Do You Have a Bicycle Accident Case in California?
California’s personal injury laws allow anyone hurt in a bicycle accident to file a lawsuit against those responsible—including wrongful death lawsuits for families who have lost a loved one in a cycling accident.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most common questions we get regarding cycling accidents, and try to help you figure out if you have a case.
1. Under what circumstances can I file a lawsuit after a bicycle accident in California?
After your accident, you may be able to seek compensation for a variety of damages, including:
Lost wages due to an inability to work
And even damage to your bicycle
While many bicycle accidents are caused by other motorists or pedestrians, these aren’t the only types of cases we’ve worked with. Some cycling accidents are caused by damaged cement or asphalt, dogs running off their leash, potholes, and a variety of other situations.
2. What should I do if I’m hit by a car while cycling?
If you haven’t already, the most important thing you can do is to seek medical attention. It doesn’t matter if you feel fine or not—many serious injuries can take hours, days or even weeks to fully manifest, and getting the opinion of a doctor should be your first priority.
Your second priority is to record as much information as possible. You want to look for things like:
The car’s plate number
The driver’s contact info and name
The driver’s insurance information
The vehicle’s year, make, model and color
The vehicle’s identification number (VIN)
And the contact information of any and all witnesses
Again, health and safety are your top priorities. If the other driver isn’t cooperating or is trying to flee, call the police immediately. Also, take pictures of the accident scene if you’re able. These can help immensely.
One thing you should never do after an accident—especially if you’re unsure which circumstances led to the collision—is to admit fault. It’s up to your lawyer and the insurance company to work out the details, and admitting fault or saying sorry (when you don’t even know who is responsible) can only make your case more difficult.
3. If my crash was caused by poor road conditions, who is to blame?
A large number of bike accidents are caused by poorly maintained roadways, and unfortunately, many cyclists blame themselves if they fall or wreck because of a pothole or crack.
However, these types of accidents are actually covered under California’s premises liability laws, which state that property owners (in this case the city) may be responsible for accidents if they fail to maintain proper road conditions.
In fact, you may be able to seek compensation for wrecks caused by any of the following:
Uneven roads or sidewalks
Damaged or missing road signs
Property owners are responsible for maintaining their pavement or asphalt surfaces, period—whether that property is private, commercial, or belongs to the city.
4. What damages can I seek for a California bicycle accident?
The type of damages available to you varies depending on whether the cycling accident caused injuries or death, and may include:
Lost wages and lost earning capacity
Loss of consortium (loss of a spouse or domestic partner)
Loss of limb, scarring or disfigurement
Pain and suffering
Of course, the type and amount of damages you can receive are also affected by the severity of your injuries—especially because some injuries can require lifelong medical care.
In some cases, you may also be able to seek punitive damages, which are separate and aimed at punishing the defendant for extreme behavior—such as attempting to run you off the road on purpose.
5. What if my bike was defective?
Sometimes, your bike itself is to blame for your crash. These cases fall under California’s product liability laws, where the company that designed, manufactured or sold your defective bike is now liable for the injuries you sustained.
In these situations, you won’t need to prove that the company is negligent when manufacturing, design, or failure-to-warn defects are the cause of your accident. Instead, you must prove:
The defendant manufactured, designed or sold a defective product
The product contained a defect while still in the defendant’s possession
You used the product in a reasonable manner
You suffered an injury as a direct result of the defect
So many people are injured by faulty products and don’t seek damages because they think there’s no way to prove that the company is responsible—but that isn’t the case.
Do I need a bike accident lawyer?
In a perfect world, insurance companies would handle claims honestly and fairly, and no one would need lawyers. But the fact is that these insurance companies want to settle every claim for as little money as humanly possible, and a lawyer is often your only defense against these shady tactics.
If you’ve been injured in a bike accident in California, call us or fill out the form below ASAP, and we’ll get to work to secure the compensation you deserve.