Bicyclist’s Death Sparks Liability Issues

A wrongful death suit has recently been filed against a social media website for bicyclists. The suit was filed as a result of an accident in which a bicyclist drifted into the wrong lane and was hit by a car, reports The bicyclist, who is now deceased, was apparently racing to regain his “King of the Mountain” status on the website. The status is awarded for various accomplishments, including the achievement of top speeds on various routes.

The wrongful death suit was filed by the parents of the deceased bikers parents after they learned of another bicyclists death involving the use of the same social media website. In this case, the cyclist was going 35 mph and hit an elderly woman. The women died and the cyclist was charged with vehicular manslaughter.

The parents, while acknowledging their son’s partial responsibility for his death, ultimately argued that the website’s culture fosters negligence on the part of cyclists. The goal of the suit is to curb the occurrence of said negligence potentially resulting from the environment fostered by the website. The case will most likely come down to whether the social media website shares legal liability for the incidents.

A separate, but somewhat related, case might foreshadow some of the issues involved in deciding legal liability. Our Chicago car accident lawyers recently evaluated a case in which the role of “electronic presence” and legal liability in tort cases was a central issue. In short, the case involved two texting teens, one of which was driving his car and the other was at her home. The driving teen was involved in an accident while the liability of the other teen, who was texting the driver, became a topic of focus. The judge ruled that the teen who was texting the driver, while “electronically present,” was not liable because there was no way for her to know what conditions were present on the other side of the communication.

This could be the same decision in the cycling case, since the website was a present factor influencing the events. It could be argued that those responsible for the website cannot reasonably know how the site’s users will act in terms of traffic laws and safety. On the other hand, it could be found that the websites inherent structure incentivizes negligent practices. Another factor to consider is the user agreement of the website, whether it is explicit or implicit, and the relation of this form of contract to tort law.

This case may be as contentious as the other electronic presence case. Regardless, each and every Chicago car accident attorney at Levin & Perconti ask cars and bicyclists to adhere to traffic laws and stay safe. Should you or a loved one be injured or killed as a result of another’s negligence, you can contact our Chicago car accident attorneys to find out what rights may be available to you.

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