Orange County Lawyers Answer Bike Accident FAQs
Due to their more exposed nature, bicyclists are vulnerable to serious injuries in a collision with a motor vehicle. If you have been hurt in a bicycle accident, you need to get your questions answered about what to do next. Here at Allen Flatt Ballidis & Leslie, we have complied answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about bicycle accidents that we have heard while representing accident victims.
Unfortunately, the state of California is leading the nation in fatal bicycle accidents. There were 147 bicyclist fatalities statewide in a recent year, accounting for 4.1% of all traffic fatalities, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 87,845 cyclists suffered injuries in a seven-year period, with bicycle injuries accounting for 5.3% of all traffic injuries, at a rate of 33.0 per 100,000 people, reported in a Traffic Safety Report published by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
Liability for your injuries will depend on who was at fault for the accident. In many cases, the at-fault party is a driver of a motor vehicle who caused the crash through negligent behavior. However, bicycle crashes can be caused by pedestrians who are not paying attention, dog owners who fail to control their dogs, and property owners that allow hazardous conditions to exist on sidewalks and roads.
Can I Still Recover Damages If I Was Not Wearing a Helmet, or If I Was Partly at Fault for the Crash?
Yes, but the amount of compensation you can recover may be reduced by your percentage of fault for the accident. This is due to California operating on the comparative fault system. This means, if you were 30% at fault for your accident and injuries, you may only receive 70% of the compensation you would be entitled to recover.
If you can call law enforcement after the accident, as they may be able to track down the hit and run driver. If the driver cannot be identified, your uninsured motorist coverage under your auto insurance policy could be accessed to help cover your medical bills.
Hazardous road conditions cause many bicycle accidents. Road hazards that commonly cause bike accidents include:
- Loose gravel
- Cracked cement
- Uneven sidewalks
- Lifted asphalt
If your bicycle accident was the result of a road hazard, the city, county or state might be liable for your injuries. Speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible, as any claim filed against a governmental agency has a shorter time window in which to file a claim. A “Notice Of Claim” must be filed within the time limits, or you will lose your right to pursue compensation.
Each case is different, and the value of the compensation you recover will depend on the nature and severity of your injuries, along with several other factors, including:
- Costs of medical treatment and whether treatment is ongoing
- How much income you have lost as a result of your injuries
- Whether your bicycle accident injuries caused any disability, permanent impairment, or disfigurement
- The extent of physical and emotional pain and suffering you have endured because of your injuries
An Insurance Adjuster Wants to Talk with Me About My Bicycle Accident. Should I Speak with the Adjuster?
No, you should not speak with an insurance adjuster without first consulting an experienced bicycle accident attorney. An adjuster’s job is to minimize the insurance company’s payout, and they will seek out information that could reduce the value of your settlement. Never agree to be recorded or offer any information about your bicycle crash. If you have been seriously injured in a bicycle accident, our Orange County personal injury lawyers have the knowledge, skills, and resources to investigate the accident thoroughly and determine cause and liability.
Our Orange County personal injury lawyers at Allen Flatt Ballidis & Leslie have experience dealing with insurance companies and will negotiate the terms of your settlement. Contact out legal team at (949) 752-7474 to schedule a consultation.
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