Bicycling is a popular way to get around. Cycling has many advantages, but it also carries many risks. Understanding the bicycle accident law in Los Angeles is important. Bicyclists and motorists need to know their rights and responsibilities.
The Capital Law Firm prides itself on educating its clients. Let’s look at some aspects of bicycle accident law in LA:
Understanding Bicycle Accident Law in Los Angeles, CA
Bicycle accident law in Los Angeles involves a combination of many things. Here’s an overview of what you should know:
Traffic Laws for Cyclists
- Cyclists are required to follow the same traffic laws as motor vehicles in Los Angeles. This means obeying traffic signals, stop signs, and other rules of the road.
- Bicyclists should ride in the same direction as traffic and stay as close to the right-hand curb as possible.
- Hand signals for turning and stopping should be used to indicate your intentions.
- California law states that cyclists under 18 years of age must wear a helmet when riding.
- Bicycles should have a front white light and a red rear reflector or red rear light when riding in the dark.
Bicycle Lanes and Bike Paths
Cyclists should use bike lanes and paths when available. Do not ride on the sidewalk.
Cyclists often have the right-of-way on the road. However, they still need to exercise care and follow traffic laws.
Personal Injury Claims
Cyclists can be seriously hurt if they get into an accident. Collisions are often the result of someone else’s carelessness (negligence). In this case, you may have a personal injury claim. You may be entitled to compensation for things like medical expenses or lost wages.
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, it’s important to gather evidence from the scene. Try to take photos. Be sure to also collect witness statements and the driver’s information.
California follows a “comparative negligence” system. This means that parties may share responsibility for an accident. They will also share the money awarded for damages. For example, if you are 50% responsible for the accident, you will receive 50% of the compensation.
Have you been in a bike accident with a motor vehicle? The driver’s auto insurance policy may cover your injuries and damages. Talk with a personal injury attorney about how to check your own auto and health insurance policies for coverage. They may provide you with even more coverage.
If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run accident, call the police as soon as possible. Acting quickly gives you the best chance of catching the motorist who hurt you. Your auto insurance may help cover your losses, too. Check to see if you have uninsured motorist coverage.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations refers to a deadline for filing a lawsuit. In California, there is a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit. You have a set timeframe from the date of the accident to file a claim. This timeframe varies due to several factors so please consult with a personal injury lawyer to learn more.
Seek Legal Advice From An Expert Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Are you a bicyclist who has been involved in a bicycle accident? Are you unsure about your rights or the best course of action? Contact our team of experienced personal injury attorneys! At The Capital Law Firm, we will help you navigate the legal process. We can negotiate with insurance companies for you, and represent you in court if necessary.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Los Angeles
Bicycle accidents can result from everything from human mistakes to poor road conditions. Understanding the common causes of bicycle accidents can help both cyclists and motorists prevent them.
Here are some of the common causes of bicycle accidents in Los Angeles:
Motorists can be distracted by many things. They may be eating, using cell phones, or adjusting their GPS system. They may not notice cyclists on the road, leading to collisions.
Failure to Yield
Motorists may not give bicyclists the right-of-way. Cars that do not yield to cyclists at intersections, crosswalks, or when making turns can cause accidents.
“Dooring” occurs when a driver or passenger in a parked car opens their door into the path of an oncoming cyclist. This sudden obstacle can lead to crashes.
Unsafe Lane Changes
Motorists may change lanes without checking their blind spots. Or, they may fail to use their turn signals. In either case, they may collide with a cyclist in the next lane.
Excessive speed reduces a driver’s reaction time. Speeding makes it more challenging to avoid cyclists who suddenly appear on the road.
Running Red Lights and Stop Signs
Motorists who run red lights, or fail to stop at stop signs, can collide with cyclists who have the right-of-way.
A driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered “impaired.” Impaired drivers are less able to react quickly, which can lead to a bike accident.
Poor Road Conditions
Potholes, uneven pavement, and debris on the roadway can cause cyclists to lose control of their bike. This can lead to a bicycle crash.
Low visibility can make it difficult for motorists and bicyclists to see each other. Night driving and bad weather can make it especially hard to see.
Inadequate Bike Infrastructure
Bike lanes are not always available to cyclists. This can force cyclists to share the road with motor vehicles, increasing the risk of accidents.
Aggressive drivers are those who tailgate, honk, or engage in road rage behaviors. They create a hostile environment for cyclists.
Fatigued drivers are more likely to make errors. They may not react in time to avoid a collision with a cyclist.
An inexperienced cyclist may not follow traffic rules or handle their bikes properly. This can contribute to accidents.
Cyclists who don’t follow road rules, or who take risks, can increase the chance of accidents.
Understanding the common causes of bicycle accidents can help everyone who shares the road. It is important to be aware of, and follow, traffic laws to reduce these kinds of accidents.
Legal Rights of Bicycle Accident Victims
People hurt in bike accidents have legal rights that protect their interests. It is important to contact a personal injury lawyer who has knowledge of these rights. They can help you seek compensation and justice when you are injured.
Here are some of the legal rights and options available to bicycle accident victims:
Right to Seek Compensation
You have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. This may include medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Right to File a Personal Injury Claim
Was someone else to blame for the accident? If so, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
Right to a Fair Investigation
You have the right to a fair and thorough investigation of the accident. A skilled lawyer can help you gather evidence. They will also speak to witnesses, and assess the scene of the crash.
Right to Legal Representation
You have the right to legal representation. It is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side. Our lawyers at The Capital Law Firm can fight to get you the most compensation possible.
Right to Medical Treatment
You have the right to receive medical treatment for your injuries. You might need emergency care or surgery right away. Over time, you may need physical therapy or ongoing medical care.
Right to Document Injuries
Bicycle accident victims should keep track of their injuries and treatment. This can be important evidence in a personal injury claim.
Right to Preserve Evidence
It’s important to preserve evidence related to the accident. Try to take photographs of the scene and your damaged bicycle.
Right to Consult with Experts in the Field
Complex cases might require the help of experts. Reconstruction specialists can help figure out what caused the accident. Medical professionals can testify about your injuries. Their statements can help to establish liability and damages.
Right to Negotiate with Insurance Companies
You have the right to negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company. They may try to get you to reach a settlement out of court. But, be cautious. Consider seeking legal advice during these negotiations.
Right to Legal Action
Sometimes a fair settlement cannot be reached out of court. Bicycle accident victims have the right to file a lawsuit. The case will go to civil court, where you can fight for compensation for your injuries.
Right to Compensation for Different Types of Damages
You have the right to seek compensation for things like medical expenses or lost wages. You may also be able to get money for pain and suffering, or emotional distress.
Right to a Jury Trial
If your case goes to trial, you have the right to have your case heard by a jury of your peers. They will determine who was at fault and award damages.
Right to File a Lawsuit Within the Statute of Limitations
In California, the statute of limitations is the timeframe in which you must file a lawsuit; the timeframe starts with the date of the accident. You must file a personal injury lawsuit by that deadline in order to get any damages.
Understanding these legal rights is essential for bicycle accident victims. A good lawyer can guide their client through the process and get them justice.
At The Capital Law Firm, we believe in winning by caring. We are here to support you through the legal process and get you the justice you deserve. When we fight for you, it’s personal!
Determining Liability in Bicycle Accident Cases
One of the most important parts of a personal injury case is determining who was at fault. This is called “liability.” If someone’s carelessness (negligence) caused you harm, they may be found liable. This can affect how much money you receive in a settlement.
There are many factors to consider when determining liability:
1. Duty of Care
Was the driver who hit you practicing duty of care? Motorists owe a “duty of care” to pedestrians, cyclists and all road users. This duty involves following traffic laws, obeying speed limits, and driving safely.
2. Breach of Duty
To prove liability, you must show that the at-fault party did not practice duty of care. This could mean they were speeding or they ran a red light at an intersection. Perhaps they were distracted by phones or a GPS system. Your case will need to demonstrate the other driver was not driving safely.
The next step is to show the breach of duty was a direct cause of the bicycle accident. The better your evidence is, the stronger your case will be.
4. Comparative Negligence
California follows a comparative negligence system. This means that fault can be shared between more than one party. The court decides the degree of fault for all parties involved. If you and the other parties are all found partly liable, you may only be given part of the award.
5. Witness Testimonies and Evidence
Statements from witnesses are important because they can help determine who is at fault. Photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and road conditions can also help establish who is at fault.
6. Police Reports
Police officers who respond to the scene usually create an accident report. This report often contains valuable information about the accident. The report may include witness statements, or any citations issued. Be sure to ask for a copy of this report.
7. Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses may be called to testify in your case. Accident reconstruction specialists can provide their expert opinion about how the crash happened. This can help determine who is at fault.
8. Video Footage
Sometimes videos of the accident are available. Security cameras or dashcams can provide clear evidence of what happened leading up to the crash.
9. Driver’s Admission of Fault
In some cases, the driver involved in the accident may admit they are at fault. Their admission of guilt can be used as evidence to determine liability.
10. Bicycle Maintenance and Visibility
Was your bicycle in good condition? Were you wearing the appropriate reflective gear? If your bike was poorly maintained or the driver couldn’t see you, it may affect liability.
11. Municipal Liability
Roadways are usually maintained by government agencies. If poor road conditions played a role in your accident, the government could be liable.
12. Manufacturer Liability
In rare cases, bike crashes may result from defective bicycle parts. In such instances, the manufacturer of the defective parts could be held liable.
Determining liability in bicycle accident cases can be a complex process. Seeking legal counsel from an experienced bicycle accident attorney is crucial. At The Capital Law Firm, we are here to help you through every step of the process. We will fight to protect your rights. By building a strong case, we will help you to receive fair compensation for your losses.
Filing a Bicycle Accident Claim in Los Angeles
Here’s an easy step-by-step guide on how to file a bicycle accident claim in Los Angeles:
1. Seek Medical Attention
Your health and safety should be your top priority. Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Some injuries may not seem severe at first, but lead to bigger problems. It’s important to have a medical evaluation. This evaluation may be used as evidence later.
2. Report the Accident
Did law enforcement show up to the scene of the accident? If not, you should file a police report as soon as possible. This report will document the details of the accident. It may be critical later in establishing liability.
3. Gather Evidence
Collect evidence from the accident scene. Take pictures of the crash site, damage to your bike, and any visible injuries. Collect contact information from witnesses. If possible, obtain the driver’s information and insurance details.
4. Preserve Evidence
Keep all evidence that is related to the accident. This includes medical records and accident reports. It can also include photos, and any correspondence with the other driver or their insurance company.
5. Consult with a Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Call for a consultation with a personal injury attorney. Choose one who specializes in bicycle accident cases. At The Capital Law Firm, we have experience with these types of cases. We can help you understand your rights. We will evaluate the strength of your case and provide you with legal guidance throughout the process.
This includes advising you on how to handle notifying your own insurance company about the accidents and seeing if you have coverage through a personal injury protection (PIP) policy or bicycle accident insurance policy.
6. Determine Liability
Work with your attorney to establish who was at fault for the crash. Gather evidence to prove that the other party’s carelessness was the cause of the accident.
7. File a Claim with the At-Fault Party’s Insurance
If you are working with a lawyer, they will speak with insurance companies for you. If not, you must contact the at-fault party’s insurance company yourself. You will initiate a claim with them. Be prepared to provide them with details of the accident. This includes your injuries and any supporting documentation they request.
9. Negotiate a Settlement
Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement. They will be able to advise you if the first offer is too low. At The Capital Law Firm, we will keep fighting until we reach the settlement you deserve!
10. Consider Mediation or Arbitration
Sometimes negotiations with the insurance company are unsuccessful. The next step is to explore other routes, such as mediation or arbitration. In this case, a third party will review your case and provide a verdict. This saves the time and money of a court trial. But, in most cases, the decision of the arbitrator is final. If you don’t like the ruling, there may not be anything more you can do.
11. File a Lawsuit
Another option is to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. In California, there is a set timeline to do this for personal injury claims. This is called a statute of limitations. It is important not to delay this step.
12. Litigation and Trial
Your lawyer will guide you through the legal process. This has many parts, including discovery, depositions, and possibly a trial. If a settlement cannot be reached, a judge or jury will deliver a verdict.
13. Receive Compensation
If your case is successful, you may receive compensation. This money can be used for things like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact a Trusted and Competent Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today!
Filing a bicycle accident claim in Los Angeles can be a complicated process. It is best to have an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side. At The Capital Law Firm, we put our clients first. We will help educate you on the legal process and will fight for your rights. We believe in winning by caring!
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!