Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Our Personal Injury Lawyers Will Help You Handle Your Bicycle Accident Claim
Have you suffered critical Injuries in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles? Are you feeling worried and confused about what you should do next? If so, an experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers could help you through this difficult time in your life.
When someone else’s negligence is responsible for the injuries you sustained, you can bring them to justice and secure the compensation you will need to rebuild your life. Start working on your insurance and civil claims as soon as today when you contact our office for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries to Sue For in Los Angeles
After suffering injuries in a bicycle accident in LA, you may be unsure of what your next steps should be. In fact, many bicycle accident victims are under the impression that they must have suffered debilitating or life-threatening injuries to have grounds for insurance or civil action. However, this may not be the case.
Although the more severe your injuries are, the more likely you are to be entitled to financial compensation, it is not the type of injury you are diagnosed with that will determine whether you can proceed. The extent of your injuries and their impact on your life will determine whether you have the right to compensation for your damages.
That said, there are some types of Los Angeles bicycle accident injuries seen more frequently than others. Some of these include:
- Internal bleeding
- Organ failure
- Road rash
- Compound fractures
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
- Full-thickness burns
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Head injuries
- Internal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Emotional injuries
- Depression or anxiety
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
These are only a few of the more frequently seen types of bicycle accident injuries. If you have suffered another type of injury that was not listed above, that does not mean you do not have grounds for a case. Be sure to contact our office to discuss the impact your injuries have had on your life and find out whether you have grounds for legal action against the liable party.
How to Get Justice After Your Los Angeles Bicycle Accident
If you are hoping to recover maximum compensation for your damages following a Los Angeles bicycle accident, you may need to be prepared to go up against the liable party. There are multiple ways you can go about recovering the compensation you are entitled to:filing a claim with the insurance company and bringing your case to court.
Filing an Insurance Claim
No matter who is found liable for your accident, the at-fault party will generally be represented by some type of insurance provider. For example, if you were struck by a drunk driver, that driver may have auto insurance coverage. However, insurance companies can be extremely difficult to deal with.
They often prioritize their own financial interests over that of their claimants. That means you can expect the insurance adjuster to push back when you file your claim. They may offer an insultingly low settlement, ask you to give them a statement, or deny your claim entirely. Each of these are tactics they hope to use to reduce their profit loss.
Furthermore, insurance companies are also only obligated to cover compensation up to the highest limit of the policyholder’s policy. This means if your damages exceed the amount of the policyholder’s policy, the insurance company will not cover the remaining damages. Instead, you will need to be prepared to pursue alternative legal action to recover the compensation that is rightfully yours.
Filing a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
When insurance settlements do not fully meet your needs, if you hope to recover the compensation you deserve, you may need to be prepared to bring your case to court. Although filing a lawsuit and going through a difficult litigation process can be overwhelming, doing so could be your best option if you hope to get through this difficult time in your life.
Through your bicycle accident lawsuit, you can recover the remaining economic losses not covered by the insurance company and your non-economic damages as well.
What Can I Do if I Was Involved in a Los Angeles Bike Accident?
Below are the key steps you must take after a bicycle accident in order to protect your legal rights and obtain maximum compensation for your injuries:
- Stay put. You should never leave the scene of an accident before law enforcement agents arrive, even if it seems no one has been hurt.
- Don’t Speak. DO NOT apologize or even suggest who may be at fault. DO NOT speak about the accident at all unless you are answering questions by law enforcement agents.
- Call 911. It is crucial to ask responding officers to complete an official report of your bicycle accident. Make sure to convey all your injuries, no matter how minor they may seem. Before you leave the scene, please request the traffic accident information card with the accident report number, as well.
- Collect contact information for drivers and witnesses. Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, and drivers’ license information with everyone involved in the accident. If there are witnesses, request the same information from them, if possible.
- Write down what happened, including times and locations, as well as any relevant road or weather conditions. It’s wise to take as many photographs as possible of the accident scene, the damage to your bicycle, and any injuries you have suffered.
- Seek medical help. See a doctor as soon as possible. Many injuries do not immediately manifest adverse symptoms, but your health should be your first priority. And unless you see a doctor, the other party’s insurance company will argue that you weren’t hurt at all. A full medical record of your injuries is a critical document in proving the seriousness of your injuries.
Liability for Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Injuries
If you were injured or suffered property loss in a bicycle accident, the party or parties responsible for your losses will have to pay for your damages. The first step towards recovering damages owed to you can be accomplished by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Below are the most important factors an experienced bicycle accident attorney will initially consider when determining fault after a bicycle accident:
- Who has the right-of-way? Traffic lights are indicators of who has the right-of-way. For example, whoever arrives at a stop sign first will have the right-of-way. However, if a driver and a bicyclist both arrive at a stop sign at the same time, whoever is on the right will have the right-of-way. Not respecting right-of-way laws can incur liability.
- Did someone fail to signal? If a driver does not signal, or if a bicyclist fails to use proper hand signals, either party may be held liable for the bicycle accident.
- Was the required lighting used at night? All drivers and bicyclists must use appropriate lighting when driving or riding a bike at night. Failure to do so may incur liability.
- What about the bicycle lane? Bike lanes are strictly intended for bicyclists. Any vehicles found driving in or obstructing a bike lane may be found liable.
Please note that California Vehicle Code 21209 prohibits all drivers from driving within a bike lane. Any driver who injures a bicyclist in a bike lane will most likely be held liable for the accident.
In relation to bicycle accidents, negligence is usually some form of careless or reckless behavior on behalf of a driver. This means that if a driver was negligent and caused harm to a bicyclist, they will typically be held liable for any injuries sustained, as well as the resulting damages.
What is driver negligence? Some common examples of driver negligence in relation to a bicycle accident may include:
- Not paying attention to the road
- Disobeying traffic laws or signals
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Not seeing a bicyclist and making a left turn into that bicyclist
- Not giving a bicyclist at least three feet of space to maneuver safely
Negligent behavior behind the wheel is not only dangerous but is against the law. All motorists have a legal duty of care while operating a vehicle. This means that a driver who behaves irresponsibly and does not use reasonable care while operating a vehicle may be found liable for causing a bicycle accident.
Let’s consider an example of negligence in the case of a bicycle accident:
Ron is riding his bicycle in a designated bike lane while in plain daylight while biking through the city of Los Angeles. He is wearing a helmet and following all applicable California bicycle safety laws. Suddenly, Ron gets hit from behind by Mike, who was speeding and driving within the designated bicycle lane.
As a result of Mike’s negligent behavior, Ron suffered severe injuries and required hospitalization. Furthermore, Ron’s bicycle was destroyed.
In this fairly straightforward example, Mike would be liable for the accident and would at the very least be responsible for Ron’s damages, including his hospital bills, bicycle repairs, lost wages, and possibly more.
How to Prove Liability in Your Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Claim
To prove negligence in a Los Angeles bicycle accident claim, your lawyer will need to show that the four elements of negligence have been met. These elements of negligence are as follows:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
Your attorney will need to show that the defendant is liable for your damages and prove liability based on a preponderance of the evidence. This essentially means that the evidence must show that the defendant is more than likely responsible for causing your bicycle accident and subsequent injuries.
Some of the most powerful types of evidence that can be used to support bicycle accident claims in Los Angeles include:
- Injury photos
- Video of the accident
- Accident reconstructionist reports
- Witness statements
- Accident seeing photos
- Medical records
- Financial documents
- Forensic evidence
- Chemical blood alcohol test results
- Cell phone records
- Blackbox data
An in-depth investigation into your Los Angeles bicycle accident will reveal who is responsible for causing the accident and provide your attorney with the evidence needed to support your case.
Available Damages After a Bike Accident in Los Angeles
If another party's misconduct or negligence caused your bicycle accident injuries, you have the right to be compensated for every loss. Under the law, you have the right to be made whole. This means you should be repaid for your financial, emotional, and physical damages. To accurately calculate the value of your claim, your Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney will need to quantify your losses and categorize them as either economic or non-economic.
Economic damages include all of your monetary damages. Some of the more commonly sought after types of economic damages in a Los Angeles bicycle accident claim include:
- Loss of income
- Costs of increased insurance premiums
- Diminished earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Medical equipment fees
- Ongoing healthcare treatment
- Loss of household services
- Property damages
However, you also have the right to be compensated for non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include your physical and emotional losses. They encompass the ways your life as a whole has been affected by the accident and your injuries. Some of the more frequently awarded types of non-economic damages in Los Angeles bicycle accident claims include:
- Skin scarring and disfigurement
- Reputational damage
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship and love
- Loss of support and society
- Loss of guidance and advice
- Diminished quality of life
Many bicycle accident victims may also be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are rarely awarded, but when they are, they are awarded to punish the liable party for abhorrent actions or gross negligence. By awarding punitive damages, the Los Angeles civil courts can send a message to the public that actions of this nature will not be tolerated.
If you have questions about how much your bicycle accident claim in Los Angeles could be worth, be sure to contact our office to discuss the details of your case.
California Bicycle Accident Claim Statute of Limitations
When you are ready to move forward with a bicycle accident claim, it is important to remember that the statute of limitations has already begun. For bicycle accident claims and other types of personal injury lawsuits, the statute of limitations only allows for two years from the date of the accident.
However, the exact date that the statute of limitations will expire in your case can vary widely depending on when you were diagnosed with your injuries, when the accident occurred, and other factors. Unfortunately, if the statute of limitations runs out and you have not filed your bicycle accident claim, the judge will have no other choice but to dismiss your case should you attempt to pursue it at a later date.
You can take steps to protect your injury settlement by enlisting the services of an experienced bicycle accident attorney in Los Angeles. We can ensure that the statute of limitations does not negatively impact your ability to maximize your compensation.
Los Angeles Bicycle Accident FAQ
The process for seeking compensation after a bicycle accident in Los Angeles can be overwhelming. We understand how confused and worried you might be about your future.
To help you feel more confident in your decision to move forward with your case, we have provided the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding Los Angeles bicycle accident claims.
If you have additional questions that were not answered on this page, be sure to contact our office to discuss your concerns further.
Can I Sue the Manufacturer if a Faulty Bicycle Caused My Accident?
Bicycle accidents can often be caused by a faulty bicycle or bicycle part. An injured individual would have to file a product liability claim in order to recover damages.
An example of a claim for a faulty bicycle could be when the brakes on a bicycle suddenly fail and a bicyclist crashes and suffers serious injuries. In this case, neither the bicyclist nor another driver is responsible. However, according to California’s products liability law, the manufacturer who designed and distributed the defective bicycle can be held liable for those losses.
A product’s liability claim is different from a personal injury claim because an injured bicyclist will not have the burden of proving manufacturer negligence in order to file for damages. Strict liability can be imposed regarding:
- Design defects
- Manufacturing defects
- Failure to warn defects
Nevertheless, product liability cases are very complicated because expensive expert analysis and testimony is required to prove that the product was defective in the first place. If you were injured as a result of a defective bicycle or bicycle part, you may recover damages by proving that:
- The product was used in a reasonable manner
- The bicycle manufacturer sold a defective product
- The product was already defective when it left the manufacturer
- Injury or harm was sustained as a result of the defective product
Can I Sue if My Family Member Lost Their Life?
Due to the fact that a bicyclist has little protection in comparison to a multi-ton vehicle, resulting injuries will not only be severe but potentially fatal. Even when a bicyclist is wearing a helmet and following bicycle safety regulations, they are not guaranteed safety on the road.
Surviving heirs of the deceased have a wrongful death claim and may sue for the following damages when they lose a loved one:
- Funeral/burial costs
- Loss of companionship and support
The following individuals may file a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles:
- Decedent’s parents
- The surviving spouse
- The children of the decedent
- The surviving domestic partner
- If the decedent's children have passed, the surviving grandchildren may file
- Any individual(s) entitled to the decedent’s property according to California’s intestate succession laws
Can I Sue the City of Los Angeles for Hazardous Road Conditions?
Not all bicycle accidents are caused by a driver’s negligence or by another driver at all. Poorly maintained roads in Los Angeles are a leading cause of many serious bike accidents. It’s important to understand that California premises liability law dictates that a city can be held liable for negligence if they do not properly maintain public roads in reasonably safe conditions.
A serious bicycle accident can easily be caused by seemingly harmless road conditions, such as:
- Loose gravel
- Broken cement
- Uneven sidewalks
- Faulty or damaged road signs
Finally, all property owners - including commercial, private, and city - can be found liable for not properly maintaining their asphalt or pavement surfaces. Therefore, you may be able to sue for recovery of damages if you were injured by the city of Los Angeles’s negligence.
Can I Sue a Pedestrian for Causing My Bicycle Accident?
Yes, you may have a claim for damages against the party responsible for your losses, whether it was another driver or a pedestrian. If you were injured in a bicycle accident because of a pedestrian’s negligence, it is crucial to prove that negligence was the cause of your injuries.
For example, a pedestrian can cause a bicycle accident by:
- Not controlling their dog
- Running in front of a bicyclist
- Suddenly stepping into the bike lane
- Intentionally knocking a bicyclist off their bike
- Walking and texting while not watching the road
- Not paying attention to bike traffic while wearing headphones
What if I Was Hit by an Uninsured Driver?
The state of California requires that all drivers insure their vehicles. However, some people try to cut their costs by running the risks of driving without insurance. Being involved in an accident with an uninsured driver can be a nightmare. However, there are options your bicycle accident lawyer can resort to, such as suing the uninsured driver and going after their personal assets.
The other option is obtaining uninsured motorist coverage from your own insurance provider, which is often referred to as UM/UIM coverage, which can protect you if you are involved in an accident with someone who does not have insurance and is found liable for a bicycle accident.
Can I File a Claim for My Child?
Yes, if your child has suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident, they may be entitled to financial compensation. As your child’s parent or legal guardian, you must advocate for their right to restitution when someone else is responsible for causing their injuries.
With help from a bicycle accident lawyer in Los Angeles, you can help your child get justice for their damages and recover the compensation they will need both now and in the future.
What if I Wasn’t Wearing a Bicycle Helmet?
Under California law, anyone aged 18 years or younger must wear a bicycle helmet when riding a bicycle or rollerblades. If your child suffered an injury in a bicycle accident and was not wearing a helmet, it could have a negative impact on the amount of compensation you could be awarded in their case.
However, if you are an adult and are not legally required to wear a bicycle helmet, do not expect to avoid being held accountable. The defense will likely argue that you contributed to your injuries for failure to wear a bicycle helmet.
If this happens, under California pure comparative negligence laws, your injury settlement will be reduced in proportion to your percentage of the blame. For instance, if the judge found you 10% liable for not wearing your bicycle helmet, you can expect to recover only 90% of your bicycle accident injury settlement.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Attorney in Los Angeles Today
When your bicycle accident injuries have had a significant impact on your life, you need legal guidance and support to help you through these challenging times. Get help bringing the liable party to justice when you contact a dedicated Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers.
Our firm is proud to offer no-cost, risk-free consultations to injury victims across Los Angeles and surrounding cities. Claim yours when you complete our online contact form or call our office at 213-927-3700
They know what they're doing, very well. Not only did I not make a single phone call from the day I hired them, but I also received calls from their case managers and paralegals who want to make sure my treatment was going well. They whole team took care of me. Thank you WCTL for taking full responsibility of my case and getting me an amazing settlement.
I can say with confidence that this team is the best in the business. . . . Dean took the time to really listen and hear me out. He assured me that he was going to move mountains because he believed in me, and he ended up doing just that. I’ve never met a more focused and passionate attorney in my life. If you’re looking for a firm that treats its clients with the utmost respect and care, calling WCTL is a no-brainer. I wouldn't think twice about working with them again in the future.