The use of bicycles in California is very popular. The popularity of bicycle use is greatly informed by the fact that it is easy to use and that it is a very eco-friendly means of transport. While the means of transport is popular, there are many instances in which bicycle accidents happen. The reasons for the occurrence of bicycle accidents vary from one bicycle accident to the next.
While most bicycle accidents do not necessarily result in serious injuries, there are certain situations in which they result in major injuries including death. It should be noted that the costs that ordinarily surround these massive injuries are extremely high. It follows from this that it is extremely fundamental that you understand your rights and the options that are available to you when bicycle accidents happen. Consulting with a specialized bicycle accident lawyer can be crucial in navigating the complexities of personal injury law and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve. A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand your legal rights, guide you through the process of filing claims, and represent you in court if necessary, to ensure that you are adequately compensated for your injuries and any other losses.
This article shall look into the laws governing bicycle accidents in California, the pertinent issues that ordinarily surround a bicycle accident claim and shall provide a comprehensive review of the steps that should be taken, the timelines that you should adhere to, the people that you should consult and the things that you need to do in order be assured of compensation.
It is vital to note that for your personal injury lawsuit for compensation to succeed, you must ably establish liability for the accident. The process of establishing liability can be complicated depending on the nature of the bicycle accident. However, the common thread necessary when establishing liability is evidence. Having evidence is a very fundamental step towards establishing liability for bicycle accident claims. It follows from this that you must actively collect and put together a significant amount of evidence for you to be successful in your bicycle accident claim.
California adheres to a comparative negligence rule which stipulates that the courts in California would apportion liability between the parties who are involved in the accident. As California is a pure comparative negligence state, the courts shall allow parties who are injured in an accident to collect damages for the accident even if they are partially at fault for the accident. It should however be noted that the final amount of compensation to be awarded to a victim of a bicycle accident will be significantly reduced depending on the percentage of fault at the accident scene.
It is important to note and understand your level of contribution to the bike accident so that you can manage your expectations as to the amount of compensation that you can recover from the accident. Therefore it is very fundamental that you explain to your bicycle accident lawyer your thoughts about the level of your involvement in bringing about the bike accident.
It turns on the above out that a victim of a bicycle accident needs to put a victim of a bicycle accident needs to put together the following pieces of evidence.
Police reports: In California, police would ordinarily visit the scene of the bicycle accident and make a police report. The police report is a very important document in the determination of fault in a bicycle accident. It follows from this that you should call the police to the bicycle accident scene so that they can generate a police report.
You must speak to the police who come to the accident scene and ensure that they indicate an accurate version of events leading to the bicycle accident. Victim must courteously approach them and give your side of the story. You must also ensure that you get a copy of the police report as it shall be very fundamental in your pursuit of compensation.
The statements of the people who witnessed the accident are crucial in your pursuit of compensation. In most instances, their version of events would be unbiased. Your chances of getting compensation shall be significantly increased if their narration of the events leading to the accident corroborates with your version of the events. It follows from this that you must politely request the contact of the witnesses so that you or your lawyer can reach out to them for their statements.
California’s traffic laws: The California Vehicle Code (CVC) provides for various rules that apply to motorists and cyclists. You must understand the various legal provisions if you are intentional about proving fault in a bicycle accident. It is fundamental to note that in instances where motorists do not yield to cyclists in a bicycle-designated lane, they would be held liable for the same.
Investigation reports: Investigations of bike accidents are very fundamental. If the investigation reports point at the at-fault party being responsible for the accident, it shall be easier for you to establish liability and in the long run get compensated.
CCTV footage, videos or pictures of the bike accident: The presence of CCTV footage, videos and pictures would greatly help in the establishment of liability. It follows from this that you must actively seek the CCTV footage, pictures and videos if you are intentional about proving liability.
Strategies for Successful Insurance Claims and Lawsuits After a Bicycle Accident
The process of seeking compensation in California involves filing insurance claims and filing lawsuits. It is important to note that the first process of seeking compensation involves filing an insurance claim with the insurance service provider. California’s laws stipulate that all motorists using California’s roads must have and maintain valid liability insurance coverage which would cover property damage and a personal injury claim. It follows therefore that you must promptly notify the insurance provider about the accident and provide them with evidence of injury such as medical reports and bike accident reports.
In most instances, and depending on the strength of your claim, the insurance companies would reach out to you with an offer. In most instances, the offer would likely be lower than the amount that you are claiming. Because of the variance between what you want and what the insurance company is offering you, it shall lead to negotiations.
The process of negotiating with insurance companies is often long and tedious. It follows from this that you must adequately be prepared for the back and forth. You must have an experienced personal injury lawyer with you so that they can ensure that the negotiations are conducted in a manner that does not negatively and unreasonably impact the amount of compensation that you shall receive.
If the negotiations with the insurance company are successful, you shall sign a settlement agreement and thereafter receive compensation. You must allow your lawyer to review the settlement agreement before signing it. If your lawyer deems it fit, you shall sign the settlement agreement and follow up on the payment. However, if the negotiations are unsuccessful, you shall proceed to file a lawsuit.
Filing a lawsuit
The process of filing a lawsuit involves collecting evidence, preparing witness statements, preparing the bike accident claim, filing the claim and attending court. Due to the complexities that surround filing lawsuits and putting together evidence such as medical expense expenses for bicycle accident cases and lost wages, it is fundamental to note that you should engage the services of an experienced bicycle accident lawyer so that they can guide you through the entire process of filing a lawsuit and attending to the court matter on your behalf.
Key California Case Laws Impacting Bicycle Accident Litigation
Various decided cases in California continue to influence the process and the amount of compensation that one can recover in a bike accident claim. The decided cases take into consideration the various laws and regulations governing bike accidents in California. The most notable decided cases include the following:
Several case laws in California have set important precedents in bicycle accident litigation. These cases exemplify the application of relevant laws and help establish standards for liability and compensation. Two notable cases include:
Lowe v. California League of Prof. Baseball (1997): In this particular case, the court in California held that bike riders have the same responsibilities and rights as other motorists.
Branco v. Kearny Moto Park, Inc. (1995): This particular case stipulated that it is vital that property owners maintain safe conditions for bike riders. This case stipulated that the property owners could be found liable for negligence if the conditions on their property brought about the bike accident.
Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accident Claims
It is fundamental to note that there are timelines governing the filing of bike accident suits in California. The statutory timeline for filing bike accidents in California is two years. It follows from this that you must ensure that you file your claim within two years from the happening of the bike accident if you are deliberate about receiving compensation.
It is vital to note that it shall be extremely difficult for you to get compensation if you file your claim after the lapse of two years from the happening of the accident. However, should you find yourself in a situation in which you would want to pursue compensation after the lapse of two years, you should speak to an experienced bike accident lawyer so that they can guide you through the best steps.
Secure the Right Representation for Your Bicycle Accident Case
You must seek the services of a personal injury lawyer as soon as you are involved in a bike accident. The experienced personal injury lawyer shall guide you on the steps that should be taken right from the time that you are involved in an accident to the time that you get compensation. An experienced attorney shall also address all your concerns about the bike accident during the free consultation.
Big Ben Lawyers’ bicycle accident lawyers have the capacity and the experience to guide bike accident victims on their rights and obligations following a bike accident. With the help of its experienced bike accident lawyers, you shall be able to finalize insurance negotiations in a manner that ensures that your rights are protected. Moreover, the lawyers shall vigorously defend your rights should the matter proceed to court. Reach out to us today so that we can commence the process of getting your compensation.