A bicyclist may have been intoxicated during a bike vs. vehicle crash in Maumee on June 6, according to Maumee Police. The driver of the vehicle and the cyclist were both traveling southeast on Michigan Ave. when they collided. The cyclist, a 44-year-old man, is in critical condition following the crash.
While bicycles are far more vulnerable during crashes than vehicles, that doesn’t always mean that the vehicle driver is at fault when a crash occurs. This case is just one example of when a cyclist might be liable for an accident.
Bicycling under the influence
Cycling under the influence is against Ohio law. Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.19 prohibits people from operating any vehicle under the influence, including bicycles. Unfortunately, many people assume that these laws don’t apply to cyclists, or that a bicyclist can’t possibly cause as much damage as a four-wheeled auto.
Negligence per se and bicycle accidents
When someone is breaking the law and an accident results, they may be liable for negligence per se. In this case, if the cyclist was intoxicated while riding his bike, he would have broken Ohio’s drunk driving laws, which are designed to prevent such accidents.
Negligence per se shifts the burden of proof to the defendant. In normal personal injury cases, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove—usually by a preponderance of evidence—that the defendant was responsible for causing the injuries. In contrast, if someone was breaking the law at the time of the accident, it is now the defendant’s burden to prove that breaking the law did not cause the injuries.
Comparative negligence may also play a role in this case. For instance, if the investigation finds that the vehicle driver caused the accident, but the bicyclist was intoxicated and therefore contributed to his own injuries, each party will be assigned a percentage of fault. Then, if one party is awarded damages, their award will be reduced by that percentage. In other words, if a plaintiff deemed 30 percent at fault is awarded a $100,000 verdict, they’ll only receive $70,000.
Comparative negligence allows parties to recover damages for their injuries, even if they are partially to blame for the accident occurring. As long as they’re less than 50 percent at fault, they can still recover compensation. That’s why it’s so important to avoid admitting fault and call the Law Offices of Tim Misny after any accident, even if you suspect you may have contributed.
Call an Ohio accident attorney today
The Law Offices of Tim Misny can help you with your accident claim. If you or a loved one were injured due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at (800) 556-4769 so that I can evaluate your case right away.