Bicycling is a fun and healthy activity that’s enjoyed by millions of Californians. If anyone injures you when you’re enjoying your right to the roadways, please get in touch with a Bakersfield bike wreck lawyer.
Too often, motorists drive carelessly around bicyclists, resulting in thousands of accidents annually. Though not all bicycle accidents are caused by motorists, those collisions tend to result in the most substantial physical and financial damages. Whether you’ve suffered minor injuries, major injuries, or the tragic loss of a loved one, there are car accident lawyers in Bakersfield who can help you get compensation from those responsible.
The Safety of Bicyclists in Bakersfield, California
California is broadly considered one of the most bicycle-friendly states, with lots of communities, businesses, and universities that are accommodating to bikes. Unfortunately, the recklessness of motorists and the lack of bike lanes in some areas result in an average of 11,000 bicyclist injuries and 160 deaths per year in California alone.
According to California Healthline, the number of fatal bicyclist accidents has increased considerably over the last 25 years. This can be ascribed to an increase in bicyclists, more distracted drivers, and the popularization of large trucks. Though it’s important for bicyclists to take precautions to prevent collisions, sometimes accidents happen regardless. In those cases, it’s essential to seek legal representation as soon as you can.
Understanding Bicycle Accident Liability in Bakersfield
Though some bicycling laws vary between counties, legal protections for bicyclists are the same statewide, regardless if you live in Bakersfield, Fresno, or Los Angeles. You can view the specific regulations in the California Vehicle Code (VEH) § 21200; however, they generally require bicyclists to adhere to the same traffic laws that motorists adhere to.
That said, failing to follow the rules of the road doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t claim damages for a bike accident. California is an at-fault state, meaning the driver who caused the accident must compensate you for your losses. The law statewide also follows the pure comparative negligence standard, so you can still recover damages from an accident that you’re partly at fault for.
Recovering Damages From Insurance Companies
If someone driving a car caused — or partly caused — your bike collision, you’re entitled to make a claim under the driver’s insurance. Unfortunately, bicycle crash cases can get very complicated. Insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid paying you what you deserve. This is especially true in cases where the bicyclist’s injuries aren’t incredibly severe.
Insurance companies will be even more intimidating and aggressive if they know you don’t have legal representation. That’s why it’s crucial to hire a bicycle accident lawyer who has the experience, resources, and determination necessary to fight powerful insurance companies. The right attorney will passionately pursue full compensation for your suffering, all while navigating the insurance companies and their usual tactics.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
In most bicycle-vehicle collisions, legal fault is assigned to the motorist. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for drivers to act carelessly when driving near bicyclists. Though most of these collisions are unintentional, drivers still need to be held accountable for their recklessness.
Common causes of bicycle-vehicle collisions include drunk driving, drowsy driving, speeding, failure to yield the right-of-way, impatience, following too closely, unsafe turns, and drivers simply failing to look for bicyclists. These different factors could all play into the most common types of bike accidents:
- Cross collision – Right and left cross collisions occur when drivers fail to yield properly to bicyclists. Right cross collisions are more common than left cross collisions, with drivers striking bicyclists when pulling out of side streets and driveways.
- Rear-end collision – These collisions may occur when a bicyclist doesn’t brake properly and hits a stopped car from behind. They also occur when a bicyclist swerves left out of the bike lane and is struck by a car from the rear.
- Dooring – Dooring is a term for accidents that occur when a parked motorist opens their left side door as a bicyclist goes by, striking them. This may also happen when bicyclists are riding on the sidewalk by parked cars. Dooring accidents are much more common in urban areas than anywhere else in the US.
- Road rage – Horrifically, there are some cases where a motorist loses their temper and intentionally strikes a bicyclist. Bicyclists can prevent road rage by following the rules of the road and communicating with drivers by using the proper hand signals. Still, there’s no excuse or justification for a motorist to intentionally strike any bicyclist.
- Overtaking – Some of the deadliest accidents occur when vehicles fail to safely overtake bicyclists on the left. These accidents are more likely to occur at night, as motorists have a harder time seeing bicyclists clearly.
Another major type of bike accident is caused by bicyclists riding against traffic. Bicyclists should also ride on the right side of the road with the flow of traffic, never against it. Motorists have a much harder time seeing bicyclists riding against traffic, in part because they simply don’t expect bicyclists to be there.
Of course, some bicycle accidents don’t involve cars at all. Pedestrian collisions are another type of bike accident that can result in severe injuries for both parties. These collisions are most likely to occur when bicyclists are riding on the sidewalk or riding through intersections where pedestrians are crossing the street.
At Kuzyk Law, we have decades of experience with all kinds of bike crashes, whether you’ve collided with a pedestrian, another bicyclist, or a car. No matter what type of bicycle accident you’ve suffered, our bicycle accident lawyers can help you get compensation for your pain. Even if you’re somewhat at fault, we’ll ensure the other party responsible pays you what you’re owed for their role in the accident.
Common Injuries From Bicycle Accidents
A bike crash can completely alter your life. The injuries you suffer could affect your long-term well-being, your ability to work, and your overall quality of life. Here are some of the most common injuries caused by bicycle accidents:
- Bone breaks and fractures
- Rashes and lacerations
- Chronic knee, back, and feet injuries
In more severe cases, bike crashes can also result in disfigurement, dismemberment, and death. Other injuries may seem minor in comparison, but you shouldn’t have to suffer any sort of medical bills or mental anguish because of someone else’s negligence.
Potential Damages You Could Claim
Bicycle accidents can disrupt your life in a variety of ways. The injuries you suffer could negatively impact your finances, along with your long-term physical and mental health. Here are some of the damages you may be able to claim:
- Medical expenses – Past, present, and future costs of doctor visits, hospital visits, surgeries, medication, etc.
- Lost income – Past, present, and future changes in your earning capacity due to injuries you’ve suffered in the accident
- Rehabilitation – Any rehabilitation services necessary to heal from injuries caused by the collision
- Mental anguish – Services to cope with emotional distress like therapy and medication
- Disability – Costs associated with any permanent or semi-permanent disabilities resulting from the accident
If you tragically lose a loved one to a bicycle accident, you can also pursue compensation for funeral costs, burial costs, and loss of companionship. These matters can get complicated, but there are attorneys who can expertly and compassionately help you through each step of the process. We take care of the paperwork and insurance companies so you can focus on your family and cope with your terrible loss.
Take Action After a Bike Accident With Kuzyk Law
It’s important to take action immediately after being in a bike accident. Your priority should be seeing a doctor, even if your injuries aren’t immediately obvious. A doctor can identify your injuries and provide crucial paperwork that you can use later if you file a claim.
Your next step should be contacting bicycle accident attorneys who can investigate your case and vigorously pursue compensation on your behalf. For this task, look no further than the attorneys at Kuzyk Law. Since our founding in 1971, we’ve acquired successful verdicts & settlements for over 100,000 cases. With decades of experience in personal injury lawsuits, you can trust our team to fight for you.
Contact Us for a No-Cost Consultation
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, it’s critical that you have a Bakersfield bike wreck lawyer to advocate for you. Kuzyk Law’s talented team of Bakersfield personal injury lawyers is here to get you the compensation you deserve for your financial losses, physical pain, and mental anguish. With our experience, we can navigate the most complex bicycle accident cases you can imagine.
To get started, please contact us by completing our online form. Let us know your preferred appointment time and date and we’ll set up a free consultation for you with one of our lawyers. You’re also welcome to call us — we’re available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have more questions about bicycle accident law? Please consult our FAQs below. If your question isn’t listed, don’t hesitate to contact us at your next convenience. We’ll schedule a consultation with a bike accident attorney who can help you.
Is there a statute of limitations for bike accidents in California?
Yes. In California, victims must file their claim within two years of the accident. If you’ve been injured in an accident, you must contact a Bakersfield bike wreck lawyer right away before this window closes.
Will car insurance cover a bike accident?
If a negligent driver hits a bicyclist, their car insurance is typically responsible for the bicyclist’s medical expenses. However, this isn’t always the case. Insurance companies will try to get out of paying you, making it all the more necessary to have a bicycle accident attorney who will fight for you.
What if I’m in a bicycle accident where no other vehicle is involved?
Sometimes bicycle accidents occur without another vehicle being involved. If another party was at fault for the accident, victims in these cases may still be entitled to financial compensation. At Kuzyk Law, we’ve assisted clients who’ve been in all kinds of bicycle accidents, including those with no other vehicle involved.
What if I’m partly at fault for the accident?
California is a pure comparative fault state. That means you still have a right to recover financial compensation, even if you were partly at fault for the accident. Of course, it’s possible you’re not at fault whatsoever and the defendants of your case are trying to argue that you are. Our team will combat these arguments and fight to ensure you’re awarded the highest amount of money possible.
Am I required to wear a helmet while bicycling?
California law requires children under 18 to wear helmets, not adults. As a bicycle accident law firm, however, we strongly encourage bicyclists of all ages to wear protective helmets. Studies show that wearing a helmet reduces your risk of serious injury and death in collisions. Putting a helmet on is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself as a bicyclist.
Learn More From Educational Resources
If you’d like to learn more about bicycle accident law and bicycle safety, please consult the educational resources provided below. You can also contact us at your next availability to speak with a knowledgeable bike accident lawyer.
- Kern County Sheriff – Bicycle Safety
- Bike Bakersfield – Street Stories
- KernMedical – Safe Streets
- California DMV – Bicyclists & Pedestrians
Reading up on bicycle safety is an excellent way to prevent collisions, especially between bicyclists and pedestrians. Of course, no matter what you do, accidents happen. If you’re involved in one of these accidents, you can call Kuzyk Law for help at any time.
You Can Count on the Bakersfield Bike Wreck Lawyers at Kuzyk Law
Your days of searching for a bicycle accident lawyer near me are over. The experienced and professional team at Kuzyk Law is here to help you, whether you’ve been in a bike wreck, been bitten by a dog, or need a slip and fall attorney. Contact us today so we can begin fighting for you to receive the compensation you deserve.