Bicycling is a wonderful form of exercise and a great mode of transportation, but a bicycle accident can easily become a serious, life changing event. If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, it’s important to approach it with the same seriousness as a car accident.
California law offers protections for bicyclists, which gives them the same rights on the road as any motorist. Unfortunately, many motorists don’t always pay attention for cyclists, nor do they respect their right to share the road. When a driver fails to look out for bicyclists and doesn’t respect his or her right of way, the resulting injuries can be quite disastrous.
Bicycle accident injuries can include minor scrapes and bruises, broken bones, and severe back, brain, and spinal cord damage. Bicycle accidents often result in permanent disabilities, and in the worst situations, death.
Our team of Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers are here to help. The bicycle injury lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers have decades of experience in helping bicycle accident victims, and will aggressively advocate to recover the financial compensation they deserve.
What To Do After A Bicycle Accident
Even though it’s impossible to predict when or if a bicycling accident will ever occur, you should know what to do in the event of an accident. Taking the correct steps in the aftermath of a bicycle accident will protect your legal rights and help you obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Our bicycle injury lawyers are caring and compassionate professionals. We understand the difficulties in the challenges that lie ahead. To help protect you and maximize the likelihood of achieving an optimal outcome in your case, here are seven important steps you should take after a bicycle accident:
- Remain at the Scene. The first thing you should do is stay where you are and make sure that everyone is okay. Even if no one appears seriously hurt, or your injuries don’t seem all that drastic, never leave the scene of an accident until the police have arrived.
- Call 911. If anyone has been injured, call 911 immediately. Request that police make an official report of the bicycle/motorist accident. Some law enforcement agencies will not take a report unless someone has been injured, so you must convey the extent of your injuries, no matter how minor, to the officers responding at the scene of the accident. Also, be sure to get the traffic accident information card with the accident report number so our bicycle accident lawyers can secure a copy of the police report.
- Gather Driver and Witness Information. Be sure to get the contact information (names, addresses, and phone numbers) of the driver and any witnesses to the bicycle accident. You should also make sure to get driver’s license and insurance information for anyone involved. Collecting this information before you leave the scene of an accident will be vital to the success of your case, as our bicycle accident lawyers and investigators may need to get in touch with witnesses later on.
- Document the Accident and Take Photographs. Write down everything you possibly can about the accident. Include what happened, times and locations, and any weather or road conditions. If you have a cell phone or camera ready, take pictures of the accident scene, the damage to your bicycle, as well as the vehicle(s) involved in the accident.
- Seek Medical Attention. At first, your injuries may seem minor, but you must be checked at a hospital or by a doctor as soon as possible after the accident took place. Injuries don’t always become apparent until days or weeks after a bicycle accident has occurred. Your doctor will need to complete a full medical record of all your injuries, which will be critical in proving that you were indeed hurt.
- Don’t Talk. You may be flooded with emotions after suffering a bicycle accident, but be careful of what you say immediately after. You should never apologize or even suggest who may be at fault for the bicycle accident. Remember that any statements you make about the accident can potentially be used against you, and may be detrimental to your claim.
- Get the Help of a Lawyer. Trying to handle a bicycle accident case on your own is a big mistake. Accidents involving bicycles and motorists involve complex issues that are best handled by an experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyer. Finally, speak with your bicycle accident lawyer even before reporting the accident to your own insurance company. Also, remember not to make any statements to the other parties’ insurance company either.
Liability in Bicycle Accidents
How is liability determined in a bicycle accident? It’s possible for either the bicyclist or the driver involved in the collision to be found responsible for the bicycle accident. Ultimately, it all depends on who failed to follow the rules of the road, which is another way of saying who was negligent.
Below are four factors that are considered when determining who is at fault after a bicycle accident:
- Right-of-way: Traffic lights are indicators of who has right-of-way. The rule is that whoever arrives at a stop sign first, will have the right-of-way. If a driver and a bicyclist both arrive at a stop sign at the same time, the person who is on the right side will have right-of-way.
- Failure to signal: If either the bicyclist or the driver failed to signal, he or she could be found liable in a bicycle accident.
- Failure to use appropriate lighting at night: The law says that both drivers and bicyclists are required to use appropriate lighting when driving or riding at night in order to reduce the risk of an accident.
- Bicycle lanes: Bike lanes are exclusively intended for bicyclists. Therefore, any vehicles driving in or blocking a bike lane can be found liable.
Were You Hit By An Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?
What if the driver who hit me was uninsured or underinsured? In California, and especially in the Los Angeles area, the number of uninsured or underinsured drivers is on the rise. This is yet another source of stress for victims, because it severely limits victims’ sources of compensation.
There are options your bicycle accident lawyer can resort to, such as suing the uninsured driver and going after his or her personal assets. However, this is not practical in most cases because people who are uninsured or underinsured generally don’t have assets, which is usually the reason why they didn’t have sufficient insurance in the first place. Therefore, the best option for protecting yourself against uninsured or underinsured motorists is to obtain uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage through your own insurance policy. This is referred to as UM/UIM coverage, which can protect you if you are ever involved in an accident with an at fault driver who does not have insurance or is underinsured.
Contact us to find out how we can help
If you have sustained injuries as a result of a bicycle accident, an attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at or email firstname.lastname@example.org. to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring and compassionate legal team.