Many people like bicycling not only because it is a great way to exercise, but it helps in relaxation and stress reduction. Bicyclists are, however, exposed to severe injuries in the event of an accident. Lack of attention by motorists is often the leading cause of bicycle accidents. The Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney helps bicyclists injured in accidents recover compensation. We will evaluate the cause of the bicycle accident and help in proving liability or negotiating for fair compensation.
Common Causes of Different Types of Bicycle Accidents
Despite the authorities taking measures to design bicyclist-friendly paths, bicyclists need to share roads with other vehicles. You might be very careful on the road and take a defensive approach when cycling, but your safety will mostly depend on other road users. It means no matter how careful you are, bicycle accidents are inevitable. But understanding what causes these accidents can help avoid an accident even if the motorist would be the person entirely responsible. Some of the primary reasons for these accidents include:
Dangerous or Hazardous Road Conditions
In some incidences, bicycle accidents occur as a result of poor road conditions and not negligent drivers. These accidents happen when there is a sudden change in the road surface, making it easy for bicyclists to lose control of the bicycle. Vehicles or large trucks, on the other hand, are not affected by sudden uneven road surfaces. As a result of you losing control over the bicycle, you might end up getting in the way of a vehicle, thus resulting in an accident.
If a road is used for a long time, it is likely to wear and tear, which results in potholes. It is the reason why roads require regular maintenance so that these potholes can be fixed or get quality patches. But if the roads are not maintained, and these potholes remain unfixed, bicyclists are at high risk of being involved in a collision.
When sewer grades, trolley tracks, or railroads are on the road, they pose a great danger to bicyclists. The reason being they can cause bicycle tires to get stuck, making the cyclist fall off the bike or veer into oncoming traffic resulting in a catastrophic accident.
Take note that most of the roads in Los Angeles are under the local, state, or federal government. These agencies are in charge of ensuring that roadways are in good condition through regular maintenance and proper design and construction of roads. As such, if you are a victim of a bicycle collision caused by poor road conditions, these agencies are to be held liable. Unfortunately, some of these agencies have a specific degree of immunity, and for this reason, they might not be held accountable for causing injuries. But under certain circumstances, you can hold these government agencies responsible though you must give notice before doing so.
Human Error and Distracted Driving
The majority of bicycle accidents may be preventable if motorists were more conversant with their surroundings and exercised defensive driving. Distraction is among the leading causes of both bicycle and car accidents. Drivers are encouraged to stay focused on the road at all times to avoid potential dangers.
Technological advancements and the paced society have resulted in things like cell phones and navigation systems, which make drivers multitask while driving. These and other things like applying makeup, eating and drinking while driving can take the eyes of the driver off the road, causing a swerve that might hit a cyclist. Such things increase the possibility of bicycle accidents mostly when a bicyclist is crossing the car’s path, and the driver’s eyes are not paying attention to the road.
Distracted driving can also occur because of drowsiness or DUI. If a driver exercises distracted driving, the lives of both the driver and other road users, including bicyclists, are put on serious risk. A driver experiencing drowsiness because of fatigue or lack of sleep is at risk of falling asleep while driving, thus losing control over the vehicle. The car might veer off the road, hitting bicyclists who often ride along the roadway or on bicycle paths. DUI, on the other hand, impairs your judgment and reaction time. Impaired drivers are likely to hit bicyclists when they are unable to stay on their lanes or avoid oncoming obstacles like bikes.
The Positioning of the Bicycle on the Road
Bicycle accidents can also occur because of your positioning as a cyclist relative to the motorist whom you collide with, resulting in your injuries. Your positioning at the time of a crash may result in a wide variety of bicycle accidents. One of the accidents that are attributable to an inferior positioning on the bike is a dooring accident. These accidents occur when a bicyclist runs into a car door opened on their path. These accidents happen when a driver parked on the street or close to a bicycle lane tries to exit the vehicle carelessly, giving you less reaction time to slow down or stop, thus running into the door. These accidents are common in busy streets where heavy traffic forces bicyclists to ride on the side of parked vehicles. In these accidents, the driver is usually responsible because they have a legal obligation of ensuring they check the road to ensure that it is safe to exit.
Another type of bicycle accident that might occur because of poor positioning is sideswiping. It is not uncommon for motorists to deny bicyclists enough room for passing. Drivers, however, complain that bicyclists get on their way when they drive to the left corner of the road, but bicyclists cannot choose the alternative because it increases their risk of being doored. As such, California law encourages motorists to maintain a safe distance between them and a bicycle when overtaking. That way, cases of bikes sideswiping will reduce significantly.
The positioning of a bicycle relative to the bicyclist also causes rear-end accidents. Bicyclists are usually rear-ended if the driver from behind is following too closely or when he or she is not paying attention to the road. These accidents are common when a cyclist is trying to prevent a doored accident by moving to the left to avoid parked cars or in a stop sign. These types of crashes are preventable if drivers maintain a safe distance between them and the bicycle in front.
When a motorist is trying to cross into the bicyclist's path at an intersection or driveway, right or left, cross bicycle accidents may happen. Positioning causes these accidents since the bicycle will have already entered the intersection. Because visibility is reduced when this happens, drivers may not see the cyclist, which results in bicycle accidents. The accidents can be prevented if bicyclists use reflective gears at night, use headlights, or wear visible clothing. Riding further left on the road might also give you time as a cyclist to react.
If you are positioned to the right of a vehicle at an intersection, the car might hook you to the right when turning right. The small size of bikes and failure by drivers to check their blind spots when making a right turn also causes bicycle accidents. It is possible to prevent accidents if you cycle further left in the road where you are more visible to drivers as they will need to overtake you first before making the turn.
Aggressive driving occurs when a driver intentionally exhibits reckless behavior that puts the life of the motorist and the lives of other road users at risk. When a driver exhibits this behavior while sharing the road with another motorist, it poses a lot of danger. But the person who will be in more danger is a bicyclist who shares the way with an aggressive driver. Aggressive behavior, like speeding by motorists, causes many accidents. These accidents happen because when a vehicle is speeding, there will be little or no reaction time for an unsuspecting motorist hence causing catastrophic injuries.
Tailgating, dangerous lane changing, disobeying traffic lights and signals, blocking a bicycle path or lane, verbal abuse, and squeezing the distance between a vehicle and a bicyclist are among the aggressive behaviors by motorists that cause bicycle accidents.
Take note that as a cyclist, you will encounter aggressive drivers on the road often. Engaging with such drivers is a dangerous move, especially because the bicycle lacks a body to protect you in case of an accident. For this reason, the best thing to do is to avoid aggressive drivers on the road by all means.
When it comes to most bicycle accidents in Los Angeles, most people will refer to a situation where a vehicle hits a bicyclist. But there is one danger that people overlook, which involves a defective bicycle causing an accident. When a bicycle malfunction due to a mechanical problem caused by a faulty part, it may result in a bicycle accident or make it impossible to avoid an otherwise avoidable accident. Such incidences might result in severe injuries that would have otherwise been avoided.
Defects in bicycles can stem from several issues. It might be a defective design by the manufacturer or a faulty component that was poorly manufactured. The typical bicycle failures include:
- Defective or carbon fork failure
- Cracked carbon fiber frames
- Defective wheels or tires
- Faulty brakes
- Fault on quick-release hubs on the front tire
- Failure to meet safety standards
- Incorrect materials and assembly
Take note there has been bicycle recalls in the past because of the above failures or defects. Recalls are often announced so that in case you buy a defective bike, you may sue the following parties of the fault that causes an accident that leaves you with severe injuries:
- Manufacturer of the bicycle or its components
- The company that assembled the bicycle
- The wholesaler
- The retailer
- The bicycle repair outlet
- The Los Angeles city if the bicycle is from a Hubway
The Los Angeles personal Injury Attorney encourages bicyclists who are injured in bicycle accidents and suspect a defective part or bicycle to be the cause of the accident to collect evidence right away. You may take the photos of the damage done on the bike, the road surface where the accident occurred, and the scene or surroundings of the accident. These will play a pivotal role in your personal injury claim because the photos will eliminate the need to consider other things that might have caused the accident. There being no reason to believe that another thing caused the accident, it will be easy to attribute the crash and your injuries to a faulty bicycle or component.
Other things that may cause bicycle accidents are:
- Pedestrians knocking over bicyclists
- Cycling team accidents
Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident
If you are involved in a bicycle accident stemming from any of the above causes, you are likely to feel confused about your next move. Remember that the steps you take after a collision will play a massive part in your compensation claim if you decide to sue the responsible person. Below are some of the things need to do after a bicycle accident:
Contact the Police
Immediately after the crash, calling the police is the right move. The police will identify those responsible for the accident and prepare a police report. Make sure you cooperate with the police during investigations. At the end of the process, you should request a copy of the report so that you can compare it with the one you have made.
It’s not every time that the police will come to the scene of the accident. For this reason, get the names and contacts of the parties involved in the crash and witnesses. And because it’s not every time after an accident you will be in a position to exchange information, you can request somebody else to do it. The data will be useful in the future if you want to conduct more investigations.
Get Medical Examination
Whether you have been injured or not, a medical checkup is essential. Seeking medical attention prevents severe injuries that result from delayed symptoms. Getting treatment right away will also help in determining whether you have sustained any underlying injuries like internal bleeding, TBI, and spinal cord injuries. After treatment, request copies of your medical records and make sure you follow your doctor’s post-treatment instructions.
Avoid Signing Medical Authorization
After receiving treatment, the insurance company of the liable party will try to access your medical records when they learn about the accident. They do this with the intent of linking your current injuries with a prior accident or injury. As such, do not share information about the crash with insurance adjusters because they are out to find a basis for denying you the claim or reducing the amount of compensation.
Call a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney
Trying to pursue compensation on your own will be an uphill task because of the complexity of laying a personal injury claim. Get help from a personal injury attorney specializing in bicycle accidents to increase the chances of compensation.
Proving Your Bicycle Accident Claim
There is nothing more painful and frustrating than having your life ruined because of injuries sustained from a bicycle accident caused by someone’s negligence. It is the reason victims of these accidents should seek compensation. But to receive the compensation you must prove willful action and negligence caused the injuries. Some of the ways you can demonstrate your claim include:
- Using photos and videos from the accident
- Expert testimonies
- Witness statements
- Medical reports
- Police report
Winning a claim requires substantial evidence to back your claim. At the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, we will help you conduct separate investigations on the case and provide strong evidence that will ensure maximum compensation. Contact us immediately after your accident to ensure valuable evidence doesn’t go missing, thus weakening your claim.
Damages you can Recover from a Bicycle Accident Injury Claim
Any person who was a cause or contributed to the bicycle accident is responsible for your injuries. The type of compensation you receive will depend on whether the victim of the accident was injured or died from the collision.
If you succeed in proving you suffered injuries because of negligence by the responsible party, you are likely to receive the following damages:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Emotional distress
- Property loss
- Punitive damages
- Lost income
The damages recoverable depend on the extent of your injuries. If you sustained minor injuries, you would receive compensation for emergency medical care and lost wages for the few days you will miss work because of the injuries. If the injuries are severe, there will be more damages available.
If the victim of a bicycle accident dies, the spouse or domestic partner will lose companionship, intimacy, and support. On top of receiving wrongful death damages, you will be compensated for the loss of consortium. It is even possible to claim punitive damages, but if only you can prove the defendant exhibited outrageous behavior.
Find the Right Bicycle Accident Attorney Near Me
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident due to another person’s wrongful conduct or negligence, you should reach out to the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping personal injury victims seek reimbursement for the injuries. Schedule a free consultation by contacting us at 424-231-2013.