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In Los Angeles, many roads have inadequate bike lanes or shoulder, and drivers often ignore these protected spaces even when they are present. If you or a loved one has been injured – or even killed – in a bicycle-vehicle accident, you need the services of a Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyer – you have the right to take the responsible party to court.
Especially in collisions with automobiles, cyclists are vulnerable to serious injuries such as broken bones, head trauma, spinal cord injury, and lacerations even when wearing the proper safety gear.
However, some bike accidents are not due to careless driving but stem from the rider’s irresponsibility. Bicyclists must follow many of the same laws as car drivers. At the law firm of Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP our Los Angeles injury attorneys encourage bicyclists to follow all California bicycle laws.
Navigate This Page
- How Can a Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney Help Me?
- What Financial Compensation Can I Recover After a Bicycle Accident?
- California Bicycle Laws
- Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents
- Fault in Los Angeles Bike Accidents
- Pure Comparative Fault in Los Angeles, California
- Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Los Angeles
- Why Choose Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi
How Can a Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney Help Me?
You may be shocked to learn that a bicycle accident lawyer can actually help you in ways that go far beyond the filing of a lawsuit on your behalf.
When you hire an attorney from Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi, you gain an advocate and a counselor who is ready to assist you as you move forward from your injuries and seek to get your life back on track. Some specific ways that a bicycle accident attorney can assist you include:
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are involved in most personal injury lawsuits, including bicycle accident cases. It is well known that insurance companies run on paying out as little money as possible for claims, and so they may come to an accident victim quickly, offering to pay a settlement in exchange for an agreement to not file a lawsuit. +
However, these initial settlement offers are likely to be extremely low and do not represent a full and fair amount. Without an attorney to assist you, you would have no way of knowing these things. Our team of experienced attorneys knows how to negotiate with insurance companies to ensure that they pay out what they’re obligated to pay.
Providing You With a Neutral Viewpoint
An accident is an emotional experience that rightfully leaves a victim traumatized and in shock. During the time that you are healing from your injuries, you may not be able to see things through an objective and neutral lens. You may believe that you have no way to recover compensation for your injuries, and you may be talking yourself out of consulting with an attorney.
Conversely, you may be thinking that you are entitled to more compensation than you actually are. When you hire an experienced attorney, you gain a neutral viewpoint that will always tell you the truth about your claim for compensation and your likelihood of receiving it.
What Financial Compensation Can I Recover After a Bicycle Accident?
California law allows for bicycle accident victims to recover compensation in an amount that fully compensates the victim for injuries they suffered due to another person’s negligence.
While the specific bicycle accident claims for damages will vary in each case depending on the case’s facts and circumstances, victims may be able to recover compensation for the following types of damages:
- Medical bills and healthcare expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship for spouses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional damages
Oftentimes, calculating a specific claim for damages can be one of the most complicated parts of putting together a personal injury lawsuit. An experienced and capable bicycle accident attorney can assist you in calculating the amount of compensation that the law may entitle you to seek.
Our attorneys at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi are ready to assist you in obtaining the maximum amount of compensation for your claim.
California Bicycle Laws
California Vehicle Code VC 21201 deals with bicycle requirements.
- Functional brakes – It is illegal (and dangerous) to ride a bike with faulty brakes.
- Handlebars must be appropriately sized for the rider, and not above the rider’s shoulder height.
- LA Bike has a city by city breakdown of the vehicle codes in all L.A. County cities.
There are additional requirements for nighttime riding:
- Bikes must be equipped with a lamp or headlight that can be seen from 300 feet to the front or either side of the bicycle.
- The rear of the bike must be equipped with a red reflector that can be seen from at least 500 feet away.
- The bike pedals must be equipped with white or yellow reflectors.
Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents
Anyone involved in a bicycle accident in California has two years to file a lawsuit for damages that result from a car accident. This is called the statutory period; if you do not file your claim within this period, a judge may bar your claim. Certain exemptions do apply if the injured person was rendered incapable of filing a claim or suffers from mental incompetence (especially if said incompetence was the result of any of the accident injuries, such as a concussion).
You may also receive an extension on the statutory period if you did not appear to have any injuries at the time of the accident but later discovered injuries that stemmed from the accident.
If a minor is involved in a bicycle crash, he or she may wait until he or she is twenty years old to file a claim. The minor will be permitted to file any time up until an 18th birthday, at which point the two-year statutory period kicks on.
If you have any doubt about your claim or accident, a Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney at Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP can help you determine whether or when to file your claim. Consulting with one of our attorneys as soon as possible will ensure statute of limitations does not run out on your claim.
Fault in Los Angeles Bike Accidents
In some states, the driver is always at fault in a car-bicycle accident. Not so in California; the fault rests squarely with the negligent party, and said party is responsible for all damages.
“Negligent,” in California law, is defined as “failing to act in a manner expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under similar circumstances.”
What does this mean for car-bicycle accidents?
To prove the driver was acting negligibly, the crash must have caused property damage or personal injury. It must also be proved that the driver or bicyclist acted carelessly and that the carelessness directly caused the crash.
Pure Comparative Fault in Los Angeles, California
If the faulty party is responsible for all damages and there are two faulty parties, who will pay?
To fix this problem, California decided to use a pure comparative negligence model.
The model asks: Who is more at fault? Who sustained more damage?
If, for example, one party is 25% at fault and the other party 75%, the former party is entitled to 75% of the damages, which holds them accountable to the portion of the total damages for which they are responsible. Your Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyer can help you determine the percentage of liability in your accident.
Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Los Angeles
When a bicycle is struck by a vehicle, those accidents can be caused by anything – inattention, distractions, road or weather conditions, failing to check mirrors, or driver impairment. However, in Los Angeles, the most common causes of bicycle accidents include:
Failure to Yield to Bike Lanes
The most common cause of bicycle accidents is the failure to yield by other motorists. In recent years, shared vehicle/bicycle lanes have become very common on roads across the country, including in California.
On one hand, these shared lanes make it much more obvious to drivers that there may be bicyclists around. But on the other hand, many drivers do not understand that they must yield to bicyclists in the bike lane. When a motorist fails to yield, they have negligently caused a bicycle accident.
One of the biggest reasons why bicycling remains to be dangerous is the simple fact that bicycles are not always easily seen by drivers on the road. While bicyclists can (and many do) wear reflective gear to assist visibility, reflective gear makes no difference in daylight.
Unfortunately, driving becomes an activity of muscle memory for most experienced drivers after spending time behind the wheel. Instead of fully stopping to check if a lane is clear, drivers may just take a glance to check for vehicles. While that glance my detect a vehicle, it likely would not detect a bicycle due to the relative size differences between a bicycle and a passenger car.
When a driver fails to see a bicycle, they could pull in front of or directly into the cyclist, striking them with the car, and causing injuries.
This type of accident is all too common, and it arises from a car that is parked. Because many bike lanes are situated on the outside edges of the roadway, in many major cities, bike lanes are directly abutted to parallel parking spots. Even in cities without specified bike lanes, bicyclists usually ride to the side of the road, and thus next to vehicles if any are parked on the street.
When a driver opens their door from a parallel parked car without checking to see if the path is clear, they may inadvertently cause a bicyclist to collide with the door. These types of accidents are serious and can cause injuries to both the bicyclist and the driver.
Why Choose Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi
When choosing to work with an attorney to seek compensation for injuries you have suffered due to another person’s negligence, you should seek the most effective attorney who will fight for your interests and obtain the maximum amount of compensation available to you.
Our team at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi, LLP has been advocating for California accident victims and their families for almost 20 years in all kinds of cases. We would welcome the opportunity to assist you.
Our Firm is Nationally Recognized
In addition to being well known in California, our lawyers are recognized across the country and by other legal professionals for the work we do on behalf of California accident victims.
Our firm has been recognized as one of the top plaintiff’s law firms in the country by the National Law Journal, and has likewise been designated as “Tier 1” by US News and World Report in several practice areas. Our accolades directly reflect our priorities – that our clients always come first.
We Have the Experience You’re Looking For
Our firm was founded almost 20 years ago in 2005 by lawyers who bound together to fight corporate greed and protect consumers from companies that prioritize profits over all else.
Since then, our attorneys have successfully represented countless California families in personal injury actions against insurance companies and large corporations. And those have been big victories – our firm has won more settlements and verdicts in excess of $10 million than any other law firm in California history.
While our past successes cannot guarantee a specific outcome for your case, they demonstrate that our team has the capability and the drive to fully fight for you and your interests.
We’re Dedicated to Our Clients
Our clients are at the forefront of everything we do, and a strong sense of justice drives our law practice. When we take a case, we commit fully to advocating for our clients and their family in the most effective manner possible.
Our track record demonstrates our success in living out this commitment, and we look forward to hearing from prospective new clients.
Contact a Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
When a bicyclist is struck by a car, the bicyclist is at a much greater risk for serious injuries than the driver of the car. Because these injuries can be so serious, they can also inflict a great financial burden on victims and their families.
Medical bills, lost wages, and healthcare costs alone can amass very large sums of money. When those bills are caused by another person’s negligence, the law provides that you can make them pay.
Contacting an attorney to set up a free consultation is a no cost, no risk process. Our team of attorneys at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi is ready to assist you and your family today. Contact our office to set up a free, confidential case evaluation with one of our Los Angeles bicycle accident attorneys.
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