When motor vehicles collide with cyclists, the injuries that result are often devastating.
Bicycle accidents are often some of the worst we see at the Levinson Law Group. Unlike passengers in a car, a bicyclist has no barrier between him and any object the collides with. A bike vs car accident can be especially deadly, because the vehicle is usually moving at high speeds.
Even if you survive the crash, many victims can suffer from life-long injuries that require tens of thousands in medical care.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, please contact the Levinson Law Group today. We can begin building your case for compensation.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
Cyclists can be injured in all kinds of collisions, including:
- A motorist rear-ends you at an intersection because the driver is following too closely or has not been paying attention.
- A motorist runs into you when making a left-hand turn because he misjudged your speed or didn’t see you trailing behind a vehicle.
- A motorist opens a door without looking for an approaching cyclist, causing you to crash into the door.
- A collision is caused by a defect in the bicycle, which causes the cyclist to lose control.
- A motorist stops in the road without warning, causing you to collide with the rear fender.
However the accident unfolds, you should document it as best you can. Call the police to come out to the scene of the crash and write up a police report. Also save your damaged bike, which can yield important clues about how you were hit and who was responsible for the collision.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
A collision can cause all kinds of injuries, both large and small. Our clients are able to recover from some accidents quickly, while others might impact them negatively for the rest of their lives. Some of the injuries include:
- Cuts or abrasions, especially if the cyclist is wearing shorts or a short-sleeve shirt.
- Fractures, particularly in the arms and legs.
- Dental injuries to the teeth, mandible, and TMJ joint.
- Head injuries, including injuries to the skull, eyes, and ears.
- Nerve damage caused by swelling or a direct hit to the nerve.
- Joint dislocations, especially in the shoulder or elbow.
- Neck injuries, including whiplash and cracked vertebrae in the neck.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), caused when the brain jiggles around after a blow to the head. TBIs can cause confusion, impaired cognition, slurred speech, emotional and behavioral changes, and problems with mobility or coordination.
- Spinal cord injury, which can result in partial or total paralysis.
Whatever the injury, our clients should promptly receive medical attention and always follow their doctor’s advice. If you don’t, you could make your injuries worse and weaken your case for compensation.
California Bicycle Laws
The state’s bicycle laws are designed to improve the safety of cyclists, as well as pedestrians and other people on the road. The fact is that sometimes a bicyclist is to blame for an accident, which was entirely preventable had he or she followed the law.
Some of the more important California bicycle laws you need to be aware of include:
- Cyclists must ride with traffic. You see many novice cyclists try to ride against traffic so that they can see the cars approaching, but this is against the law. (California Vehicle Code 21650)
- Ride close to the curb if you are going slower than traffic. This will give the vehicles behind you some room to scoot past you. (CVC 21202)
- If there are bike lanes, then please use them. In fact, you must use one if you are going slower than traffic.
- You must stop before the crosswalk, not in the crosswalk. Some cyclists believe wrongly that they don’t need to stop the same as cars. (CVC 21455)
- Obey traffic signs. This means that if you have a red light at an intersection, you wait for a green light. You don’t maneuver yourself through the intersection simply because you are on a bicycle.
Most importantly, riders under age 18 must wear an approved helmet. Because helmets save lives and dramatically reduce the risk of head injury, every rider should put one on, even if not required by the state.
Bicycle Accident Settlements
As a leading Southern California law firm, one question we hear often is, “I was hit by a car on my bike, how do I get a bicycle accident settlement?” The answer is simple: you get a settlement the same way you would get a settlement if you were involved in a car crash.
First, you need to establish liability for the accident. Motorists carry liability insurance, which means that they are only responsible for injuries and property damage when they are at fault for the crash. If the cyclist is at fault, he can’t make a claim with a driver’s insurance company. Instead, he needs to eat his losses.
To show liability, an attorney can analyze the police report, speak to witnesses, and analyze the damage to your bicycle as well as to the vehicle that struck you. In some situations, video might have also captured the accident, which we can find.
Then you need to fully document your losses and make a claim for compensation, including pain and suffering damages as part of your request. Often, an insurance company will reject an initial request for compensation but make a low counter-offer. This begins the negotiation process.
If you are a cyclist hit by a car, settlement negotiations might seem strange and confusing. You would help your case enormously by hiring someone experienced at negotiating settlements with large insurance companies.
Contact Us as Soon as Possible
At the Levinson Law Group, we have helped our clients obtain tens of millions of dollars in settlements. We use our knowledge of bicycle accidents to advocate for our clients in a way few Southern California law firms can.
Call us today. One of our attorneys can meet with you for a free consultation, where we can talk about the accident, your injuries, and your goals. Based on our experience, we will advise you of your options and, if you hire us, to get work right away.