Who needs a bicycle accident attorney?
On a typical workday in Los Angeles County, about 100,000 commuters ride to work on a bicycle. These pedalcyclists, or cyclists, have the same rights on most California roads as automobile drivers. Cyclists must ride with traffic and may occupy a full lane by riding in the middle of the lane if the lane is too narrow to share with a car. Cyclists must obey the same traffic laws as car drivers, including yielding for pedestrians. Cyclists have a right to ride in the road, and in some places are forbidden from riding on sidewalks. Bikes are generally prohibited on freeways.
Bicycle riders face many dangers on the roads, including drivers who aren’t watching for bikes, debris in the road that can pop a tire or get caught in the spokes, and uneven pavement. The most common causes of bicycle accidents include
- Cyclists riding on the wrong side of the road
- Auto drivers making unsafe turns
- Car doors opening as a bicycle passes by
- Cyclists weaving in and out of traffic
- Cyclists not riding in the bike lane when one is available
- Cyclists riding at night without headlights or reflectors
- Bad weather such as rain that makes roads slick or fog that obscures vision
- Auto drivers not watching for bikes or being discourteous to riders
Cyclists can reduce their risk of being in a bicycle accident by wearing proper equipment such as certified helmets and reflective clothing, following all traffic laws, and keeping bikes in good working order. When a bicycle accident happens, though, the injuries to the cyclist are likely to be severe. If you are hurt in a bicycle accident, you need an experienced bicycle accident attorney representing you. The causes and outcomes of bicycle accidents are different from automobile accidents, so you need an attorney who understands how to investigate and present a bicycle accident case.
What are the most common bicycle accident injuries?
The most common injuries from bicycle accidents include
- head injuries causing concussions and traumatic brain injury
- eye trauma
- facial soft tissue injuries and fractures
- dental injuries
- connective and soft tissue injuries
- shoulder injuries including sprains and rotator cuff tears
- knee sprains and tears
- broken bones, especially the clavicle and scaphoid
- road rash, abrasions, cuts and bruises
- anxiety and depression
Get a medical assessment as soon as possible after an accident and return to the doctor if new symptoms show up. Even seemingly minor bicycle accident injuries can lead to long-lasting pain and suffering and decreased enjoyment of life.
Do I need to hire a bicycle accident attorney?
Even though cyclists have the same rights on the roads as cars, insurance companies may not fully understand this. They will try to place the blame for causing the accident on you, the cyclist. An experienced bicycle accident attorney will educate the insurance companies about the rights of cyclists and the responsibilities of motorists.
Experienced bicycle accident attorneys present your case in a way that will result in maximum compensation for your losses. They will fight for you to receive the full value of your case and are prepared to go to trial if negotiations do not result in a fair settlement.
How will a bicycle accident attorney help me?
An experienced bicycle accident attorney knows how to negotiate with insurance companies to get a fair settlement. You deserve compensation for direct expenses associated with the accident and also for the impact of the injuries on your family and your future.
Common damages that are recoverable in bicycle accident cases include
- Medical care and related expenses
- Lost wages and future loss of earnings
- Property damage
- Emergency services
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Travel expenses
- Legal costs
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Value of household services
- Loss of consortium
The value of damages such as doctor bills and bicycle repair expenses are straightforward. But there are also damages without an obvious price tag, such as pain and suffering, loss of future earnings, and value of household services. These losses are assigned a dollar value through the claims process.
Pain and suffering damages compensate an injured person for the reduction in his or her quality of life. After an injury, you may experience duress and loss of enjoyment in family, social, professional, and educational experiences, such as when
- you can no longer walk your dogs.
- you are so traumatized and afraid of accidents that you can no longer ride your bike.
- your sexual relationship with your spouse is negatively affected (loss of consortium).
Unpaid tasks that keep a household running, such as yard work, housecleaning, cooking and shopping, laundry, and some caretaking of children and other family members, are called household services. Injured persons can be compensated for the value of the household services he or she provided before the injury, but can no longer provide. The tasks must still be done, so the family might have to pay for outside help, or a family member might take time off from work to keep the household running.
How much does it cost to hire an experienced bicycle accident attorney?
Bicycle accident attorney fees vary by law firm, but in general, the firm receives a percentage of the award or settlement in a bicycle accident case. The lawyers get paid after the case is resolved.
Cerritos Legal Services provides a free confidential consultation to evaluate your case. Once we take your case, you pay nothing until your case is settled. Our law office provides personalized service including referrals to claims specialists and medical experts. Our team helps you and your family handle your affairs while your case is being resolved. We even work with doctors and specialists who can provide treatment on a lien basis until your case is resolved.
Contact us today for your free consultation with a bicycle accident injury attorney at Cerritos Legal: 562-865-9356.