After a bike accident, your priority should be your health
Today, many more Californians are choosing to ride their bikes over cars as a means of commuting to work or for recreational purposes. As a result of the growing number of cyclists on the road, it is critically important to understand the risks associated with riding a bicycle, and what to do if an accident occurs.
Cycling has become increasingly popular across the State of California because of its health and environmental benefits. More people are opting for the use of bicycles as means of transportation for school and work, but also for recreational purposes. Although there has been a sudden surge of bicycle safety laws, the number of bicycle accidents have also increased.
Based on a 2018 report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 857 cyclists who lost their lives in traffic accidents across the nation. This figure should not be taken lightly, considering the agency also reports that the number of crashes involving cyclists has been steadily increasing since 2009. When an accident occurs, the opportunity to recover financial compensation may be possible.
Riding a bicycle is a popular method of transportation in Southern California, serving as both a healthy and eco-friendly alternative to heavy traffic. Regrettably, motorists are not always careful when they are near cyclists. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, bicycle accidents have been on the rise since 2009 across the country. In 2018 alone, 857 cyclists lost their lives in traffic accidents.
Regrettably, bicycle accidents rarely result in insignificant injuries. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that in 2018, there were 857 bicycle-related fatalities. Even when the accident does not result in death, the cyclist is likely to endure life-altering injuries.
If you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident, discuss your case with a well-versed personal injury attorney who will help you determine if you have a viable case.
A bicycle accident can have devastating consequences for the injured rider for a variety of reasons. Aside from physical pain caused by the injury, injured bicycle riders are prone to emotional distress and even economic difficulty. When a bike accident occurs, rarely does a victim consider long-term hardships; nonetheless, bike accidents usually result in a variety of complexities. If you have been injured in a bike accident, speak to an experienced attorney for support.
Discuss Your Case With a Knowledgeable Attorney Today
Even when cyclists take proper safety precautions, such as wearing reflective clothing and using proper lighting, cyclists are still susceptible to the dangers of the road. When a motorist is not paying attention to the road ahead, striking a cyclist can occur in an instant. Unfortunately, cyclists can sustain significantly serious injuries when struck by a moving vehicle, including life-threatening and life-altering injuries.
If you or a loved one was injured while riding a bicycle, it is important to know that the State of California protects the right to seek compensation when the accident was caused as a consequence of another’s careless behavior. Talk to a knowledgeable attorney who will help you understand what your legal options are.
At the Law Offices of Attorney Justin H. King, helping accident victims recover the compensation they are owed after a negligent accident is of key importance. The firm specializes in a wide variety of personal injury accidents, making them the premier choice when it comes to handling the most complex bicycle accident cases in California. The knowledgeable team at the Law Offices of Attorney Justin H. King is available today; consider scheduling your free case evaluation with the team via the online contact form.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
A bicycle accident can be caused by a number of factors, including: Driver distraction, Poor weather conditions, Defective bicycle parts, Defective bicycle design, Driver that has drift into bicycle lanes, Accidents caused by deteriorated roads, Driver that fails to yield the right of way of a cyclist, Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or A cyclist hitting an opening car door when riding parallel to parked cars.
Like all traffic accidents, there are a wide range of causes for bike accidents. Unfortunately, because bike riders are far less protected than motor vehicle drivers, they face a greater risk of sustaining serious injuries. Bicycle accidents can occur as a result of multiple factors, such as being struck by an opening car door or a collision with a pedestrian. When it comes to bicycle vs. automobile accidents, the most common forms of accidents occur as a result of the following:
- Intersection Dangers
When a cyclist makes a stop at an intersection, he or she runs the risk of being struck from behind by a speeding driver. Often, motorists drive too fast and follow too closely to a bike rider, which affects their ability to brake on time.
- Collisions That Occur When a Driver Makes a Left Turn
Drivers making a left turn on a green light can fail to recognize an oncoming cyclist, particularly during the night hours or when there is low visibility. According to the NHTSA, most bicycle-related deaths occur during the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. When making a left or right turn, drivers have a duty to check for oncoming cyclists. Drivers who collide with cyclists when making a turn have a higher probability of running their vehicle over the cyclist. Even as these cases rarely involve excessive speeds, the injuries they cause can still be catastrophic.
- Right-Hand Turn Collisions
Right-hand accidents are commonly referred to as “right hook collisions”. These accidents can occur when a cyclist and a driver are both stopped at an intersection or are traveling alongside one another when the driver decides to make a right turn without first checking for the cyclist.
- Right-of-Way Violations
Accidents involving a right-of-way is the most common form of bicycle vs. auto accidents. It is a common misconception that cyclists have parallel rights and responsibilities as pedestrians. On the contrary, bicyclists’ rights and responsibilities are most similar to those of drivers of motor vehicles. When a cyclist expects a car to yield but it does not, a catastrophic accident can ensue.
- Failing to Obey Stop Signs and Red Lights
Reckless driving is a danger difficult to control, and unfortunately, negligent driving is a key factor in causing thousands of accident injuries each year. When a driver fails to stop at a stop sign or red light, he or she can cause serious harm to the law-abiding bicycle rider.
Steps to Consider Following an Accident
In the aftermath of a bicycle accident, the main priority should be one’s personal health and well-being. When necessary, it is important to obtain emergency medical attention when the injuries are immediately debilitating. When the injuries are relatively mild, seeking a thorough medical evaluation as soon as possible is equally important. Depending on the type of injury sustained, it may be possible that the symptoms will not be immediately recognizable.
An additional factor that can play a role in masking the symptoms is the sudden adrenaline rush typically experienced in an accident. Adrenaline is a hormone released as the body’s fight or flight response is triggered by a dangerous situation, such as a bike vs. car accident. The adrenaline rush experienced in most nerve-wracking situations can mask symptoms such as pain and fear. Once the hormone subsides, however, the symptoms will begin to become apparent, which can take a few hours and up to several days to develop.
In addition to seeking medical attention after an accident, cyclists are encouraged to file a police report. A report can be filed when the police are called to the scene at the time of the accident. Obtaining a copy of the police report can corroborate one’s version of events, making the report an important part of a successful personal injury claim.
Proving a Bicycle Accident Claim
In California, every motorist has a duty to drive in a reasonably safe manner. When a driver has failed to drive carefully by means of a negligent action, and has ultimately caused an accident, he or she will be held accountable for the injuries caused by the careless actions. In most bicycle vs. auto accidents, negligence can be determined by the driver’s unlawful actions, such as:
- Driving while under the influence of an intoxicating substance,
- Driving at excessive speeds,
- Driving while distracted, and
- Failing to obey posted street signs
It is important to note that the State of California follows the pure comparative negligence rule. If a cyclist is found to have contributed to the accident, he or she can still collect damages but at a reduced rate. Contingent on his or her degree of fault, the amount of damages available will be reduced by the percentage found at-fault.
Drivers in the State of California owe a duty of care to those they share the road with, and this includes bicyclists. Part of a driver’s duty of care involves following traffic laws, where failing to follow traffic laws and engaging in reckless behaviors can result in driver negligence. When a driver is found negligent in a bicycle accident case, he or she can be held accountable for the bicyclist’s injuries.
The following list includes dangerous driving behaviors. Depending on the case, these behaviors can amount to negligence in a bicycle accident case: Driving while texting, Driving too fast for weather conditions, Failing to signal when making a turn, Aggressive driving or engaging in road rage, Cutting a bicyclist off, Driving while under the influence of an intoxicating substance, and failing to check for a cyclist before merging into a bicycle lane.
It is important to note that reckless drivers are not the only parties that can contribute to a bicycle accident. For example, an employer can be held accountable for a driver’s negligence when the driver was on the job when he or she struck the cyclist. Other parties that can be held accountable for the injuries suffered by a cyclist include: The entity responsible for designing or maintaining the dangerous road where the accident took place, or the manufacturing company responsible for the bicycles defective components.
Risk Factors Among Bicycle Riders
Any person who rides a bicycle is at risk of suffering an injury, including experienced cyclists. Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are a number of factors that can place a person at greater risk of injury or death when riding a bicycle. This includes the following:
- Sex – Men are six times more likely to sustain fatal injuries and four times more likely to sustain injuries when riding a bicycle than females.
- Age – Individuals with the highest fatality rates are those between the ages of 50 and 59. Riders with the highest rate of non-fatal bicycle accidents are those between the ages of 5 and 19.
- Intoxication – Over a third of all deadly bicycle accidents involve a driver or a cyclist who was under the influence of alcohol.
- Time – A majority of fatal accidents occur in the evening hours from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Land Use – A majority of fatal bicycle accidents occur in non-intersections and urban areas.
- Use of Helmets – Although a helmet will not prevent a bicycle accident, it will make a significant difference in preventing serious head trauma. The lack of the use of a helmet is a significant contributing factor in fatal bicycle accidents or non-fatal accidents that result in catastrophic injuries.
Damages Available After a Bike Accident
Any party who has caused the bicycle accident can be held accountable for the injuries caused by the accident. The available damages can vary based on the severity of the injuries as well as whether the injuries resulted in the death of the cyclist.
Generally, an injured cyclist can seek compensatory damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit, where the damages can include: Hospital costs, Ambulance costs, Costs of prescription medications, Costs of medical equipment, Future medical bills, Physical therapy, Counseling, Loss of income, Loss of earning capacity, Loss of limb, Disfigurement, Scarring, Pain and suffering, and The loss of quality of life.
When the cyclist has perished as a result of the accident, the decedent’s survivors can seek the following damages by filing a wrongful death claim: Loss of moral support, Loss of affection and rotection, Loss of companionship, Funeral and burial expenses, The value of household services lost, The financial support the victim would have contributed to the family in his or her lifetime, and The loss of benefits or gifts the survivors could have expected from the victim.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
When compared to other forms of transportation, bicyclists are uniquely at risk for serious injuries because of their lack of protection when on the road. When colliding with a moving vehicle, cyclists are prone to serious injuries, including: Hand and wrist fractures, Broken collarbone, Loss of limb, Road rash, Traumatic brain injury, Neck injuries, Eye injuries, Dental fractures, Bone dislocations, Muscle strains, Spinal cord injuries, Internal bleeding, and Facial disfigurement.
Defend Your Rights As an Injured Cyclist and Speak to a Well-Versed Personal Injury Attorney
In the State of California, drivers and cyclists alike are afforded the same rights to use the roads when bicycle lanes are not available. Motorists are required to provide cyclists the same right of way as they would other drivers on the road. Unfortunately, a vast majority of bicycle accidents are caused by driver negligence.
When a bicycle accident occurs, the injured cyclist can incur a great amount of losses. Depending on the extent of the injuries, a cyclist can require extensive medical treatment and lose the ability to return to work. If you or someone you know was injured in a bicycle accident, it is important to seek the immediate support of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. Bicycle accidents demand a full investigation, a collection of critical evidence, and adept legal support. After a bicycle accident injury, discuss your case with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
After a Bicycle Accident, Obtain the Financial Compensation You Deserve – Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Attorney Today
Bicycle accident cases are some of the most challenging personal injury cases to handle. In a majority of situations, the cyclist will come to find that he or she is being blamed for having caused the accident. Whether or not this is true, the ability to recover compensation is still available.
If you were recently injured in a bicycle accident, discuss your legal options with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. A proficient attorney will help you explore the types of compensation available and champion on your behalf so that you may be awarded the maximum amount of compensation.
Attorney Justin H. King has extensive legal experience in the field of bicycle accident cases. He has successfully represented clients who have suffered astounding losses, including accidents that result in catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. Attorney King understands the impact a serious bicycle accident can have on a rider and his or her family. For this reason, Attorney Justin H. King advocates aggressively on behalf of his clients, ensuring they obtain the maximum compensation available. If you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident, consider contacting Attorney Justin H. King today.