Bicycles are an extremely popular mode of transportation in California, especially in cities where traffic can be a nightmare. Unfortunately, bikes are not the safest form of transportation and can put riders at an increased risk of serious bodily harm and/or death. While many California cities have taken the initiative to make their roads bike-friendly, bike accidents are still a common occurrence. Maybe you were hit by a car or the victim of a trucking accident on the freeway. If you have been injured in a California bicycle accident you may be entitled to recover compensation. Hiring an experienced California personal injury lawyer to handle a personal injury claim can help to make sure that you are fairly compensated for the unexpected harms you have suffered.
California Bicycle Accidents Statistics
Fatal bike accidents are on the rise in California. In fact, bicycle accidents are much more common in California than any other state in the country. In California, bicyclists make up 4 percent of all motor vehicle accident deaths. This is twice the national average. In 2010, there were 100 fatal bike accidents in the state. In 2012, the number of fatal bicycle accidents increased to 123. Thousands of other accidents involving cyclists across the state also resulted in serious and life-threatening injuries.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents in California
Bike accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. However, some causes are reported more frequently than others. Common causes of bicycle accidents in California include:
- Rider error and failure to pay attention,
- Failing to wear reflective materials,
- Riding at night,
- Not crossing streets at marked intersections,
- Dangerous road conditions,
- Distracted driving,
- Driving under the influence, and
Common Bike Accident Injuries
Bike accidents can cause riders to suffer from serious, life-threatening, and even fatal injuries. In many cases, these injuries will require extensive medical treatment. Commonly reported bike accident injuries include:
- Spinal cord injury,
- Traumatic brain injury,
- Burn injury,
- Loss of limbs,
- Internal organ damage,
- Paralysis, and
- Wrongful death.
Liability for California Bike Accidents Injuries
In California, any person whose negligence and/or wrongful conduct contributes to the cause of an accident can be held financially responsible for injuries. Anyone who shares the road in California – whether they’re driving a car, riding a bike, or walking – has a duty to obey the law and use reasonable caution. When a person violates this duty they will be considered negligent. Parties who may be held liable parties for California bike accident injuries include:
- Drivers of motor vehicles,
- Government entities, and/or
- Companies responsible for the manufacture, design, and sale of products.
If more than one party is deemed to be responsible for a bicycle accident, each will be held financially responsible to the degree they caused the accident. If the injured bicycle accident victim happened to contribute to the crash, he or she will not be prohibited from recovering compensation. However, the damages they can recover will be reduced by their own degree of fault.
Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accident Injury Cases
If you are injured in a California bicycle accident it is important to act quickly. An invisible clock will begin to run the moment your accident happens. This clock, which is known as the statute of limitations, will run for a period of two years. You must file your personal injury claim within this two-year period or you will not be able to get the money you need.
If there are extenuating circumstances in your case you may be able to extend the period in which you can file a claim. The statute of limitations can be tolled if:
- There is a reasonable delay in the discovery of an injury,
- You were under the age of 18 at the time of your accident,
- The defendant cannot be located or is incarcerated.
If a dangerous road condition contributed to your accident and injury you may be able to hold the government responsible. In these situations, you must file an administrative claim with the government within six months of your accident.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Following a Bicycle Accident
If you have been injured in a California bike accident you may be entitled to recover monetary damages for the harms you have suffered. These damages can help to compensate for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and any reduced earning capacity the injury may cause. Your chances of maximizing the compensation you receive increase when you hire an experienced California personal injury lawyer.