Los Angeles—the city of angels, is a popular tourist destination because of its great outdoors and warm weather. While the state offers the perfect conditions for cycling adventures, its busy roadways pose certain dangers for those using two-wheels. With the ever-increasing reports of bicycle accidents that lead to catastrophic injuries, the need to find the best car accident attorney cannot be underestimated.
Bicycle accidents in California can be caused by cyclist errors or even damaged and unkempt pavements. Moreover, they can also be a result of negligent or distracted drivers. Irrespective of who is at fault, an incident can leave the cyclist nursing catastrophic or life-threatening injuries. If you don't know what to do following an accident that robs you of a future, turn to the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney for assistance. We will help you understand your legal options and determine whether you are entitled to compensation.
Understanding the Worth of Your Bicycle Injuries
Various factors determine the actual worth of any personal injury case. Apart from the severity of injuries suffered, we also consider the level of pain caused by injuries. This also includes any lingering effects that a victim has to bear in the future. All evidence ought to be gathered and scrutinized before an actual value can be determined.
Here are some of the aspects considered when determining the value of a claim:
- Current medical bills and those you may incur in the future
- Your current loss of wages and wages you may lose in the future.
- Property damage
- Emotional trauma
- Bodily pain and suffering
- Scars, disfigurement, physical and mental disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium for your spouse
- Other expenses allied to the accident
Bicycle Accident Calculator
It is normal to wonder whether it makes any sense to pursue personal injury claims after a bicycle accident. If you have suffered catastrophic injuries, the chances are you may find it worth it to focus on nursing your aches and pains.
How much can you receive as a settlement anyway?
Well, each case is different. As shown in the list of aspects determined to know the value of a claim, both economic and non-economic damages must be considered when deciding the amount of settlement you deserve.
Calculating the financial damages suffered is the simple part. We will consider your medical bills, bicycle repair/replacement costs, and any future financial losses you may incur. Additionally, we must take into account your permanent or temporary loss of earning potential.
Calculating non-economic damages is often challenging. Plenty needs to be considered to put a price tag on post-traumatic stress or even your inability to ride a bike again following catastrophic injuries. Fortunately, our skills and years of experience in the field put us in a position to ensure you receive the highest possible amount of compensation.
Tips To Help You Strengthen Your Bicycle Accident Claim
The moves you make right after an accident can make all the difference once it's time to file an insurance claim. There are four vital things you can do to ensure you enjoy maximum insurance benefits.
- Take photos of the accident scene (they can be used as evidence)
- Take photos of your injuries and keep all medical records.
- Don't admit fault
- Enlist the services of a skilled Los Angeles car accident attorney
Because it may be nearly impossible to follow these steps after suffering catastrophic injuries, consider seeking an attorney's expertise right away. The expert will work on strengthening your claim as you focus on regaining your health.
How Is The At-Fault Party Determined In A Bicycle Accident Case?
Bicyclists in California share the roads with pedestrians, motorists, and other road users. While it may often seem as though motorists are at fault during bike-car crashes, this is not always the case. Numerous complex factors must be considered to understand who is at fault in an incident.
The Role of Police Officers
Police officers are tasked with conducting initial investigations at an accident scene. They take note of various aspects, including turning laws, lane restrictions, stop signs, and traffic signals, just to mention a few. While it is okay to depend entirely on the authorities' report, it also makes sense to enlist a bicycle injury attorney. We are on your side and will point out even minor aspects that may indicate a driver's negligence.
Are The Laws In Favor Of Cyclists?
With more cyclists than motorists receiving compensation after bike-car accidents that cause catastrophic injuries, it's easy to assume that California's laws favor bicyclists over motorists. This cannot be further from the truth. Irrespective of the mode of transportation used, road users must abide by the set traffic laws. Determining fault always boils down to the facts gathered during investigations.
Usually, all facts are valid, irrespective of how minor or significant they may seem. That is why you need a bicycle accident attorney in your corner. You can trust us with your case, future, and best interests. Because even the slightest detail can help decide who is at fault during a collision, we will ensure that even minor details are not overlooked during investigations.
Apart from the police report, we are also keen to analyze other forms of physical evidence, including:
- The severity of injuries sustained by a bicyclist
- The extent of bike damage
- State of bike tires following impact
- Road scrape and skid marks
- Points of impact on the bicyclist, bike, and vehicle
- Points of rest of bike, cyclist, and vehicle
Is The Cyclist at Fault If He/She Wasn't Wearing Protective Gear?
California laws require bicyclists to wear protective gear, including helmets. However, this has little impact on a case, more so if it is established that an automobile driver's negligence caused an accident. In such a case, it is ruled that a cyclist would still have suffered injuries whether he or she was wearing protective gear or not.
What Happens If Both The Cyclist And Car Driver Were At Fault?
If investigations conducted by the police and your attorney show that both you and the involved car driver were at fault, all is still not lost. The negligent party is still held accountable for his or her actions. According to California's doctrine of pure comparative negligence, a case boils down to whose failure started the fall of events that caused a collision and injuries. If a claim proceeds to trial, the jury is tasked with issuing a ruling on the guilty party.
What If A Pedestrian Caused The Crash?
Again, the person responsible for a crash is also responsible for paying for damages. This is irrespective of whether he/she is a pedestrian or a fellow cyclist. Pedestrians can cause accidents when they:
- Walk while distracted by mobile phones, headphones, etc.
- Fail to control their pets
- Step into the bike lane abruptly
- Run in front of the bike
- Intentionally knock down a cyclist from the bike leading to major injuries.
When dealing with accidents caused by pedestrians, just like when handling incidents caused by motorists, it is essential to prove fault. You will need to prove that:
- A pedestrian owed you (the cyclist) a duty of care.
- A pedestrian breached their duty of care and acted negligently.
- Your injuries are a direct result of a pedestrian's negligence.
You are cycling to work on one bright Monday morning. Britney is also out walking her dog while texting her boyfriend. She decides to take a selfie and lets go of the leash in the process. The dog runs in your direction, and you fall from your bike and suffer catastrophic head trauma as you try to avoid hitting it.
So, who caused the accident?
The dog may have caused the accident, although it's under the care of Britney. This makes her responsible for an action that caused your crash and injuries. By letting go of the leash, Britney breaches her duty of care, making herself legally liable for damages suffered.
What If My Defective Bike Caused The Crash?
It is not alien for accidents to be caused by defective bike parts. In such incidents, cyclists are left moaning in pain with little or no idea of what happened and who is to blame. California's "product liability" laws protect you by placing liability squarely on the shoulders of the company that designed, produced, or sold the defective bike part that ultimately caused a crash.
In this case, proving the negligence of the company is unnecessary. It is sufficient to show that a product was defective. A company can be held liable if the following are determined:
- Product manufacturing defects
- Design defects
- No warnings of product defects
As the casualty of an accident caused by bike or bike part defects, you need to prove:
- The company (the defendant) is responsible for designing, manufacturing, distributing, and selling the defective product.
- The product was defective by the time you acquired it.
- You used the product correctly.
- The defects on the product directly caused you harm or injury.
You gather your savings and head to your local bike shop to acquire a brand new Speed Freak road bike for your birthday. The first time you take the two-wheeler for a spin, the brakes fail, causing you to fall and knock your head hard on the pavement.
In this case, you can file a claim against the bike manufacturer (Speed Freak) and your local bike retailer for selling you a defective bike. You don't have to prove who was negligent as long as you can prove that:
- The bicycle was defective.
- The bike had these defects when it left the manufacturers and retailer's possession.
- You cycled on the bicycle in a foreseeable manner.
- The defect directly resulted in your injuries.
Take Out Tip
For you to win in any personal injury lawsuit, there are several points you need to prove. This is irrespective of whether a motorist, pedestrian, bike manufacturer, or any other road user caused an accident and, subsequently, your injuries.
These points include:
- The at-fault party owed you the duty of care.
- The accused breached their duty of care.
- The defendant's fault/actions set to motion a turn of events that resulted in your injuries.
From any victim's perspective, the facts of an accident are apparent. However, the parties at fault will often not admit guilt unless sufficient evidence is tabled. This makes it extremely necessary not to attempt filing a claim or lawsuit without the guidance of a skilled and knowledgeable Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney.
Is The City To Blame For My Accident And Injuries?
Poor road conditions, just like motorists, pedestrians, and other road users, can cause bike accidents. Unfortunately, some cyclists blame themselves for accidents caused by potholes or cracks. Under California's premises liability laws, a property owner or the city bears the responsibility of keeping the roads in proper and safe conditions. Negligence on their part gives cyclists a right to file a claim in case of an incident that leads to property damage and physical injuries.
Some of the road conditions that can lead to catastrophic bike injuries include:
- Lifted asphalt
- Loose gravel
- Cracked cement
- Damaged or unclear road signs
- Uneven sidewalks
Research conducted by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) shows that California has about 195,000 miles of poor public roads. Los Angeles Times proceeds to unveil that in 2017, the city of Los Angeles paid over $19 million for 17 bicycle accident claims. The Times report claims that 179 miles (over 20% of the total bike lanes in Los Angeles) have low-grade D or F ratings. The fact that the city is often aware of these poor roads and the dangerous conditions makes it easier for victims to file claims and win. We can help you fight for compensation, whether you suffer minor or catastrophic injuries.
Risk Factors for Bike Crashes That Cause Catastrophic Injuries
In 2015, bicycle accidents in the U.S. claimed 1,000 lives and left about 467,000 cyclists injured. This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2010 alone, productivity losses and estimated lifetime medical costs caused by both fatal and non-fatal bicycle accidents summed up to a staggering $10 billion.
Bicycle accident-related fatalities in the U.S. hiked by 16% between 2010 and 2012. Based on a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), California had the highest fatality rate, with 338 cyclist deaths. This makes it crucial to understand the risk you take each time you ride your bicycle around Los Angeles, California.
Irrespective of your cycling experience level, there are vital factors that determine your risk of suffering severe injuries or death each time you board your two-wheeler and hit California's roads. They include:
- Time of day
- Helmet use
Statistics gathered over the years show that male cyclists are 4 times more likely to suffer injuries caused by bike accidents than females. Their risk of dying from the injuries suffered is 6 times greater than that of females.
Adults between 50 and 59 face the most significant risk of suffering catastrophic injuries or dying after a bike accident. Kids and adolescents between 5 and 9 are more likely to suffer non-fatal injuries.
Time of Day
Most accidents that cause catastrophic injuries occur from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. During this period, it is not unusual for the roads to have both impaired motorists and cyclists. Moreover, some road users are distracted or tired after a long day of work.
Inner-city settings in California are busier than the outskirts. They have more road users, and this drastically increases the risk of accidents within urban environments.
In most cases, injuries are considered catastrophic because a victim suffered from brain trauma or head injuries. While wearing a helmet cannot prevent a bicycle accident, this protective gear can reduce the risk of catastrophic or fatal injuries following an accident.
What Can You Do To Reduce The Risk Of Bicycle Accidents?
The aftermath of a car-bike crash can be devastating, especially for the cyclist. While the law provides legal avenues to ensure bike victims are not left holding the short end of the stick following an incident, cyclists must protect themselves from the risk of suffering catastrophic injuries.
Some of the life-threatening injuries victims could suffer include:
- Broken bones, including spinal and neck injuries
- Organ injuries
- Dire dental fractures
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
Losses allied with catastrophic injuries cause more than just financial losses and physical pain. It is of paramount importance to take preventative measures to reduce the odds of suffering injuries. The steps to take include:
Wear a Helmet
Cyclists under 18 years are required by law to wear a helmet when cycling on public roadways. While it is not mandatory for anyone older to wear a helmet when biking in California, wearing such gear can help prevent catastrophic head injuries that are sometimes fatal.
No legislation requires a cyclist to wear a helmet. However, whether a victim wore a helmet or not can turn into a point of contention when filing a claim. Nothing stops the insurance or defendant from arguing that the injuries would not have been catastrophic or severe if the victim wore a helmet. If this argument is seen to hold water, compensation for damages can reduce considerably.
Equip Your Bike Effectively
Equipment like red taillights and white headlights on the bike can also help reduce accident risk. You may also want to install blinking lights and side mirrors if you often ride at night or use busy lanes. Again, not having such equipment can affect your compensation.
Wear Bright Colored (Easily Visible) Gear
Reflective clothing can help make you easier to spot, especially when cycling at night. While the Highway Code outlines cyclists' recommended clothing, no legislation requires those riding bikes to wear reflective attire. Therefore, nothing stops the defendant from arguing that you are partially at fault for your injuries' severity. If you used reflective gear, the accident might not have happened. This is an argument that can easily cause a significant reduction in your compensation.
Know and Obey the Traffic Rules
The rights and responsibilities of cyclists are not so different from those of motorists. Whether you are riding a bike, van, truck, or scooter, you must adhere to the general traffic rules as well as the rules specific to your mode of transportation. For instance, the California traffic laws prohibit riding bikes on sidewalks. You should only use bike lanes and move when you have the right of way. Violating these rules makes it harder for even a skilled lawyer to argue in your favor during a personal injury lawsuit.
Use Hand Signals and Stay Alert
Cyclists should use hand signals before breaking or turning. This alerts other road users of their intentions and goes a long way in avoiding mishaps. Additionally, it is crucial to beware of the dangers surrounding you and avoid distractions like the use of earphones or phones when cycling.
How Can We Help You Win A Case?
Gaining financial compensation even after suffering life-threatening injuries is not always easy. This is more so the case if there are facts that work against you. For instance, violating the traffic laws or even failure to wear a helmet gives insurance companies points they can use to deny you compensation or offer you the least amount possible.
Irrespective of how bad things look, we can be of tremendous assistance when filing a personal injury lawsuit. We keep abreast of the ever-changing laws and have more than a few good-old tricks up our sleeves that can help turn things to your advantage. With our team of attorneys, accident investigators, and accident reconstruction experts, we will analyze even the minor details of your case and use them to sway the insurance or the jury's opinion in your favor.
We will lend a hand with:
- Analyzing police reports
- Field investigators
- The paperwork involved
Let us focus on winning your case as you focus on recovery and getting back on your feet.
Find a Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney Near Me
An accident that causes catastrophic injury can rob you of more than just your ability to earn a living. We are dedicated to helping bicycle victims to obtain the compensation they deserve. Even if you were at fault, all is not lost unless you give up. Our skilled defense team can still lend a hand by carrying out investigations to discover your guilt level and determine the level of compensation you should receive. Call the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney following a bicycle accident at 424-237-3600 for a free case evaluation.