How to Determine Fault in a Bicycle Accident

Contact a Car and Bike Accident Attorney Newport Beach

When a bicycle accident occurs, it’s not always clear who is at fault for the accident. With the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reporting that two percent of all motor vehicle fatalities have a bicyclist involved, it’s no wonder that the need for identifying fault is rising. It’s important to note that when a driver is at fault for the collision, your bicycle accident lawyer in Newport Beach can file an accident claim with the vehicle owner’s insurance company.

Most bicycle accidents occur at intersections where cars and trucks share the roadway. In most cases, the other motor vehicle fails to yield to the cyclist when they have the right of way. Forgetting to check side mirrors before changing lanes and turning can be a cause for side-swiping a bicyclist on the roadway. The most common causes of auto accidents involving bicyclists include:

  • Driver negligence or traffic violation
  • Hazardous road conditions
  • Defective bicycle equipment
  • Cyclists negligence or traffic violation

One of the biggest reasons why bicyclists sustain more severe injuries can be noted by an experienced bicycle accident claims lawyer as a lack of safety equipment. Cars have airbags and reinforced vehicle frames to keep the driver safe when a collision occurs. A bicyclist doesn’t typically have any safety feature other than a helmet to protect them from injury. For this reason, the percentage of injury claims for bicyclists who need a professional injury lawyer are much higher than those who are involved in just an automobile accident.

Understanding Liability For Bicycle Accident Claims

Any good personal injury lawyer in Newport Beach can tell you that cyclists have the same legal rights as automobile and commercial vehicle drivers. They also are responsible for obeying traffic laws like motor vehicle drivers. When cyclists get injured, they have access to the same insurance claims process as other vehicle drivers do. Let’s take a look at some of the most common liability scenarios below to help you better understand how liability works in this type of accident claim.

Texting And Driving

Any bicycle accident lawyer can tell you that texting and driving is a big contributor to the number of bicycle vs automobile accidents that happen in California. Let’s take a look at a scenario to better understand how liability works in this particular type of claim. Let’s say Bob is on his bicycle on the far right side of a two-lane roadway. Julie is traveling in the opposite direction in her car.

As Julie approaches the intersection, she’s preoccupied with texting her boyfriend. The light is green for both Julie and Bob. Bob continues to go straight through the intersection. Julie attempts to turn in front of Bob, not noticing him on the roadway as she’s texting. Bob runs into the side of Julie’s vehicle as he didn’t have time to stop. Bob can seek damages for his injuries and property damage due to Julie’s neglect. His bicycle accident attorney will file a claim with Julie’s insurance company.

Hazardous Road Conditions

In this scenario, Aaron is riding his bicycle in a bike lane along the highway. As he goes around a curve in the roadway, he comes up fast on a construction site. There is still loose gravel leftover on the bike lane from the construction work. The construction workers didn’t take the time to properly clean up after their work for the day. Aaron ends up sliding sideways as his bike comes out from underneath him due to the gravel that was left in the bike lane.

In this scenario, Aaron is able to file a state tort claim against the roadway construction crew for the injuries that he sustained. The failure of the construction company to properly clean up the bike lane after quitting their work for the day is considered neglect on their part. Aaron’s Newport Beach bike accident injury lawyer will likely work to get him a fair settlement from the government for his injuries from the accident.

Defective Bicycle Equipment

A personal injury lawyer can help you receive compensation from a manufacturer of bicycle equipment if the equipment is found to be defective by the user. In this scenario, Christy buys a new bike from a local bicycle dealer. About a month prior to her purchase of the bicycle, the dealer received a recall from the manufacturer about the possible failure of the front brake cables. The manufacturer even sent the dealership replacement cables to be installed.

The dealer was aware of the notice but didn’t act to replace the defect front brake cables. When Christy takes her new bike out for a ride, she finds that the front brakes fail. This causes here to crash into a telephone pool and sustains serious injuries. Christy can sue her local bicycle dealer for selling her a defective bike. She may even be able to sue the manufacturer for strict product liability.