Southern California has wonderful weather and many beautiful locations for bicycle riding. As in other locations, however, drivers in Los Angeles do not expect to encounter bicyclists and may not see you bicycling alongside or at an intersection. Bicyclists are completely unprotected, and so their bodies absorb the full shock of any collision with a larger vehicle. The injuries in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles may be severe, even when a bicyclist is wearing a helmet and the other driver is going at relatively slow speeds. Children and young adults are the most common victims of bicycling accidents.Liability for Bicycle Accidents in Los Angeles
Dangers exist for bicyclists even if they are simply passing parked cars, because so many people don't watch for the possibility of a bicyclist when they open the door of their car next to oncoming traffic, even though they are supposed to under California Vehicle Code section 22517. Many bicycle accidents occur at intersections, where drivers may not see that a bicyclist arrived at the intersection first and fail to yield.
Under California Vehicle Code 21200, bicyclists bear all the same responsibilities and rights as drivers of passenger vehicles. An injured bicyclist who sues a passenger car for a collision usually asserts negligence. To prove negligence, the bicyclist must prove: (1) the duty of the passenger car, (2) breach of duty, (3) causation and (4) damages.
If a car fails to recognize the bicyclist's right of way, this may give rise to a cause of action for negligence per se. Under this doctrine, a driver that breaks a law and thereby causes an accident is presumed to be negligent. The bicyclist will need to show: (1) violation of a statute or regulation, (2) the violation legally caused the accident and (3) the harm is the types that the statute or regulation was designed to prevent.
Sometimes the bicyclist is partially at fault. For example, a bicyclist who fails to wear a helmet or wears black clothing while riding a bicycle at night without any lights may be partly to blame for an accident with a larger vehicle. In California, an accident victim's recovery may be reduced by his or her degree of fault due to the principle of comparative negligence. Suppose for example that a bicyclist fails to stop at a stop sign one night and a distracted driver T-bones him while making a left turn. The jury finds the bicyclist's damages are $50,000, but evaluates the bicyclist's fault at 50%. In that case, the bicyclist can recover only $25,000 from the driver.Hire an Experienced San Bernardino Bicycle Lawyer
The injuries that arise in a bicycle accident may include concussions, traumatic brain injury, broken bones, neck strain, soft tissue injuries, spinal injuries and more. In some cases, you may feel fine at the scene only to find yourself unable to move the next morning. Insurers tend to offer low settlements at the outset of a case in the hopes that you will be glad to get anything. However, it can take a year for the full scope of your injuries to manifest. This is why it is important not to talk to another driver's insurer before consulting an attorney of your own. We are San Bernardino attorneys who represent bicycle crash victims in Rancho Cucamonga, Temecula, and Riverside. We present your strongest arguments to insurers and juries. Contact us at 1-866-422-7222 or via our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation.