Bicycle Accident Attorney in Walnut Creek
More people are using bikes today than ever before, for both transportation and recreation. Unfortunately, this means bicycle accidents are on the rise. In a recent year, 857 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in the U.S., as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). When a collision occurs between a 3,000 lb. motor vehicle and a bicycle, the cyclist is likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries.
Rights of Bicyclists Under California Law
Bicyclists in California have the same rights as motorists to use the roads when adjacent bike lanes are not available. This means drivers are required by law to give bicycles the same right-of-way as any other vehicles. Bicyclists must obey all traffic signals, stop signs, posted speed limits, ride the same direction as traffic. Motorists and bicyclists must share the road and owe a duty of care to each other, under the California Vehicle Code.
Causes of California Bicycle Accidents
Many bicycle accidents typically caused by the negligence of motor vehicle drivers. Bicycle accident claims can arise from:
- Driver inattention when pulling in or out of a parking space
- Crosswalk bicycle accidents
- Pedestrians knocking over cyclists
- Vehicles drifting into bike lanes
- Drivers making unsafe lane changes
- Dooring accidents, when an individual opens a car door in the path of an oncoming bicycle
- Hit and run accidents, when an at-fault driver flees the scene
Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
Most serious bicycle-related injuries and fatalities are caused by collisions with motor vehicles. According to an article in the American Family Physician, the most commonly sustained injuries in bicycle accidents are soft tissue injuries and musculoskeletal trauma. Head injuries are responsible for most bicycle accident fatalities and long-term disability. Common traumatic injuries in bicycle accidents include:
- Head injuries: Skull fractures, concussion, brain contusions, intracranial hemorrhage.
- Face and eye injuries: Facial fractures, contusions, dental fractures, foreign bodies of the cornea of the eye.
- Musculoskeletal injuries: Bone fractures, dislocations, and strains.
- Chest injuries: Rib fractures, and lung injuries.
- Abdominal injuries: Ruptured spleen, laceration of the liver, and/or contusion of the kidneys, pancreatic trauma, perforated blood vessels, traumatic hernia.
- Genitourinary injuries: Pelvic fractures, trauma to the urethra, vulva, and rectum.
- Skin and soft tissue injuries: Road rash, contusions, and/or lacerations.
Head injuries are common for injured bicyclists after a collision with a motor vehicle. Injuries to the head account for 60% of all bicycle accident fatalities and most long-term disabilities resulting from bike crashes.
What Are My Options for Financial Recovery After a Bike Accident?
If a negligent driver was at fault for your bicycle accident, you could file a third-party claim with the driver’s insurance company. However, it would be wise to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer before filing a claim. Insurance companies are in business for profit and may offer a settlement that is not enough to cover your losses. If that occurs, you have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. In most cases, you have two years from the date of the accident to file your claim before it is forever barred.
How Much Can I Recover for a Serious Bicycle Accident?
Compensation for bicycle accidents can vary widely, depending on the circumstances. Certain factors will help determine the value of your case, including:
- Nature and severity of your injuries.
- Costs of medical treatment, and whether you require ongoing treatment in the future.
- How much time away from work and lost earnings were caused by your bicycle accident.
- Whether long-term or permanent impairment, disfigurement or disability have resulted from your injuries.
- Physical and emotional suffering you have experienced as a result of your injuries.
If you have been seriously injured in a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, call Balamuth Law at (925) 254-1234 or toll-free at (888) 254-1234 today. Our Oakland personal injury attorney can tell you if you have a case and what damages you may be entitled to claim.
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