Bicyclists are left vulnerable while out on the road. Compared to vehicles, they offer far less protection. Any accident a bicyclist is involved in could result in serious injuries as there is no seat belt nor metal barrier to protect the bicyclist from falling off of the bicycle. In San Francisco, there have been a total of 19 bicyclist deaths from 2014 to 2020. To prevent bicyclists from falling victim to traffic collisions, the city plans to establish 20 miles of protected bike lanes to create a more connected network.
Victims of a bicycle accident are eligible to file a personal injury claim against the party at-fault for damages. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our San Francisco bicycle accident attorneys have over 60 years of collective legal experience in handling personal injury cases. With our track record of recovering more than $1 billion in settlements for our clients, we are confident that we will deliver a good outcome to your case.
Please do not hesitate to contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (415) 326-8794 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at our San Francisco personal injury law firm.
Multiple parties can be involved in a bicycle accident. This includes a driver, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian. Since California is a comparative negligence state, more than one party can be found at-fault for committing a negligent act that causes an accident. Liability will be shared depending on the amount of negligence contributed by each party.
For example: A pedestrian was seen jaywalking on a busy road. The bicyclist noticed the pedestrian and made an attempt at swerving to avoid clashing into them. However, they did not observe their surroundings prior to making the lane change nor did they display any bike hand signals to notify drivers that they were trying to merge into the lane. This ultimately resulted in the bicyclist hitting a driver nearby. The driver was also found to be texting and driving during the time that they crashed into the bicyclist. Under this situation, each party will share liability for damages caused by their negligence. Recoverable compensation can still be offered, however, the amount may vary depending on how much negligence was contributed by each party involved.
Manufacturers and companies can also be held liable for a bicycle accident. If the bicycle had a defective part that was the main cause of an accident, then the bicyclist can file a personal injury claim against the manufacturer or company who sold the bicycle.
For example: The brakes on a bicycle suddenly fail and a bicyclist crashes and suffers serious injuries. In this case, the bicyclist is not responsible for any damages. 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 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, and failure-to-warn defects.
Nevertheless, product liability cases are very complicated because an 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:
In order to successfully acquire fair compensation, you will need to show proof of the other party committing negligence, which ultimately resulted in your injuries and damages.
The legal standard for negligence in the state of California will consider the following three elements:
Let’s consider an example of negligence in the case of a bicycle accident: A bicyclist was riding in a designated bike lane while biking through the city of San Francisco. The bicyclist was wearing a fitted helmet and followed all applicable California bicycle safety laws. Suddenly, the bicyclist gets hit from behind by a driver who was speeding in the designated bike lane. The bicyclist reacted by landing aggressively onto the ground, and their bike was left completely destroyed. As a result of the driver’s negligent behavior, the bicyclist suffered severe injuries and was sent to the hospital to receive immediate medical care.
In this example, the driver would be held liable for the accident and would, at the very least, be responsible for the bicyclist’s damages, including his or her hospital bills, bicycle repairs, lost wages, and possibly more.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to receive economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are intended to compensate an accident victim for losses a dollar amount can objectively be attached to. The total amount of compensation is calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an injured bicyclist has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries. A few examples of economic losses include loss of earning capacity, medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are intended to compensate an injury victim for losses that are thought of as subjective. For example, non-economic damages may include compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
An injured bicycle accident victim is, in rare cases, also entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are rare and will be added to the normal damages a bicycle accident victim is already entitled to. A court awards punitive damages, but only when a defendant deliberately tries to cause someone harm or behaves in a very egregious manner. Driving under the influence or being guilty of a hit and run are two examples of incidents that may qualify a victim for punitive damages.
If you were involved in a bicycle accident in San Francisco and would like to pursue a lawsuit against the party at-fault, West Coast Trial Lawyers has experienced San Francisco personal injury attorneys who are readily available to assist you with your case.