California law protects everyone who uses the roads and streets in the state, including bicyclists and pedestrians. As a bicyclist, you have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. But bicyclists also have additional rules to follow. Unfortunately, collisions between motor vehicles and bicyclists occur regularly in California. If you sustained injuries in a California bicycle accident caused by another party’s negligence, contact the personal injury lawyers at The Paris Firm today.
With nearly three decades of personal injury experience in California, our legal team knows how to help you fight for the compensation you deserve in a bicycle accident claim. Understandably, accident victims want to know what their case is potentially worth. Using a bicycle accident settlement calculator doesn’t help because such calculators do not accurately predict the case values. There are simply too many variables involved that require a human being to assess properly. When you meet with The Paris Firm, we will evaluate your claim based on its merits.
California Bicycle Accident Statistics
With beautiful weather year-round in California, many people opt to commute by bicycle or go out for a leisurely ride on the weekends. And with many cars on the road, this increases the risk of accidents. According to California Healthline, California fatal bike accidents have surpassed the national average every year since 1994. More California bicyclists died in traffic accidents between 2016 and 2018 than in any other three-year period in the last 25 years. Los Angeles County has the most fatalities, but San Bernardino isn’t far behind in fourth place.
California Bicycle Laws and Auto Accident Claims
California Vehicle Code Sections 21200-21213 address bicycle riders in the state. Bicyclists should always ride in the same direction as the flow of traffic. Riders must ride as close to the right side of the street, except in certain situations when:
- Passing another party;
- Preparing to make a left turn;
- Trying to avoid hazardous road conditions;
- The street is too narrow, so you cannot share the lane; or
- Nearing a spot where a right turn is allowed.
If a bicycle lane is present, bicyclists should use the bicycle lane to pass other riders traveling slower. Individual counties determine whether bicyclists can ride on a sidewalk or not. Unfortunately, some motorists don’t believe bicyclists have the right to use a street lane, which can have catastrophic results.
What to Do Following a Bicycle Accident in California?
If you have an accident, it’s crucial to remain calm. Here are some things to remember when you’re involved in a California bicycle accident.
Contact the Police
You should contact the police and wait for them to arrive. If your injuries are severe, you may need emergency medical treatment at the scene. It’s crucial to watch what you say to the other driver or police when they arrive. The insurance company might use anything you say against you in your subsequent bike accident claim.
Get the driver’s information, including their driver’s license number and insurance information. Write down the vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate. If any witnesses stopped, be sure to get their contact information.
If you can do so safely, get photos of the accident scene. Include pictures of the damage to your bicycle and the other vehicle, any debris in the street, and skid marks. If there is something else that could be important, get photos of that. Your photos will likely serve as crucial evidence in a bicycle accident claim.
Seek Medical Treatment
Getting your injuries checked out is imperative. You don’t want to delay getting medical treatment as the driver’s insurance will try to use that delay against you. For example, if you wait two weeks to go to the doctor, the claim’s adjuster will allege that some intervening event caused your injuries.
Be sure to document your injuries and how they affect your daily life. Are you unable to complete certain activities of daily living, such as dressing yourself or cleaning your house? These are important things for someone to know when determining what your case is worth.
Hire a California Personal Injury Lawyer
Hiring a California bicycle accident lawyer is essential. A bike accident claim is typically complicated to resolve. It’s best to have a skilled negotiator and legal advocate representing you. Hiring a lawyer can mean the difference between accepting a lowball offer from an insurance company that doesn’t cover future bills—or getting the maximum compensation possible that will set your family up for success for years to come.
Who Is Liable in a Bicycle Accident?
Determining liability in a bicycle accident claim can be tricky. The driver’s insurance company will undoubtedly argue that you were primarily at fault for the accident in an attempt to lower the amount of money they pay you.
If you are partially responsible for the accident, the good news is that it doesn’t mean you can’t collect any money for your losses. California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means you can be up to 99% at fault and still collect some money. However, the money you receive reflects your percentage of fault. For example, if you are 25% at fault, the maximum compensation you will receive is 75% of your total damages.
Contact Our California Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Pursuing a bicycle accident claim can involve complex legal issues. You need an attorney representing you who knows how to build a strong case and fight for you. The Paris Firm has nearly 30 years of experience representing clients in California personal injury accidents. We understand what it takes to get results, and we aren’t afraid to take your case to trial if that becomes necessary. If you sustained injuries on your bike due to another driver’s negligence, let us fight for you. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.