In California, bicycle accidents are often caused by reckless or negligent drivers as well as dangerous roadway conditions. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the individuals or entities that caused your accident. If you have lost a loved one in a bicycle accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault parties seeking compensation for your tremendous loss.
Can I Sue After a Bicycle Accident in California?
An individual or entity responsible for the bicycle accident can be held liable in civil court. A bicycle accident victim can seek monetary compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, permanent injuries or disabilities and pain and suffering.
If your bicycle accident involved another vehicle, it is important that you speak with an experienced Los Angeles injury lawyer before you engage with the other driver's insurance company. In these scenarios, insurance companies are looking to offer a speedy settlement, which often will not cover all your losses.
Also, in a bicycle accident, there may be more than one party who can be held liable for the injuries and damages. If a bicycle accident, for example, was caused by a dangerous roadway condition, the governmental entity responsible for maintaining the roadway could be held liable. It is important that you speak with your injury lawyer about who can be held responsible so you can receive fair and full compensation for your losses.
Bicycle Accidents: What Should You Do After a Crash?
Here are a few steps you would be well advised to take in the aftermath of a bicycle accident:
- Wait for the police to arrive. It is important you call the police so they can file an accident report that documents the scene. This report could be extremely valuable if you choose to file a bicycle accident lawsuit.
- Get details from all parties involved in the collision including contact information, insurance details and license plate number. If there are people at the scene who saw the accident, be sure to get their contact information as well.
- Gather as much evidence as possible from the scene including photos and videos of the accident scene and your injuries. Write down notes including the time of day when the crash occurred, traffic and weather conditions, etc.
- Seek medical attention and care. Maintain all documents pertaining to your car accident injuries and treatment.
- Preserve all evidence relating to your accident such as your damaged bicycle, torn clothes or broken helmet.
- Contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who can begin gathering and compiling evidence right away to strengthen and substantiate your claim.
Never admit fault after a bicycle accident. Do not engage in conversations with other parties or their insurance companies. What you say may be used against you. It is best to let your attorney analyze all aspects of your case and work to protect your rights.
Damages in a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
California bicycle accident laws The damages you receive in a bicycle accident lawsuit may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income and loss of earning capacity
- Permanent injuries such as scarring
- Disabilities and disfigurement
- Cost of psychological therapy
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of life's enjoyment
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
The damages you can seek in a bicycle accident lawsuit also depend on the nature and severity of your injuries. For example, if you suffered relatively minor injuries, the value of your case may be far less than if you suffered major or catastrophic injuries. Common injuries in bicycle accidents include:
- Fractures or broken bones
- Road rash
- Cuts and abrasions
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord trauma
- Facial injuries
- Eye injuries
- Strains or sprains
- Internal bleeding
In some cases, an injured bicyclist may also be able to seek punitive damages. These cases are rare and occur in situations where the degree of negligence on the part of the defendant was egregious, such as a deliberate attempt to injure the cyclist.
Bicycle Accident Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If your loved one was killed in a bicycle accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit seeking damages as a surviving family member. Under California law, a surviving spouse or domestic partner, child, grandchild or anyone who may be entitled to the decedent's property by California intestate succession laws, may be able to file a bicycle accident wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. A wrongful death lawsuit allows survivors to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses incurred by the decedent, funeral and burial costs, lost future income and loss of care and companionship.
Accidents Caused by Defective Bicycles
Some bicycle accidents are caused by a faulty bike or bicycle part. For example, a defective handlebar could cause you to lose control of your bike and crash. Under California's product liability laws, you can file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective bicycle or the maker of a faulty bike part.
California law states that strict liability can be imposed for manufacturing defects, design flaws and failure to warn consumers about safety defects. In order to recover damages in a product liability lawsuit, the injured bicyclist must prove that the defendant designed, manufactured and sold a defective product; that the plaintiff used the bicycle in a reasonable manner; and that the plaintiff suffered injuries and damages as a result of the defect.
An Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, the experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident attorneys at the Vaziri Law Group can help you understand the legal process and guide you through every step. We will fight for your rights and help you secure maximum compensation for your losses. Call us to schedule a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.