Bicycle Accidents Lawyers Helping California Residents
Many people living in and around Folsom, California, enjoy riding bicycles. While some do so for exercise or pleasure, others use bicycles as alternative transportation to and from work. Both options are an environmentally conscious choice to save money, limit fossil fuel consumption, and engage in daily exercise. While there are many benefits to bicycling in California, it is also inherently dangerous when bicyclists share the road with motor vehicle drivers.
Drivers in California must treat bicyclists on the road as other motorists. Bicyclists have the right to take a lane and occupy space in a lane just as a car would. They must move with the flow of traffic like another car. However, there are some roads where bicycles are not allowed, such as highways and freeways. With these exceptions aside, it’s generally accepted that drivers should yield to bicyclists and show them the same courtesies they would show to other motor vehicle drivers. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Bicycle accidents happen in California more frequently than many people realize.
WHY HIRE THE LAW OFFICES OF BLACK AND DEPAOLI, PC?
When you need to take legal action for a personal injury, it is essential to work quickly to ensure your claim meets the applicable statute of limitations. In California, you have two years from the date an injury occurs to file a personal injury claim to recover damages from the incident. An attorney can help injured bicyclists determine the full scope of their injuries and help identify potential defendants in the claim.
At the Law Offices of Black and DePaoli, PC, our legal team has extensive experience with bicycle accident claims in the Folsom area. If you need a bike accident personal injury lawyer in Folsom, California, our team can provide the resources and legal acumen to reach a satisfactory result. Your attorney will fully explore every potential channel of compensation available with your claim and help you maximize your recovery.
POTENTIAL DANGERS OF BICYCLING IN FOLSOM, CALIFORNIA
According to a 2016 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), California is the most dangerous state in the country for bicyclists. This report indicated that bicycle accidents represented about 4% of the state’s total fatal accidents for 2016 and that the majority of fatal bike accidents, about 71% of them, occur in urban areas.
When bicyclists have accidents with motor vehicles, it is almost always the bicyclist who suffers worse injuries. A bicycle affords a rider no protection whatsoever from the force of a crash. Additionally, the bicyclist will experience not only primary injuries from the impact of the crash but also secondary injuries from hitting the pavement after falling from the bike. These injuries can be severe and sometimes fatal. Anyone who experiences a bicycle accident in Folsom or loses a loved one to a fatal bike accident in the area should contact a bicycle accident personal injury attorney in Folsom, California, as soon as possible to discuss potential legal options.
Most bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles happen because the driver of the motor vehicle does not notice the bicyclist in time to avoid a crash. Other accidents occur due to aggressive driving, driving under the influence (DUI), or failing to show a bicyclist the courtesy due to another motorist on the road. When a bicycle accident occurs due to negligence, the injured party can file a personal injury claim against the negligent party responsible for causing the accident.
PROVING NEGLIGENCE IN A BIKE ACCIDENT CLAIM
Personal injury is a section of civil law that pertains to injury claims between private individuals and privately-owned companies. One of the most prevalent legal concepts in personal injury law is negligence, or the failure of a party to act with reasonable care in a given situation. When it comes to personal injury claims for damages sustained in bicycle accidents, proving negligence comes down to establishing four basic elements:
- Duty of care. The plaintiff’s attorney must identify a defendant or multiple defendants and establish that they owed the plaintiff a duty of care in the given situation. For example, a driver has a duty of care to yield to bicyclists on roads where bicycling is legal.
- Breach of duty. Next, the plaintiff’s attorney needs to prove the defendant failed to uphold their duty of care. This could be through a specific action, such as driving while distracted, speeding, or changing lanes without checking.
- If the plaintiff suffered no damage, there is no claim. Personal injury claims exist to provide compensation to an injured person who sustained their injuries due to another party’s negligence. The plaintiff’s attorney must also provide evidence showing the full extent of the plaintiff’s claimed damages.
- Finally, the plaintiff’s attorney must prove that the plaintiff’s claimed damages would not have occurred if not for the defendant’s negligence.
Establishing these four elements of negligence will typically lead to a favorable result for a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit for a bicycle accident. However, California law also maintains a pure comparative negligence statute that all plaintiffs should understand when heading into a personal injury lawsuit.
PURE COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE IN CALIFORNIA
California law recognizes that in some personal injury cases, a plaintiff may bear partial responsibility for claimed damages. In most states, the law allows a plaintiff to claim damages even if they are partially at fault for causing the damaging event in question. However, these states only allow the plaintiff to receive compensation if the plaintiff is less at fault than the defendant. California has no such restriction under the state’s pure comparative negligence law. A plaintiff can still recover compensation even if the plaintiff is found 99% at fault for claimed damages.
Under California’s pure comparative negligence law, the plaintiff who is partially at fault for claimed damages will lose a percentage of the case award equal to their fault percentage in the claim. For example, in a $100,000 lawsuit in which the plaintiff is 40% at fault, the plaintiff loses 40% of the case award for a net award of $60,000 instead.
POSSIBLE DAMAGES RECOVERABLE FROM A BICYCLE ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUIT
A bicycle accident can cause serious injuries. Some of the most common damages claimed in bicycle lawsuits in Folsom, California include:
- Medical expenses. These costs would be for both immediate and long-term care necessary after an accident. A bicyclist could sustain broken bones, soft tissue injuries, internal organ damage, and many other injuries. The initial impact of hitting a vehicle, as well as the impact of hitting the ground, can both cause serious damage, some of which may require long-term treatment to heal completely.
- Lost income. An injured cyclist may be unable to get back to work after suffering serious injuries in a bicycle accident. A plaintiff can claim income lost during recovery as well as lost future earnings if they are unable to return to work due to the severity of their injuries or the development of a permanent disability.
- Pain and suffering. California law allows injured plaintiffs to claim compensation for their physical suffering and psychological trauma from their experiences. The court determines an appropriate amount of compensation, typically informed by the total amount of measurable damages the plaintiff sustained.
A plaintiff in a bicycle accident case will need to work closely with a bike accident personal injury attorney in Folsom, California, to determine the full extent of their claimable damages and identify the parties who bear responsibility for those damages.
WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY
The legal system in California is notoriously complex, and a bicycle accident victim with no legal experience will have a great deal of difficulty navigating the court system without the help of an attorney. Missing a court filing deadline or otherwise failing to pursue a claim correctly could lead to losing the chance to secure compensation.
An experienced bicycle accident personal injury lawyer in Folsom, California, can handle a bicycle accident victim’s legal concerns so they can focus on their recovery. At the Law Offices of Black & DePaoli, PC, we understand how damaging these accidents can be and work hard to ensure our clients maximize their recoveries. If you recently experienced a bicycle accident in the Folsom area or lost a loved one in a fatal bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Fatal Car Accidents
- Distracted Driving Accidents
- Failure to Yield Accidents
- Aggressive Driving Accidents
- Speeding Accidents
- SUV Rollover Accidents
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Accidents
- Common Injuries in Car Accidents
- Highway Accidents
- Teen Driver Accidents
- Texting While Driving Accidents
- Backover Accidents
- Failure to Maintain Lane Accidents
- Tailgating Accidents
- Drugged Driving Accidents
- Night Driving Accidents
- Reckless Driving in Residential Areas
- Rear-End Collisions
- Head-on Collisions
- Accidents Caused by Traffic Signal Violations
- Side-Impact Collisions
- Sudden Stop Accidents
- Improper Passing Accidents