With the increased popularity of bicycling in the past few years, cycling accidents have become all-too-common in California. This is partly due to the fact that it can be relatively easy for a motorist to fail to notice a cyclist on a busy street. Naturally, these accidents often result in severe physical injury because of how much smaller and less protective bicycles tend to be than other vehicles on the roadway. Ultimately, in light of how tricky it can be to sort out respective legal obligations in this type of accident, procuring competent and aggressive representation is key in order to ensure that the parties receive adequate compensation for their injuries.
Common Types of Bicycle Accidents
Common types of bicycle accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Distracted Driving Accident: Though not unique to motorist-cyclist incidents, these types of accidents are especially common since small distractions (such as eating or texting) can cause a motorist to completely miss an approaching bicycle.
- Open-Door Accident: This type of accident occurs when a driver opens his door without realizing that a bicycle is approaching, and consequently causes the cyclist to collide with the open door.
- Split-Lane Accident: This type of accident can result when a cyclist drives between two lanes of traffic and ends up colliding with a vehicle.
- Rear-End or Head-on Collisions: Though these types of collisions are not unique to bicycling accidents, they can be especially dangerous for cyclists since bicycles do not have airbags or steel cage frames to protect them.
- Left-Turn Accidents: This type of accident can occur when a cyclist is making a left-turn and the driver of another vehicle fails to notice the bicycle and ends up colliding with it. Alternatively, this type of accident occurs when a vehicle makes a left-turn and collides with a bicycle mid-turn. Cyclists are particularly vulnerable in these types of accidents due to the lack of safety features.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Common causes of bicycle accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to Respect the Right of Way: A common cause of accidents is when a driver or a cyclist erroneously assumes that he has the right of way.
- Failure to Notice Cyclist: Drivers who fail to notice approaching bicyclists can cause serious accidents by turning in front of a bicycle, merging into a bicycle, or otherwise colliding with a bicycle. Though many roads now have a dedicated bike lane, a driver can still inflict a great deal of harm on a cyclist by failing to notice her.
- Driving Beyond Your Experience: Accidents can occur when a cyclist lacks adequate training or knowledge, or when she attempts to bicycle in traffic, instead of in the designated bike lane. Though not inherently a bad choice, weak or inexperienced cyclists are often much safer in the designated bike lane.
- Failure to Obey the Rules of the Road: If a cyclist engages in risky bicycle maneuvers (such as weaving between cars, making sudden lane shifts or turns, etc.) or fails to obey the rules of the road, this can result in an accident, especially since it can be difficult for other drivers to anticipate what a cyclist will do in these situations.
- Poor Road Conditions: Bicycles can be especially prone to serious accidents caused by roadways that are not properly constructed or maintained. Seemingly minor roadway defects (such as a pothole or gravel on the road) can prove disastrous for a cyclist.
Proper Representation for a Bicycle Accident Case
It can be difficult to prove fault when dealing with a bicycle accident. Some cyclists do engage in risky activities on the roadway, but conversely, drivers of other vehicles also often fail to notice bicycles. Regardless of whether you were the cyclist or the motorist, it is essential that an individual involved in a bicycle accident act quickly following a collision. The steps taken immediately following a collision often shape his ability to recover for any injuries sustained from the accident. Retaining competent representation helps to ensure that all of these essential steps are taken such that a party is in the best position to defend himself/pursue a claim.
A qualified law firm will work with a client to:
- Investigate the accident and gather evidence to prove fault.
- Communicate with the insurance companies and provide them with the necessary paperwork, as well as negotiate with these companies to obtain an appropriate settlement.
- Investigate the other driver’s driving record, and ensure that the provided record is complete and accurate.
- Ensure that the relevant parties’ injuries are properly investigated, including the driver’s medical care, medical costs, and losses in future wages. Relatedly, a qualified attorney will ensure that any award properly accounts for the driver’s medical costs, losses in present and future wages, and pain and suffering.
- Hire proper experts to examine the accident and help determine the conditions leading to the accident.
- Collect and examine vital evidence related to the accident in order to best protect the injured driver. This includes conducting discovery (including depositions and interrogatories) in order to get as much necessary information about the other parties and the accident as possible.
Kristina was riding her bicycle on a major roadway. Ms. Brown lost control of the passenger vehicle that she was driving, and the vehicle careened to the left, hit a median, shot across several lanes of traffic and ran into Kristina. Kristina was knocked off her bike and landed on the roadway. Kristina suffered injuries to her neck and her back.
After talking to the insurance companies on her own and receiving an offer that was very low, Kristina hired Mr. Foos to prosecute her personal injury case. Although still injured, Kristina did not have medical insurance and therefore had stopped treating for her injuries. Mr. Foos was able to refer Kristina to several doctors that treated Kristina on a lien (a promise to repay later out of any settlement), and who helped Kristina. Mr. Foos filed a lawsuit and then was able to negotiate a fair settlement for Kristina, much higher than the amount that the insurance company was offering when Kristina did not have an attorney.
What David Foos Can Do