Southern California is the perfect place to ride a bicycle. With its warm weather and year-round sunny skies, it presents few obstacles to those who prefer to avoid the traffic and congestion. More and more Californians are commuting by bicycle.
If you have become part of this growing trend, then you have undoubtedly realized the need to be alert and conscientious when on the road. Unfortunately, this is not always enough. People who drive their cars recklessly present a constant threat to cyclists. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident that was caused by negligence or recklessness, then you should explore your legal options.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 700 people each year are killed in bicycle accidents and there are more than 50,000 people who suffer serious injuries. California law enforcement has made bicycle safety a priority. They have tried to increase public knowledge of the laws and regulations concerning bicycles and motor vehicle operation. Despite this effort, California continues to lead the nation in bicycle accidents. Here are some of the common causes of bicycle accidents:
Bicycles are small, thin, and compact. They are less prominent in a mirror than motor vehicles and the agility afforded by a bicycle allows the rider to move and maneuver in ways that are unfamiliar to the driver of a car. None of this obviates the need for drivers to be alert and vigilant. They should pay close attention to the hand signals of a bicyclist and should allow them the space they need to overtake and make turns.
If you were hit by a driver who was not paying attention, then you should hold them accountable.
It is illegal in California, as it is in every other state, to drive under the influence of alcohol. Yet, some people do it anyway. A driver impaired by alcohol will have uncertain vision, slow reflexes, and many other incapacities that make them dangerous to bicyclists. If you have been hit by a drunk driver, it is possible for you to file a civil judgment even if the person has already been criminally convicted.
California leads the nation in the number of safe bike paths it has created, but it also leads the nation in the number of cycling deaths per year. Cyclists use these paths so they are free of hazards and can avoid potential dangers to them. Both state and private paths are liable for injuries that are the result of trails, grounds, and other spaces that have been neglected or were not properly established in the first place.
Bicycle and bicycle parts manufacturers have an obligation to make safe and effective products. The latter must go through a rigorous testing process before they can be put on the market. If this process is not adequate to the task, it can lead to catastrophic failure when the part is in use. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident that owes to defective parts, then you can hold the manufacturer liable.
A bicycle offers you very little physical protection against the force of a vehicle or the pavement. If you come into collision with either one of these, it can lead to:
The more severe the accident, the longer you will need to stay in the hospital. You may also be forced to undergo a range of invasive surgeries to save your life. Such an accident will lead to high medical expenses, which you will not be able to pay because of your condition.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may succumb to your injuries and pass away like hundreds of bikers a year. Your family life and career may suffer because of an accident caused by someone else’s recklessness.
After being hit by a car accident, you will have thousands of dollars worth of medical bills. In addition to any emergency room bills you have, you’ll likely also have to seek further medical treatment from a specialist. Your attorney will argue for compensation of all medical expenses that have been incurred. Medical bills, diagnostic tests, medical reports, and expert testimony from medical professionals are all used to prove these damages.
Loss of Income
If your injury is so severe that you cannot work, you will need to be compensated for the lost wages that you are not making while you recover from your injuries. If you are permanently injured, then you may not be able to return to work at all.
If you have a career like a server or performer, your injuries may make it so you cannot stand for long periods of time. After the accident, you may have to change careers or retire prematurely.
Wages, commissions, bonuses, and loss of future income are all compensable damages that your attorney will be able to argue for in court.
Pain and Suffering
After an accident like this, you will go through a lot of pain and suffering. Physical pain will be heavy while you are recovering, and you may suffer from chronic pain for the rest of your life.
In many cases, you can receive compensation for the past, present, and future pain and suffering that occurs due to the accident.
Your damages may be more than skin deep. Colliding with an automobile is traumatizing, and you may not be able to mentally move on from the experience right away. This is understandable.
Fear, anxiety, PTSD, and other emotional distress suffered by the injured party can be compensated. Additional related “intangible damages” may also be given in order to compensate an injured victim for loss enjoyment of life and loss of affection and consortium if your injuries are so severe that you can no longer be intimate with your partner.
While physical damages can be proven with medical bills, emotional damages are much harder to quantify. Your personal injury attorney will help you prove these damages. You can start by keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings surrounding the accident and your injuries. You can also add up your therapist’s bills to argue that the guilty party should compensate for them.
The impact of a car hitting someone on a bike will undoubtedly cause damage to the bike. Property damages such as damage to your bike and any other objects, such as a laptop in your backpack, can be compensated. If your property has been completely destroyed or damaged beyond repair, then you may be compensated at the fair market value of the items at the time of the loss.
Punitive damages are meant to serve as a sort of “punishment” to the defendant if they acted with gross negligence, fraud, or malice. By adding on additional monies to the settlement, the courts try to ensure that the defendant will not act the same way again and that they will act with greater care in the future.
As you recover from your accident, you should consult with a bicycle injury law firm. A bicycle accident lawyer Newport Beach like Accident Lawyers Firm has the insight, expertise, and experience to get you the right compensation for your injuries.
The first thing your attorney will do is launch their own investigation into the events and circumstances that led to the accident. They will interview witnesses, gather any camera footage of the accident, and make inquiries into the sobriety and state-of-mind of the driver who hit you.
These types of cases do not always go to trial. Your bicycle injury lawyer may be able to negotiate with the party responsible for the accident. They may be able to present the kind of evidence that will compel them to offer you a larger settlement.
If you have been in a bicycle accident, you should contact an accident injury attorney in Newport Beach immediately. They will help you protect your rights and interests.
What To Do After A Bicycle Accident
Following an accident, you should call an ambulance immediately. It’s possible that even if you feel healthy and okay, you can have internal injuries that you don’t know about. Emergency personnel will give you professional medical attention, and they often catch injuries such as concussions and internal bleeding. The first responders will also provide documentation of your injuries, which will help your claim.
When you call 911, law enforcement officers will also come to the scene. They will investigate by examining clues at the scene to create an accident report, which will detail what happened. This will be essential in proving liability in the case, which in turn helps your claim to compensation.
You should also take photos of the scene as well as your injuries. This is important because it’s hard evidence of what happened. Take photos of any debris, skid marks, and injuries that you may have. You should also create photo documentation of your injuries as they heal.
How to Determine Fault in a Bicycle Accident
The most common causes of auto accidents involving bicyclists include:
The law enforcement officers that arrive at the scene will create an accident report, which will be crucial to determining fault. Law enforcement officers use their detective skills to determine who is liable for the accident.
They will examine skid marks, debris, and any damage to the vehicle and bicycle. They will also interview all parties involved and any witnesses to what happened. If a traffic camera or dashboard camera captured what happened, they will also obtain those to determine who is liable.
Common Liability Issues in Bicycle vs. Accident Cases
You may assume that the biker is automatically the victim in these accidents, but that’s not always the case. In the event that a cyclist bypasses traffic signals or stops suddenly when a car is behind them, then they may be in the wrong, and the driver will not have to compensate them for their damages.
If the other driver disobeyed a traffic signal or was distracted by their phone at the time of the crash, it’s likely the courts will find them responsible for the accident.
Determining who is liable is key to getting compensation for the accident, so make sure that you don’t accidentally admit fault by apologizing after the accident. When fault is placed on the other driver, you are liable for compensation.
Make sure your case is handled professionally and carefully from start to finish. The lawyers of Accident Lawyers Firm take a personalized approach to each case because they know that the factors and damages of each case are different. You don’t deserve a one-size-fits-all claim to compensation. Contact our office to set up a free consultation today.