Bicycling is extremely popular in Southern California because of our year-round warm weather and scenic routes. It's an inexpensive form of transportation and a great way to exercise. However, riders are at serious risk of being hurt in a bicycle accident caused by a careless driver.
If you were hurt in a car-bike collision that wasn't your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. My skilled legal team and I are ready to fight for you injury compensation by finding all the evidence to hold the negligent motorist and their insurance company responsible.
Why Drivers Cause Bicycle Accidents
Motorists and bicycle riders have a duty to follow California’s traffic laws. However, many drivers of larger autos and trucks don't pay enough attention to much smaller bicycles and fail to responsibly share the road with them. The majority of tragic bicycle collisions are caused by drivers engaging in negligent behaviors such as:
- Not maintaining a safe distance
- Not yielding the right of way at intersections and stop signs
- Engaging in distracted driving, like talking on a cellphone, texting, eating, and drinking
- Driving while intoxicated
- “Dooring” a bicycle rider by not checking for an oncoming bicycle before opening a vehicle door
- Making an improper right turn
Not all bicycle accidents are caused by other motorists. In some cases, a rider could be thrown off from their bike due to defects in the road, such as potholes and large cracks in asphalt. In these cases, a municipality responsible for road maintenance could be liable to compensate the victim.
Types of Injuries That Bicycle Riders Suffer
Bicycle riders are much more likely to suffer more catastrophic injuries than a car accident victim. They simply have little to no protection from impact. Consequently, they can be off work for months or longer and require expensive medical treatments—sometimes on a long-term basis. Here are common injuries cyclists suffer:
- Brain injury. Even while wearing a helmet, a cyclist can suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) if there's a jolt to the head or an object penetrates their brain. A TBI can cause life-long changes to a person’s vision, mobility, memory, concentration, emotions, and other functions.
- Spinal injuries. If injury to the spine is severe, a victim could suffer partial or complete paralysis and become totally disabled. Less serious spinal injuries, like a herniated disk or nerve damage, can cause life-long limitations in movement and chronic pain.
- Fractures. Fractures can be much more serious in a bicycle crash and require multiple surgeries to repair. Common bones broken include the collarbone, shoulder, jaw, facial bones, ribs, arms, wrists, hands, legs, and hips.
- Amputations. A toe, finger, arm, or leg could be amputated during the collision or may be so seriously damaged that these appendages have to be surgically removed.
- Road rash. When a rider’s skin scrapes against the hard road surface, it can cause road rash, which is a friction burn or skin abrasion. It's important to treat this injury promptly to avoid a serious infection or other complications.
- Internal injuries. A bicycle rider can suffer internal bleeding or organ damage, which can quickly escalate into a life-threatening emergency.
- Death. Unfortunately, some bicycle accident victims don't survive the crash. Their loved ones may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against the negligent driver.
How to Protect Your Legal Rights
If you want to obtain all the compensation you deserve in your settlement, you need to take immediate steps to protect your legal rights.
One of the most important things is to hire a knowledgeable bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash. Other critical steps to take right away include:
- Obtain prompt medical care—even if you don't think you were hurt.
- Call the police at the scene and obtain a copy of the police report.
- Obtain the contact information for the driver, their insurance company, and any eye witnesses.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, damage to your bike, the vehicle that struck you, and your injuries.
- Stay off social media while your claim is being resolved.
Were you or a loved one injured in a bicycle accident in San Diego or Southern California? Call my office to schedule a free consultation with me to discuss your options and learn of my successful track record settling and trying these cases for my clients.