Bicycling can be an excellent way to exercise, commute, or help the environment, but it can also be hazardous due to negligent and distracted drivers, as well as inadequate road conditions. Our bicycle accident lawyers understand the risks and challenges faced by cyclists in Greater Los Angeles and beyond. If you are injured in a bicycle accident, we are here to help. Our team will work tirelessly to hold all responsible parties accountable, seek maximum compensation for your injuries, and help you focus on your recovery and return to normalcy.
What are the common causes and statistics of bicycle accidents?
Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Collisions with motor vehicles, often due to drivers failing to yield to cyclists or not seeing them
- Riding at night without adequate lighting or reflectors
- Riding on the wrong side of the road or in the wrong direction
- Failing to obey traffic signals and signs
- Riding while distracted, such as using a cell phone or headphones
- Riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Riding on poorly maintained roads or paths
- Inexperienced or reckless cycling, such as riding at high speeds or performing stunts
- Pedestrians stepping into bike lanes or paths without looking
- Dooring, where a driver or passenger opens a car door without checking for cyclists approaching from behind.
The following statistics indicate that if you are involved in a bicycle accident and get injured, you are among a significant number of people who share this experience.
Bicycle Accident And Fatality Statistics:
- In 2020, 846 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States.
- From 2016-2020, there was an average of 857 bicyclist fatalities per year in the United States.
- Bicyclist fatalities represent around 2% of all traffic fatalities each year.
- The majority of bicyclist fatalities occur in urban areas (75%) and at non-intersection locations (60%).
- In 2020, the average age of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes was 45 years old.
- Males are more likely than females to be killed or injured in a bicycle accident. In 2020, 82% of bicyclist fatalities were male.
- Most bicyclist fatalities occur between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. (20%) and between 9 p.m. and midnight (18%).
- Alcohol involvement – either for the bicyclist or the driver – was reported in 37% of all fatal bicyclist crashes in 2020.
- Wearing a helmet is an effective way to reduce the risk of head injury in a bicycle accident. In 2020, 60% of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing helmets.
Seeking the assistance of a bicycle accident lawyer is crucial in filing a personal injury claim, no matter how severe your bicycle accident may have been, as it can result in significant injuries.
What Steps Should I Take After Being Injured In A Bicycle Accident?
Due to the serious nature of bicycle accidents, it’s possible that you may have been rendered unconscious or suffered severe injuries, and thus may require assistance from others at the accident scene. If you’re able to, here are some actions you can take at the scene of the accident and afterward:
- Seek medical attention: Your health and safety should be your top priority. Even if you don’t think your injuries are severe, it’s important to get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible.
- Document the accident: Collect as much information as possible about the accident. This includes taking photos of the scene, getting contact information from any witnesses, and obtaining the driver’s information (if a vehicle was involved).
- File a police report: Report the accident to the police as soon as possible. This will create an official record of the incident, which can be useful if you decide to file a claim with your insurance company or pursue legal action.
- Contact a bicycle accident lawyer: An experienced attorney can help protect your rights and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. They can also guide you through the legal process and handle communication with insurance companies and other parties involved in the accident.
- Notify your insurance company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible, even if you weren’t at fault. Your insurance policy may provide coverage for medical expenses or property damage.
Remember to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally after a bicycle accident. Seeking medical attention and emotional support are important steps in the recovery process.
What Type Of Injuries Are Common In Bike Accidents?
Bicycle accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, some of which can be very serious. Here are some of the most common types of injuries that can occur in bike accidents:
- Head injuries: Including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), are among the most serious injuries that can result from a bike accident. It’s crucial to wear a helmet to reduce the risk of head injury.
- Fractures: Fractures or broken bones are also common in bike accidents, particularly in the arms, legs, wrists, and collarbone.
- Soft tissue injuries: Injuries such as bruises, scrapes, and cuts, are also common in bike accidents.
- Spinal cord injuries: Injuries can result in partial or complete paralysis, depending on the severity of the injury.
- Internal injuries: Bike accidents can also result in internal injuries, such as damage to organs or internal bleeding.
- Dental injuries: Including broken teeth or jaw fractures, can occur if a rider’s face hits the pavement.
- Psychological injuries: Bike accidents can also result in emotional and psychological trauma, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It’s important to seek medical attention after a bike accident, even if you don’t think your injuries are severe. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries or internal injuries, may not be immediately apparent and can worsen if left untreated.
How Can I Cover The Cost Of Medical Treatment If I Don’t Have Insurance?
If you’ve been injured by someone or something, it’s crucial that you receive prompt access to the medical care you need. In the event that you don’t have health insurance, Culver Legal can assist you in obtaining top-tier medical care through a lien basis. As you’ll see below, the costs of your past and future medical treatment can be recovered from the responsible party. Once your case has been resolved, your medical lien will be paid out of the proceeds. Along with helping you obtain lien-based treatment, our team includes knowledgeable staff who can help you explore low-cost coverage options through programs such as Medi-Cal and Medi-Care.
Who Can Be Held Responsible For A Bicycle Accident And How?
If you or someone you care about is involved in a bicycle accident, it’s crucial to hire a bicycle accident attorney who will identify all potential at-fault parties to help you receive the maximum compensation, cover your losses, and secure your future. It’s important to take action against all responsible parties to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Potential at-fault parties can include:
- The driver of the motor vehicle
- Commercial businesses (or public entities) if the driver of the vehicle was on the clock
- Governmental agencies or public entities that designed, maintained, or controlled the roadway
- Construction companies and contractors (if they impacted the roadway or traffic)
- Other cyclists
Culver Legal specializes in proving the liability of the at-fault parties. Once we take your case, we immediately launch investigations and conduct detailed fact-finding to gather all the necessary evidence and obtain a complete understanding of the accident and who is likely at fault. Our bicycle injury lawyers leverage this information, along with their own investigations, such as site visits, research, and witness interviews, to create a winning strategy. After filing your personal injury lawsuit, we use aggressive discovery techniques and targeted questioning in a deposition to get to the truth. Our skilled and tactful personal injury lawyers can even challenge police reports if they are incorrect or based on misinformation. If a trial becomes necessary, we have our own highly experienced trial lawyers in-house who can see your case through to its conclusion.
Determining Fault In A Bicycle Accident Case
Even with proper precautions such as wearing a helmet and being vigilant of road conditions, a negligent driver can cause a bicycle accident resulting in serious injuries such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or even wrongful death. Unfortunately, the driver often provides their account of the incident to the patrol officer first, which can be self-serving and result in the bicyclist being deemed at fault on the Traffic Collision Report (TCR). However, with the help of a skilled bicycle accident lawyer, it may be possible to challenge the TCR or demonstrate partial fault. California operates on a comparative fault system, where recovery may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the injured party. The legal complexities and nuances of such cases require the expertise of a knowledgeable bicycle accident lawyer to navigate.
Can I File A Personal Injury Claim If I Was Partly At Fault For The Accident?
Absolutely. In California, the legal principle of comparative fault is followed, which entails that the compensation you receive will be decreased by the percentage of fault attributed to you, regardless of whether it is as high as 99%. This is a critical point to remember, particularly when dealing with severe injuries, medical expenses, and the potential impact on your life and future.
How Long Does It Take To Resolve A Bicycle Accident Case?
It is often necessary to initiate legal action in order to obtain crucial evidence, establish liability, assess your injuries, and optimize your recovery. The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for a bicycle injury is typically two years, but there are numerous regulations and exemptions to consider, particularly when you must file a claim against a public entity. In such cases, the time limit for submitting a Government Claim form is reduced to six (6) months, and there are many additional criteria that could jeopardize your bicycle accident case. Consequently, it is always crucial to seek legal assistance right away following a bicycle accident that results in personal injury.
In most counties and jurisdictions in California, once you have filed a lawsuit, the trial date is usually scheduled 12 to 18 months in the future. This trial date is typically the longest period for which your case can last, although a settlement can be reached at any point. During this 12 to 18-month period, your case will undergo a discovery phase, deposition phase, expert witness and analysis phase, settlement negotiations, and, if necessary, trial preparation and trial itself.
What Types Of Compensation Can I Seek As Part Of My Lawsuit For A Bicycle Injury?
In the state of California, you have the right to seek compensation for specific “damages” resulting from a bicycle accident. This means that you can receive financial compensation for damages that you have suffered in the past and those that you can prove will occur in the future. These damages often include the following:
- Medical costs
- Lost earnings
- Lost earnings capacity
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses, including medical insurance co-pays, medication, and others
- Retraining or education to acquire a job you are able to perform if you are disabled
- Any other expenses or lost opportunities you have incurred as a result of your bike accident
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death (loss of support, loss of companionship, loss of love, and many others)
- Loss of consortium (for the spouse of the injured victim)
- Any other non-economic losses that you’ve suffered as a result of your bicycle crash
I Can’t Work After My Bicycle Accident. Can You Help Me?
It is a common concern for individuals who have sustained injuries in an accident and are unable to work. Our firm frequently assists clients who need to take time off from work to recover after a bicycle accident. If you find yourself in this situation and require financial assistance, we can connect you with companies that provide loans secured by your case. Additionally, in certain circumstances, we may be able to provide an advance on the expected proceeds of your case.
What Is The Average Compensation For Bicycle Accident Injuries?
The question “How much are bicycle accidents worth?” essentially asks how much compensation is necessary for you to be fully reimbursed for your damages. These damages often include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Past and future lost income
- Past and future impairment to your quality of life
- Temporary and/or permanent disabilities
- Property damage (e.g., repair or replacement of your bike)
Although economic damages, such as medical bills or lost income, are easier to quantify, it can be more challenging to calculate the worth of pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of quality of life. Insurance companies often argue that the total value of a case is twice the amount of economic damages. At Culver Legal, we reject this approach.
We believe that a thorough analysis is required to determine the true value of your case, and we will always fight to secure the maximum recovery for your serious injuries. If someone’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional behavior led to your injury, they should be responsible for compensating you to the fullest extent of the law.
Electric Bicycle Accidents
In recent years, electric bikes have become increasingly popular and in response, California enacted a new law in 2015 to address their growing presence on the streets. This law is considered one of the most progressive electric bike laws in the country.
The new law classifies electric bicycles into three categories based on their motor type:
- Class 1: Bicycles with motors that only engage when the rider pedals and disengage when the rider reaches 20 miles per hour. Helmets are required for riders that are under the age of 18.
- Class 2: Electric bicycles that assist the rider when the throttle is activated and stop when the rider reaches 20 miles per hour. Riders under 18 years old must wear a helmet.
- Class 3: These e-bikes also engage the motor only when the rider pedals, but they continue until the rider reaches 28 miles per hour. All class 3 e-bike riders must wear a helmet and be at least 16 years old.
Electric bikes are not considered motor vehicles, so riders do not need a license or insurance to operate them. However, it’s important to note that local municipalities may have their own regulations regarding electric bikes, such as bike paths that do not allow e-bikes.
To ensure your safety while riding an e-bike, you should follow the same rules of the road as regular bicycle riders and be aware of local laws that may apply.
Compensation Available for E-Bike Accident Injuries
Those who ride electric bicycles have the same legal right to seek compensation for their injuries resulting from a bike accident as traditional bike riders. The damages they can claim may include:
- Injuries to arms and wrists
- Fractured bones
- Injuries to legs and knees
- Spinal cord injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Electric bike riders are more vulnerable to severe injuries due to their lack of protection and higher speeds. These injuries can have long-lasting effects, such as preventing the rider from working for an extended period or permanently. Some electric bike riders have even lost their lives in accidents with motor vehicles.
Examples of compensation that an electric bike rider may be entitled to include:
- All medical expenses related to the accident
- Ambulance fees
- Counseling for mental health
- Lost wages as a result of the accident
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- For severe injuries, modifications to their home and/or long-term care
E-Bike Accident Lawyers
If you are involved in an electric bicycle accident caused by another party’s recklessness or negligence, you may be able to pursue damages from that at-fault party. The liable party could be a motor vehicle driver, pedestrian, motorcycle rider, or any other type of bicyclist. Additionally, if your e-bike was defective and caused the accident, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
To get the maximum compensation allowed under the law, contact the attorneys at Culver Legal for a free consultation. Our attorney’s knowledge of the latest laws and information regarding electric bicycles can handle negotiations with insurance companies and their lawyers while you focus on your recovery.
Will My Undocumented Status Or Language Barrier Affect My Bicycle Accident Claim?
No worries. In California, using someone’s immigration status against them in a civil lawsuit, such as a bicycle accident case, is illegal. Our courts have deemed it irrelevant to the case itself. However, it’s not uncommon for the other side to attempt to use it, which is why we object and prevent questioning about your immigration status during a deposition.
If you don’t speak English, that’s not an issue either. We can arrange for a court-licensed interpreter to assist with depositions or during the trial. We have a broad selection of interpreters who can help you tell your story in your own words, ensuring that the facts and emotions are accurately conveyed.
Our Bicycle Accident Attorneys In Los Angeles Will Protect Your Legal Rights
The core values at Culver Legal are centered on compassion, service, and results. Our priority is always to put our clients first, recognizing the devastating and life-changing impact that personal injury accidents can have. To carry out this mission, we assign each case to one attorney who is supported by a team of professional staff members to ensure all your needs are met. We handle every aspect of your case, allowing you to focus on healing. Throughout the process, we keep you informed and consult with you before making important decisions.
Choosing Culver Legal means choosing a proven winner. Our team has the skills and experience to maximize your recovery. At Culver Legal, our experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers are dedicated to helping you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation at 310-600-7881. There is no obligation, and if we do not recover compensation for you, there is no fee. Call us today.