California bicyclists enjoy a lot of sun-filled days. All year long they can hop on their bikes to get some miles in, or to spin to school or work. They gladly ride in the open air, but when they must travel alongside vehicles, they can face extreme risks. Bicyclists have as much right to the road as any vehicle, but careless drivers can make that ride a harrowing experience when they don’t watch out for those using the lanes.
If you are struck by a careless driver and suffer a serious injury, you owe it to yourself to know everything you can about your rights as a victim. Contact California’s Maison Law for a free evaluation of your case. You are welcome to ask us any questions about California’s legal protections for bicyclists, and we will help you sort through the best options for your case.
When a bicyclist is struck by a negligent driver in California, their insurance company is responsible for paying for your full recovery. Contact us today to find out how we can help you maximize your bicycle injury settlement.
California Bicycle Accident Claims Process
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Free Consultation for California Bicycle Accident Victims
Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t always offer fair settlements to bicycle accident victims. It is in their best interest to offer you as little as possible, or nothing at all.
Martin Gasparian, the founder of Maison Law, worked for the big insurance companies at the corporate level for a decade. He now uses that knowledge to help injured bicyclists win the compensation they need to recover and get back on their bikes again.
That is why Maison Law offers free consultations to California bicycle injury victims. We will evaluate your bicycle injury case and help you decide whether hiring a lawyer is truly in your best interest. Call us now for your free consultation.
Dos And Don’ts After a Bicycle Accident in California
When a bicyclist is injured in an accident, they suffer the impact of both the car and the pavement. They can be in shock after an accident and may even struggle to move.
If you are able to get up and move around after an accident, there are some steps you can immediately take to help build your case and show that the driver bears 100% of the blame for the collision:
- Call 911. Tell paramedics about every pain you feel and tell police how the accident occurred.
- Capture the scene in photos and video. Take photos or video of your bike damage, the car that hit you, license plates, street signs, and lane markings. Take photos of any visible injuries, cuts, or scrapes. This photographic evidence may all be needed to prove what happened later.
- Look around for any businesses or homes that may have had security cameras rolling.
- Talk to any witnesses and get their contact information.
- Get checked out by your doctor in the days that follow. The shock of an impact can mask injuries that may not show up until the day after your incident.
- Contact Maison Law for a free consultation and case evaluation. We can handle the insurance companies so that they don’t manipulate you into accepting a lower settlement than you deserve.
- Don’t comment on your injuries at the scene of the accident. If people hear you say “I’m okay” or “my bad” insurance companies may try to question your injuries or your account of what happened later.
- Don’t throw out the evidence. Keep your damaged bike and clothing from the day of the crash. Keep all damaged personal items as well. If possible, do not ride your bike. You want to keep all of your evidence in the exact condition it was in after the accident.
- Don’t delay talking to a lawyer. The insurance agents for the at-fault driver will be calling you, and there are important things you should know before you say a word to them. They aren’t just calling to see how you’re doing. A legal expert can prepare you to make sure they don’t trick you into saying something harmful for your case. An attorney working for you can also handle all communication with insurance agents.
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Useful Bicycle Accident Information
Refer to our other articles for more detailed information on bike accidents and injuries.
- Bicycle Accidents And Brain Injuries
- Bicycle Accident Injuries That Require Long-Term Care
- Common Types Of Bicycle Accidents
- Bicycle Operation Laws
- State Highway System: Accessibility For Bicycles
- Fatal Bicycle Accidents and Support for Families
- Bicycle Accidents and Traumatic Injuries
- E-Bike Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents in Fog
- Bicycle Etiquette in California
- Bicycle Tips for New Cyclists in California
Compensation Available to California Bicycle Accident Victims
Bicycle accidents can result in devastating wounds, and you can be off your bike for months as they rehabilitate. During this time bills can continue to build up while paychecks aren’t coming in because you’ve had to miss work.
Impacts can leave you with broken bones, brain and spine damage, and disfiguring scars. In the worst instances, injuries can make amputations necessary, affect mobility, and cause permanent disability.
Your most expensive recovery costs may not have happened yet. You could need more care or surgeries in the years to come. Every potential cost should be included in any claim you file against an insurance firm.
These are just some of the factors that your attorney can make sure are listed in a claim:
- Medical Bills (Past and Future) – Surgeries, Skin Grafts, physical therapy, and medical equipment can all be necessary down the road.
- Permanent Disability – The expense of training for a new lifestyle and a new career may need to be covered.
- Lost Wages at Work – You may have missed weeks of paychecks at work. It could be months before you are physically able to return.
- Bicycle Repair or Replacement.
- Loss of Consortium – When an injury prevents a victim from providing the same love and care to a spouse or children.
- Mental Anguish/PTSD – You could, understandably, experience depression and anxiety after such a traumatic experience. You may fear getting back on a bicycle again. The cost of counseling can be factored into a claim as well as compensation for extreme emotional suffering.
Do I Need a Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
In most cases, a bicycle accident lawyer helps you secure more in compensation to pay for your recovery and shields you from being unfairly blamed for your accident.
After a bicycle accident that only causes damage to a bike and no serious injuries, you may not require the help of a California bicycle accident attorney. However, bicyclists travel with little protection, and a collision with a vehicle is often enough to cause a serious injury.
When accidents involve injuries, insurance companies go into full defensive mode trying to limit the compensation victims receive. They accomplish this with several tried-and-true tactics.
For starters, they can delay responding to your claim as you are left to watch more and more hospital bills pile up with fewer paychecks to cover them while you are out of work. Once you’re desperate they can extend a “lowball offer” and shortchange you on what you’ll need to fully recover.
Your personal injury lawyer recognizes these ploys and demands full support from insurance adjusters. Your attorney also represents a true threat of courtroom action if they don’t offer a fair settlement. This threat is usually enough to force an insurance company to treat you fairly.
Frequently Asked California Bicycle Accident Questions
Yes. In California, two parties can share a percentage of the blame in an accident. You may be assigned a percentage of the liability for your injury for not wearing a helmet, but at-fault drivers will still be required to pay you compensation according to their percentage of fault.
Hit-and-run drivers only add to the damage they cause to a cyclist’s life and wellbeing by leaving the scene of a crash. Fortunately, after a hit-and-run accident, an injured bicyclist can seek financial support even if the driver remains unidentified.
If the at-fault driver is never located and brought to justice, cyclists may call upon their own car insurance policy under their uninsured motorist coverage. If victims don’t have car insurance, they may be covered on a family member’s policy. This coverage could combine with the rider’s own health insurance to make sure hospital bills get paid. Reimbursement for lost time at work and other damages could also be requested.
In cases where a hit-and-run driver is found and charged, victims can file a claim for damages immediately. This claim would target the at-fault driver’s insurance company and ask for full compensation for the bills accumulated in recovery. The driver will likely face criminal charges over the hit-and-run. A criminal trial would proceed separately and wouldn’t affect a victim’s civil case.
In either case, victims are forced to rely on an insurance company in order to secure compensation. A personal injury attorney will play a major role in seeing that you receive what’s fair in support, even when you encounter resistance from your own insurance provider.
Never. Insurance agents will call you after an accident asking if they can record you giving a statement about what happened. Politely decline. They want you to say something they can use to weaken your case later. Let your Maison Law bicycle accident lawyer handle the communication with insurance agents.
Bicyclists are still required to stop at stop signs in California.
A push to allow California cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs failed in October of 2021. Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed AB122, also known as the Safety Stop bill.
Current Laws still require anyone on a bike to stop at a stop sign. Bicyclists on the road have the same rights as motorists in California and therefore must follow the same traffic laws and observe the same right-of-way. This requirement applies to intersections with stops signs and traffic lights.
Until changes are made, stopping at a stop sign is the law and bicyclists can be ticketed for violations.
Yes. If a tragic accident claimed your husband/wife, father/mother, or child you are permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This civil lawsuit would ask for assistance with funeral costs, and estate settlement. The family should also be reimbursed for the financial support the deceased will no longer be able to provide through his or her job.
In California, children grow to love pedaling not long after they learn to walk. Unfortunately, children aren’t always considering their own safety when they ride, and careless drivers aren’t always on the lookout for a wayward child on a bike.
Thousands of children in California get into bicycle accidents each year. Many of these tragic accidents could be prevented if drivers would show more caution in neighborhoods, parks, and school zones. Drivers owe children a special “duty of care” as they travel and must take extreme care to avoid hitting a child on a bike or tricycle.
When these accidents occur, drivers are generally always held liable, and their insurance companies should pay for the best medical care available for young victims. The child and the driver usually won’t share liability in an accident. Unless a child acts intentionally to cause an accident, the motorist will usually be considered the negligent party in a personal injury case.
Since young children aren’t considered to have the capacity to make reasonably safe decisions for themselves and others, they tend to not be found negligent. The burden to keep young people safe on bikes falls to drivers who can slow down, pay more attention to the road, and expect the unexpected whenever children are at play.
Bicyclists face plenty of dangers from careless drivers on California roads. They sometimes also endure threats from dogs who aren’t leashed and decide to chase cyclists. The end result may be a painful dog bite.
Injured cyclists will wonder who is responsible for their recovery. California is a “strict liability” dog-bite state. This means dog owners bear responsibility when their dogs bite someone.
In some states, the dog must have bitten someone in the past before owners can be held accountable. In California, the pet owner can still bear legal liability for a bite injury even if the dog had never displayed aggressive behavior before.
One factor personal injury victims must show is that they were in a public place or lawfully in a private place when they were bitten.
In other cases, bicyclists can attempt to sue dog owners even if they aren’t bitten, but wreck or are struck while trying to evade the dog. A claim for damages is filed questioning whether the dog owner was guilty of negligence for not properly restraining the dog.
Bicyclists have as much right to the lanes as any motorist. However, they often travel on the far-right side of the street, near the curb, and that can put them dangerously close to parked cars.
A careless person inside a parked car can take too brief a look at approaching traffic and miss someone on a bike. They can exit and open a door in front of the cyclist and leave them no time or room to avoid a collision. This is known as a “dooring” accident and bicyclists can suffer severe injuries and be off their bikes for weeks or months during rehabilitation.
The car may not have been in motion, but the passenger or driver in the vehicle is still liable for all hardships the victim endures in recovery. Often, a claim for damages can be filed against the insurance policy for the owner of the vehicle no matter who opened the door.
There may be multiple parties who could have to contribute compensation to cover your medical bills and lost paychecks while missing work. Your bicycle accident attorney will determine who can be held accountable and aggressively pursue full compensation for you and your family.
If you are struck by a motorist while on an Electric Bike, the at-fault driver’s car insurance should pay for your recovery.
In the same way car insurance is used to support pedestrian accident victims and the medical costs of normal cyclists who have been hit, any motorist causing an accident should be accountable for all injury costs.
Some specialized insurance companies provide E-Bike insurance to riders who frequently ride rental bikes or bikes they own. These policies would usually cover you if you crashed your bike and got hurt in an accident not involving another vehicle. Policies may only cover the cost of repairs or a new bike and could fail to provide help with medical costs. An E-Bike policy might also provide coverage if you are hit by a driver who is uninsured or who doesn’t have enough insurance coverage.
E-Bike insurance may also be available as an add-on to your own auto insurance policy. If you don’t have coverage through any of these means, your health insurance should provide a backup option to help pay your medical bills.
Generally, private E-Bike companies and public E-Bike rental services are protected from liability if you get hurt. However, if it can be proven a malfunction in the bike caused your crash, it’s possible to hold a bicycle provider responsible.
Personal injury cases involving bikeshares and E-Bikes can be complicated. It’s a good idea to take advantage of a free consultation with a skilled California Bicycle Accident Lawyer to go over your best options.
Contact a California Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
As you recover from a bicycle accident your situation can turn desperate, especially if an insurance company decides to use stall tactics to soften you up to accept any lowball offer they extend to you. Don’t allow this treatment for a moment. Allow a California Attorney like Martin Gasparian to defend your rights and hold unfair insurance practices in check.
You should be allowed to focus on healing and getting back on a bike, not bills and losses that should be the worry of the at-fault driver’s car insurance company. Contact Maison Law to talk over your case and where you should go from here. You are under no-obligation when you email or call our offices. We only want to give you advice that benefits you and your family.