Top Rated Orange County Bike Accident Attorneys
While Orange County is one of the most bicycle-friendly places you can find it does not mean that roads are completely safe for bicyclists. Even though laws protect bikers and allow them to share the road while being protected, it does not mean that drivers always follow these laws. The result is that bikers will occasionally suffer serious injuries in accidents.
If you sustain injuries while cycling, your first call should be to an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer.
If you have been injured in a bike accident, then you may need to consult with an attorney. The right lawyer will help you recover your full damages and get your life back on track. You deserve justice after experiencing an injury like this.
Orange County Roads Have Become More Dangerous for Bicyclists
Like every other kind of road accident injury, bicycle fatalities have increased in California as the streets have become a more dangerous place. Over a recent three-year period, the State of California experienced the highest average number of fatalities in 25 years. Serious bicycle accident injuries have experienced a steady climb during this century.
One out of every five bicycle accident deaths occurs in California. This far outpaces the state’s total proportion of the national population. This trend shows no sign of slowing down either.
Some reasons for the increasing danger have to do with the popularity of bicycling. More warmer days and the fact that more people than ever are cycling mean that the roads are more crowded with bicyclists. The increasing number of bike lanes and paths also draw more people.
Common Causes of Orange County Bicycle Accidents
Here are some common causes of bicycle accidents in California:
- Distracted driving - Motorists often do not spot bicyclists until it is too late because they may be looking down at their mobile devices or doing something else behind the wheel.
- Speeding - Driving too fast is especially dangerous because of the difference in speed between drivers and bicyclists. Drivers often cannot avoid bicyclists.
- Tailgating - Motorists must maintain a safe distance between themselves and the biker. Otherwise, they may run into the bike.
- Dangerous lane changes - Drivers who are not paying attention can make illegal turns that cut across a bicyclist. When they make right turns, they end up in the biker’s space and could cause a crash.
Bicyclists are at serious risk in a crash. They can either be thrown from their bike or could end up across the hood of the car and going through the windshield. According to the CDC, almost half a million people were injured in bicycle accidents in the U.S. in 2015. While not all of these injuries happened in crashes with motor vehicles, one out of every 50 fatalities in car crashes is a bicyclist.
Where Do Most Bike Accidents Happen?
Most cycling accidents happen on busy roadways. This is because there is often not enough room for the bicyclists in addition to the cars. On some busy roads, there may not even be a bike lane. Cycling without a bike lane is less safe. Cyclists become more prone to injury by drivers who are not paying attention. It is important to be careful while biking without a lane.
Also, based on the statistics, more bike accidents occur in Southern California than in Northern California. This is probably because the roads in Southern California are not built for bicycles. And also, because drivers are less aware of cyclists and less aware of the rules regarding bikes.
Bike Accident Injuries
Here are some common bicycle accident injuries:
- Traumatic brain injuries - Even bikers who are wearing helmets can end up injured when their head hits the pavement or a car. These injuries can range from concussions to more serious and permanent conditions that leave the victim’s life changed forever.
- Spinal cord injuries - Falling off the bike and onto the pavement can cause serious head and neck injuries that can lead to spinal cord trauma. Fractured vertebrae can damage the spinal column.
- Internal injuries - Bicyclists can suffer internal bleeding and damage to organs from the impact.
- Fractures - This is the most common injury from the impact of the fall.
All the above injuries are very serious, and you would likely need extensive medical treatment after the accident. We could tell you the steps that you need to take for your case, but if you have suffered serious injuries, chances are that you cannot do anything. If you have been severely hurt, you likely cannot work on your own legal case.
What Should I Do if I am in a Bike Accident?
If you have been in a bike accident and believe you may be injured, take the following steps:
- Get the driver’s information. This should include their driver’s license number, their license plate number, and their auto insurance carrier.
- Document the accident. If you’re able to and you have a phone or a camera, take photographs of any damage to your bike. Also photograph any injuries you may have and the driver’s car. You may also want to photograph where the accident occurred. This will help to capture the precise location of the accident and the conditions of the roadway at the time.
- Seek Immediate Treatment. If you’re injured, seek medical treatment right away. Be sure to document your treatment. Keep and organize all medical records and invoices. Take notes at doctor visits and keep a journal with entries of your symptoms and treatment.
If your doctor has given you a diagnosis, get that in writing in the form of a doctor’s note. This note may include your diagnosis, plan for treatment, medications, how long your injuries may take to heal, how long you will be out of work (and other daily activities), etc.
What if the driver flees the scene?
It is an unfortunate reality, but sometimes drivers will hit bicyclists and then flee the scene in panic before an exchange of information can take place.
If the other driver (or the person who otherwise caused your injury) has fled the scene, take the following steps:
- Make a police report. Recall the details to the best of your ability.
- Report the incident to your auto insurance. You often will have coverage in your own insurance policy that will cover a bike accident. Even if another person was at fault. This is common. We call this an uninsured motorist claim.
You can also report a bike accident to your insurance if the driver who caused the accident does not have auto insurance. If the driver who hit you has auto insurance, then this incident should be covered under their policy.
Is Suing After a Bike Accident Worth It?
Along with whether an attorney is necessary, people often wonder whether it is worthwhile to sue after a bike accident. Every case has its own facts and merits.
If your injuries are severe, you will have a long time of recovery. In such cases, you will have a lot of medical expenses and lost earnings. In this case, it would likely make sense to file a lawsuit.
Another reason you would want to file a lawsuit is if the at-fault driver’s insurance company is not offering you enough money on the claim. Every bike accident case is unique. Speaking with a personal injury attorney is always a smart decision. A good personal injury lawyer can help you assess your options after a bike accident. This will include an analysis of whether you should file a lawsuit.
How Do I Make an Insurance Claim After a Bike Accident?
After a bicycle accident, you should make an insurance claim as soon as possible. Those insurance claims will be to the at-fault party’s insurance. It will also be to your own automobile insurance.
It’s very important to put the insurance company on notice of the accident and the injuries right away. The insurance company will then start collecting information about the accident. When the time is right, and you’ve recovered from your injuries, an attorney will seek to reach a settlement for your bicycle injury. If the settlement is not adequate, then your attorney will discuss filing a lawsuit with you.
The Critical Importance of Hiring a Bicycle Accident Attorney
This is why it is important for your or your loved ones to hire an attorney right after your accident. The steps towards a legal claim start immediately after an injury, and the claims process does not wait for the health of a victim to improve. The statute of limitations begins to run right after the injury regardless of the condition of the victim.
California law requires drivers to carry insurance, so making a claim would likely be the first phase of the compensation process. This may be your one chance to recover for your injuries, so it is critical to secure enough compensation. If your injuries are severe enough, you may never be able to resume your full life prior to the bicycle accident, and that needs to be reflected in your settlement.
Compensation for an Orange County Bike Accident
After a bicycle accident, you have the legal right to be compensated. You are entitled to your actual economic injuries plus payment for the experience that you went through and continue to endure. Your damages could include the following:
- Lost wages for the time that you cannot work or the reduction in your earning capacity
- Payment for past and future medical expenses out of your pocket, including your share of doctor’s bills, medical equipment, and prescriptions
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Damages for disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death if someone was killed in the accident
Whether you settle your claim with the insurance company or take your case all the way to court, the legal concept is the same; someone else must pay for their carelessness if it caused you injury. Our lawyers fight for you to receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled under the law.
When it comes to your legal rights after a bicycle accident, you should not leave anything to chance. The insurance company sees claimants trying to proceed on their own as an easy mark. While they may try to take advantage of you, there is less of a chance that they can when you have an experienced lawyer looking out for your legal rights.
Contact an Orange County Bike Accident Attorney
The attorneys at the Law Office of Brent W. Caldwell handle legal cases for injured bicyclists throughout Orange County. We handle the details so you can focus on what is important. Call us today at (714) 844-1682 or contact us online to learn how we can help you. The consultation is completely free, and you owe us nothing unless you recover financially.