When accidents happen, innocent bicycle users can end up with life-altering injuries. When not at fault, they deserve justice and fair compensation. An experienced and effective Antelope Valley bicycle accident attorney can help you get this result.
Aside from pedestrians, bicyclists are some of the most vulnerable users of our roadway and path system. Some cyclists can push speeds that rival those of cars in some environments, but without the braking agility or protection for the rider.
California’s highway system offers ample room and opportunity to use a bicycle in urban, suburban, and rural areas.
This openness has not, however, resulted in a safer environment for its use.
Bicycle Injury Facts From Your Antelope Valley Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycle accidents can be very serious when they occur in high automobile traffic areas. There are thousands of bicyclists injured in California every year, and very often, this is because motorists failed to obey the right-of-way laws designed to protect them.
A bicycle is no match for a large, heavy motorized passenger vehicle. Auto accidents involving bicycle riders can produce extensive injuries to the bike rider in even the simplest accident at slow speeds.
Bicycle versus vehicle collisions are often devastating to the rider and his or her family and can result in catastrophic injuries, huge medical bills, and even wrongful death.
California Is the Most Dangerous State For Cyclists
Studies show that after a welcome decline in 2010, bicycle accidents have consistently risen across the nation. California has seen an even faster rate of expansion and is now the deadliest state for cyclists.
From 2016 to 2018, 455 bicyclists lost their lives on California roadways.
Contributing reasons for the spike in accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Significant expansion in bike riders in the state
- Sustained rise of automobile use and embrace of larger vehicles
- Distracted driving remains a danger to others on the road regardless of what they drive
- Either automobiles or bicyclists not taking reasonable care or following traffic laws
One of the biggest problem areas for cyclists lies in intersections. In many cases, drivers never see the cyclist
Call the Antelope Valley bicycle accident attorneys at Kuzyk Law Right Away For a Free Consultation! (661) 945-6969
Common Hazards Causing Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents happen most often as a result of specific hazards. Unfortunately, we can’t control the actions of others using the road. Even when operators drive carefully and responsibly, accidents happen, and people suffer injuries.
Some of the most common hazards include:
- Distracted driving for any reason
- Alcohol or drug use by drivers
- Excessive speeds from any vehicle involved
- Inability to see cyclist in the night or poor visibility conditions
- Drivers failing to yield before making left turns
- Unable to see bicycles in close proximity to the vehicle
- Excessive gravel or poorly maintained roads
- Lack of shoulder or bike lane
If you have experienced an injury in one of the above or countless other cycling situations, make sure to contact the professional and experienced attorneys at Kuzyk Law.
While bikes are often lumped in with pedestrian traffic just like individuals who are walking, many individuals who suffer injuries in a bicycle accident can have more difficulty collecting damages than someone who is struck by a vehicle while walking.
A primary issue with bicycle accidents is that bikes typically move much faster than walking pedestrians, and the speed of the bike can impact the degree of injury to the rider. In addition, instances of hit-and-run collisions involving a bicycle are also common, so even identifying a negligent party can also be problematic.
What to Do If I Am Injured In a Bicycle Accident
In almost any case of a bicycle collision with a motor vehicle, you should call 911. Make sure to get examined by first responders. They can check for injuries, such as head trauma, that the victim may not be aware of.
Also important, in any possible lawsuit, the police report can serve as one of the most vital documents. It’s imperative to get law enforcement involved any time you are in a vehicle accident.
If able, or if someone else can help, try to gather contact information from witnesses. Write down or record their description of events. Take, or have photos taken.
When communicating with anyone at the scene, never admit fault. Even if you believe your actions caused it, objective evidence may prove differently. Premature admission of fault undercuts a number of otherwise viable cases and will cost you money in an eventual suit. This is especially true when speaking with insurance representatives.
Your first step, when able, should be to contact a respected attorney with decades of experience in assisting clients suffering from bike accident injuries.
Comparative Negligence and Insurance Companies
The real issue when attempting to recover damages for injuries resulting from a bicycle accident is the degree of comparative negligence the injured bike rider may be assigned when evaluating the case. This is why it is so important to have an experienced Antelope Valley law firm representing your case.
All insurance company claims adjusters use the comparative negligence law as a tool to reduce the total settlement value when they are faced with providing insurance coverage for the negligent driver. Even when the adjuster cannot outright deny a personal injury claim, they can still attempt to lessen the value of the claim by expressing to the court that the injured bicyclist was the actual cause of the accident. Having an experienced team of personal injury attorneys handling your case means you will receive maximum compensation owed—usually by settlements, or in rarer cases, in court.
Laws Governing Bicycle Use In California
Limiting communication concerning fault is not disingenuous. Besides the fact that the victim often has the worst perspective on what caused the accident, the law defines fault and other issues differently than a layperson.
The issue and definition of fault under the law also vary from state to state.
Many states automatically assign fault to drivers of automobiles when they collide with bicycles. California employs a different method of finding fault in such incidents.
In California, the fault lies with the operator, regardless of the vehicle, found to be negligent or not operating their vehicle in a reasonable fashion. As part of proving negligence, the accident must have caused property damage or personal injury.
California law also permits the court to establish percentages of fault to determine the ultimate award. For example, the court may find that the bicycle operator had 25 percent culpability and the car driver 75 percent. In this case, the bicyclist would receive only three-fourths of the potential award.
These aspects of the law make non-admission of any fault at the scene or after imperative.
Statute of Limitations Laws Apply
Statute of Limitations laws provides a vital reason to reach out to an attorney as quickly as possible after an accident. Close family members of victims left unable to communicate should do this on behalf of the victim.
In California, vehicle accident victims have two years to file suit to recover damages. After that, the court can deny the plaintiff’s ability to file except under extenuating circumstances.
Remember that an attorney has to perform a great deal of work laying the groundwork for a case before filing. Waiting until right before the statute of limitations expires can limit your attorney’s ability to prepare. We encourage victims to reach out as soon as possible, or at least well before the statute of limitations expires.
Minors can wait until they turn 20 to file a suit for damages.
Contact The Bicycle Accident Lawyers at Kuzyk Law Today!
When looking for representation in a bicycle accident case, consider which attorney gives you the best chance at obtaining fair compensation for damage and injuries.
Optimally, you should retain a firm with decades of experience covering vehicle and bicycle accident cases. Such a firm should analyze your case and communicate an honest assessment from the very beginning, but not expect payment for services unless you receive an award.
Importantly, the best firms will fight just as hard for clients in smaller cases as in those potentially involving multi-million dollar settlements.
Kuzyk Law has spent almost five decades helping clients receive over $900 million in settlement money combined. Our team of attorneys strives to get the best settlements possible for our clients. Their inspiration to fight comes from the idea of helping the most vulnerable get what justice demands.