Accident Attorney with Offices in Claremont & Pasadena
Whether you are simply enjoying the great outdoors or headed to work or an errand, you have as much right to the road as those driving an automobile, and you deserve to be able to travel through your neighborhood and on your community streets on a bicycle without worrying about being hurt. Unfortunately, the carelessness of an inattentive driver can lead to devastating consequences for law-abiding bicyclists.
Another person’s negligence should not leave you to face the costs and damages of a cycling accident alone. Let a seasoned LA County personal injury attorney help you seek justice and reclaim your life. If what should be a safe spin on your bike turns into a traumatic experience, contact a Claremont and Pasadena bicycle accident lawyer to see what legal options may be available to you.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
There is often a misconception that cyclists are at fault for any crash that involves them and a motor vehicle. However, there are many different circumstances where the driver of the motor vehicle is to blame. Drivers can cause bicycle accidents in a number of ways, including:
- Rear-ending a cyclist
- Making a sudden lane change without properly checking their mirrors
- Large trucks turning left and failing to see a cyclist in their blind spot
- Failing to give proper right-of-way to cyclists in intersections and roundabouts
- Opening a vehicle door into the path of a cyclist
In the majority of bicycle accident cases, drivers simply do not see a cyclist they are sharing the road with. In other cases, however, a driver may wrongly believe that a bicyclist does not have the same rights of the road that drivers do, such as when they fail to yield to a cyclist with the right-of-way.
Different Injuries Sustained in Bike Accidents
No matter the cause of an accident, the injuries a cyclist may sustain from one can be very serious. Compared to motorists, cyclists do not have the same kind of protection that drivers in vehicles have, and are left completely exposed to the traffic around them. Common injuries after a bike accident can include traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries that could cause paralysis, torn ligaments and cartilage, limbs that may need to be amputated, and road rash that may lead to serious infections. These injuries can require intense treatment that often has significant medical costs associated with them. Know that a determined California bicycle accident lawyer can fight to protect the rights of individuals facing these injuries in court.
The Potential Consequences of California Bike Accidents
The California Governors Highway Safety Association reported a 16 percent surge in bike-related deaths between 2010 and 2012. In fact, California led the nation with 338 cyclist fatalities during this period, and more people died in bicycle accidents in California in 2012 than in any other state.
More recently, Biking in LA reports that Southern California streets witnessed the deaths of 62 people in 2017, 26 of whom were riding a bicycle at the time of their accident. While that number has dropped over the years, down from 86 bicyclist deaths in 2014 and 73 in 2015 and 2016, the fact remains that mortal danger may befall anyone who chooses to ride on two wheels rather than four.
Asserting the Rights of Bicyclists in California
It may seem like common sense, but it is important to recognize that state law explicitly guarantees California residents the right to ride their bikes on the street. According to California Vehicle Code §21200, anyone who either rides a bike or operates a pedicab enjoys all the rights of any other vehicle. This statute permits bicyclists to legally ride on most roads throughout the state, except certain highways and freeways.
Perhaps more importantly, this law means automobile drivers must share the road with bicycle riders just as they would with someone operating a car, truck, or motorcycle. For example, a motorist may only pass a cyclist legally when there is a safe distance to do so, and they must check before opening a vehicle door to avoid hitting any oncoming riders. Any act of negligence or failure to uphold these expectations by a driver that leads to an accident may serve as grounds for an injured bicyclist to file suit in civil court with the help of a Claremont and Pasadena bicycle accident lawyer.
However, bicyclists in California must obey the rules of the road as well, as they are subject to the same traffic laws as motorists. Specifically, they must ride with the flow of traffic, signal when turning left and right, and not ride under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Any violations of these laws prior to or during an accident may result in a bicyclist being assigned some degree of liability for their own injuries, even if someone else primarily caused the incident.
California is a comparative negligence state. This means that while an injured party can recover damages for a bicycle accident a motorist caused even if they are partly to blame, any compensation they received would be reduced by their percentage of fault. An experienced LA County bicycle accident lawyer could ensure a client knows how this law works and how it may apply to their case.
How a Bicycle Accident Attorney in Claremont and Pasadena Can Help
Broken bones, a traumatic brain injury, and severe bruises and lacerations are just a few examples of the injuries you might experience following your bike accident. On top of that, the economic burdens you might incur for medical expenses, lost wages, and equipment replacement can be crippling to your financial future.
If you are hurt by a motor vehicle driver’s negligence, a bicycle accident lawyer in Claremont and Pasadena could work tirelessly to pursue fair compensation for your physical, emotional, and mental suffering on your behalf. Call today to let a qualified Los Angeles bike accident attorney review your case and make certain you receive the support and guidance you deserve.