205 S. Broadway, STE 708
Los Angeles, CA 90012

California Bicycle Accident Attorney

A California bicycle accident attorney from Broadway Law Firm can help you obtain maximum compensation if you are injured in an accident. Keep in mind that cyclists are among the most unprotected people in transit. If you ever suffer an accident while riding a bike, you might expect expensive medical bills and economic losses. An accident claim by an experienced lawyer can help you recover from such high expenses.   

Broadway Law Firm is one of the most reputed personal injury law firms in California. Our service is personalized, with 24/7 availability. We combine 35+ years of experience, a high level of law knowledge, and family-like treatment. Call us today at (888) 824-1025 to book a free case evaluation appointment.  

How Can a California Bicycle Accident Attorney Help You

When it comes to your bicycle accident claim, choosing the right legal representation is crucial. At Broadway Law, we understand the unique challenges cyclists face in the legal system.  Our extensive experience and unwavering commitment to client rights make us a perfect fit for your case.

Our dedicated lawyers and experts have in-depth knowledge critical to your claim’s success. This includes a thorough understanding of bicycle traffic laws, your bicycle’s various components and functionality, and how to obtain an accurate replacement value for any damaged property. We are skilled negotiators when dealing with insurance companies and will fight for the compensation you deserve. If necessary, we can represent you confidently in court.

Beyond our legal expertise, we can connect you with leading specialists in bicycle accident reconstruction. These experts will meticulously analyze the details of your accident, providing valuable evidence for your case.  We can also collaborate with licensed forensic bicycle engineers who can offer a comprehensive technical analysis of the accident, further strengthening your claim.

What to Do Right After a Bicycle Accident

In the confusing moments after a bike crash, taking some fundamental actions to protect yourself is essential. These steps can affect your chances of getting financial help from insurance.  Here’s a rundown of what to do if you’re able:

  • Check for Injuries: Get yourself and anyone else hurt in the accident to a safe spot and call for medical attention if necessary.
  • Report the Accident: Contact the police or paramedics to report the crash. Remember to write down the police report number. 
  • Get Driver Info: Collect information from the driver involved, passengers, and witnesses who saw what happened. Avoid saying you were to blame or apologizing.
  • Gather Evidence: Take pictures of the scene before you leave. Later on, get copies of the police report and your medical records.
  • Contact a California bicycle accident attorney from Broadway Law Firm: (888) 824-1025.

Most Common Bicycle Accidents in California

Sharing the road with larger vehicles can turn even small crashes involving bicyclists into major injuries or worse. Unfortunately, these accidents happen in many ways, such as:

Car Door Surprises

AKA ‘dooring’; a parked car suddenly opens its door, knocking the cyclist off balance and causing a fall.

Whose Fault Is It When a Cyclist Gets ‘Doored’?

Dooring is clear-cut when a driver does this without checking for bikes, but it is trickier when a passenger is involved. Regardless, the person opening the door is usually to blame. It’s careless for both drivers and passengers not to be careful.

In some cases, the car occupant might not be fully responsible. For instance, if a cyclist admits they weren’t paying attention and hit an open door, the person who opened it could argue the cyclist shared some blame for the accident. This could mean shared fault, affecting how much money the cyclist gets ina personal injury claim.

Right turn wrecks

A driver cuts off a cyclist by turning right without signaling, causing a collision.

Right of way Roulette

Drivers unsure of who has the right of way act unpredictably, creating dangerous situations.

Eyes off the Road

Distracted drivers using phones or fiddling with controls miss seeing cyclists altogether.

Road Rage

Aggressive drivers vent their anger at cyclists by crowding or forcing them off the road.

Yielding misunderstandings

Drivers who believe they always have the right of way might drive recklessly around cyclists.

Cyclists share the road but lack the protection of a car. We understand this unfair situation and can help you fight for your rights.

Most Common Reasons

Bicycle accidents can happen for many reasons. In Los Angeles, some of those reasons include:

Drivers Not Giving Way to Bike Lanes

The number one reason for these crashes is drivers not yielding to cyclists in bike lanes, which are becoming increasingly common and are meant to be shared by cars and bikes.

While bike lanes help drivers see cyclists, many drivers don’t understand they must give way to them. This can cause serious accidents when drivers don’t yield.

Hard or Bad Visibility

One big reason cycling can be dangerous is that bikes are sometimes hard for drivers to spot. Even though many cyclists wear reflective gear, it only sometimes helps during the day.

Unfortunately, many drivers get used to driving and need to check carefully enough for all hazards. They might glance to see if the lane is clear for cars but miss a bike because it’s much smaller.

If drivers don’t see cyclists, they might pull out in front of them or turn right into them, causing a collision and injuries.

Most Common Injuries

Serious bike accidents can leave riders with devastating, life-altering injuries.  Without the protection of a car, even a collision at low speed can cause significant harm. Cyclists are especially vulnerable and more likely to experience severe trauma.  A California bicycle accident attorney from Broadway Law can represent clients with all types of serious injuries, including:

  • Head trauma: This can range from mild concussions to debilitating brain damage.
  • Fractures: Broken bones are common, especially in the arms, legs, and collarbone.
  • Skull fractures: These can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.
  • Spinal cord injuries: These can cause paralysis and permanent disability.
  • Lower body injuries: This includes damage to the hips, legs, knees, and ankles.
  • Cuts and scrapes: These may require stitches and can leave permanent scars.
  • Road rash: This is a painful injury caused by scraping against pavement.
  • Internal bleeding: This can be life-threatening and may not be immediately apparent.
  • Scarring and disfigurement: Serious accidents can leave permanent marks on the body.

Understanding California Bicycle Laws in 2024

California bicycle laws require cyclists under 18 to wear helmets, follow traffic rules, and ride on the right side of the road unless passing, turning, or avoiding hazards. Cyclists can use bike lanes, but they are not restricted to them. Motorists must give cyclists at least 3 feet of space when passing.

Different rules are depending on the type of bike. Class 3 bikes (faster than 28 mph) and gas-powered bikes cannot be used on bike paths but can be used on bike lanes. These bikes require helmets and a minimum rider age of 16. Class 1 and 2 electric bikes (slower than 20 mph) are generally treated like regular bikes.

Some additional rules to be aware of: bicycles cannot be parked on bike paths, sidewalk rules are set by local jurisdictions, and bicycles cannot be ridden on freeways, expressways, or most toll bridges.

What’s the Right to ‘Take a Lane’?

California law allows cyclists to take the whole lane in several situations, even if it means going slower than surrounding traffic. These include:

  • Passing other vehicles
  • Preparing to turn left
  • Avoiding hazards on the road
  • Riding in a lane too narrow to safely share with cars
  • Approaching an intersection where they will be turning right

Hit and Run Accidents with Cyclists

Drivers who strike cyclists or pedestrians and then leave the scene are committing a crime known as a hit-and-run. While these offenders may believe they can escape consequences, there are methods to track them down, even without a license plate number.

Witnesses to the accident can be a valuable resource. Bystanders, other drivers, or even nearby stores might have noticed details about the vehicle or driver. Security cameras along the road or nearby buildings may have captured footage, including the license plate and the entire collision.

If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident, calling the police should be your priority. The more details you can provide about the car, the driver, and the location, the better. Try to find witnesses as well. With this information, the police often have success in apprehending the culprit.

If identifying the driver isn’t possible, you may still be able to recover damages through your own insurance policy’s Uninsured Motorist coverage. An attorney can help navigate this process.

Does My Car Insurance Protect Me While Cycling?

In California, it doesn’t. However, the other driver’s insurance will step in if you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident. The sole exemption is when you sustain injuries due to another driver who flees the scene or has no insurance. In that case, your insurance’s uninsured motorist coverage can provide support.

Is it Mandatory To Have Insurance to Ride a Bicycle?

Obtaining bicycle insurance is a wise choice, although it’s not mandatory. This measure can help mitigate losses in the event of an accident, potentially covering expenses for replacing a bike that’s irreparably damaged or stolen.

Alternatively, reviewing your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy is advisable. Some policies cover theft or damages incurred by third parties to your bicycle. Depending on the specifics outlined in your policy, bodily injury coverage may also be included.

Are Drivers Obliged To Give Bicyclists Space When Passing?

The California Three Feet for Safety Act (California Vehicle Code Section 21670) stipulates that drivers overtaking a bicycle traveling in the same direction on the road must maintain a safe distance that allows the bicycle to continue operating.

The legislation mandates a three-foot gap between vehicles and bicycles during passing maneuvers. Nevertheless, it acknowledges that this distance may only sometimes be feasible due to traffic or road conditions. In such instances, drivers must (1) reduce their speed to a reasonable and cautious level when passing and (2) only proceed with passing if it does not pose a safety risk to the bicyclist.

Who’s Liable in a Bicycle Accident?

If you’re badly hurt in a bike accident, you likely want to figure out who’s legally accountable (or “on the hook”) for your injuries. In California, drivers sometimes only get a small ticket after a bike accident.

For more severe bike accidents, drivers might face criminal charges like reckless driving, ignoring stop signs or crosswalks, leaving the scene, or driving under the influence. While it’s fair for drivers who hurt cyclists to face criminal consequences, those charges don’t help the cyclist pay medical bills or if they can’t work because of the accident. That’s where civil courts come in.

Are Drivers Always at fault in Case of Accidents?

Car vs bike accidents don’t always mean the car driver is to blame. Cyclists also have rules to follow. If it’s unclear who caused the accident, a judge will look at all the evidence and decide how much each person is at fault.

Most people assume the car driver is to blame when a car hits a cyclist, but that’s not always true. Sometimes, the cyclist might break the rules and cause a crash. If you’re a cyclist hurt in an accident, a lawyer who knows about bike accidents can help you prove the car driver was at fault.

What Happens if I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet or Am Partially Responsible for The Accident?

Even if you are partly responsible for a bicycle accident, you might still be able to get compensation. The police report assigning blame shouldn’t discourage you from filing a lawsuit, and a lawyer can analyze your case to see if you have a claim. Not wearing a helmet can affect your case, depending on the injury. If it’s a head injury, the lack of a helmet might hurt your case more. Regardless, a lawyer can give you a free consultation to assess your situation.

Bicycle Accident Claim, Step by Step

After a bike crash, your top priority should be getting medical care for your injuries. This ensures you get the proper treatment and records the damage for future legal issues. Once treated, you can start a claim against the person who caused the accident.

Here’s the breakdown of the process:

  • Filing the Initial Claim: To protect your rights and have someone handle all communication, consult a California bicycle accident attorney before talking to the insurance company. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have the required car insurance for California, you can file a claim under your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This covers medical bills, lost wages, and emotional stress in car accidents where the negligent driver has no insurance or flees the scene.
  • Your Case Gets Assigned: The insurance company will review your initial filing and assign an adjuster. This person will assess your claim, decide who’s responsible, and determine how much you owe. California law requires adjusters to contact you within 15 days of filing.
  • Case Investigation: The assigned adjuster will investigate what happened. They may ask to see your medical records, look at proof of damage to your bike, and seek other evidence, such as security camera footage or statements from witnesses.
  • Post-Investigation Decision: Once the adjuster finishes their investigation, they’ll contact you with a decision. They might deny your claim or offer you a settlement amount. The amount provided depends on your medical bills, the cost to fix or replace your bike, and other damages. It might also be limited by the insurance policy’s maximum coverage and how much fault they place on you.
  • Final Resolution: If the insurance adjuster offers you a settlement, you can accept it as is, try to negotiate a higher offer, or reject it. A lawyer specializing in bike accidents can advise you and help you negotiate a better offer or even take legal action on your behalf if necessary.

How Long Do I Have to File My Claim?

You need to be aware of an important deadline when filing a lawsuit for a bicycle accident. This deadline is called the statute of limitations. In California, you typically file your claim two years from the accident date. If you miss this window, you might not be able to get compensation for your injuries and losses.

If the accident involved a government entity, you also have six months from the accident date to notify the entity that you intend to start a claim. 

How Much Can I Get For My Bicycle Accident?

In California, bicycle accident settlements typically fall into two categories:

  • Minor cases: averaging around $30,000
  • Severe injuries: exceeding $100,000 on average

Some settlements reach very high amounts (seven figures), but many settlements land in the five- or six-figure range, bringing the average up.

How Long Will It Take to Receive My Compensation?

How long it takes to settle a bicycle accident claim can differ greatly depending on several things. Straightforward cases where the apparent fault might be resolved in just a few months, but trickier situations could take over a year.

Insurance companies might start discussing settlement within a few weeks or months of the accident. But the process can take much longer if things go to court.

Things like collecting evidence, bargaining with insurance adjusters, and maybe even going to trial all affect the time it takes. Talking to a lawyer is your best bet for getting a better idea of a timeframe for your specific case.

How Much Does Hiring a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Cost?

When you hire Broadway Law Firm, you don’t pay for our service out of your pocket. Instead, we obtain our payment from a percentage of the final arrangement we land for you. This modality is called “contingency quote” and provides defendants with peace of mind, allowing them to focus on recovering while lawyers start working on their cases.

Make a Free Consultation With a California Bicycle Accident Attorney

Hiring a California bicycle accident attorney from Broadway Law Firm is a safe way to obtain the maximum compensation for your losses in a bicycle crash. You can repair or change your bike, pay your medical bills, recover lost wages, and obtain multiple benefits for you and your family. 

Let us help you recover from your injuries and make the nightware of your accident last longer. Call (888) 824-1025 for a free consultation and take the first step toward a better path after your accident.

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