Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Lawyer
There are many reasons residents in Los Angeles use a bicycle to get around. Cycling is better for the environment, a great form of exercise, and can help commuters avoid congested roadways on their way to work. Unfortunately, cycling can also be a dangerous activity. Negligent motorists can easily not see a biker until it is too late. Defective road conditions can also be catastrophic for cyclists who are already on a vehicle that is not as stable as cars and trucks.
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, you need sound legal advice. At Personal Injury Legal Group, our Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers can provide it. We will always advocate for your rights, determine who was responsible for the crash, and help you maximize the compensation you receive so you can focus on a faster return to normal life.
What Causes Bicycle Accidents in Los Angeles?
There are many common forms of negligence that can cause a bicycle accident, but some of them do happen more than others. The most common causes of bicycle accidents in Los Angeles include the following:
- Distracted driving
- Failure of drivers to yield to cyclists
- Drivers who simply do not watch for cyclists the same way they do other vehicles
- Violation of traffic laws, such as failing to stop at signs or running traffic lights
- Defective road conditions, such as lack of shoulders or bike lanes
- Impaired driving
Any of the above acts can cause an accident that results in some of the most serious injuries. It is important to determine which negligent act caused your crash so you can determine who is liable for paying damages.
Common Injuries Sustained in Bicycle Accidents
It is not uncommon for bicycle accidents to cause some of the most serious injuries. Unlike motorists, who have the benefit of a strong steel frame and safety features within the vehicle, cyclists have very little protection when they are on the road. With little more than a helmet to protect them, cyclists are extremely vulnerable and exposed. As such, some of the most common injuries seen after a crash are as follows:
- Fractured and broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Dislocated joints, particularly shoulders
- Sprained, torn, or other damage to ligaments and tendons
- Damage to internal organs
- Abrasions and lacerations
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues
- Wrongful death
Regardless of whether your injuries are physical or mental, you deserve compensation for them. In order to pursue it, you must first identify who was at fault, or liable, for the accident.
Determining Fault After a Bicycle Accident
There are many different defendants in bicycle accident cases. Many times, fault lies with a negligent driver, but there are others who could be to blame, as well. Commercial businesses or even public entities could also carry a certain percentage of fault if one of their employees was working at the time of the accident. Government agencies can also be held liable if a defective road design or poor maintenance caused a crash. Less commonly, pedestrians and other cyclists could also be to blame for an accident.
It is important to identify all liable parties so you can claim the maximum damages you are entitled to. However, determining who is at fault for the crash is not easy. A full investigation must be conducted to determine how the accident occurred, and collect the necessary evidence must be gathered to prove your case. Although it is not common, some personal injury cases even end in a trial so a judge or jury can determine who is liable.
Proving Fault After a Bicycle Accident
When proving your case, you must establish four specific elements. These are as follows:
- Duty of care: You must show the negligent party owed you a duty of care to act in a reasonable manner so you did not become injured. Proving duty of care is relatively easy, as everyone owes the people around them a duty to act in a manner that will not cause harm.
- Breach of duty: Proving breach of duty is essentially proving the negligent act that caused your accident. Establishing the fact that the defendant breached their duty of care is typically one of the most challenging aspects of any bicycle accident claim.
- Causation: A negligent act on its own is not enough to file a claim against the careless party. You must also show that the negligent act caused your accident. For example, if a driver ran a stop sign, but the act did not cause an accident, you cannot file a claim for damages. On the other hand, if a driver ran a stop sign and then crashed into you, it is possible to file a claim against them.
- Damages: The purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to restore you as much as possible to the same physical, mental, and financial position you were in before the crash. If you did not sustain injuries or property damage, there is no valid basis for a claim.
Comparative Fault in Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Claims
Sometimes, accident victims are partly at fault for a crash. For example, if you moved from a bike lane and out into traffic without looking, that could cause an accident. On the other hand, if the driver was speeding and did not have the appropriate amount of time to stop, they may also be found partly at fault if an accident occurred.
In situations when multiple people are at fault for an accident, each party is assigned a percentage of fault. Accident victims can still claim compensation, but if they were partly at fault, the damages they receive will be reduced by the same percentage of fault.
Staying with the example above, you may be assigned 20% of the liability for failing to look for vehicles. The driver may be assigned 80% of fault because they were speeding, and had they not been, they may have been able to prevent the accident. If you are awarded $100,000 in damages, they will be reduced by your same 20% of the fault, and you will ultimately receive $80,000 in compensation.
When multiple parties are to blame for an accident, it is known as comparative fault. California follows a pure model of comparative fault law. Under this law, you can still claim damages even if you were 99% at fault for the accident.
The Statute of Limitations in Bicycle Accident Cases
Like all other personal injury cases in California, those involving bicycle accidents are governed by a statute of limitations, or a time limit. Typically, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim or lawsuit against the liable party. If you do not file within this time, the court and insurance company will throw out your claim, and you will not have any legal right to claim any damages at all.
There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations. For example, if a government agency is liable for the accident, you only have six months to file a Government Claim form. Additionally, if you did not discover your injuries right away, you have one year from the date of discovery to file a claim against the liable party. At Personal Injury Legal Group, our attorneys can advise on the timelines that apply to your case.
What Damages are Available in Bicycle Accident Claims?
There are many different types of compensation you can claim after a bicycle accident. Legally, this is known as damages, and the most common types you can pursue include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses, including medication, transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, and other costs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
It is not always easy to accurately value a bicycle accident claim. For example, while you can likely calculate your medical expenses fairly easily, accurately valuing other losses is more difficult. A bicycle accident lawyer will know the formula to use when valuing non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and other losses that do not have a quantifiable value.
A lawyer will also know to not only include your current losses, but your future damages, as well. For instance, you may need ongoing medical treatment for years after the crash. It is important to determine the cost of this treatment so you can include it in your claim and not be responsible for paying for these losses out of your own pocket.
Your Free Consultations will be conducted with a skillful personal injury attorney who understands the finer points of bicycle accident injuries. Our services are provided on a contingency fee basis so you pay nothing upfront. You only pay if we successfully win your case.
Having a bicycle accident can be a traumatic experience. While we focus on handling your legal matters, we want you to focus on getting well—so call us!
Personal Injury Legal Group headquarters are located in Los Angeles with additional offices throughout California. Since 1999, we have been serving clients nationwide, with a concentration in Southern California counties including Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Orange, San Diego, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial. We also serve Northern California counties of San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Sacramento, San Mateo, Solano, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Napa, Yolo, and Sonoma.
At Personal Injury Legal Group, our Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys Also Focus on the Following Practice Areas:
- Car Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Catastrophic Injuries
- Commercial Vehicle Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Train Accidents
- Slip & Falls
- Product Liability
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Uber & Lyft
- Wrongful Death
- Trucking Accidents
- Sports Injury
- Cruise Ship Accidents
Our Bicycle Accident Lawyers in Los Angeles Can Provide Valuable Advice on Your Claim
At Personal Injury Legal Group, our Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers can provide the sound legal representation you need during this difficult time. We know the serious injuries caused by these accidents, and we also know how to determine who was liable and hold them accountable for paying the fair compensation that is justly yours. Call us now at 310-388-4306 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions for Los Angeles Bicycle Accident
What should I do if I’m in a bicycle accident in California?
If you’re in a bicycle accident, you should first make sure you and anyone else involved are safe and call 911 if anyone is injured. Then, exchange contact and insurance information with the other party involved, and take photos of the scene and any damage if possible. Finally, report the accident to your insurance company.
Do I need to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle in California?
Yes, California law requires all bicycle riders under 18 years old to wear a helmet while riding. While it is not required for riders over 18 years old, it is highly recommended for safety reasons.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim after a bicycle accident in California?
In California, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. However, if the accident involved a government entity, you may have as little as six months to file a claim.
Can I recover damages for my bicycle and personal injuries after a bicycle accident?
Yes, if you were injured in a bicycle accident in California, you may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related losses. If your bicycle was damaged in the accident, you may also be able to recover damages for the cost of repairs or replacement.
What if the driver who hit me in a bicycle accident in California was uninsured?
If the driver who hit you in a bicycle accident was uninsured, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company if you have uninsured motorist coverage. You may also be able to sue the driver for damages, but recovery may depend on the individual’s assets and ability to pay.
What if I was partially at fault for a bicycle accident in California?
If you were partially at fault for a bicycle accident in California, your recovery may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. For example, if you were found to be 30% at fault, your recovery may be reduced by 30%.
Can I still file a claim if the driver who hit me in a bicycle accident in California left the scene?
Yes, you can still file a claim if the driver who hit you in a bicycle accident left the scene. You should try to get their license plate number and any other identifying information if possible, and report the hit-and-run to the police and your insurance company. You may also want to hire a personal injury attorney to help you pursue compensation.
Can I recover damages for pain and suffering after a bicycle accident in California?
Yes, you may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering after a bicycle. However, the amount of damages will depend on the severity of your injuries and other factors.
What if I was hit by a car door while riding my bicycle in California?
If you were hit by a car door while riding your bicycle in California, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries and any damage to your bicycle. California law requires drivers to check for bicyclists before opening their car doors, and failure to do so can result in liability for any resulting injuries or damages.
What if I was hit by a driver who was under the influence in a bicycle accident in California?
If you were hit by a driver who was under the influence in a bicycle accident in California, the driver may face criminal charges in addition to civil liability for any damages or injuries they caused. You may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are meant to punish the driver for their reckless behavior.
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