Bicycle Accident Attorney Orange County
Are you in need of professional bicycle accident attorneys in Orange County, California? Have you been injured in an accident not of your fault as a bicyclist? Have your injuries resulted in high medical bills and/or lost wages and property damage? If so, you’ve come to the right office. Our team of attorneys is always ready to provide advice, help our clients make sense of the facts, and represent them in their quest for justice in court.
The experienced Irvine bike accident attorneys at Kubota & Craig are here to help you with top-notch legal representation. We defend our client’s rights, dealing diligently with insurance companies and offering sound legal advice to secure compensation in the aftermath of an accident. Our clients are our priority, and we strive to ensure justice is served.
Bicycles are environmentally friendly, and riding is great exercise. However, in the area of Orange County, there’s also a dark side to cycling: accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, automobile-on-bike collisions result in more evidence for emergency room cases than any other sport. Most bicycle accidents occur at night, making cyclists, especially adults, more at risk of sustaining life-altering catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
If you or a family member is the victim of a car-on-bike accident, it’s in your best interest to contact a bicycle accident lawyer from our professional team to explore your options for potential injury claims. A seasoned attorney can help collect and interpret pertinent evidence related to your case.
California’s Bicycle Accident Statistics Will Shock You
Californians are big on bikes, and they also get into more cycle accidents than in every other state. As more bicycles began sharing the road, so did the number of associated collisions. Between 2016 and 2018, 455 riders died in traffic accidents, a figure that attests to the need for effective representation with insurance companies.
Top Types of Bicycle Accidents in California
Car-on-cycle accidents usually fall into one of four collision categories:
- “Right hook” turn
- Car Door
California Bicycle Laws
California’s Vehicle Code VC 21201 addresses bicycle laws and standards. Under the statute, bikes on the road need functional brakes and appropriately sized handlebars. Additionally, for nighttime riding in our area, bikes must have a headlight with a 300-foot range, people can see from the front, left, and right. Cyclists must also affix a 500-foot-range red reflector to the back and use white or yellow reflectors on pedals.
In terms of distance requirements between bikes and cars, motorists must give bicyclists at least three feet. Drivers are also forbidden from obstructing bike paths by parking or riding in them.
“Take the Lane” Laws
California bicycle laws include “take the lane” parameters, giving cyclists right of way to move into car lanes even if they’re traveling slower than traffic, to:
- Make a left turn or prepare for an authorized right turn
- Avoid roadway hazards
- Navigate a narrowing lane
Outside of those circumstances, bikers must use the bike lane if one is available. Additionally, cyclists may not cross toll bridges and may not ride on freeways or expressways unless they obtain permission from the California Department of Transportation. Depending on the county, sidewalk cycling may also be prohibited. Other cyclist violations include:
- Riding the wrong way on a one-way street
- Disregarding stop or yield signs
- Turning into traffic abruptly and without signaling
What Should Bicycle Riders Do Immediately After a Bike Accident?
- Gain Composure: If you are not incapacitated, step one after a bike accident is taking a deep breath, shaking off the adrenaline, and regaining your composure.
- Check Yourself: Even if you cannot feel or see any glaring outward injuries, check yourself for any lacerations, bruises, or contusions. They could be signs of internal issues. If necessary, seek medical treatment.
- Call 911: If injuries don’t require immediate hospitalization or medical attention, the next step is calling 911. At this point, ready your camera phone.
- Take Pictures: Request that the vehicle driver stay to give a police statement. If they refuse, get a picture of the license plate and, if possible, the driver.
- Get Information: If the driver stays, ask for their name. If witnesses are around, get their name too.
- Tell Your Side: When an officer arrives, make sure your version of events is taken down. Sometimes, the police will take a statement from the driver for the police report and forget about the cyclist.
- Call a Bicycle Accident Attorney: If you’re injured in any way, call an attorney as soon as possible.
The most important rule at a bike accident scene is to never incriminate yourself. Be cordial, but don’t admit fault.
Liability and Fault Standards for California Bicycle Accident Lawsuits and Claims
Both motorists and cyclists must follow bicycle laws, and violating them can invite both criminal and civil actions for both groups.
Negligence is a failure to act with a reasonably expected level of care, and it’s the nucleus of most bike lawsuits and claims. If a party is found negligent, they’re usually held responsible for the accident in question.
But legally speaking, negligence isn’t straightforward.
Negligence Per Se
“Negligence per se” is a legal term that means “inherently negligent.” When a person is inherently negligent in a given situation, the client doesn’t have to prove wrongdoing on the part of the defendant; it’s understood. Nonetheless, as your legal representatives, we will leave no stone unturned in gathering all the necessary facts and evidence to advocate for justice in court. For example, let’s begin by setting a scene: perhaps, someone, biking back from work, falls victim to a mishap.Let’s say a driver, perhaps in a moment of negligence, runs a stop sign and sustains a bike crash right into the biker. Such bicycle accident injuries emanate from horrifying encounters with cars or even trucks. In such an unfortunate instance as these bike accidents, if a cop witnesses the incident and gives the driver a ticket for running through the stop, the fallout is clear. This ticket assigns responsibility to the driver inherently because they violated a motor vehicle traffic law, leading directly to the accident. The legal process can be daunting but, bicycle accident lawyers, experienced in personal injury cases like yours, are available to guide victims.
In California bicycle accident cases, if you can establish that law enforcement took the step of penalizing the defendant with a ticket, citation, or arrest for a transgression connected to the accident, then you don’t need to present additional proof of the culprit’s negligence; by the ticket, citation, or arrest, they are culpable. Your ability to ask the right queries and collect pertinent evidence will be crucial in the recovery process with the aid of a personal injury lawyer.
Contributory or Comparative Negligence
What transpires if both parties share some responsibility in a car-on-bike collision? What if, for example, both the car driver and the cyclist contributed to an unfortunate bike crash? In California, the degree of fault is directly tied to potential settlement amounts. Our services also include assistance in such predicaments as we offer comprehensive case evaluations.
For instance, if the driver is 75 percent responsible for an unfortunate demise due to a negligent accident, and the biker 25 percent, under California law, the biker’s family will receive 75 percent of the compensation awarded for damages.
Finding fault is the nucleus of most bike accident lawsuits. To that end, accident victims typically accuse defendants in personal injury cases, which can be individuals, governments, or manufacturers, of causing harm or loss.
How to Win a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit in California
Proving fault is the crux of most bike accident lawsuits. To that end, accident victims typically accuse defendants in personal injury cases, which can be individuals, governments, or manufacturers, of the following:
- Careless or distracted driving of motor vehicles
- Aggressive driving or road rage
- Impaired driving
- An unreasonable lack of situational awareness when exiting a vehicle
- Improperly designing bike lanes
- Ignoring dangerous road conditions
- Sale of a defective bike and/or bike defect
- Making defective helmets
Prevention and Precautions To Avoid Serious Injuries
Many bicycle crashes involving cars and trucks are preventable! By taking a few minor — but effective — precautions, the likelihood of severe accidents and injuries decrease exponentially, saving you from the stress of requiring our bicycle accident lawyers.
What should you do?
- Wear a Helmet: Helmets are only required for people under 18 in California. However, adults who wear them lower their risk of injury significantly.
- Mind Your Bike: Ensure your cycle is in top working order and is equipped with the proper safety devices and reflectors.
- Dress Appropriately: Don’t wear dark or bland neutral colors when riding a bike — day or night. Bright or fluorescent gear is the best option because it makes you more visible to drivers. At night, use reflective headbands and wristbands.
- Follow the Rules of the Road: Judges, juries, and mediators regularly fault bicyclists who violate traffic laws and don’t use hand signals. And don’t forget that local governments may add stricter laws atop the statewide mandates. So before you hit the road, learn the rules!
- Ride Alert: You shouldn’t drive under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or certain medications. The same goes for biking.
- Learn Maneuvers: Cyclists who learn emergency maneuvers — like quick stops, turns, jumping, and dodges — have a categorically better track record of avoiding catastrophes at the last second.
How Much Can I Win in a Bicycle Collision Lawsuit?
Don’t feel greedy or bad for wondering how much you could potentially win in a bicycle collision lawsuit. It’s a valid question since too many accidents result in life-altering severe injuries and escalating medical costs to bicycle accident victims. Victims of such mishaps regularly seek monetary redress with the assistance of a personal injury attorney, particularly for bicycle accident injuries. This includes seeking compensation for:
- Medical expenses / medical bills
- Physical therapy costs
- Lost and potential-lost earnings
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of spousal or parental support
How Long Do I Have to File a Bicycle Accident Claim in the State of California?
You have six months to file a bike accident lawsuit against a government entity and two years against an individual or manufacturer. In rare cases, extensions are granted if the injured party is incapacitated for a period of time, or the injuries don’t manifest until a later date.
The sooner you contact a bicycle attorney, the better. They’ll be able to collect necessary information more readily, and lawsuits that occur in the immediate wake of an incident tend to be more successful.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Orange County California
Whether you’ve found us today due to a bike crash, or for other reasons, please be reassured that if you’re a cyclist who has suffered injuries in a bicycle accident and you’re searching for a top Orange County bike accident lawyer, you’ve come to the right place. Our personal injury lawyers with years of experience can assist you.
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However you might have found us today, please be reassured that if you are a cyclist who has been injured in a bicycle accident and you are searching for a top Orange County bike accident lawyer, you’ve come to the right place. Our personal injury lawyers with years of experience can help you.
Get in touch with us today by calling our phone number listed above, or by filling out our online form for your free consultation. We’ll determine the validity of your personal injury claim — and if you have a potential personal injury case, we can walk you through your legal rights and the steps needed to file a personal injury claim.
Our friendly staff awaits your call. So please do not hesitate to reach out to our legal team today to begin the conversation.
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