Modesto Bicycle Accident Lawyer

bicycle

According to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), California is one of the most dangerous states for cyclists, with motor vehicle accidents killing 455 bicycle riders in the state from 2016 to 2018. California had an average of 3.9 bicycle accident fatalities per million residents. These statistics can be alarming for those who depend on bicycles as a common mode of transportation in Modesto, California.

If you suffered injuries in a traffic collision as a cyclist, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For more details, call one of our Modesto bicycle accident attorneys for free, friendly advice today at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400.

The consequences of a cycling crash can be devastating and overwhelming. When someone else is at fault for the incident, a cyclist should not have to suffer the burdens on their own. Injured bicycle riders may have a right to seek compensation for their damages. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer in Modesto can help injured cyclists obtain the justice and fair compensation they deserve. Since 1982, our personal injury law firm has been a fierce advocate for injured bicyclists in Modesto and across Stanislaus County, CA. We offer free consultations, so do not hesitate to contact one of our accident attorneys today.

Statistics on Cycling Crashes

Bicyclists are at a high risk of suffering serious injuries or even wrongful death while traveling on roads and highways in the Modesto area. Occurrences of bicycle collisions were studied by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), and the data from 2018 revealed 171 injury and fatal cycling crashes in Stanislaus County. In Modesto alone, there were 94 bicyclist injuries and fatalities.

Common Types of Injuries from Cycling Crashes

At our personal injury law firm, we handle a wide array of bicycle accident injury cases. No two crashes are the same, and the types of accident-related injuries suffered depend on the facts and circumstances of the bodily injury claim. Cyclists often suffer serious and life-changing injuries in traffic collisions due to their lack of physical protection against motor vehicles. Those accident-related injuries may include:

  • Bone Fractures: One of the most common types of bicycle accident injuries, one or more surgical procedures may be required to repair a broken bone.
  • Dental Injuries: Cyclists that fall on their face after a bicycle collision may suffer chipped or broken teeth, maxilla fractures, and broken or dislocated jaws.
  • Internal Trauma: A serious bike crash has the potential to cause damage to the internal organs, which can prove fatal in some extreme cases.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI): Trauma to the spinal cord is one of the most catastrophic injuries reported after a cycling crash. Any damage to this part of the body may result in a complete or incomplete SCI.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Trauma to the head may range from a mild concussion to a severe skull fracture, potentially leaving patients with life-long complications.
  • Wrongful Death: If a cyclist does not survive a biking accident, their surviving family members may bring a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party for damages incurred.
Bicycle Accidents and Driver Negligence

According to a 2019 bicycle-friendly state report by the League of American Bicyclists, California was ranked 4 of 50 states. Conversely, many roads in California lack bike lanes or shoulders, compromising bicycle safety. This means bicyclists and motorists must share the road, and that is when serious traffic collisions can occur. Another issue is that many motorists ignore protected bicycle lanes and cause catastrophic crashes.

Common causes of accidents between vehicles and bicyclists include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Failing to yield at an intersection
  • Fatigued driving
  • Not stopping at a stop sign or red light
  • Operating a motor vehicle in an aggressive manner
  • Speeding
  • Turning without looking for cyclists
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
California Laws on Accidents Involving Bicyclists

It is important to understand that, under the California Vehicle Code, bicyclists essentially have the same rights as motor vehicle drivers. That means bicycle riders deserve the same respect from motorists on a Modesto road or California highway.

Unfortunately, many motorists do not realize this fact and attempt to pass cyclists recklessly and aggressively. If this happens, an injured party may have grounds to hold the negligent driver accountable and seek compensation for their personal injury damages.

Types of Damages in Cycling Crash Claims

The damages you can reasonably expect to recover through a personal injury case include:

  • Medical costs accrued from the accident
  • Future medical treatment
  • Lost income due to time away from work
  • Future wages if you cannot return to work
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering associated with getting badly injured in a cycling crash

Specific factors may affect the value of a bodily injury claim. Watch the video below to learn more about the claims process.

Establishing Liability is Key in a Personal Injury Case

To recover economic and non-economic damages, an injured bicyclist must establish that the driver was negligent. If negligence is established in a personal injury case, the driver is liable for resulting harms and losses. Under California law, negligence is defined as failing to act as a reasonably prudent individual would act under similar circumstances.

For example, a driver was intoxicated, veered onto the shoulder of the road, and struck a cyclist. This type of conduct is not how a reasonably prudent individual would act under similar circumstances. Drivers are obligated to respect the rules of the road and all California traffic regulations.

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted driving, speeding, and hit and runs are all traffic violations. They may all serve as a basis for holding the driver liable for injuries and damages incurred.

Comparative Negligence in Biking Accident Cases

Even if a cyclist contributed to causing a motor vehicle accident, the injured bicyclist may still have the right to seek financial compensation for their injuries and resulting losses. California is a comparative fault state. This means judges and juries analyze the relative fault of both parties and make a calculated assessment of who was at fault.

If an injured cyclist contributed to the traffic collision, any award of monetary damages would be reduced by the percentage of fault a judge or jury deemed was appropriate, given the specific facts of the case.

What is the Time Limit on Bicycle Accident Claims in California?

If you or a loved one were riding a bicycle and got hit by a vehicle, you have two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit in civil court for monetary damages resulting from the biking accident. This is by the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1.

Waiting to file past the statute of limitations is a mistake and may even cost you the ability to recover personal injury damages. Many judges opt to dismiss personal injury lawsuits if they are filed in an untimely manner.

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Child Injured in a Cycling Crash?

There are some exceptions to the two-year statutory deadline. For example, if the victim of the collision was a minor, the statute of limitations is “tolled” under the minor reaches the age of majority and becomes a legal adult. When they reach the age of legal adulthood, the statute of limitations starts, so they would have two years from that point to file a personal injury lawsuit for a bike crash.

What is the Filing Deadline for a Claim Against a Government Entity?

There is another exception that actually shortens the statutory deadline considerably. This is when you or a family member is hit by a vehicle that was owned by a government entity such as the city or state. If you are hit by a government vehicle while riding your bike, you are required to file a notice of claim within six months of the date of the cycling crash, as outlined in California Government Code Section 911.2.

As you can see, the message is clear – take action right away by contacting an experienced injury attorney to handle your bike accident case today.

Contact a Modesto Bicycle Accident Attorney Today

At AutoAccident.com, we understand that serious biking accidents happen all the time, and we are available anytime to provide you free, friendly advice in your situation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our bicycle accident lawyers in Modesto to discuss your potential options for recovery. Call us today at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 to schedule a free consultation at our Modesto office. 

1015 12th Street, STE 7
Modesto, CA 95354

Our legal team has the experience, skills, and resources to recover the compensation you need and deserve.

Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. [cha 5.19.21]

Photograph Source: By "renategranade0" via Pixabay

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