California, the third most bike-friendly state, still faces underreported bike accidents despite its high ranking. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) only accounts for bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles, overlooking other factors. Shockingly, a study revealed that three out of four drivers causing bicycle accidents were not cited. Seeking justice and driving change requires the expertise of experienced bike lawyers.
The latest statistics reveal that California witnessed 141 fatalities in bike accidents, placing it among the highest nationwide. With a significant population, the state consistently ranks first or second in total bike accident deaths. Surpassing the national average, bicycle accidents account for 3-4% of California’s total auto accident fatalities. Notably, California took the lead in implementing a helmet law and remains one of 22 states enforcing it. For individuals under 18 years old, wearing a bicycle helmet is mandatory according to California law.
Bike accidents can have devastating consequences, causing severe injuries and leaving victims in a vulnerable position. If you have been injured in a bicycle crash caused by someone else, you have the potential to pursue a bike accident lawsuit for compensation.
While cycling offers numerous benefits, such as improved health and reduced environmental impact, the downside is the inherent vulnerability of cyclists. In such situations, bike accident victims often face daunting challenges. Without substantial financial resources, they may struggle to afford necessary medical treatment and could face financial ruin if unable to work. To navigate these difficulties, it is crucial to seek the expertise of an experienced bicycle injury lawyer.
At Oak Tree Law, we have a proven track record of helping injury victims achieve justice in Southern California. With our in-depth knowledge of what it takes to win a bike accident lawsuit, as well as awareness of common pitfalls, we are committed to guiding you through the process. Continue reading to discover the essential dos and don’ts of filing a successful bike accident lawsuit.
Bike Accidents: Do’s after a crash
Unexpected accidents can catch cyclists off guard, often leaving them unprepared to handle the aftermath. Failing to anticipate the possibility of a collision can lead to critical mistakes that compromise both health and potential legal claims.
For urban cyclists, having a post-accident plan is essential. By following these seven steps after a crash, you can enhance your chances of success in a bike accident lawsuit, should you choose to pursue one:
Await the arrival of law enforcement
Shock can mask the true extent of injuries sustained in an accident. Regardless of whether you believe you are injured, it is crucial to contact the police to ensure the scene is documented through an accident report. This report will serve as vital evidence if you decide to initiate legal action.
Ensure your account is heard
Occasionally, police officers neglect to obtain statements from cyclists, focusing solely on motorists. Prevent this oversight by requesting that the officer listen to your version of events and include it in the report. If they refuse, it might be possible to challenge the report’s validity.
Collect driver and witness details
Make an effort to gather the driver’s name, address, phone number, license plate number, and insurance information. Additionally, speak with any witnesses and obtain their contact information, as it may not be recorded in the police report.
Capture the scene. If feasible, photograph various aspects of the scene, including your bicycle, the involved vehicle, your surroundings, and your injuries. Jot down essential environmental details like the time of day, weather conditions, traffic situation, and other pertinent factors. Providing comprehensive information to your bicycle accident lawyer strengthens your case.
Seek medical care
It’s common for accident victims to underestimate their injuries initially. However, delaying medical attention can work against you in potential legal proceedings. Seek prompt medical assistance and retain relevant documents related to your injuries and treatments.
Keep your bike, helmet, and other damaged belongings in their current state without repairing them. Refrain from laundering your clothes and taking photographs of everything.
Consult an Orange County personal injury attorney
Certain tasks should be left to professionals. Your chances of success in a bike accident lawsuit hinge on assembling crucial evidence and entrusting it to a skilled attorney. By familiarizing yourself with these steps, you can enhance your prospects of filing a successful claim and obtaining the necessary compensation for your recovery.
Bike Accidents: Don’t after a crash
Understanding what actions to avoid can be just as crucial as knowing what steps to take in emergencies. If you find yourself involved in a bicycle accident, consider the following don’ts:
Don’t engage in negotiations with the driver
Even if the driver initially accepts responsibility and shows remorse, they may later deny any negligence. It’s unwise to negotiate without legal representation, regardless of apologies or admissions of fault.
Don’t leave the scene without filing a report
While an apologetic driver might tempt you to exchange insurance information and forgo reporting to the police, this could be a grave mistake. A police report serves as vital evidence if you decide to pursue legal action.
Don’t underestimate the importance of seeking medical treatment
Prioritize your well-being and safety above all else. Even if you’re uncertain about the extent of your injuries, it’s crucial to have a healthcare professional examine you promptly after the incident.
Don’t settle for an insurance payout without consulting an attorney
If the driver’s insurance company offers you a settlement, it may be tempting to accept and move on. However, it’s advisable to seek legal advice first. Insurance companies are profit-oriented and often provide inadequate compensation to injury victims. An experienced attorney can help secure a more favorable outcome.
Car and bicycle accidents are typically intricate, and achieving a fair settlement can be challenging without legal guidance. By adhering to these simple do’s and don’ts, you enhance your chances, alongside your attorney, of obtaining the rightful compensation you deserve.
Common Types of Bicycle Accidents: A Closer Look
Bicycle accidents pose significant risks to cyclists, given the lack of protective covering. Collisions with cars, vans, trucks, or other motor vehicles can result in severe injuries and even fatalities. Explore some of the most prevalent types of bicycle accidents below:
Similar to rear-end accidents involving motor vehicles, rear-end bicycle accidents often happen due to drivers following too closely, speeding, or failing to pay attention to bicyclists. In such accidents, cyclists can sustain injuries like neck and back injuries, road rash, or broken bones.
Collisions between pedestrians and cyclists can occur when a pedestrian unexpectedly steps into a bike lane, leaving the cyclist with limited time to react. These collisions can result in severe injuries.
Both motorists and cyclists need to remain vigilant and watch out for pedestrians. Pedestrian accidents can happen when motorists or cyclists disregard traffic signals, fail to check for pedestrians before proceeding, exceed speed limits, and due to various other factors. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a cyclist, it is crucial to contact an accident attorney promptly to safeguard your legal rights and seek appropriate financial compensation for your injuries.
Red Light Collisions
Red light bicycle accidents occur when motorists or cyclists disregard traffic signals, resulting in collisions. Negligent actions, such as running a red light, can lead to severe injuries. In the event of an accident caused by a negligent driver, it is crucial to seek representation from a skilled bicycle accident attorney. Contact an experienced attorney in your area immediately following an accident.
Wrong Way Collisions
Wrong-way bicycle accidents happen when either a motorist or cyclist travels in the opposite direction of traffic. Examples include entering an exit ramp or an entrance ramp incorrectly, going against the flow on a one-way road, improper lane changes, or crossing medians. These accidents pose significant risks and can result in serious injuries.
Road Rage Incidents
Road rage involves intense emotional reactions triggered by traffic situations. In some cases, drivers lose control of their emotions, leading to accidents. If you have been a victim of road rage, it is essential to contact a bicycle accident attorney in your area to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Seeking Justice and Compensation After a Bicycle Accident
Every bicycle accident is unique, making it impossible to predict the specific injuries one may suffer. When you become a victim of a bicycle accident, the extent of harm you face depends on the circumstances. To protect your rights and secure the maximum compensation you deserve, it is crucial to consult a bicycle accident attorney.
Common injuries and damages that bicycle accident victims may experience include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional and mental distress
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost income and earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Prescription medical expenses
- Permanent disability
- Wrongful death
By working with a skilled bicycle accident attorney, you can navigate the legal process, advocate for your rights, and pursue the compensation needed to recover from these injuries and damages.
The Benefits of Hiring a Bicycle Accident Attorney
Seeking legal assistance from a bicycle accident attorney can safeguard your rights and maximize your compensation following a bicycle accident. These attorneys possess the expertise to protect your legal interests and ensure you receive the rightful compensation for injuries caused by the negligence of others. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, contacting a knowledgeable attorney in your area is the first step toward building your case.
Effective Negotiation with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies prioritize their profits, and their adjusters work to minimize payouts. Without proper representation, accident victims are at risk of settling for less than they deserve. A skilled bicycle accident attorney will assess both current and future losses, ensuring that you don’t leave any money on the table. If you or a family member has suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, it is crucial to consult an experienced attorney to protect your rights.
By enlisting the support of a bicycle accident attorney, you can navigate the legal complexities, advocate for fair compensation, and secure the financial resources needed to aid your recovery.
Assistance in Filing a Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit can be a daunting task, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the legal system. Insurance companies and their attorneys often take advantage of your lack of experience. However, with an experienced bicycle accident attorney by your side, you can navigate through the complexities. These attorneys possess knowledge of civil procedure, evidence, and local court rules, ensuring you don’t lose your case due to technicalities.
For instance, they will guide you in adhering to the state’s statute of limitations, which sets a legal deadline for filing a lawsuit. Count on an experienced bicycle accident attorney to protect your rights throughout the process.
Thorough Investigation of the Accident Cause
The success of your bicycle accident claim hinges on understanding the facts surrounding the incident. You and your attorney need to have a comprehensive understanding of what transpired. Collaborating with other professionals, a seasoned bicycle accident attorney can gather all relevant information to construct a complete picture of the accident.
Factors contributing to the accident can include poorly maintained roads or vehicles, inadequate signage, or distracted driving. Rely on the expertise of an experienced attorney to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident.
Determining All Potentially Liable Parties
In your car accident lawsuit, it is crucial to identify and include all parties who may be responsible. One common mistake made by car accident victims is failing to conduct a thorough investigation to uncover all potentially liable parties. By not naming every individual responsible, you run the risk of not receiving full compensation for your injuries. It is essential to ensure that every person who shares responsibility is held accountable to secure the appropriate compensation for your damages.
Contact Oak Tree Law’s Bike Accident Lawyers
Once you have experienced a bicycle accident and sustained an injury, it is imperative to enlist the services of a personal injury attorney to advocate for your rights. Retaining a skilled bicycle accident attorney is the most effective approach to enhance the overall worth of your bicycle accident claim. Your attorney will safeguard your entitlement to compensation and vigorously strive to secure the maximum benefits for you.
Engaging in a battle against insurance companies and their defense lawyers without proper representation is often a futile endeavor. If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident, it is crucial to promptly seek the assistance of a bicycle accident attorney.
OakTree Law is dedicated to upholding your legal rights after an accident. Our experienced Orange County personal injury attorneys will fight to ensure that you receive fair compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Don’t delay – contact us today at (888) 428-1613 to speak with a highly-qualified attorney and begin working on your claim.