According to the NHTSA, there was a 6.3 percent increase in bicyclist fatalities in 2018. California is consistently at the top of the list for the highest number of bicycle deaths in the United States each year. During the past decade, California has had the highest or second-highest number of bicyclist fatalities each year. As an experienced California bicycle accident attorney, this sad distinction comes as no surprise.
What Causes Bicycle Accidents in California?
There are many reasons why bicycle accidents occur. Unfortunately, many accidents occur because bicyclists share the road with motorists. Vehicle-bicycle accidents are common in California, especially in areas in which bicycle use is high among commuters. However, bicycle accidents in rural areas are also common, especially in neighborhoods and near schools or other areas in which bicycling is popular.
Common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Distracted drivers
- Speeding and reckless drivers
- Impaired motorists (drugged and drunk drivers)
- Drowsy or fatigued driving
- Dooring (opening a car door in front of a bicyclist)
- Improper lane sharing
- Poor weather conditions
- Hazardous or dangerous road conditions
If a motorist or another party is responsible for causing a bicycle accident, that party could be liable for damages caused by the bicycle crash. Filing a bicycle accident claim is the first step in recovering compensation for damages.
Filing a Bicycle Accident Claim
A bicycle accident claim is similar to a car accident claim. An insurance claim is filed with the motorist’s insurance provider. The insurance company investigates the claim to determine if its insured is liable for damages. If the motorist was responsible for causing the accident, the insurance company calculates the value of the bicycle accident claim and issues and offer.
However, the process of settling a bicycle accident case may not be as simple. The insurance company wants to pay as little as possible for the claim. Therefore, the adjuster searches for evidence and information it can use to deny the claim or lower the value of the claim. The insurance adjuster may request a written or recorded statement or request copies of medical records.
Providing a statement or allowing the insurance company to search through your medical records could hurt your claim. It can be very beneficial to consult with a bicycle accident lawyer before discussing your claim with the insurance company for the other party.
Damages for a Bicycle Accident Claim
The value of your bicycle accident claim depends on numerous factors. Depending on the circumstances, most bicycle accident victims can receive compensation for a variety of damages, including but not limited to:
- The cost of medical care and personal care
- Loss of income, including a loss of earning potential
- Cost of medication and medical equipment
- Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other therapy
- Scarring, disfigurement, and permanent disability
- Mental and emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Travel expenses, help with household chores, and other out-of-pocket financial losses
It is important to keep detailed records of your damages, including copies of receipts, invoices, and other proof of expenses.
Contact a California Bicycle Accident Attorney for Help with an Injury Claim
A California bicycle accident attorney helps you with your injury claim by investigating the accident, searching for evidence to prove fault, identifying the liable party, and dealing with the insurance company. If necessary, an attorney can also file a personal injury lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to negotiate a fair settlement for your bicycle accident claim. Schedule a consult with one of our California bicycle accident attorneys today.