Bicycles are widely used on the road, as they provide easy and accessible transportation.
Unfortunately, the more bicycles there are on the road, the higher the likelihood of bicycle accidents. Bike accidents are very common, often leaving cyclists facing injuries and mounting expenses.
If you’ve suffered a bike injury after an accident, the San Francisco, California bicycle accident lawyers at the Wakeford Law Firm is ready to help you.
Rules of the Road for Bicyclists in California
In California, drivers must respect cyclists on the road. California drivers must give bicyclists at least three feet of space when driving alongside or passing them. Additionally, drivers cannot stop or park on bike lanes, causing an obstruction.
Cyclists are allowed to ride on the street under specific circumstances, including:
- Turning left, or
- When a lane is too narrow to share.
It is important to note that cyclists must generally follow the same rules as drivers.
Who Is Liable for a Bike Accident?
If you were injured after a bicycle accident, the driver who caused the accident would likely be responsible.
Typically, when a driver hits a cyclist on the road, the driver was negligent.
To prove a driver was negligent, you must establish:
- The driver owed you a duty of care while on the road,
- They breached this duty of care,
- This breach caused your injuries, and
- You suffered damages.
If the driver’s negligence results in a traffic ticket or criminal offense, negligence per se comes into effect. Under the theory of negligence per se, the driver’s ticket or offense automatically proves the driver was negligent without the plaintiff needing to satisfy the elements of negligence.
A negligent driver will be financially responsible for your injuries. A personal injury attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve after suffering a bike injury.
Can Car Insurance Cover a Bicycle Accident?
Just as an injured party in a car accident can make a claim against the other driver’s insurance, an injured cyclist can make a claim against a driver’s insurance. If you can determine who caused your bike accident, you are entitled to file a claim with their car insurance.
Claims for bike accidents can be complicated, and insurers can be difficult to deal with, but a personal injury lawyer is well equipped to handle dealing with the insurance company.
Compensation Available for Injured Cyclists
You may be entitled to seek damages after your bicycle accident. The type and amount of damages available to you will depend on your particular situation.
These damages can include:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Lost earning capacity,
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement, and
- Pain and suffering.
Deciphering what damages you may be able to recover can be a daunting task.
Don’t trust a bicycle accident settlement calculator to determine your likely compensation—they simply cannot account for all the factors. But fortunately, a personal injury attorney can thoroughly review the details of your case to come up with a just settlement amount.
Is There an Average Bicycle Accident Settlement Amount?
In short: no, there is no “average” amount you can expect to receive after suffering a bike injury. When a cyclist is hit by a car, the compensation you are entitled to will depend on your particular case and certain factors.
These factors can include:
- Whether you played a role in your accident,
- The severity of your injuries,
- Your medical expenses,
- Whether your injuries caused any permanent impairments, and
- Whether your injuries have resulted in lost income.
These and other factors will come together to determine a fair bicycle accident settlement amount. Your attorney will work diligently to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
Steps to Take Immediately Following a Bike Accident
After your bicycle accident, you should consider the following steps. Aside from putting your health and safety first, you want to focus on preserving your future claim.
First and foremost, if you are able to do so after your bicycle accident, call 911 to request police assistance. If you or anyone else involved have suffered injuries, be sure to ask for emergency medical care.
Seek Follow-Up Medical Treatment
If you suffer injuries, you should always allow paramedics to render aid. However, you should still follow up with a physician after your accident. You may need a specific treatment plan, depending on the severity of your injuries.
Be sure to follow all instructions and recommendations, as your medical records can become extremely useful in seeking compensation and in future legal proceedings.
Gather Pertinent Information
If possible, begin collecting information as soon as possible.
This can include:
- Photos and videos,
- The driver’s contact information,
- The driver’s insurance information,
- The vehicle identification number (VIN), and
- Witness contact information.
Additional information will also become available, including police reports. Any information you gather can be helpful to your claim.
Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney
Soon after your accident, it is wise to discuss your case with a qualified personal injury lawyer. An attorney will ask the right questions, answer any questions you may have, and help you plot the best course of action.
Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents in California
If you are contemplating taking action against the individual responsible for your bicycle accident, you want to act quickly.
Statutes of limitations are in place to limit the amount of time you have to file your lawsuit. In California, the statute of limitations for bicycle accidents is two years from the date of the accident.
If you fail to file your claim within the two-year period, you are unlikely to recover anything for your bike injury. Once the statute of limitations has expired on a case, there is little you can do.
This is why it is imperative that you contact an attorney right away, giving you the time necessary to properly handle your claim.
Discuss Your Case with a California Personal Injury Attorney
The Wakeford Law Firm is dedicated to serving injured clients in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California. We understand every claim is unique.
Our firm believes in preparing every case as thoroughly as possible, even if it settles and never sees a courtroom. We’re here to help you. Contact us to schedule your consultation.