Hit By Car on Bike in Los Angeles
The freedom of riding a bike is pretty incredible. Sure, you sometimes have to deal with bad weather, but the majority of the time in Los Angeles, you get to benefit from sunshine, the wind in your hair, and the luxury of being able to avoid parking, and in many cases, traffic as well. What’s more, if you bike as your primary mode of transportation, you never have to worry about things like car insurance, registration, or the cost of gas. Further, your commute gets to double as a workout – a win-win situation for your health and the earth.
But riding a bike also has some drawbacks, too. To be sure, the biggest risk of riding a bike is the chance of being hit by a car. Indeed, California leads the nation in terms of bicycle accident deaths, with dozens of cyclists being killed every year, and hundreds being hit and suffering serious injuries.
Why Are Bicyclists Hit By Cars?
Because both cyclists and cars are operated by humans, it makes sense that human errors are the leading causes of accidents, and that with greater care, bicycle accidents coul
d be completely avoided. In fact, bicyclists should never be hit by cars, and often are as a result of drivers (and sometimes cyclists) failing to pay attention, or committing other acts of negligence such as failing to yield, speeding, texting while driving, or driving drunk.
When Are Cyclists Hit?
Cyclists are hit most often when the drivers of motor vehicles don’t see them. As such, nighttime accidents and accidents when daylight or weather conditions are less than ideal and visibility is poor are more common. Cyclists are also more likely to be hit in the following accident situations:
- When a cyclist is proceeding straight through the intersection and the driver of the vehicle is making a right-hand turn;
- When a cyclist is making a left-hand turn through an intersection and a driver is proceeding through the intersection; or
- When a cyclist is proceeding through an intersection and a driver is making a left-hand turn.
It is also common for cyclists to be hit when they are crossing driveways, as vehicles may attempt to enter a driveway or parking lot without looking, or may reverse out of a driveway without seeing a cyclist.
So Who’s at Fault?
We know that bicycle accidents are almost always caused by human error. But if you have been hit by a car while riding your bike in Los Angeles, who was at fault for the accident may be unclear, as well as who should pay for the accident.
Consider, for example, a situation in which you are riding your bike down the bike lane which is adjacent to a row of parked cars. You are in the bike lane, and you are riding legally. Without warning, a driver of a car–which is also legally parked–opens their driver’s side door. You see it, and quickly swerve into traffic to avoid hitting the open door. Upon swerving though, you are struck by another oncoming vehicle.
In this case, who’s at fault? Should the driver of the parked car have exercised more caution in opening their door? Should you have been traveling slower in order to have more time to stop in the event of a hazard or road obstruction? Or should the vehicle traveling behind you have been following you at a greater distance?
When accidents are complicated, it is very important to hire an attorney who has the resources and skill set to fully investigate your accident, and hire accident reconstructionists and other experts as well who can determine fault.
Recovering Compensation for Your Bicycle Accident
Once you have determined who was at fault for your bicycle accident, you can initiate the process of filing a claim. California’s law requires at-fault parties to pay for damages, and allows parties injured in motor vehicle accident to file a claim with their own insurance company, the insurance party of the at-fault party, or to file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver.
In order to recover the full value of the damages you have suffered, you will need to prove that the accident was the fault of the other driver, and that you did not contribute to your injuries.
Did You Contribute to Your Injuries?
The state of California recognizes the rule of comparative negligence, which holds that if a plaintiff contributes to their injuries, they can still seek damages from another party who was more at fault than the plaintiff. However, the amount of damages that you can recover will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.
Which is why it is important to consider whether or not you contributed to your injuries in any way. For example, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury in your bicycle accident and were not wearing a helmet, there is a strong case to be made that you contributed to the brain injury by your choice to ride helmetless, even if the other driver was at fault for the crash. Other things that can be regarded as acts of fault, even when the other driver is mostly to blame, including not having proper lighting on your bike, texting while biking, or performing any other dangerous maneuver.
Working with an Attorney Can Help
When you choose to work with a bike accident attorney in Los Angeles, you improve the chances that you will be able to recover the full value of compensation that you deserve. At the law offices of Fisher & Talwar, we have the skill set you’re looking for, and are passionate about what we do.
We know how serious bicycle crashes can be. If you have been seriously injured, or if you have lost a loved one in in a bicycle crash, we can help you. Please contact us today for a free consultation where we will review the facts of your case and provide you with the sound legal advice you’re looking for.