Bicycle accidents have the potential to result in a very wide range of possible injuries, from minor to severe. In some cases, bicyclists may sustain injuries that require immediate medical attention, such as fractured bones, a spinal cord injury, or a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Because bicycles offer no protection against vehicles, bicyclists are far more likely to suffer severe injuries in any accident. In fact, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found that bicyclists are 16 times more likely to be killed in a crash than car occupants.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, it will be important for you to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you do not think you were hurt. You should also be sure to contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
A lawyer can help you:
- File a personal injury claim against the party at fault for your injuries.
- Gather evidence to support your claim.
- Negotiate a settlement with the insurance company.
- Represent you in court, if necessary.
The statute of limitations when it comes to filing a personal injury claim in California is two years. This means that you must file your claim within two years of the date of the accident.
The time it takes to compile evidence and other documentation for a personal injury claim can vary depending on the circumstances of a case. In some cases, it may be possible to gather all of the necessary evidence within a few months, but in other cases, it could take several months or even years.
If you are unable to gather all of the necessary evidence on your own, your attorney can help you. Your attorney can also help you to expedite the process of gathering evidence.
It is important to note that you do not have to go through the process of filing a personal injury claim on your own. A personal injury attorney will be able to help you every step of the way.
California has several laws in place to protect the safety of bicyclists on the road. Some of the most important include:
- Three Feet for Safety Act: This law requires motorists to maintain a minimum of three feet of space when passing bicyclists. This means that drivers must pass bicyclists with at least three
feet of space between their vehicle and the bicyclist. If it is not safe to maintain three feet of space, such as when there is oncoming traffic, the driver must slow down and pass at a safe distance.
- Designated bike lane usage laws: Bicyclists are encouraged to use bike lanes or designated bicycle paths whenever possible. However, they are not required to use them exclusively and may use the regular travel lanes if necessary for their safety or to make a turn. Motorists, on the other hand, are prohibited from driving in bike lanes unless they are making a turn or parking.
These laws are in place to help keep bicyclists safe on the road. By following these laws, motorists and bicyclists can work together to help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
Drivers are typically the most common cause of bicycle accidents. They can be held liable for their negligence if they fail to follow the rules of the road, such as:
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to bicyclists
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
In some cases, the government can also be held liable for a bicycle accident. This can happen if the government fails to maintain the roads in a safe condition.
For example, the government may be liable if a bicycle accident is caused by:
- Cracks in the road
- Uneven surfaces
- Lack of proper signage
- Faulty traffic signals
- Improper road markings
In recent months, there has been an increase in government tort claims involving California bicyclists. Many of these claims have been filed due to poorly maintained roads.
Heavy rainfall in Northern California has exacerbated deteriorating road conditions, giving rise to hazardous road defects. Since it is the government's duty to maintain and repair dangerous roads, its failure to do so can lead to government liability.
In rare cases, bicyclists themselves may be found to be negligent in a bicycle accident. This could happen if the bicyclist:
- Was not riding in a safe manner
- Was not wearing a helmet
- Was intoxicated
- Was riding on the wrong side of the road
In some cases, other parties besides a driver and a bicyclist could be held liable for a bicycle accident. This could happen if the accident was caused by:
- A defective product, such as a bicycle that had a manufacturing defect
- A third party, such as a construction company that was negligent in its work
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, it is important to speak to an attorney so you can discuss all of your legal options. A lawyer will be able to help you determine who might be liable for your injuries and also help you file a claim for compensation.
Bicycle injury damages can be divided into two categories: economic damages and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages are essentially concrete financial losses that can be easily quantified. These can include:
- Medical expenses: This will include the cost of your medical care, including doctor's visits, hospital bills, and prescription drugs.
- Lost wages and earning potential: The wages you lost while you were unable to work, as well as the future earnings you are likely to lose as a result of your injuries.
- Property damage: The damage to your bicycle or other property that was damaged in the accident.
- Rehabilitation costs: The cost of any rehabilitation or therapy you need to recover from your injuries.
Noneconomic damages are losses that are much more subjective and difficult to quantify. These can include:
- Pain and suffering: Any physical pain and/or discomfort you have experienced as a result of your injuries.
- Emotional distress: The emotional trauma you have experienced as a result of the accident, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Loss of companionship or support: The loss of the companionship and support of your spouse, partner, family, and friends.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: The loss of the ability to enjoy any activities you once loved, such as sports, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones.
Determining the amount of damages a person is entitled to receive can be complex. It will be important for you to speak to an experienced lawyer who can help you better understand your rights and options.
The last thing bicycle accident victims need is more headaches when it comes to filing legal claims regarding their accidents. Arshakyan Law Firm will be able to take the lead in your case and help you take all of the steps necessary to recover all of the compensation you are entitled to.
Our firm can negotiate with the insurance company for the negligent party that is going to be trying to pay you as little as possible, and we will know how to make sure that you are able to get fair and full compensation for all of your losses. Call (888) 851-5005 or contact us online today to set up a free consultation.