Bike Crash Attorney

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 455 cyclists were killed in a bike accident between the years of 2016 and 2018. There were about 3.9 bike accident fatalities per million people. The numbers are constantly on the rise, and are at the highest rate as ever before. Bicycle accidents are more likely to occur in busy streets and cities, such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Legally, bicyclists have the same rights as drivers of motor vehicles. Unfortunately, bicyclists incur severe injuries since they do not have the protection of a car. If you or a loved one have been injured in a bike crash, you should get compensation from your injuries from the liable party. Speak to one of our skilled Los Angeles bicycle accident attorneys to better determine your claim and to determine liability.

Common Causes of Bike Crashes in Los Angeles

Our attorneys have decades of experience representing bicycle accident victims. There are various reasons how a bike accident could occur, and the exact cause could differ depending on the circumstances. Sometimes, even the bicyclist could be at fault if they violate any street laws. Below are some examples of the causes of bike accidents:

  •  When the driver of a car is speeding and is unable to stop, thus hitting and injuring the bicyclist
  •  When the driver of a car runs a red light, and hits a bicyclist
  •  When the driver of a car is distracted by texting or eating
  •  When the driver of the car drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  •  When the driver of a car enters the bike lane illegally
  •  When the driver of a car does not provide enough space for a bicyclist, and the bicyclist is essentially cornered
  •  When the roads are not properly marked as a bike lane
  •  When there is construction going on in the street, and the bicyclist has no other lane to drive on

Statute of Limitations in Bike Crashes

Each state has different statute of limitations that state when a plaintiff could bring their claim. Some states have 1 year, whereas other states go up to 4 years. California and Nevada both have the statute of limitations for bicycle accidents at 3 years. That means a plaintiff has three years from the date of the accident to bring a claim against the defendant for personal injuries.

Damages in Bike Crashes

There are different types of damages that a plaintiff could collect in a bike crash. This depends on the different circumstances, but usually, bike accidents leave the bicyclist in a very severely injured position.

  • Economic damages: include those damages that could be easily calculated. This includes damages such as medical bills and lost wages.
  • Non-economic damages: these damages are felt when healing from the injuries.
  • Punitive damages: getting awarded punitive damages is very rare in California, but, if you could prove that the driver acted maliciously in bringing about the harm, then the plaintiff would be able to recover punitive damages.

Los Angeles Bike Crashes: FAQ

Could a vehicle enter a bike lane?

Under California law, vehicles cannot enter bike lanes unless there is an emergency. Vehicles that are exempt from this law include fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances. This is specified in more detail under California Vehicle Code Section 21209. Bike lanes are clearly marked with a solid white line along with a bike logo to differentiate between the different types of lanes.

 As a driver of a car, do I have to give a bicyclist space?

Yes, California law mandates that car drivers always give bicyclists space to pass. The law also goes on to explain that there should at least be a 3 ft buffer between the vehicle and the car.

Could a bicyclist also be at fault?

In certain cases, we see bicyclists making extreme and outrageous quick movements that could place the vehicle of the driver in sudden shock and not know what to do. In some cases, the bicyclist could also be at fault, but that does not mean a bicyclist could not bring a claim against the defendant even if they are partially at fault.

What should I do if I’m involved in a bicycle accident?

There are steps that a bicycle accident victim can take to ensure a speedy legal process, along with protecting their rights after an accident. Bicycle accidents happen very suddenly, and leave the victims almost always in fear and anxiety. Sometimes these steps could often be forgotten.

  •  Move out of the way: after a bicycle accident, it is important to move out of the way to prevent any other car accidents. The last thing a bicycle accident victim would want is to get involved in another accident. Usually, bicycle accidents occur in very busy streets, and so the best thing all parties could do after an accident is to immediately move out of the way.
  • Seek medical attention: bicyclists usually have more severe injuries than drivers of a vehicle. Drivers of a vehicle are protected within the vehicle, whereas the bicyclist has no cushion between him and the car. If the bicyclist is injured, the party should seek medical attention by calling 911 immediately.
  • After the accident, both parties should exchange information with one another. Information that should be exchanged includes:
    •  the full names of all parties involved
    •  the contact information of all parties involved
    •  the contact information of witnesses who saw the accident
    •  driver’s license information of all parties
    •  photos of injuries
    •  photos of any property damage to the bike or car
    •  photos of the accident scene
  • Call police officers: a police officer will create a car accident report that describes the incident and how the bike accident occurred. Many would prefer to have a police officer at the scene to act as a third party and create an official report that could possibly come in handy later on in the legal trial process or settlement negotiations.
  •  Retrieve your police reports: in California, those involved in an accident could retrieve their police report after 45 days.
  • Preserve evidence: all evidence, including the damaged bike, or any other personal item, should be preserved by both parties.
  •  Write down what occurred after the accident: it is encouraged that all parties, regardless of whether they are the potential plaintiff or the potential defendant, write down what occurred in much detail. Studies have shown that the more days that passed by, the more likely parties could start to forget the details of the accident.
  • Hire an experienced top rated car accident attorney to pursue your legal claims for you. Your car accident attorney will be able to pursue your legal rights, and seek reimbursement for your injuries.
  • Contacting insurance companies: as a victim of an accident, it is important to refrain from speaking to insurance companies when trying to negotiate without an attorney. The insurance companies will try to downplay the accident and settle for less.

Do I need to hire a bicycle accident attorney?

There is no law that specifically requires a bicycle accident victim to hire an attorney, but attorneys will work to help you get reimbursed for any injuries that have been incurred. Damages could include medical bills, medical treatment, prescription drugs, lost wages, and emotional distress suffered from the injuries. It is very difficult to deal with insurance companies, and insurance companies will always try to downplay and pay the least amount of money possible to the plaintiff.

If you are loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, whether caused by another bicycle or another vehicle, contact a top-rated team of attorneys at Heidari Law Group. Our personal injury attorneys will work to make sure that you received maximum compensation for your injuries. A bicycle injury could be very severe, and can take months, even years to heal. It is essential to hire an attorney who has experience dealing with bicycle accidents.

***Disclaimer: This blog is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this blog, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.