Orange County Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you were injured or a family member was killed in a bike accident, do not hesitate to contact an Orange County bicycle accident lawyer for a complimentary evaluation of your potential case. The bicycle accident attorneys at Beckerman Anderson have the knowledge and experience to get you the justice you deserve.
Beckerman Anderson is a personal injury law firm that specializes in helping victims who have been severely injured in negligence-based accidents throughout the Orange County, California area. Bicycle accident injuries like spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, brain injuries, and fatalities occur almost daily. Working with the best personal injury attorneys who have extensive experience assisting injured bicycle accident victims will help you achieve the best possible results for your case.
Our experienced bicycle accident attorneys can advocate for your safety and rights, regardless of whether you ride for transportation, sport, or pleasure. We stay up-to-date with California bike laws to make sure that we can effectively represent our clients. An Orange County bicycle accident lawyer from Beckerman Anderson will use their years of experience to fight insurance companies on your behalf and help you get the compensation you need to move forward.
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Why Do I Need an Orange County Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
Any reputable Orange County bike injury lawyer will offer their potential clients a free, no-strings-attached consultation to discuss their accident and any potential avenues of recovery for your medical bills and other losses. Our attorneys will make sure you have all of the information you need to decide whether or not pursuing a California personal injury claim is in your best interests.
Following a severe bicycle accident, you need to work with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer with a well-established record of achieving favorable results for their clients. Never hesitate to ask an attorney for references or recommendations from previous clients.
Are Bicycle Accidents Common in Orange County?
Bicycle riders face unique hazards when they ride near busy Orange County roadways. The drivers of passenger vehicles, buses, and commercial trucks commonly fail to notice cyclists when they are sharing a traffic lane or even while they are riding in a designated bike lane.
The most recent statistics for Orange County show that an average of one bike rider is killed every single month in a collision with a motor vehicle. In fact, deadly Orange County bike accidents have increased more than 50% over the last two years. Some of this can be attributed to more people choosing to ride bikes for health or environmental reasons or possibly the rising cost of both public and private transportation.
While drivers and passengers are protected by roll cages, airbags, seat belts, and thousands of pounds of metal, bicycle riders tend to rely on nothing more than a helmet as protection if they should be involved in an accident. With this in mind, it isn’t surprising to learn that, every year, roughly 500,000 emergency room patients and hundreds of fatalities are bicycle accident victims.
Common Causes of Orange County Bicycle Accidents
The potential causes of Orange County bicycle accidents are as numerous as the potential causes of a car accident. Since cyclists have far less protection, however, they face much higher odds of receiving catastrophic or even deadly injuries than their four-wheeled counterparts.
A single bicycle accident could also be caused by more than one factor. For example, an accident involving a car door or a pedestrian might only leave bicycle accident victims with relatively minor injuries, but the impact could throw them from their bike into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
Some of the most common causes of Orange County bicycle accidents include:
A bicyclist comes to a stop at an intersection, but a driver fails to see them, causing a rear-end collision. More often than not, the driver was distracted, following too closely, or speeding and was unable to stop in time.
A vehicle’s passenger could open their door without first looking to see if a cyclist is approaching. Caught unaware, the bicycle rider could slam into the open car door.
California Rights and Responsibilities for Cyclists
The law in California recognizes bicycles as vehicles. This means that riders are obligated to act the same as they would behind the wheel of a car. They are required to follow the rules of the road, such as coming to a full and complete stop at a red light and riding their bike with the flow of traffic.
Bicycle riders also enjoy the same rights as drivers. They are entitled to ride in a travel lane if there is no designated bike lane available. They are also permitted to ride two abreast in a single lane. Many drivers cause bicycle accidents by choosing to disregard cyclists’ rights by failing to give them enough room or attempting to pass a rider when it is not safe to do so. This disregard for rights often results in death or serious injuries for cyclists.
Recent statistics make it clear that California leads the United States in the total number of annual bicycle accidents and fatalities. Most of these accidents take place in metropolitan areas, where riders and motor vehicles often interact. Drivers hitting cyclists is the foremost cause of injuries and fatalities to bicycle riders statewide.
The majority of these cases involve a driver who did not look for a bike rider before pulling out, failed to yield the right of way, ran a traffic light or stop sign, or was not paying attention to their surroundings. Texting while behind the wheel, driving under the influence, and reckless driving are all frequent contributors to serious bicycle accident cases.
Sadly, drivers usually escape unharmed while riders endure catastrophic or even deadly injuries. As a bicycle rider in Orange County, it is essential to exercise caution and prudence when navigating the roadways. Never assume that a driver is going to yield the right of way or come to a stop for you. You should always practice defensive riding for your best chance of avoiding serious or fatal bicycle accidents.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible for a cyclist to avoid a bike accident when a driver is behaving recklessly or negligently. Following a collision, bicycle accident victims should not wait to speak to a bicycle accident attorney. Regardless of the nature and severity of your injuries, you deserve to have your questions adequately answered and at least learn if you are eligible for financial compensation from a qualified professional.
Injuries Commonly Caused by An Orange County Bicycle Accident
A bicycle accident can lead to severe, life-changing injuries, such as a spinal cord injury or a traumatic brain injury and anything in between. Since riders have no protection and are vulnerable to their environment, an impact with a two-ton vehicle or even the asphalt can cause a variety of serious injuries.
An Orange County bicycle accident attorney from the law firm of Beckerman Anderson accepts clients with all types of serious injuries, such as:
- Head injuries/Traumatic brain injuries
- Fractured bones/Broken bones
- Skull fractures
- Paralysis/Spinal cord injuries
- Lower extremity injuries
- Road rash
- Internal bleeding/Internal organ injuries
- Disfigurement/Permanent scarring
Permanent and catastrophic injuries are a frequent consequence of serious bicycle accidents. Those who survive them are often forced to deal with the repercussions of their accident for the rest of their lives. In addition to massive medical bills, riders often sustain long-term injuries including head or brain injuries, paralysis, and disfiguring scars.
Bicyclists can also endure psychological and emotional injuries caused by the trauma of their accident. Hiring an Orange County bicycle accident lawyer will ensure that you collect the maximum amount of financial compensation for your bicycle accident injuries, including special and general damages such as medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering, physical therapy, and more.
California Bike Laws in 2022
By no stretch of the imagination is riding a bike, a new method of getting ones self from Point A to Point B. The part that is new is its increasing popularity among people who are searching for a healthier or more eco-friendly mode of transportation. Throughout California, designated bike lanes are popping up, and bike-sharing platforms are suddenly en vogue, making it possible for would-be riders to rent a bike by the minute. With this rise in bicycle favor and accessibility has come a rise in accidents involving cyclists.
In an attempt to quell the problem, California has passed a succession of new laws that pertain to where cyclists are allowed to ride and how drivers should interact with them. These regulations dictate the responsibilities of both drivers and cyclists and are designed to protect riders in the event of an accident. These new regulations can be found under California’s Vehicle Code.
Section 21200 of the Code states that bicycle riders have the same responsibilities and rights as automobile drivers. This means that riders are subject to the same laws when it comes to yielding the right of way to pedestrians, driving while intoxicated, and obeying all traffic signs and signals as the driver of a car.
In terms of a driver’s interactions with a bicyclist on the road, there are some special rules that apply. Since 2014, the state has required all drivers to give bicycle riders no less than three feet of room when passing or driving alongside them. Additionally, no one is allowed to block a designated bike lane by coming to a stop or by parking their bicycle or motor vehicle in it.
What Does “Take the Lane” Mean?
One of California’s bike laws that is misunderstood by a lot of drivers is that cyclists are entitled to “Take the Lane” even if they are moving at a slower speed than surrounding traffic if:
- They are passing
- They are preparing to make a lefthand turn
- They are avoiding a roadway hazard
- The lane is not wide enough to share
- They are nearing an area where a righthand turn is permitted
What Every Rider Needs to Know
Under California’s bike laws, cyclists should also be familiar with several regulations designed to help them avoid bike accidents. State law requires all bicyclists to ride with the flow of traffic unless they are passing, on a one-way street, making a legal lefthand turn, riding on a narrow roadway, or the righthand side of the roadway is shut down due to construction work or an accident.
Also, if they are riding on a street that has a designated bike lane, those who are traveling slower than the surrounding traffic must use the bike lane unless they are passing, making a legal righthand turn, detouring around a hazard, or making a lefthand turn.
Bicycle Accidents Involving Hit-and-Run Drivers
Many bicycle accidents involve a hit-and-run driver. A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver strikes another driver, a pedestrian, or a bicycle rider and then leaves the scene. Despite the fact that this is illegal, it happens on a daily basis due to the fact that drivers feel like if they flee the scene quickly enough, they won’t be caught and, therefore, won’t be held liable.
Not only do the police have a number of ways of locating a hit-and-run driver, even if you did not get their license plate, but a bicycle accident attorney can also help. Eyewitnesses like bystanders, other drivers, and pedestrians often notice useful little details. A local shopkeep could have outdoor security cameras that caught part or all of the accident. Surveillance footage from nearby areas or along the fleeing driver’s path might pick up their license plate and even capture an image of their face.
Who is Responsible for My Orange County Bicycle Injuries?
Sometimes, drivers only receive a minor traffic citation after causing a bicycle accident, so it is understandable that you would want to know who is legally liable for your damages after you sustain a serious injury during an Orange County bike crash.
If the bicycle accident is severe, the driver could be charged with a felony or offense such as failing to come to a complete stop at a crosswalk or stop sign, reckless driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or hit-and-run.
While it certainly serves the interest of justice for motorists who injure riders to face criminal charges for their misconduct, these charges do little to help victims who will still be left with medical bills or be unable to work after the accident. This is why civil law is so important.
How Can a Bicycle Accident Attorney Recover My Financial Damages?
If you were injured in a bike crash due to a driver’s negligence, the law in California entitles you to file a suit against the driver in civil court to recover compensation for your injuries and other damages. This type of lawsuit is commonly referred to as a personal injury lawsuit.
Almost all personal injury suits stem from a claim of negligence. In a legal context, negligence occurs when a person fails to act with the same level of care and consideration that a rational person would have exhibited under the same or similar conditions.
If you are able to prove that the driver’s negligence was the proximate cause of your injuries and other damages, like time away from work, you could obtain a court order that instructs the driver and/or their insurance company to pay you an amount of money that appropriately compensates you for the personal and financial harm you have endured. An experienced bike accident attorney with an excellent understanding of the nuances of California civil law can guide you through the legal
How Do I Go About Proving My Case?
In order to establish that the other person was responsible for your injuries, you will have to show the insurance company and the court that:
- The other person owed you a legal duty of care to act in a reasonable way as to prevent injury to others
- The other person violated that duty of care
- That violation was the proximal cause of your injuries
- Your injuries caused you financial damages you would not have otherwise incurred
There are multiple types of negligence that could result in a bicycle accident, such as:
All drivers are expected to share the road safely with cyclists by being aware of their surroundings and obeying all relevant driving laws. Careless drivers often make errors and bad decisions. These include driving while distracted, not bothering to use their turn indicator, and failing to yield the right of way.
Like most other states, California drivers are usually in a hurry to get somewhere. Motor vehicles move a lot faster than a person on a bike, and it doesn’t take much for an impatient driver to turn into an aggressive one. Some drivers will tailgate a cyclist in an effort to get them to speed up or move out of the way. Rushed drivers might also try to illegally pass a cyclist, get too close, and cause an accident. Drivers experiencing road rage sometimes even threaten or deliberately injure riders.
Open door collisions, known as “dooring,” frequently happen in Orange County. Although these incidents do not technically involve a collision with a moving vehicle, riders can sustain debilitating injuries if they suddenly crash into an open car door and are ejected from their bike onto the pavement, into moving traffic, or into other stationary objects. Even though it is required by law, vehicle passengers often neglect to check the car’s wing mirror or to turn and physically look behind them before they open their door.
Vehicle drivers are not the only people who can contribute to bicycle accidents through negligence. An employer could be held liable for their employee’s negligence if the driver was working when the accident occurred. Also, the negligence of other people and entities could result in a bicycle accident.
Based on the facts of your case, there are several different people who could possibly be held financially responsible for your bicycle accident and subsequent injuries. Some parties who are commonly held liable after a serious bike accident include:
- Another driver
- The owner of the vehicle
- The driver’s employer
- Another bicyclist
- Vehicle retailers or manufacturers
- Government entities
- Tenants or landowners
An Orange County bicycle accident attorney from Beckerman Anderson will not let you be held accountable for another person’s mistake. If your accident was the result of someone else’s negligence, our skilled personal injury attorneys will make sure that you and your family get the justice and financial compensation that you deserve.
Identifying Proof of Negligence
As mentioned earlier, negligence is characterized as the failure to act with a level of care that a prudent person would have shown under the same or similar circumstances. If the driver who caused your bike accident and injuries was issued a citation or charged with a criminal offense associated with the accident, this will serve as important proof of negligence.
According to the legal theory of negligence per se, you are not required to show that the driver should have conducted themselves differently under the circumstances. This is because California courts consider any breach of a law that is designed to ensure the public’s safety, including traffic laws, as automatic negligence. This usually makes it much simpler for injured victims to prove fault for their damages.
What Can Bicyclists Do to Help Prevent Bike Accidents?
When you are out on the roadway, there are always going to be some things that are simply out of your control. There are, however, some basic precautions that bicyclists can take to help protect their physical safety as well as their rights.
Being familiar with all of the current regulations and rules surrounding cycling in California is important and a great place to start. If you do end up being involved in a bicycle crash, you need to notify local law enforcement as soon as it is safe for you to do so. Almost all bike accidents culminate in either a visit to the doctor, a trip to the emergency room, surgery, or physical therapy.
Some bike injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, can take days or even weeks before symptoms start to manifest. Getting examined by a doctor will ensure you have sustained an injury that will be difficult and expensive to treat by the time it makes itself known.
Don’t be afraid to seek the advice of a California bike injury lawyer. With extensive experience representing injured cyclists in personal injury cases, the bicycle accident lawyers at Beckerman Anderson understand how devastating a bicycle accident can be.
If you are a cyclist in Orange County or the surrounding area, you can do your part to prevent bicycle accidents by taking some basic steps, such as:
In California, all cyclists younger than 18 are required to wear a helmet. Even though helmets are not a legal requirement for adults, they have been proven to prevent head and brain injuries and deaths should an accident occur.
Bike laws in California state that bicycles must be visible at nighttime. If you are going to ride after the sun goes down, ensure that your bike is equipped with reflectors and lights. For additional safety, bicycle riders can also equip their rides with mirrors that are designed to help them change lanes safely.
It is important that bicycle riders understand the laws in the area in which they are riding. There are some cycling laws that are uniform throughout the state. Individual municipalities are, however, able to set certain laws independently, such as whether or not riding on the sidewalk is permitted.
Bicyclists are required to ride with the flow of traffic if they are riding on the roadway. This is due to the fact that several cities do not permit cyclists to ride on the sidewalk because it poses a danger to pedestrians, so riders are expected to keep to bike lanes or ride in the roadway alongside cars and trucks.
Bicycle riders must use the appropriate hand signals when they are going to make a turn or come to a stop.
Bicycle Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Driver Always Liable For a California Bicycle Accident?
Anytime a motor vehicle strikes a bicycle rider and results in serious injuries, it is usually assumed that the driver is to blame and the rider must be the innocent victim. This, however, is not always true, and in some cases, the cyclist could be the one who acted negligently and caused the crash. This is why a thorough investigation should always be performed and vital evidence should always be collected by an experienced bicycle accident lawyer to help support your claim that the driver was liable for the accident.
Will My Auto Insurance Company Cover a Bike Accident?
After determining that the driver was responsible for the accident, you might be confused as to the best way to seek financial compensation from them. Fortunately, cyclists are eligible to file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company in much the same way that other drivers are eligible to file a claim after a collision involving two vehicles. Bicycle accident cases are, however, notoriously complicated. This is just one of the many reasons you should always seek legal guidance from experienced bicycle accident attorneys before you file a bicycle accident lawsuit.
Is My Bike Injury Case Civil or Criminal?
When most people think of a case being held in court, they are thinking of a criminal case. A criminal case is brought by a prosecutor for criminal behavior and does not have anything to do with a personal injury claim. Rather, your claim will be filed in civil court by a licensed personal injury attorney. If, however, there is a concurrent criminal case for violating California law, like a charge of driving under the influence, any evidence that is used in the criminal case can be used to further your own civil case as well.
What Are the Options For Monetary Recovery in California Bicycle Accident Cases?
As stated earlier, one method of pursuing economic recovery for your medical expenses, lost income, and other bike accident-related damages is to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. Unfortunately, an insurance company is s seldom willing to pay victims a fair amount of compensation that will cover all of their damages, meaning you might need to pursue your compensation a different way.
A bike injury attorney is able to help you do this by filing a personal injury claim with the appropriate court on your behalf. California personal injury laws only allot victims two years from the day of their injury to prepare and file a claim. If that deadline expires and you have not yet filed, you will lose your right to collect any kind of financial compensation at all.
How Much is My Bicycle Injury Case Worth?
The value of a bike injury claim will vary greatly from case to case. There are several factors that can help you calculate the approximate dollar value of your case, such as:
- The nature and scope of your physical injuries
- The expense of the medical treatments your injuries required and how much any future or ongoing medical care and treatments are going to cost
- If your injuries were serious enough that you were unable to work and, as a result, you lost income
- If your injuries resulted in any permanent or long-term disabilities, disfigurement, or impairments
- The degree to which you experienced any physical pain and/or mental anguish due to your accident-related injuries
A seasoned bicycle accident attorney will be able to examine the circumstances surrounding your unique California personal injury case and accurately determine what your claim might be worth.
Call the Bicycle Accident Lawyers at Beckerman Anderson Today
Most personal injury claims in California have a two-year statute of limitations, meaning they must be filed no more than two years from the day your accident occurred. There are, however, a variety of factors that can shorten or lengthen the amount of time you have to file. For instance, if you are filing a personal injury claim against a government agency, you only have 180 days to do so, or your case will be summarily dismissed.
To get the best results possible from your case, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. An insurance company will stop at nothing to get you to agree to a lowball settlement which can seem pretty tempting when your medical bills are mounting, and you haven’t been able to work.
The bicycle accident lawyers at Beckerman Anderson pride themselves on producing exceptional results for their clients. Contact our Orange County law offices at (949) 409-4299 or get in touch through the contact form on our website to schedule your free consultation with a bicycle accident attorney today.
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