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Everything You Should Know About Hiring a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
From 2016 to 2018, 2,516 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents across the United States. That’s a rate of 2.6 per million people. In California, the rate was even higher, with 455 deaths and 3.9 bicycle fatalities per million people.
Typically, drivers don’t even see the cyclists they hit. Many times this is a result of being distracted by their smartphones.
From 2014 to 2018, there were almost 20,000 bicycle and vehicle collisions. With the addition of bicycle programs in cities across the country and lower unemployment rates, more people are biking to work.
It’s crucial to call a bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible if you or a loved one gets into a traffic accident while riding a bike.
Do you want to learn more about hiring a bicycle accident lawyer or what to do in the event of a collision? Keep reading to find out how we can help!
Contact our California personal injury lawyers for a free case review. Tell us about your injury and we will determine your next steps.
What Does the Law Say?
In California, bicyclists have the same responsibilities and rights as motor vehicle drivers. What that means is that anyone who’s on a bicycle is subject to the same laws regarding giving pedestrians the right-of-way, driving under the influence, and traffic signals.
Certain rules that apply to motorists concerning their interactions with cyclists on the road, though. For example, California law dictates that drivers give cyclists AT LEAST 3 feet of space when passing or driving alongside them.
Plus, no motor vehicle driver can obstruct a designated bicycle path by parking or stopping in the path. Cyclists also have the right to “take the lane” in the following circumstances, even if they’re moving slower than other traffic:
- While passing
- While preparing for a left turn
- While avoiding hazards on the road
- When a particular lane is too narrow to share
- When approaching any place where a right turn is authorized
California law requires that cyclists ride with the flow of traffic unless making a legal left turn, passing, riding on a road that is too narrow, riding on a one-way street, or when the right side of a road is closed because of road construction.
Who Is at Fault for a Bicycle Accident?
Were you in a bike accident today and are searching for a car accident lawyer near me? You’re on the right track. It can be difficult to determine who is at fault for a bicycle accident.
Drivers in California are often cited with minor infractions or even a misdemeanor or felony offense after an accident. The charges and fault are dependent on the collision’s many details, which is why it’s so important to discuss your situation with a bicycle accident lawyer.
If your accident was due to another driver’s carelessness, California law dictates that you have the right to sue the driver in court to recover monetary damages for your injuries.
While there’s no guarantee for every case, if you can establish that another driver’s negligence caused your accident, losses, and injuries, you can secure a court order that requires the driver to pay compensation for what you’ve suffered.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
Accident lawyers can help determine whether you have a case in the event of a bike collision. In the event of a crash, however, you must take some other vital steps to ensure your safety and make your case.
Wait for Police
Even if you don’t believe you’ve been injured, stay on the scene until police arrive. If you decide to leave the scene and realize you’ve been injured later, it’ll be very difficult to find the motorist who hit you.
Don’t negotiate with any drivers involved in the collision, even if they apologize. Do not discuss or admit fault. You probably aren’t aware of the full extent of your injuries or property damage, and a lawyer will help you make a more accurate assessment.
Exchange information with the driver and get their name, phone number, address, vehicle and insurance info, and driver’s license number.
Remember and record as many details about the accident as you can. Take photos of any injuries and damage to your bicycle and any other vehicles involved. Pay attention to and write down street numbers, weather conditions, traffic, etc.
If there are any witnesses, get their names and numbers. Be sure to give your report of what happened to the police and ask for the accident report number and how you may obtain a copy.
Go to the Doctor ASAP
Accident lawyers agree that it’s crucial to get an examination immediately following a bicycle accident. You can go to the ER, an urgent care center, or your general practitioner. Make sure they know what happened and give you a full examination to check for any injuries.
Most accident victims are in shock immediately following a crash. Your stress hormones can numb your brain’s pain-processing pathways so that even if you’re hurt, you don’t realize it until later.
Blunt force trauma can cause catastrophic injuries. Some of the most common bicycle injuries include:
- Facial injuries
- Neurological damage
- Head trauma
- Ruptured discs
- Spine injuries
- Bone fractures
- Wrongful death
In addition to severe or deadly physical injuries, many bike accidents cause victims to suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Don’t Negotiate With Insurance Companies
The driver’s insurance company might call you and attempt to settle.
Don’t negotiate or take the offer without discussing your case with a lawyer. While an offer from the driver’s insurance company might seem appealing, you don’t know if it’ll be enough to compensate for the damage and injuries incurred from the accident.
Call an experienced accident lawyer with reviews that speak for themselves.
Don’t Hesitate to Call a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been in a bike collision, don’t wait to call a bicycle accident lawyer. While there is no guarantee for compensation, you have nothing to lose by seeking free advice first. We have handled numerous bike accidents and are proud to be active in the riding community.
Most accident lawyers work on contingency, meaning you don’t pay them anything unless you receive compensation.
They’ll tell you whether you have a legitimate claim, based on evidence and information gathered from your crash. They can more easily get a copy of the police report to determine who is at fault.
Are you unsure of what to do about your accident? Our lawyers know how to handle bicycle accident cases and we will do our absolute best to help you get the justice you deserve.
Contact us for a FREE case review, and we’ll help you figure out your next steps.