Skateboarding is a popular pastime for millions of Americans, but accidents with cars can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities. Sadly, there were 21 skateboarding fatalities in the United States in 2013, and 50,000 American skateboarders end up in the emergency room every year. If a car collides with your skateboard, you'll need to prove that the driver was at fault if you want to successfully file a lawsuit or insurance claim. Learn more about some of the steps you'll need to follow if you want to prove liability.
The nature of skateboarding accidents
Even if you wear protective gear, it's relatively easy to injure yourself if you fall off your skateboard. Common injuries include:
Facial injuries, including broken noses and jawbones
Concussion and other serious head injuries
Of course, if you then add a car into the mix, you could face more serious injuries. The combination of a speeding car with a speeding skateboarder is often fatal.
Popular skateboarding moves can further increase the risk. Skateboarders can bomb steep hills, where they can reach dangerous speeds. Skitching is another popular activity, where the skateboarder hangs on to a moving vehicle. Nonetheless, some accidents occur because car drivers are reckless. How would you prove this?
State health and safety codes or traffic laws often include specific clauses that relate to skateboarding. These laws can vary from one state to another, but your case against a car driver may weaken if you haven't followed the laws that apply to skateboarders where you live.
Common restrictions apply to when you go skateboarding, where you ride your board and how old you are. For example, some jurisdictions forbid skateboarding after a certain time because it's too difficult for car drivers to see the rider in the dark. Similarly, most states don't allow skateboarders to ride on the road, and there are also often restrictions that apply to skateboarding on a sidewalk. Most states now also insist that skateboarders wear helmets and other safety gear while riding, as this step can cut the risk of head injuries.
Realistically, if you have broken any of these rules, you may not have such a strong case against the driver.
Proving the car driver was at fault
If you did not break any laws when a car hit you, your chances of a successful lawsuit or insurance claim are probably far higher. In fact, even if you didn't follow all the relevant laws, an experienced attorney can also prove that the driver was also partly liable for the accident.
With some accidents, the driver's negligence may come down to common sense. For example, if a car swerves off the road and hits you while you are legally riding the sidewalk, it's unlikely the driver will escape without blame. Similarly, if the car driver breaks other rules (like running a red light or failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing) you may not need much more evidence to prove your case.
Nonetheless, your attorney may sometimes need to gather evidence to prove that the driver was liable for the accident. Common sources include:
Police reports. A description of the scene can help corroborate your claim that the driver did something wrong.
Eye witness accounts. People in the area may have seen something that proves the driver was at fault.
Medical evidence. A doctor's report can sometimes show that a certain injury could only occur if the car struck you in a certain way.
These (and other) sources of evidence can help you build a picture that shows why the driver was negligent.
Millions of Americans enjoy skateboarding, but the pastime does not come without risk. If a car collides with you on your skateboard, speak to a trained auto accident attorney from a firm like Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy LLC for more advice.