THE LOS ANGELES BICYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYERS
Our Los Angeles bicycle accident attorneys represent cyclists who have been injured by negligent actions of a driver or another party.
We provide services to the entire State of California including Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, Alameda, and Sacramento counties. Call for a free consultation: 213-891-0777.
Cases We Can Help With:
Our attorneys can help you or your family members with all types of bicycle-related injuries. If you are unsure whether you have a case, the best thing to do is give us a call and tell us about what happened. Here are some of the types of cases we can help with:
- Driver negligence
- Drunk driving
- Driver failing to yield
- Defective bike path
- Defective bicycle / parts
Protecting Your Interests Is Our Top Priority
Our Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers are always on your side. We understand that getting you money for your injuries as soon as possible is very important. We will do everything possible to make sure you get it as quickly as possible without compromising the total value of your case.
Bicycle Accident Statistics In California
According to the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 700 people are killed each year in bicycle accidents, while as many as 50,000 others suffer serious injuries. Unfortunately, despite efforts from law enforcement and public safety officials to increase bicycle safety and to raise awareness of regulations concerning bicycles and motor vehicle traffic, California continues to lead the nation in bicycling accidents, second only to Florida in terms of bicyclist fatalities. Sobering facts about bicycling accidents from the NHTSA include the following:
- Children under the age of 15 account for more than ten percent of all bicycling accident injuries;
- The average age for bicyclist fatalities is 45;
- Visibility is likely a factor in most bicycle accident, as the most common types of motor vehicles involved are light trucks and SUVs;
- The most common time for fatal bike accidents to occur is weekdays between the hours of 3:00 and 8:00 p.m., and weekends between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and midnight;
- Alcohol was a factor in roughly 35 percent of all motor vehicle accidents involving a bicyclist fatality.
Despite public awareness as to the dangers and increased traffic checkpoints, alcohol continues to increase the risk for potentially deadly accidents, whether it is used by drivers or bicyclists. The NHTSA report that roughly one fourth of all bicyclists killed had some alcohol in the system, while one fifth had above the legal limit of more than 0.08 percent. While you cannot control the behavior of other drivers, avoiding alcohol use and increasing visibility through the use of bicycle headlights and taillights are two ways in which bicyclists can protect themselves against serious accidents and injuries.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicyclists have little to protect them in the event of crashes or collisions with motor vehicles, and when accidents do occur, their injuries tend to be severe, potentially disabling, and in some cases, life threatening. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) advises that among the most common types of bicycle accident injuries are the following:
- Road rash and severe cuts and lacerations;
- Broken bones and fractures, particularly in the feet, legs, arms, ribs, and pelvic region;
- Musculoskeletal disorders, such as muscle and tendon sprains, and joint dislocations;
- Abdominal injuries, including ruptured spleen, hernias, and internal bleeding;
- Face and eye injuries, including contusions and dental fractures;
- Head injuries, such as skull fractures, concussions, and traumatic brain injury.
According to the AAFP, head injuries occur in as many as half of all bicycle accidents, and are responsible for roughly 60 percent of bicyclist fatalities. Bicycle helmets can help to significantly reduce this risk, but are only used by less than a quarter of all bicyclists. In addition to helmets, other safety gear that can help to reduce your risks of serious and potentially disabling injuries if involved in an accident includes protective glasses, gloves, padded bicycle shorts, and appropriate footwear.
How Do Most Bicycle Accident Injuries Occur?
While more than 700 deaths occur each year as the result of bicycle accidents, bicycling fatalities make up only a small percent of motor vehicle accidents. According to the website PedBikeInfo.org, a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation, bicycling is a healthy, environmentally friendly, and fun activity and remains one of the safest means of travel. A bicyclists risks for accidents and injuries varies based on the time of day, the location at which they are riding, the age and experience of the biker, as well as other factors, such as the use of alcohol. While road conditions, rider inattention, and obstacles in the roadway can cause a bicyclist to crash or collide with other objects, the biggest threat most cycling enthusiasts face is from other motorists.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles offers guidelines for both bicyclists and other drivers when sharing the road. Bicyclists have rights the same as any other road user, and motorists need to use particular caution when around cyclists in terms of the following:
- Respecting right of way;
- Before making turns;
- When merging into bike lanes;
- Before opening car doors around or near moving traffic.
When accidents do occur, they are treated as any other type of roadway accident, and the driver and their insurance company can be held liable for any damages that result.
Could Extra Bright Lights Save Cyclist Lives?
The question is posed by Ted Rogers — a popular blogger at BikingInLA, who is well known in the SoCal’s cycling community. Today, BikingInLA posted a plea by Mark Goodley, a bicycle accident victim who wants you to stay safe on the road. Mark wants riders to take immediate action to prevent unnecessary accidents by using extra bright flashing lights on bicycles. The big question is, will using bright lights help, and should you be doing it right now?
According to personal injury attorney Vibhu Talwar, the driver’s failure to yield to a bicycle is frequently a cause of accidents. Even though “I didn’t see you” can never be used as an excuse in a bicycle accident case (since cars and bikes are treated exactly the same, and you wouldn’t say “I didn’t see you” to another vehicle), it is quite possible that some drivers are unaware of a bicycle entering a crosswalk when making a turn. From a non-legal standpoint, we could also argue that people have a much harder time judging the speed and the distance between a smaller object such as a bicycle rider and your typical vehicle.
One Man’s Plea: Ride Ultra Bright, Day and Night
Mark makes the argument that people are often spaced out behind the wheel, taking much more time to react to something much smaller than another vehicle. “Hit from behind collisions outnumber all other fatalities 2-1” — says Mark.
I tend to agree with Mark that it’s quite feasible a driver may not pay as much attention to a bicycle as he/she would to another vehicle and take longer to react when stopping. We are quite familiar with the view of another vehicle and can make a decision (however slow at times) to stop just close enough to avoid an accident. Substitute that vehicle with a bicycle and it’s not so clear just how close that person is, since we’re no longer looking for a pattern of two rear brake lights.
Pattern recognition is one of the basic functions of the human mind, whether it is looking for a certain type of object in a side view mirror or estimating the speed of a moving person. Since there aren’t nearly as many bikes on the roads as there are vehicles, we can make the argument that our brains are not as quick to pick up on signals coming from a bicyclist versus a vehicle. Neither the distance, the speed or the size of a bike rider match any of the patterns we are constantly hunting for while driving.
My Own Account
Not so long ago, while making a right turn I almost ran over a skateboarder who had the right of way. It’s not that I was daydreaming or didn’t see him coming initially; it’s just that he came up so quickly when I didn’t expect him to reach the light until I made my turn. Had he wore a bright flashing light I would have been startled at the brightness of the object and thought twice about turning as soon as I planned.
I know this for a fact because last week a bicyclist was riding with one of such lights in the front when I noticed him right away and though “wow, that’s really bright.” My typical sleepy morning brain would most likely not take such notice had the rider not worn such an effective attention-grabbing object.
Should You Be Using Bright Flashing Lights on Your Bike Night and Day?
I’ll answer your question with a question: why not? It’s quite obvious that people notice these lights a lot more. Just ask Wes, who comments: “I’ve had many drivers comment on how bright they are (referring to his blinking daylight).”
An extra added mechanism for safety is not a solution to end all problems and it would be arrogant to say that. But for the sake of safety in a city, state and country that has yet to make a lot of progress to promote bicycle and pedestrian safety, it’s a step in the right direction.
For specific reference to the type of equipment worth checking out please visit the BikingInLA post and check out the comments section. These guys know their equipment much better than anything I could list here.
Do you use additional lights to help you stay visible?
What You Should Do If You Are Involved In A Bicycle Accident
If you are involved in a bicycling accident, it is important to notify law enforcement or the state highway patrol and to seek medical attention immediately for your injuries. The police will collect driver information, such as name address, and driver’s license and insurance numbers, at the scene if you are unable to do so yourself. They should also make note of any witnesses, and the exact location at which the accident occurred.
In the days following your accident, you will likely be contacted by the insurance company for the at fault driver. It is important to realize that these companies are not on your side, and in fact have a strong financial motive for disputing or denying your claim. They may also attempt to settle your claim quickly, for far less than what you deserve. Once you agree to a settlement, you will be forfeiting your rights to any future compensation.
Before making any statements that could be used against you or signing any settlement documents, speak to our experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney first. We have the experience, knowledge, and resources you need to ensure your accident is thoroughly investigated while collecting information from your doctor about the extent of your injuries so that you can get the maximum amount of compensation you need to recover.
The type of compensation and the amount will depend on your case. Here are some types of compensation available to bike riders:
- Property Damage (bike and equipment).
- Missed work / work opportunities.
- Bodily Injuries (permanent injuries, scarring, fractures, disability).
- Medical Expenses
- Loss of Consortium (companionship and services to the spouse including love, care, assistance, moral support and more).
- Death of a Loved One (family members such as a surviving spouse, domestic partner or children can be compensated for loss of a loved one.)
- Aggravation of a Preexisting Condition.
- Punitive Damages – exemplary damages intended to prevent similar conduct of negligent party from ever happening again.
Why Speak to a Lawyer?
It is well known that the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area is home to many frustrated and inattentive drivers due to overcrowded roads. Unfortunately, some of this frustration and lack of attention eventually results in bicycle accidents and injuries. Such injuries often last for prolonged periods of time, long after your initial treatment and recovery.
Most people don’t realize they can get more money for their injuries than they expect. Of course, nobody wants to be greedy, but when it comes to our personal health, it is imperative that we get the best possible care and cover all expenses. Without a Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney, it is difficult to get the maximum compensation you require to continue your life the way you were prior to your injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bicycle Accident Claims
We know that if you’ve been in a crash, you probably have a lot of questions about your rights, your options, and how to get your full compensation award. We’ve outlined some of the answers to our most frequently asked questions from clients. If you want to learn more or get answers that are specific to your case, please call our law firm directly today.
- Do I have the right to file a lawsuit? When a bicycle accident happens that is caused by the negligence of another party, such as the driver of a motor vehicle involved in the crash, the injured cyclist maintains the right to file a claim for damages against that party’s insurance company or to file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault party for damages. However, filing a lawsuit should not be your first step. Instead of starting with a lawsuit, it is best to try to reach a settlement out of court through negotiations. Only if a settlement is impossible to reach should you pursue litigation, as litigation is time-consuming, expensive, and often very emotional for the victim of a crash.
- Do I have to accept a settlement offer? Another common question that we hear is in regards to accepting a settlement offer. We encourage our clients to carefully review a settlement offer before accepting it (with our help, of course), and to never accept a settlement that isn’t fair. Unfortunately, the first settlement offers are often lowballed, with an insurance company hoping to get away with paying as little as possible and counting on the desperation of a claimant to do so. We will be by your side to help you negotiate for a settlement that is fair and just.
- What happens if I wasn’t wearing a helmet when I was hit? Wearing a helmet when riding a bike is not required in the state of California, with the exception of cyclists who are under the age of 18. Required or not, though, wearing a helmet is the smart thing to do and maybe integral in preventing serious injuries. If you are in a crash and suffer an injury to the head or brain, the defendant may argue that your failure to wear a helmet was the cause of this and that you would not have suffered such an injury–or as severe of an injury–had you been helmeted. If this is true, then the amount of compensation that you can recover may be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. For example, if you suffered $100,000 in damages and are found to be 10 percent to blame for your injuries due to your failure to wear a helmet, you may only be able to hold the defendant liable for $90,000. This is per California’s rule on comparative fault.
- How long will my case take to settle? We understand that you are eager to settle your case and move forward with your life. Our lawyers will work hard to conclude the process as quickly as possible without sacrificing the quality of our work or asking you to accept a settlement that isn’t just. How long your case will take to settle depends on numerous different conditions, including liability for the crash, the amount of evidence you have on your side, the degree of your injuries (you’ll want to wait until you reach Maximum Medical Improvement–MMI–before settling your claim), the value of your claim, the insurance policy of the at-fault party, and the general willingness of all parties involved to cooperate. Some claims may be resolved in a couple of months; others can take multiple months or even up to a year or more to settle, especially if litigation is necessary.
- Can I represent myself in my bicycle accident claim? You have the right to represent yourself during your bicycle accident claim, but doing so is rarely recommended. Even if your injuries are minor, having an attorney review a settlement offer before you accept it may be valuable. If your injuries are serious, the fault is disputed, you’ve been offered a settlement that’s less than you deserve, or your claim has been denied, you should get an attorney on your side as soon as possible. The right attorney will commit to working hard for you, taking over the details of your case, and advocating on your behalf while you focus on your recovery.
- How much should I pay for an attorney? A good Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney will work on a contingent fee basis. With no hourly or retainer fee, this means that you will pay for your attorney based on a proportion of your winnings and, if you don’t recover a settlement, you won’t owe your attorney a dime.
Why Should You Hire Fisher & Talwar to Represent You In Your Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Case?
We understand that in a second, your life can change dramatically if you’re hit by a car. While we will never be able to undo the damage that you’ve suffered, our lawyers do have what you need to improve the outcome of your case and walk away with the largest settlement possible. Top reasons to hire our Los Angeles bicycle accident attorneys include–
Our Skills & Attributes
We have the basic skills and experience you’re looking for.
- Decades of combined experience. With three different attorneys who make up our team, we bring decades of combined and diverse experiences to our law firm and our practice. As the old adage goes, “Practice makes perfect.” While we can’t promise to be perfect, we can guarantee that we know how bicycle accident claims work and that our experience will give us an advantage compared to a novice lawyer.
- Litigation experience and success. Not only do we have years of experience working on bicycle accident claims, but also years of litigation experience in the courtroom. If your case were to go to litigation, you could expect our team to be ready for the fight.
- Legal acumen and education you can trust. We have the legal education and skill set you can trust and our lawyers are licensed to practice in all state courts of California and the United States District Court.
Our Client Promise
We promise that you’ll get the treatment and attention you deserve.
- Prioritize you as a client. When you choose our law firm, we want you to feel as though you are part of our family and that you are getting the same quality of service that we would provide to one of our own family members. We’ll be available and accessible throughout the process.
- Dedicate resources to your case. We have the resources that your case demands and will dedicate these resources to your claim. These include the ability to hire experts, ensure that our staff is prioritizing your case, dedicate our own time to your case, and more.
- Handle all elements of your bicycle accident claim. Part of putting our clients first is promising to handle all elements of your claim so that you can focus on your recovery.
Our Reputation For Success
Still, aren’t sure about hiring our law firm? Look to our results for reassurance.
- Results-oriented. We are a results-oriented law firm that has a track record of recovering large settlements on our clients’ behalf. Our goal is to make sure you get every penny you deserve, and we’ll work hard to make that happen.
- Success in settlements and trials. We have success both in settlement negotiations, where our lawyers are adamant and persuasive, and in-court trials and litigations, where our legal team is well-prepared.
Awards and recognitions. Our success has led to recognition, awards, and accolades from Super Lawyers, National Trial Lawyers Top 100, Martindale-Hubbell, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, AVVO, and more, including our local public radio station, 89.3 KPCC.
We’re Here to Help
Do you know what you are entitled to? Speak with our Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers to find out what you can recover. It only takes a few minutes of your time and can result in thousands of dollars in successfully recovered compensation.
Since bike accidents can take a lot out of your physical and emotional health, you need to work with attorneys who understand what you’ve been through and can help make your life easier post-injury. You have enough on your mind after a bicycle injury; the last thing you need to worry about is paying your hospital bills and recovering lost wages.
If you have any questions about your bicycle accident, please call us to see how we can help: (213) 891-0777.