injury to the bicyclist then the driver may be found to be negligent per se or negligent as a matter of law.