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Sacramento Bicycle Accident Lawyer
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.
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
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:
- 37% involved alcohol.
- 25% happened where a cyclist was impaired.
- 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.
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.
CLAIMABLE DAMAGES IN YOUR BICYCLE ACCIDENT CLAIM
Once you successfully prove liability for your bicycle accident in Sacramento, 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.
Bicycle Accident Lawyer FAQs
Q: Who Is Liable When a Car Hits a Bicycle?
A: 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.
Q: What Happens if I’m Partially at Fault for My Bicycle Accident?
A: 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.
Q: What Are the Most Common Injuries From Bicycle Accidents?
A: 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.
Q: Does Insurance Cover a Bicycle Accident?
A: 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.
Q: What Will It Cost to Hire a Sacramento Bicycle Accident Attorney?
A: 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.