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Legal Rights and Compensation After a Bicycle Accident

Legal Rights and Compensation After a Bicycle Accident

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What Are the Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in California?

Personal injury lawyers in Fresno often deal with bicycle accident victims who sustain injuries in bicycle accidents. In California, bicycle accidents are common, usually caused by negligent or reckless drivers. Sometimes, the accidents are due to poor roadway conditions and careless pedestrians.

A report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows that California is one of the states with the highest bicycle fatalities. For example, between 2010 and 2012, 338 cyclists died in crashes involving motor vehicles in California. You may be entitled to compensation if you or your loved one were injured in a bicycle accident.

Skilled lawyers can look into your case and provide legal counsel on the steps to take right after the accident to strengthen your claim and maximize your compensation. The process can be complex, but their input can help you to navigate effectively.

What Should I Do If I Get Hit By a Car on My Bicycle in California?

Getting into a collision with another road user can be confusing, but knowing what to do immediately can protect your rights to compensation from the negligent party. Experienced Fresno bicycle accident lawyers advise that you do the following:

Check Yourself for Injuries

Check if you have been injured after the accident and immediately call for medical emergency help. The injuries are crucial in pursuing compensation as they are part of the four elements you must prove to have a strong claim.

Even if you don’t feel hurt or are not in pain, ensure you see a doctor and have them evaluate you for back trauma, neck injuries, broken bones, or head injuries. It’s recommendable to have a professional check that the injuries aren’t more severe than you perceive them to be.

Gather Information

Depending on the severity of the injuries and your condition, ensure you record as much information as possible about the accident. Crucial details include:

  • The driver’s name and contact information
  • The driver’s insurance details
  • Their vehicle’s license plate number
  • The year, make, color, and model of the car
  • The vehicle’s identification number
  • Contact information of any witnesses

However, if the driver is uncooperative, impaired, or trying to flee the scene, call the police. Your safety comes first, and the presence of police officers can go a long way in preserving it. If you have your smartphone, take photos or videos of the accident scene from various angles. It’s also wise to take pictures of your damaged bike and any injuries.

Record a Statement with the Police

Once the police arrive, record a statement with them and obtain a copy of the same. The police report is crucial in helping you prove your right to compensation. Bicycle lawyers in Fresno can use the following details to help you create a strong compensation claim:

  • A narration of how the crash happened
  • Your statement and those of the driver and any witnesses
  • The officer’s conclusion of who was at fault
  • Whether the police issued any citations

Do Not Admit Fault

You might find yourself apologizing after the accident, even if you did nothing wrong. The downside is that your words could come back to haunt you as they could imply you are admitting fault for the accident. If the driver becomes aggressive and demands that you accept fault, tell them to contact your lawyer.

In personal injury cases, the party at fault is a critical concern for the jury. Admitting fault, especially if you’re unsure what happened, could diminish your chances of recovering compensation. The driver could have been negligent or reckless, and you should let your bicycle accident attorneys in Fresno investigate the case to establish who was at fault.

Preserve Evidence

Without evidence, it can be hard to prove your case. Leave your bike and any other damaged property in the same condition after the accident until you speak to personal injury attorneys in Fresno. Don’t wash the clothes you were in or throw them away if you were too injured to get photos at the accident scene.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Call your insurance company agents as soon as you can to notify them about the accident. Furnish them with the necessary details and documentation to initiate the claims process. Some automobile insurance policies will provide coverage for bicycle vs auto collisions. However, be careful not to give too many details that could imply that you were at fault for the accident.

Remember, whatever you say could be used against you later.

Consult Qualified Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Personal injury claims in California can be complex, but you can enhance your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve by hiring skilled bicycle accident attorneys in Fresno. They can handle your case’s legal aspects as you focus on healing and recovery. Lawyers know how to:

  • Collect the necessary evidence to show that the driver was negligent
  • File a compensation claim that covers all the damages you’re entitled to
  • Negotiate a fair settlement that covers all or most of your losses
  • Determine when to go to court if they can’t reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company
  • Provide legal representation if the case goes to court
  • Advise you properly on what to do at each stage of the process

Who is Liable in a Bicycle Accident in California?

Several parties could be liable in a bicycle accident, depending on the events that led to the collision. Experienced bicycle accident lawyers in Fresno can investigate the crash to uncover the underlying circumstances that could point to the liable party.

The concept of negligence plays a crucial role in establishing liability and may involve actions such as disregard for traffic rules, speed, or distracted driving. In proving that the liable party was negligent, your lawyers must argue their case around four crucial elements:

  • The at-fault party had a legal duty of care to avoid harming other road users
  • The liable party breached this legal duty by acting negligently
  • Their disregard of this duty led to the accident that caused your injuries
  • You sustained injuries or suffered various damages due to the breach of duty

Parties That Could Be Held Liable

Once you can successfully prove the above factors and provide the necessary evidence, several parties could be liable for the accident:

  • Motor vehicle drivers: Most bicycle accidents happen due to inattentive, reckless, or distracted drivers.
  • Bicycle or car parts manufacturers: Your bicycle could have malfunctioned due to a defective or poorly designed part that made you unable to stop when you should have or maneuver effectively to avoid a collision. A driver could also have hit your bike due to a defective part. In such a case, the manufacturer can be held liable.
  • Cities or local governments: Poor road and environmental conditions, such as non-functioning streets or traffic lighting, can cause bicycle accidents despite following all bicycle riding tips. If you were hurt in an accident due to these factors, your personal injury lawyers could help you file a lawsuit against the municipal or local government.

What Compensation Can I Recover in a Bicycle Accident Claim?

Once the at-fault party has been identified and liability established, you have a legal right to receive compensation for the damages. Available damages in bicycle accident claims include the following:

Economic damages

Economic damages are sometimes called special damages and refer to the financial losses you incur from a bicycle accident. They can accurately be calculated in monetary terms and include the following:

  • Past and future medical expenses: These include emergency treatment, surgery, hospitalization, doctor’s visits, and medication costs subject to the injuries sustained in the accident.
  • Lost wages: Depending on the severity of the injuries, you may have to take some time off work to recover. You could be entitled to recover the lost wages for the period you cannot work.
  • Lost earning capacity: You may also recover damages for lost capacity for future earnings if the injuries are so severe that you cannot work again or in the capacity you previously did. Your lawyers may be able to calculate and prove the amount of money you would have reasonably been able to earn in the future if you had not been injured.
  • Loss or destruction of personal property: Your lawyers can help you calculate the value of damage or loss incurred in the accident. For example, you could receive compensation for the repair costs of your bike or a fair market value of the property on the accident date, whichever is less.
  • Loss of ability to provide household services: Your injuries could be so severe that they prevent you from contributing some or all your customary services. You could be entitled to compensation for the reasonable value of those services.

Non-Economic Damages

You could also be entitled to non-economic damages if severely injured. In addition to suffering financial losses, you may have to endure non-financial consequences that dramatically affect your life. These intangible damages are known as non-economic damages and include:

  • Pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life: You deserve compensation for the pain, discomfort, anguish, inconvenience, and trauma you suffered due to the accident. Loss of enjoyment of life entails the detrimental alterations of your lifestyle and the inability to participate in the activities you previously enjoyed.
  • Emotional distress: Your loved ones can claim compensation for the emotional distress they have to endure seeing you suffer because of the pain you go through due to the injuries. It’s traumatic to witness a family member unable to do things they could previously do for themselves due to the negligence of another.
  • Loss of consortium: A severely damaging injury could dramatically affect your intimate relationships. Your spouse or domestic registered person could claim compensation for loss of love, companionship, assistance, sexual relations, and the ability to have children.

Experienced Fresno personal injury lawyers know how to calculate a fair compensation amount for these damages, catering for past and possible future losses that might occur. So, ensure you engage their expertise when filing a compensation claim.

Punitive Damages

Economic and non-economic damages are compensatory damages that make you whole and help you meet your medical and living expenses. Depending on the severity of the injuries, your lawyers could also file for punitive damages. These serve to punish the at-fault party for their wrongdoing and deter others from acting similarly to protect the larger society.

The damages are appropriate if the defendant acted in a heinous manner. They are unlikely to be included in a settlement unless you file a lawsuit and give clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted in malice. Consult your Fresno bicycle accident attorneys about the damages.

How Much is My Bicycle Accident Compensation Claim Worth?

There is no definitive answer regarding how much you can recover in your compensation claim. However, your lawyers, the insurance company, and the court will consider various factors when awarding the final settlement amount. These include:

  • The costs of medical care
  • The severity of your injuries and whether you suffered permanent disabili
  • Lost wages and future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Impact on the quality of life

Your lawyers will evaluate all these factors to help you determine the compensation amount to expect based on the legal provisions in California.

A Skilled Personal Injury Attorney Fighting for Your Rights in a Bicycle Accident Compensation Claim

If you or your loved one were injured in a bicycle accident, it’s crucial to consult experienced lawyers from a reputable personal injury firm. They can explain your legal rights and help you pursue compensation to help you recover from the injuries.

Nunes Law Inc. has a team of dedicated personal injury and bicycle accident attorneys who can help you. In addition to providing legal counsel, we can help you collect the necessary evidence to prove your case. Trust us to deal with insurance providers without relenting to help you obtain the settlement you deserve. Call us at 559-702-5124 to schedule a FREE consultation.

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