Bicycle Accident Attorney Orange County
Orange County has over 100 cycling routes, making it an excellent place for people who like commuting to work or exercising using a bicycle. Unfortunately, there is a high percentage of bicycle accidents in Orange County, even with dedicated bicycle lanes. There are different types of bicycle accidents, such as an accident with a vehicle, another bicycle, or a stationary object.
In a bicycle-car accident, cyclists are at a greater disadvantage than motorists as they have less protection. There are various causes of bicycle accidents, including speeding drivers, alcohol use, or disregarding traffic laws. Bike riders can be severely injured in these accidents, which makes it important to know what to do if you or your loved one gets involved in a bike accident. The injury victim can seek to recover damages from the accident with the help of an experienced bicycle accident attorney in Orange County.
What Are Common Bicycle Accident Injuries?
Bicycle accidents can result in different injuries, some needing immediate medical attention, prolonged rest, or surgery. Serious bike accidents may even be fatal. For example, when a cyclist is thrown over the bike handle, they can hit the windshield of a vehicle or land hard on the pavement, suffering a traumatic injury to the head. Head injuries from bicycle accidents could result in anything from minor abrasions to a skull fracture.
Cyclists in minor bike accidents can suffer from road rash, abrasions, bruises, lacerations, and sprains. More severe collisions can result in internal injuries, brain injuries, or spinal cord injuries, leading to permanent disability, such as paralysis. A severe injury means expensive medical bills, which is why obtaining maximum compensation in bicycle accident cases is helpful.
Serious bike injuries can require prolonged rehabilitation, which could lead to lost wages for bicycle accident victims. The recovery from injuries, medical bills, and the overall financial impact of cycling accidents can be overwhelming. If you are an injured bicyclist, consider hiring a bicycle accident lawyer to get justice for your damages.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
Merging or Turning Without Looking
Many bicycle accidents in Orange County occur when a cyclist is making a left turn, and the driver of a motor vehicle fails to spot them. All drivers and cyclists must remain in their lanes and check for pedestrians, cars, or bicycles before turning at intersections. Making an illegal turn or merging into a street without yielding to oncoming traffic can cause a severe bicycle accident.
A right hook can cause a bicycle accident on the road. A right hook happens when the vehicle on the left side of the bicycle suddenly makes a right turn and collides with the bicycle. The only way to avoid a right-hook accident is to anticipate that the vehicle will make a turn so you can keep an adequate distance from the vehicle. This way, you can stop in time to avoid a severe collision.
Failure to Give Right of Way
Failure to give right of way can result in a bicycle accident. Merging lanes without giving the right of way to the traffic increases the possibility of colliding with a speeding motorist. This severe bicycle accident can result in serious injury and even death. If you need to turn or merge a lane, you should always indicate to the vehicles on the road using a hand signal.
In Orange County, California, it is a crime for people to drive or cycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Alcohol can impair your judgment and increase the risk of an accident. Cycling under the influence of alcohol can put every road user, including yourself, in danger.
Even though it is illegal, many people continue to drive or cycle under the influence of alcohol which leads to severe bicycle accidents. So, you should always check your surroundings on the road and watch out for erratic, reckless, or speeding drivers.
Distracted Driving or Cycling
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of Motorists who do not pay attention to the road while driving can cause serious accidents. Common distractions include eating or using the phone while driving. Distractions can reduce the response time for a driver, increasing the risk of accidents.
Distractions are not limited to drivers only, as cyclists can also make this mistake and, consequently, suffer injuries. For example, if they use their phones, cyclists can unknowingly depart from their lane into oncoming traffic.
Disregarding Traffic Signals
Road safety indicators, such as traffic signals and stop signs, are essential for all road users, including motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Disregarding stop signs and traffic signals can get you involved in an Orange County bicycle accident. In addition, cyclists are required to use rear lights and headlights to make them visible to motorists on the road.
What to Do If You Are Involved In an Orange County Bicycle Accident?
You should seek immediate medical attention if you suffer injuries from a bicycle accident. Do not let the excessive medical expenses make you hesitant to seek immediate medical treatment. Getting proper medical attention should be your priority after the accident. The at-fault party is responsible for compensating for your medical expenses, and your medical records can serve as evidence for your court or insurance claim.
When the police arrive at the accident scene, you can ask them to provide you with a copy of the police report for the accident. This police report can be crucial evidence in a personal injury lawsuit. In addition, you can consult a personal injury law firm about gathering evidence, including the accident report, medical bills, surveillance footage, and more.
Another important step is documenting everything, provided you are in reasonable physical and mental shape after the accident. Take photos and videos of the accident scene, the condition of your bicycle, and the injuries sustained. In addition, you should document all relevant items from the accident to serve as evidence in your personal injury claim or lawsuit.
If you suffered from the accident, do not accept any settlement from the opposing party at the accident site. Instead, consult with an attorney before making any demands or accepting financial compensation for the accident. You should also get the insurance and contact information of the driver.
Do not directly engage with the insurance company of the opposing driver. Instead, hire a personal injury lawyer to walk you through all the legal proceedings following an Orange County bicycle accident.
What Are the Legal Options After a Cycling Accident?
You can initiate a personal injury claim if you get involved in a bicycle accident. If you seek proper compensation for a loved one, you can initiate a third-party claim. You will file with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
In a third-party claim, you should provide all documents supporting your claim and seek compensation from the other party. However, it can be challenging to obtain a fair settlement without the assistance of an experienced bicycle accident lawyer.
The insurance company can dispute your claim, stating that the evidence you submitted is insufficient. They can also try to convince you to accept a lower compensation for your suffering. However, experienced bicycle accident lawyers are well-versed in personal injury cases, so they know how to negotiate with the insurance company to obtain a fair settlement for their clients.
If you and the other party disagree on a settlement, California law allows you to sue the opposing party for the bicycle accident. According to the California statute of limitations, the victim has two years from the date of the bicycle accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other party. A bicycle accident attorney can help you gather evidence and witnesses to testify in court and prove the liability of the other driver. In addition, bicycle accident attorneys with experience in the field know how to present the facts of the case in court to help you obtain a favorable verdict.
How Is Liability Proven In an Orange County Bicycle Accident?
Checking the facts of the case is the only way to determine who is at fault for causing the bicycle accident. In some cases, more than one party can be at fault for causing the bicycle accident.
The court considers several factors in establishing liability. For example, if the driver was driving under the influence, speeding, making an illegal turn, was distracted, or did not obey the traffic laws, it might be straightforward to establish their fault. However, in other cases, the bicyclists can also be at fault if they didt not follow the traffic laws.
The courts use a comparative negligence system in Orange County to determine liability. In the comparative negligence rule, if both parties share fault for the accident, the plaintiff’s compensation is reduced according to their percentage of fault for the damages. According to this rule, the plaintiff cannot claim any damages if they are more than 50% at fault for the accident.
What are the Major Biking Laws In California?
- A bicyclist cannot go in the opposite direction of the vehicles on the road unless it is a one-way street or they are making a left turn. Other exceptions include narrow roadways or the right side of a road that is under construction.
- All bicyclists must use the bike lanes in Orange County unless they make a left turn. Avoiding bike lanes can cause accidents and make you liable for the bike accident in court.
- In the case of narrow roadways, the bicyclist can “take the lane” but must yield to faster-moving traffic whenever possible.
- It is illegal in California to ride a bike on a highway or freeway. Any bicyclist involved in an accident on a road or freeway may not be entitled to compensation and can be held liable in court.
- California law prohibits cyclists from hitching a ride with another vehicle, such as grabbing onto a car to move faster.
- Although there are no specific laws for riding bikes on the sidewalks, bicyclists should always avoid riding on sidewalks on roads with many entrances or exits because it increases the risk of colliding with an exiting motor vehicle.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Orange County
You can contact a personal injury attorney to get guidance on how to approach a bike accident claim or lawsuit. We welcome injury victims to get in touch with a personal injury attorney at Roberts Jeandron Law. Our bicycle accident lawyers in have the knowledge and expereince to handle all types of bike accident cases in Orange County. We will fight to get you maximum compensation for your damages as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing or negligence.Need help? Contact us now!