Whether for exercise, to avoid traffic on your commute, or to help the environment, bicycling is a great way to get around Greater Los Angeles and beyond. Unfortunately, it can also be very dangerous as roadways are often full of negligent and distracted motorists, not to mention the road itself can be in disrepair or fail to have an adequate bike lane or shoulder. If the unthinkable happens and you suffer a bicycle injury accident, know that our personal injury lawyers have your back, will hold all responsible parties accountable, and seek to maximize your recovery so you can focus on your health and returning to a normal life.
Table Of Contents
Why do bicycle accidents happen and what are some related statistics?
Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Distracted drivers of motor vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, trucks, SUV’s, and busses
- Speeding drivers
- Unobservant drivers
- Drivers who fail to yield before making left turns
- Motor vehicles that fail to fully stop at traffic signals, such as stop signs and right turns on red
- Excessive gravel on roadway
- Uneven pavement or pavement in disrepair
- Lack of an adequate shoulder
- Failure to have a bike lane
- Nighttime riding, including lighting and visibility issues
- Alcohol or drugs (whether the driver of a motor vehicle or the cyclist)
Unfortunately, as the following statistics show, if you are injured in a bike accident, you are not alone.
Bicycle Injury Statistics
- 62 fatalities in Southern California in 2017
- 26 fatalities in Los Angeles in 2017
- 20,606 collisions in Los Angeles County from 2013 to 2017
- 5,480 collisions in Orange County from 2013 to 2017
- 4,549 collisions in San Diego County from 2013 to 2017
- 1,850 collisions in Riverside County from 2013 to 2017
- 1,804 collisions in San Bernardino County from 2013 to 2017
- 991 collisions in Ventura County from 2013 to 2017
What should I do after I’ve been injured?
Because of the often severe nature of bicycle accidents, you may have been knocked unconscious or suffered catastrophic injuries and therefore must rely upon others at the scene of the accident. If you are able to, here are some things you can do at the scene of the accident and after, including:
- Seek immediate medical treatment, even if the injuries appear minor
- Gather witness information
- Take photographs of the scene, the roadway, your bike, and vehicles
- Keep evidence, such as your bike, helmet, shoes, clothing, and other related items
- Never admit fault
- Do not give any statements to insurance representatives before speaking to an attorney
- Immediately seek a proven Los Angeles bicycle injury lawyer to fight for your rights
What type of injuries are common?
Bicycle injuries can often be quite severe and require extensive, long-term, and costly medical treatment. Common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Wrongful death
- Broken bones and fractured bones
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis (permanent, temporary, partial, or full)
- Nerve damage and injuries, including loss of feeling, numbness, and radiculopathy
- Internal damage to organs
- Dislocated joints (especially shoulders)
- Tendon and ligament damage, tears, and sprains
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Muscle strains and sprains
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues
Each bicycle accident and any resulting injuries are unique to you. Our personal injury lawyers and friendly, detail-oriented staff understand this and are always compassionate to your needs.
How can I pay for my medical treatment, especially if I don’t have medical insurance?
When someone or something injures you, you need access to the health care you deserve without delay. If you do not have health insurance, we can assist you in accessing top-level medical care on a lien basis. As you will see below, your past and future medical costs are recoverable from at-fault parties. When your case is over, your medical lien will be paid from the proceeds of your case. In addition to helping you secure lien-based treatment, we also have knowledgeable staff who may be able to help you get low-cost coverage through programs such as Medi-Cal, Medi-Care, and others.
Who can I hold liable for my bicycle accident and how?
If you or a loved one is injured in a bicycle accident, it’s important to target all potential at-fault parties to maximize your recovery, pay for your losses, and ensure that your future is secure. You only get one shot at getting the compensation you deserve, so it is vital to make sure you seek redress from all that are responsible. Common at-fault parties can include:
- Driver of the motor vehicle
- Commercial businesses (or public entities) if the driver of the vehicle was on the clock
- Governmental agencies or public entities that designed, maintained, or controlled the roadway
- Construction companies and contractors (if they impacted the roadway or traffic)
- Other cyclists
Proving liability against at-fault parties is what we do. Once we are on your case, we immediately mobilize with investigations and detailed fact-finding to turn over every stone and gather all necessary evidence, so we can get a complete picture of what happened and who is likely at fault. Our bicycle injury lawyers use that information along with investigations of their own, which include, among other things, site visits, research, and witness interviews, to put a winning strategy together. Once your personal injury lawsuit is filed, we then use aggressive discovery techniques and targeted questioning in a deposition to get to the truth. Even if a police report is against you, our tactful and skilled personal injury lawyers can prove the reporting officer was either wrong or misinformed. Ultimately, if a trial is necessary, we have our own, in-house heavy hitter trial lawyers to carry your case to the finish line.
Proving Who’s At Fault
Riding with your helmet on, and being hyper-aware of vehicles and road conditions, someone’s negligence may result in a bicycle injury accident. Oftentimes, a vehicle versus bicycle accident results in grave injuries, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or wrongful death.
Because of this, the offending driver often gets to give their version of the accident to the patrol officer first. Sadly, we often find these statements to be rather self-serving, resulting in the officer concluding on the Traffic Collision Report (TCR) that you, the bicyclist, were primarily at fault.
If you are placed at fault on the TCR you may still be able to recover with the help and skill of an expert bicycle injury accident lawyer who may be able to refute the TCR or prove you were only partially at fault.
California is a comparative fault state, which allows you to a recovery that is reduced by the percent you are deemed at fault. As you can see, the many legal complexities, nuances, and difficulties that arise after a bicycle injury accident require the experience and expertise of a bicycle accident lawyer to navigate.
Can I still make a claim if I am partially at fault for the accident?
Yes. California is a comparative fault state, which means that your total recovery will be reduced by the percent you are deemed to be at fault. This applies even if you are 99% at fault. This is important to keep in mind, especially when you face significant injuries, medical bills, and disruption to your life and future.
How long will my bicycle accident injury case take?
In many cases, it is necessary to file a lawsuit to gather important evidence, prove liability, determine your injuries, and maximize your recovery. The statute of limitations to file your bicycle injury lawsuit is two years, but many rules and exceptions apply, especially if you must file a lawsuit against a public entity, which drastically cuts short the time to file a Government Claim form down to six (6) months, among many other requirements that can easily end your case. This is why you always need to seek immediate legal assistance after an accident which causes injury.
In most counties and jurisdictions in California, once you file a lawsuit, your trial date will be set 12 to 18 months in the future. The trial date usually marks the longest time your case could take, even though settlement is an option at any time. During those 12 to 18 months, your case will go through a discovery phase, a deposition phase, an expert witness and analysis phase, settlement negotiations, and if necessary, trial preparation and trial itself.
What can I claim as part of my bicycle injury lawsuit?
In California, you can claim certain “damages” after an injury accident. In our legal system, you are entitled to monetary compensation for the past and future damages you can prove, which are typically as follows:
- Medical costs
- Lost earnings
- Lost earnings capacity
- Property damage
- Out of pocket expenses, including medical insurance co-pays, medication, and others
- Retraining or education to acquire a job you are able to perform if you are disabled
- Any other expenses or lost opportunities you have incurred as a result of your bike accident
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death (loss of support, loss of companionship, loss of love, and many others)
- Loss of consortium (for the spouse of the injured victim)
- Any other non-economic losses that you’ve suffered as a result of your bicycle crash
I can’t work after my accident. Can you help me?
This is often a very real concern if you have been injured in an accident and cannot work. We routinely help our clients who have to take time away from work to recover after a bicycle injury accident. If your accident prevents you from working and you need financial help, we have relationships with companies that can help you get by with a loan secured by your case. Also, in some instances, we may be able to provide an advance on the anticipated proceeds of your case.
How much is my bicycle accident worth?
The question – “How much is my bicycle accident worth?” – really is asking how much money it will take for you to be compensated for your damages. Damages involved in a bike accident typically include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Past and future lost income
- Past and future disruption to and loss of quality of life
- Temporary and/or permanent disabilities
- Property damage (your bike’s repair or replacement)
While your “economic” damages are more easily calculated because they are in the form of a bill, pay-stub, or future projection, your pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of quality of life are murkier. Even though insurance companies love to argue that your total case is worth twice your economic damages, we at The Dominguez Firm refuse to adhere to that.
Instead, we believe a detailed analysis is necessary when calculating the worth of your case and we always fight for the maximum recovery. If someone causes you to be injured through their negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct, they should pay for your damages to the maximum extent of the law.
Electric Bicycle Accidents
The popularity of electric bikes has exploded in recent years. The state of California responded by enacting a new law in 2015 to account for the growing presence of e-bikes on our streets. As of 2021, it is one of the most progressive electric bike laws in the country.
This law classified electric bicycles into three categories:
- Class 1 – Bicycles with motors that only engage when the rider pedals. It stops when the rider reaches 20 miles per hour. Riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet.
- Class 2 – Unlike e-bikes that activate when the rider pedals, these electric bicycles assist the rider when the throttle is activated. They also turn off once the rider reaches 20 miles per hour. Riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet.
- Class 3 – These electric bicycles are also activated when the rider pedals, however they don’t turn off until the rider reaches 28 miles per hour. All class 3 e-bike riders must wear a helmet and be 16 years of age or older.
E-bikes are not considered motor vehicles. Therefore, none of these categories require the rider have a license or insurance to operate their e-bike.
Be aware that local municipalities have their own regulations regarding electric bikes. For example, The Strand, which runs along Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach does not allow e-bikes, even on its bike path.
You should follow the same rules of the road as regular bicycle riders. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your local e-bike laws too.
Compensation Available for E-Bike Accident Injuries
Electric bicycle riders have the same right to collect damages (the legal term for compensation) for accident injuries as those who ride conventional bikes. These can include:
- Arm and wrist injuries
- Broken bones
- Leg and knee injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Their lack of protection and higher speeds make e-bike riders particularly vulnerable to serious injuries. These injuries can change a person’s life forever, leaving them unable to work for weeks, months or even permanently. E-bike riders have also been killed in collisions with cars.
Here are some examples of the compensation you could be entitled to:
- All medical costs associated with your electric bicycle accident
- Ambulance fees
- Mental health counseling
- Lost wages due to your e-bike accident
- Pain and suffering
- For more serious injuries, in-home modifications and/or long-term care
E-Bike Accident Lawyers
Examples of at fault parties for an electric bicycle accident are, motor vehicle drivers, pedestrians, motorcycle riders and other bicycle riders of any kind. If your accident was the result of a defect to your e-bike, you could have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
If you were injured in an e-bike accident due to someone else’s recklessness or negligence, contact the personal injury lawyers at The Dominguez Firm right away for a FREE consultation at 800-818-1818. We can travel to your home or hospital at a moment’s notice.
Our attorneys are well-versed on the latest laws and information regarding electric bicycles and will fight to get you the maximum compensation allowed under the law. Let us handle the insurance company and their lawyers while you concentrate on getting better.
What if I am undocumented and/or don’t speak English?
Not a problem. In California, it is against the law in a civil lawsuit, such as a bicycle case, to use immigration status against someone. Our courts have deemed it completely irrelevant to the accident itself. In practice, however, this doesn’t stop the other side from trying to use it, which is why we always issue privacy objections and stop any questioning during a deposition that attempts to determine your immigration status.
If you do not speak English, that is not a problem either. It is a customary practice to use court licensed interpreters for depositions or at trial. We have an extensive roster of excellent interpreters to help deliver your story in your voice to make sure the facts and emotions are properly told.
Our Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers will defend your rights
We pride ourselves on three core values — compassion, service and results. Our approach is to always put you, the client, first. We know how devastating and life-changing an injury accident can be so we do everything in our power to make the healing process as smooth and efficient as possible. To carry that mission out, each case is assigned to one attorney, who is part of a larger team and who has several helpful professional staff members to make sure all your needs are anticipated and met. We handle all the details of your case, so you can focus on healing. As your case progresses, we will keep you up-to-date on what is happening, answer any questions you might have, and consult with you before making important decisions.
When you go with The Dominguez Firm, you go with a proven winner. With over $750,000,000* in total recoveries and a success rate of 96%*, you can rest assured we have the skill and experience to maximize your recovery. This, of course, includes going to trial, where our award-winning trial team of lawyers recently added a $29 million verdict to their accolades and have garnered several settlements in excess of $10 million. We hold responsible parties accountable for the injuries and losses they inflict on you.
The Dominguez Firm has experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers to assist you and get you the compensation you deserve. Call us immediately for a no-cost consultation at 800-818-1818. There is no obligation. If you don’t recover, there is no fee, so call us today!