South Lake Tahoe Bicycle Accident Lawyer
With the rising concern over chronic health conditions and environmental issues, bicycle riding has become more prevalent in California these days. More and more people are using bicycles to commute to school and work, which, unfortunately, has given rise to bicycle accidents as well. When a cyclist gets injured in an accident due to the negligence of another party, hiring a bicycle accident lawyer can be crucial to receiving a fair settlement from the insurance company or the responsible party.How do Bicycle Accidents Occur?
There are a variety of reasons which can affect the safety of bicyclists:
Defects in One or More Bicycle Components
Bicycle manufacturers may sometimes use less durable materials to maximize their profit margins. This can compromise the cyclist's safety when a bike is sold with a faulty part such as defective wheels, pedals, brakes, and frames. If the bicycle accident was caused by a defective part, the bike manufacturer could be held legally responsible for the damages through a product liability claim.
Negligence or Recklessness of the Motorist
In many cases, vehicle drivers lack the proper knowledge of how to share the road with cyclists. Vehicle drivers are legally required to yield the right of way to cyclists in California since bicycles are considered vehicles in the state. When drivers are careless, distracted, or impaired while driving, their negligence can lead to a devastating accident, causing the cyclist to suffer severe injuries or even death. In these cases, the motorist responsible for the accident can be held legally liable for ensuing losses.
Poorly Maintained Roads
If the government entity fails to keep roads and bicycle lanes in perfect condition, it can also lead to bicycle accidents. Road hazards such as bumps, cracks, or potholes on the road or sidewalk, poorly configured intersections, and insufficient lighting at night are examples of negligence on the government’s part. In these cases, the appropriate department (for example, municipality) can be held financially liable for the bicycle accidents and subsequent losses.Most Common Injuries Sustained by Bicycle Accident Victims
The majority of cyclists have minimal physical protection while riding their bikes, which is why bicycle crashes can result in some of the most debilitating injuries, including:
- Abdominal Trauma: A bike accident can cause several types of internal injuries in the victim’s abdomen, such as pancreatic trauma, contusions of the small or large bowel, rupture of the spleen, and traumatic hernia.
- Brain Injuries: When the cyclist’s head strikes the pavement or any other object during the accident, the rider may suffer concussions, skull fractures, intracranial hemorrhage, or brain contusion. The sheer force of the collision can leave the bike rider with permanent or temporary brain damage.
The bike crash can also result in a traumatic brain injury, which can cause behavioral changes, cognitive difficulties, memory loss, and confusion.
- Broken Bones: Since the cyclist’s body hits the pavement during the crash, bone fractures are almost unavoidable.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: A bicycle crash can also result in severe trauma to the spinal column. This can lead to multiple health complications, including complete or partial paralysis and loss of motor skills.
- Facial Scarring: Scarring, fractures, and lacerations to the face and neck are widespread in bicycle injury cases. If the facial disfigurement is acute, the cyclist will have to go through cosmetic surgeries to restore function and appearance.
- Chest Injuries: Cyclists can suffer severe injuries to the collarbone, ribs, shoulders, and lungs during a crash, especially if a vehicle runs over them.
Any of these injuries mentioned above can not only impact the cyclist’s life permanently but also prove to be fatal. These injuries may force the cyclist to undergo numerous surgeries and medical treatments for an extended period.
Watch YouTube Video: Bike Saftey - Sharing the Road. The following safety video from AAA provides information for drivers and bikers to share the road safely.Compensation for Injured Cyclists in South Lake Tahoe
The amount of compensation depends on various factors, including:
- Whether both the cyclist and vehicle driver were at fault for the accident
- Whether the injured cyclist has suffered a permanent disability
- The severity of the injuries
- The reports of a medical expert
Economic and non-economic damages may be recovered by the injured accident victim and their family if these factors are taken into account. Economic damages include loss of income (current and future), medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and any other expenses incurred by the injured victim due to the accident.
Non-economic damages are more complicated because they cannot be quantified. These are designed to compensate the injured victim and his family for pain & suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. Non-economic damages are calculated based upon the extent of the victim’s injuries and their life expectancy.
In cases of egregious conduct such as drunk driving, the victim may also be awarded punitive damages. Also known as exemplary damages, these are not necessarily intended to compensate the victim but rather punish the responsible party and deter them from engaging in similar acts in the future.What Happens if the Cyclist Succumbs to the Injuries?
Since cyclists are quite vulnerable during a collision accident, their injuries may prove to be fatal. In these cases, the surviving family members of the cyclist who passed away due to someone’s negligence can seek financial compensation by filing a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death claim provides financial relief for the tangible and intangible losses incurred by the decedent's family. This compensation includes non-economic damages such as mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. It also includes economic damages such as reimbursement of medical bills incurred before death, lost inheritance, lost wages, and burial and funeral costs. Since it can be challenging for the grieving family to deal with the legal process, hiring a bicycle accident lawyer can simplify the entire process.
Losing a loved one is always difficult, but the pain can be overwhelming when the loss is due to someone’s incompetence or negligence. A personal injury lawyer with extensive experience in wrongful death claims can prevent future accidents and make sure the responsible party doesn’t harm others.Benefits of Hiring a Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, a South Lake Tahoe personal injury attorney can significantly increase your chance of compensation for your medical bills and other losses incurred. They can advise you of all your available legal options, negotiate effectively with insurance companies, and help you navigate the complicated legal system. They will also investigate your case thoroughly by using experts such as accident reconstruction experts and engineers to help establish liability. This way, your lawyer can make sure you receive the maximum compensation available.South Lake Tahoe Bicycle Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a South Lake Tahoe bicycle accident lawyer. Even though the towns and cities around South Lake Tahoe are becoming more equipped to handle bicycle traffic, accidents still happen. If you have sustained injuries in a bicycle accident, the subsequent medical and healthcare expenses should be the responsibility of the at-fault party. Call our injury lawyers at (530) 392-9400 in the South Lake Tahoe area or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 to receive a no-obligation, free consultation.
Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. [cha 6.11.21]