Rio Linda Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bicycle accidents frequently occur in the Rio Linda area. In fact, they happen regularly throughout California and the entire country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which tracks statistics on roadway accidents, reported close to 800 fatal bicycle accidents in the U.S. in 2017. Of those, 124 occurred in California - our state is near the top for the number of bicycle accident fatalities in the 10 years from 2007 to 2017. An experienced Rio Linda bicycle accident lawyer can help when an accident occurs.Bicycle Versus Car Accidents
Any time a cyclist is hit by a vehicle, severe injuries are a real possibility. While the bicyclist may be wearing a helmet, the lack of other bodily protection can result in many types of injuries, some of which are listed below:
- Broken bones
- Deep abrasions - also known as road rash
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Ligament tears
- Soft tissue injuries - strain and sprains
- Concussion / traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Vehicle driver negligence is often the cause of Rio Linda bicycle accidents - whether they occur on a large street such as Rio Linda Boulevard or Elkhorn or on a smaller side street. The driver's negligent act could be a failure to look before changing lanes, executing a turn, sideswiping a bicyclist, or opening a door in the path of an approaching cyclist. The accident may have occurred at other times because the driver did not provide the cyclist the mandated three feet while attempting to pass.Three Feet for Safety
California Vehicle Code § 21670 mandates that California motorists must allow a space of at least three feet between their vehicle and a bicyclist when the motorist wishes to pass the bike. Further, the law states that if the vehicle driver cannot maintain at least three feet while passing, they must slow to a prudent and reasonable speed and may only execute the passing maneuver when it is safe.
If a driver is negligent and causes a bicycle accident, they should be held responsible for the cyclist's injuries. A skilled Rio Linda bicycle accident lawyer can help the injured party file a claim, deal with frustrating insurance adjusters, preserve critical evidence, and maximize the bicyclist's economic recovery.
Watch the YouTube video below examining California's Three Feet for Safety rule.Steps to Take After an Accident
If you are not incapacitated by your injuries, there are a few things that you should do at the scene of a bicycle accident. If you are seriously injured, the police will likely respond to the scene to gather some necessary information. If you are able, the following is a list of things that should be collected following the accident:
- The driver's full name
- Their insurance information - the name of the insurance company and the policy number
- The license plate of the car that hit you
- Names and phone numbers of any independent witnesses
- Photographs of your bike, the vehicle, the scene, and any of your visible injuries
After the information is exchanged and pictures taken, it is essential to seek medical treatment, even if you believe your injuries are minor and can be treated at home. Many times, you may be more injured than you realize. Head, internal, and soft tissue injuries may not be immediately apparent.
After you have been evaluated and treated by a medical professional, you should consult with an experienced Rio Linda bicycle accident lawyer to preserve your legal rights to recovery.Monetary Compensation After a Bicycle Accident
Most of the time, the injured bicyclist can begin a claim for monetary damages against the negligent driver. This process begins with the driver's insurance company. A claim can often be settled before a lawsuit is filed, but if the insurance company is being difficult, the case must be filed in court before the second anniversary of the accident. This two-year statute of limitations is the most common time limit. However, if the driver was employed with a public entity or the cyclist was under 18, other potentially much shorter deadlines apply. This is another reason to promptly consult with a Rio Linda bicycle accident lawyer - to protect your legal rights.
Some of the recoverable damages in a bicycle accident claim against a negligent driver are:
- Medical expenses (those already accrued and for future treatment related to the accident)
- Loss of income and loss of earning capacity
- Non-economic damages - these include pain and suffering
Another form of damages that sometimes applies is punitive damages. These may be available if the vehicle driver behaved beyond garden-variety negligence. Often, punitive damages are pursued if the driver is subsequently convicted of drunk driving. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for egregious conduct. It should be noted that it is rare that punitive damages are awarded, often because there is a lack of clear and convincing evidence of egregious conduct. A skilled bicycle accident lawyer will make an attempt in some instances, regardless of the difficulty in getting punitive damages awarded.Dealing With Insurance Adjusters
An injured bicyclist will have the option to pursue an insurance claim without legal representation. However, it is not advised, mainly if severe accidents and injuries occur. The goal of the insurance adjuster with whom you will be speaking is to keep as much money in the insurance company's pockets as possible. That means they intend to short-change your claims for damages. With an experienced attorney behind the wheel, in the vast majority of cases, the injured person will end up having a larger recovery than if they had handled it alone. Insurance adjusters will begin calling you shortly after the accident and attempting to get you to settle your claim quickly - even before the long-term effects of your injuries are known.Rio Linda Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, please call my office for free and friendly legal advice. Our local number is (916) 921-6400, and if you are calling from outside the area code, we have a toll-free line: (800) 404-5400. Our Settlements and Verdicts page will show you some of our past case results.