Sacramento Bicycle Accident Lawyer

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Sacramento Bicycle Accident Lawyer
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    Sacramento Bicycle Accident Attorney

    In most areas, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. Cyclists must follow the law as to driving under the influence, giving pedestrians the right of way, and following traffic signals as if they were driving a car. If you are injured because someone negligently ignored or violated your rights as a cyclist, a Sacramento bicycle accident lawyer can work to secure compensation for your suffering.

    Cyclists are also required to ride with the flow of traffic, except in certain circumstances, including passing, making a legal left turn, riding on a one-way street, riding on a road that is too narrow, or when the right side of the road is closed due to road construction. If there is a road with a designated bike lane, cyclists traveling slower than the flow of vehicle traffic must use the bike lane unless they are making a left turn, passing, avoiding hazards, or approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.

    If you or a family member recently sustained injuries in a bicycle accident that someone else caused, it is vital to know your rights and your options for legal recourse against the driver who injured you. The right attorney can not only help approach your recovery efforts with peace of mind but also increase the total compensation you win from the defendant. Kreeger Law Firm has years of experience representing all types of personal injury claims in Sacramento, including bicycle accident cases. We can help determine your most viable options for recourse and guide you through the complex proceedings you face as you seek compensation for your damages.

    Proving Fault For A Bicycle Accident In Sacramento, CA

    Drivers of motor vehicles also bear responsibility for the safety of cyclists. California’s “Three Feet for Safety Act” requires drivers to give cyclists at least three feet of space when driving alongside or passing a cyclist. Bicycle paths cannot be obstructed by parking a car or bicycle in it. Also, a cyclist on a road has the right to “take the lane” even if they are moving slower than traffic when:

    • A cyclist is passing;
    • preparing for a left turn;
    • avoiding hazards in the roadway;
    • a lane is too narrow to share, and
    • when a right turn is authorized.

    If a driver violates their duty of care and harms a bicyclist, they are liable for the resulting damages. Before you are able to recover any compensation for the losses you sustained in your recent accident, you must gather evidence to clearly show fault and identify the driver who injured you. Your Sacramento bicycle accident lawyer may seek to obtain traffic camera recordings, eyewitness statements, physical evidence from the scene of the accident, and other evidence to help you firmly establish fault for your damages.

    What are the Laws on Bicycles in California?

    Cyclists have increased as many city leaders try to get people out of their cars and onto other more environmentally friendly forms of transportation. Cycling reduces traffic congestion and reduces reliance on fossil fuels. However, even with bike lanes and protected bike paths, cycling accidents are on the rise in auto accidents.

    According to a report on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017, 782 the death of cyclists nationwide was attributed to 3 categories:

    1. 37% involved alcohol.
    2. 25% happened where a cyclist was impaired.
    3. 7% happened where a motor vehicle was impaired.

    In California, the statistics mirrored the national statistics in that most cyclists’ deaths involved alcohol, followed by instances where a cyclist was impaired, and the least contributing factor was where a motor vehicle was impaired. Even though most cyclists are aware of the dangers of bike travel and take precautions, accidents still occur on a daily basis. Obtaining the assistance of an experienced California bicycle lawyer can help you recover damages after an accident.

    While most bicycle accidents happen because of negligence, it is also possible for driving under the influence (DUI) or other illegal acts to cause serious bicycle crashes. If the defendant who injured you did so through any illegal act, your Sacramento bicycle accident attorney can help you understand how this may influence your recovery efforts and the amount of compensation you win for your damages.

    bicycle accident lawyer sacramento ca

    Common Types of Bicycle Accidents in Sacramento, CA

    The majority of bicycle crashes are caused by the rider losing control of their bike and either getting launched from it or crashing into an object or the ground. However, only 1 in 5 bicycle crashes actually involve motor vehicles. Some of the most common types of bicycle accidents include:

    • Going Into Traffic: When a bicyclist pulls out of an alley or side street, leaves a private driveway, or goes from the sidewalk to the road, they are putting themselves at risk for a bicycle accident due to oncoming traffic.
    • Going in the Opposite Direction of Traffic: A large amount of bicycle crashes are the result of a bicyclist going against traffic, which can lead to serious injuries or even death.
    • Motor Vehicle Overtaking Another Vehicle: In such a crash, the bicyclist is riding alongside or in front of a vehicle that is getting overtaken by another vehicle. The vehicle that is overtaking the other can crash into the bicyclist due to not seeing them or having inadequate time to brake before hitting them.
    • Traffic Intersection Crashes: Many bicycle crashes occur at dangerous traffic intersections or stop signs. When pulling out into an intersection, motor vehicles can hit oncoming bicycle riders. Not following traffic laws, such as yielding the right of way, can increase the risk of such accidents occurring.
    • Door Collisions: This type of bicycle accident is more common in congested Sacramento areas, and it occurs when drivers have parked their vehicles and open the door to get out. The opening door can collide with a cyclist and cause harm.
    • Drivers Turning Left: By pulling out into the intersection and turning left, motor vehicles might not see bike riders and collide with them.
    • Drivers Turning Right: Sometimes, if a vehicle driver does not see a cyclist to the right of them when they are turning right, then they can collide with the bicyclist. This often occurs when the driver is looking left for oncoming traffic and does not see the bicycle on their right.

    It’s important to note that multiple types of bicycle accidents can be combined in a given crash case, depending on the details. For example, a bicycle accident that is classified as a traffic intersection crash can also be the result of a driver turning left. It is critical to properly classify your bike accident by analyzing the details of your case. To determine who was at fault and what your legal options are, a Sacramento bicycle accident lawyer from Kreeger Law Firm can work with you.

    Who is liable for a bicycle accident in California?

    It depends. If you were seriously injured in a bicycle accident, you should consult with an experienced attorney that represents injured cyclists to evaluate the specific facts in your case.

    Drivers are always required to drive at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the bicycle. The driver must consider the size and speed of the car versus the bicycle, the traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and the surface of the road. If the driver failed to comply with the Three Feet for Safety Act, they will be fined.

    When a driver is fined, it may help the injured cyclist prove a case of negligence against the driver. In cases where an injured person can show that the driver violated a law that was enacted to protect them, the injured person may claim that the driver was negligent per se. In these cases where the driver outright violated a law, it is easier for the injured party to collect damages for the victim’s medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and other damages. Having an experienced attorney can help assess liability and damages in your particular case.

    Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Sacramento, CA

    In Sacramento, there is, unfortunately, an increasing number of bicycle accidents. To understand this increase in incidence, it is critical to explore the reasons why such accidents are occurring. Some key factors that commonly cause bicycle accidents in Sacramento include:

    • Distracted Driving: If a driver is not focused on the road due to distracting activities, such as eating, applying makeup, talking to passengers, texting, or scrolling through social media, then this can cause them to collide with a bicycle.
    • Driving Under the Influence: Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs while operating their vehicles are likely to have slower response times and poorer motor skills, which increases the likelihood of a bike crash.
    • Increased Number of Cyclists: In Sacramento, there are roughly 4,000 cyclists on the road each day, which leads to a higher likelihood of accidents.
    • Poor Infrastructure: A lack of safe bike lanes and bike paths, as well as poor road infrastructure and poorly designed intersections, lead to an increase in bicycle accidents.
    • Reckless Driving: Drivers who are driving over the speed limit or aggressively put bicyclists and other motor vehicles on the road in increased danger of crashes in general.
    • Weather Conditions: Poor weather conditions, such as sleet, snow, heavy rain, or ice, as well as decreased visibility, can increase the chance of bicycle crashes.

    An additional contributing factor to bicycle crashes is the lack of awareness and education associated with bikers in Sacramento. This includes education for motor vehicle drivers to understand how to navigate the roads in a way that respects bikers as well as instruction for bicyclists to know the rules of the road for bikes.

    Claimable Damages in Your Sacramento Bike Accident Claim

    Once you successfully prove liability for your bicycle accident in Sacramento, CA, you can claim compensation for the damages you suffered. The defendant’s auto insurance could play a role in your recovery, but a personal injury claim will be essential if they do not have insurance or if they do not have enough coverage to fully compensate you for your damages.

    Under California’s personal injury statutes, a plaintiff has the right to seek compensation for their medical bills and future medical treatment costs if they require ongoing medical treatment to reach maximum medical improvement from their injury. If the accident has left them unable to work, the defendant is also liable for their lost wages and the income they will be unable to earn in the future if they have been permanently disabled. The plaintiff can also claim the cost of replacing their bicycle and any other personal property damaged or destroyed in the accident.

    Beyond economic damages, a plaintiff has the right to hold the defendant accountable for the pain and suffering they inflicted. State law does not place a limit on the amount of pain and suffering compensation a plaintiff can seek from a defendant, so your Sacramento bicycle accident attorney can help determine an amount that reasonably reflects the severity of the harm you suffered and the extent of long-term damages the defendant has caused.

    When you choose Kreeger Law Firm to handle your case, our goal is to help you recover as fully as state law allows. You have a limited time in which to file a personal injury claim and an even shorter time limit for an auto insurance claim after an accident, so it is vital to reach out to legal counsel you can trust as soon as possible after a bicycle accident in Sacramento.

    Common Injuries From Bike Accidents in Sacramento, CA

    Due to the lack of protective structure that a car or truck might offer for drivers involved in an accident, bicycle riders tend to face more serious injuries after a traffic collision or other kind of bicycle crash. Some of the most common injuries from bike accidents in Sacramento include:

    • Traumatic Brain Injuries: These injuries are caused by trauma or blunt force to the skull. They can range from minor injuries, such as a concussion, to more serious injuries, such as those that lead to a more drastic decrease in cognitive or motor function. Wearing a helmet can decrease the occurrence and severity of a traumatic brain injury.
    • Jaw, Dental, and Facial Injuries: Such injuries can occur as the result of force or collision with the face, leading to issues such as broken or lost teeth and fractured jaws.
    • Broken Collarbones: It is common to break your collarbone after falling off a bicycle due to the manner in which bicyclists normally fall. When they fall off the bike with their hands to brace against the impact, this can lead to a clavicle fracture.
    • Broken Hips: If a biker falls off the bike onto their side, then this can cause a serious hip injury, such as a fracture. Such fractures can be particularly painful, requiring long healing periods and even rehabilitation.

    In addition to the above-mentioned injuries, common bicycle crash-related injuries can include other fractures and sprains, such as a knee fracture or an elbow sprain. Cuts and lacerations, burns, and organ damage can also commonly occur.

    If you have been injured due to the fault of someone else in a bike accident in Sacramento, an attorney from Kreeger Law Firm can assist you with pursuing the compensation that you are entitled to so you can pay for your medical expenses.

    FAQs About Sacramento, CA Bicycle Accidents

    Who Is Liable When a Car Hits a Bicycle?

    Whenever a motor vehicle driver hits a bicyclist, it is likely for the vehicle driver to be at fault for the accident. However, there are cases in which a bicyclist could share fault. If the bicyclist was in any way negligent in a manner that contributed to causing the crash, they would share fault for the resulting damages. Your Sacramento bicycle accident attorney can help you accurately determine liability for your bicycle accident and address any concerns you may have about sharing fault with the defendant.

    What Happens if I’m Partially at Fault for My Bicycle Accident?

    California enforces a pure comparative fault rule that applies whenever more than one party, including a plaintiff, shares fault for a personal injury. If a plaintiff bears partial fault for their damages, they will have a fault percentage assigned by the judge handling their case. This percentage is then taken from their final case award. For example, bearing 10% fault in a $100,000 claim would mean losing $10,000.

    What Are the Most Common Injuries From Bicycle Accidents?

    A bicycle accident can easily cause many severe or even catastrophic injuries, such as broken bones, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and damage to internal organs. While bicyclists are required to wear helmets, these can only reduce the severity of head injuries, not prevent them entirely. Head and brain injuries are some of the most common causes of fatal harm in bicycle accidents throughout the state each year.

    Does Insurance Cover a Bicycle Accident?

    Every California driver is required to have auto insurance, and this insurance can come into play after a driver has hit a bicyclist. State law considers bicycles as vehicles for most purposes, so filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance could be an important first step in your recovery efforts. However, insurance alone may not fully cover your damages, or the at-fault driver may not have insurance. In these cases, a personal injury claim enables you to recover compensation for any losses that insurance won’t cover.

    What Will It Cost to Hire a Sacramento Bicycle Accident Attorney?

    The majority of personal injury attorneys accept cases on contingency. When you sign a contingency fee agreement with your lawyer, they will not charge upfront or ongoing attorneys’ fees for representation. Instead, you will pay them a percentage of the final case award they obtain for you. Attorneys determine contingency fee percentages based on the complexity of a case and the total damages sought by their clients. This billing arrangement prevents the plaintiff from paying more in legal fees than they win in compensation, and the client pays nothing if the attorney is unable to secure compensation on their behalf.

    Contact a Sacramento Bike Accident Lawyer Today

    If you have suffered physical injuries and property damage after a bike accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the party who negligently caused your injuries. To speak with one of our experienced Sacramento bicycle accident lawyers Christopher Kreeger about your case, contact us today at (916) 782-8400.