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San Rafael Bicycle Accidents

San Rafael Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Bicycles are prevalent in California. People often ride bikes for exercise and leisure in the beautiful southern California climate. Others use them for transportation to save money on gas in an environmentally responsible and healthy way. While bicycles offer many advantages and are fun to use, they can also be dangerous, especially when bicyclists ride alongside motor vehicles. Bicycles are allowed to use most roads in California, and they usually have the right to take a lane the same way motor vehicle drivers can. However, bicyclists may not ride on highways or freeways and should use bike lanes wherever they are available.

When bicycle accidents happen, the bicyclist involved is likely to suffer severe injuries, even if a bicycle accident occurs at low speeds. If you or a loved one were recently injured in a bicycle accident someone else caused, the at-fault party is liable for any damages you sustained. Bicycle accidents can easily cause life-changing injuries that in turn lead to substantial economic losses. If you are unsure how to recover your losses from a bicycle accident someone else caused, you need to consult an experienced San Rafael bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.

San Rafael bicycle accident lawyer

Is it Worth Getting a San Rafael Bicycle Accident Lawyer?

You might be unsure why you need legal counsel after a bicycle accident, especially if the other party’s fault is readily apparent. You might assume that you can handle a personal injury claim on your own and save money on legal fees. The reality is that attempting to handle your own civil claim is not only extremely challenging, but you also risk losing much more than you could have potentially saved on legal fees. You would need to meet very strict procedural requirements with the court, and you would need to do so while also dealing with the injuries of your accident. Handling a lawsuit unassisted while simultaneously managing recovery from painful injuries would be very difficult. Even if you succeeded, you would risk settling for less than you rightfully deserve.

An experienced and knowledgeable San Rafael bicycle accident lawyer can not only dramatically increase your chances of success with your claim but also lead to much more compensation than you could have obtained on your own. You can rely on your legal team to handle all of your court filing deadlines and other procedural obligations while you focus your energy on your recovery. Your attorney is also likely to uncover channels of compensation you would have likely overlooked on your own, ultimately helping you secure more compensation than you may have initially expected.

Your choice to hire a San Rafael bicycle accident lawyer can make a tremendous difference in the quality of your recovery from the accident. Rush Injury Law can provide the comprehensive and responsive legal representation you need after a damaging bicycle accident, and we’ll guide you through every stage of your case. Whether your case ends with a settlement or you’re compelled into litigation, you can rely on the team at Rush Injury Law to provide detailed guidance through every phase of your bicycle accident claim.

How Do Bicycle Accidents Happen?

Bicycle accidents can happen unexpectedly, resulting in devastating injuries to the bicyclist involved. While California has recently placed new bike turnout lanes in some of the highest-risk areas for bicyclists, these are only available in certain areas. Many bicyclists must continue to navigate motor vehicle traffic every day. Some of the most commonly reported causes of bicycle accidents in southern California include:

  • Distracted driving. This is the leading cause of all motor vehicle accidents in the US. Drivers have a responsibility to pay attention to their surroundings at all times and to operate their vehicles attentively. A few seconds of distracted driving can be enough to cause a serious accident.
  • Driving under the influence (DUI). It is illegal to drive after consuming alcohol or drugs, and drivers who do so put themselves and others at extreme risk. If an accident is caused by an intoxicated driver, they will face liability for the victim’s damages and criminal prosecution for violating California’s DUI laws.
  • Aggressive driving. Some motor vehicle drivers will be frustrated by bicyclists, and some may fail to yield the right-of-way where appropriate. Others may attempt to intimidate bicyclists by swerving near them or passing very closely, sometimes resulting in collisions. If a driver engages in any intentional misconduct, they are likely to face criminal prosecution if their actions cause a bicycle accident.
  • Speeding. Motor vehicles require more distance to slow down and stop when driving at high speeds. Speeding is one of the top-cited causes of motor vehicle accidents in the US, and when a speeding driver hits a bicyclist, the bicyclist is likely to sustain catastrophic injuries.
  • Moving violations. Running red lights and making illegal turns are common ways for bicycle accidents to happen in southern California. Failure to use turn signals where appropriate and failure to yield the right-of-way can also cause serious accidents.

There are many ways in which bicycle accidents can happen, and whenever a motor vehicle collides with a bicycle, the bicyclist is likely to suffer far worse injuries than the driver. If you believe a driver is responsible for causing your recent bicycle accident, it’s essential to consult an experienced San Rafael bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.

How is Fault Determined for Bicycle Accident Cases in California?

If you intend to file a civil claim against the driver responsible for causing your bicycle accident, it’s vital to know the steps you must complete to succeed with the claim. The first step toward your recovery is proving fault for the accident. You must identify the party or parties you believe to be responsible for causing the bike accident and prove they owed you a duty of care in this situation. Next, you must prove they violated this duty of care in some way that directly caused the accident. Finally, you will need to provide evidence showing the full range of damages you are seeking in the claim and prove they are the direct results of the defendant’s actions.

Some bicycle accident claims revolve around negligence, or a failure to exercise reasonable care. For example, a driver who is using their cell phone while driving their vehicle is negligent because they have a duty of care to refrain from distracting activities while operating their car. Some bicycle accident claims pertain to intentional misconduct, such as aggressive driving or DUI. In these situations, the defendants responsible for causing bicycle accidents can not only face civil claims from victims but also criminal prosecution.

If you intend to file any personal injury claim in California, it is vital to understand the state’s comparative negligence law. Many defendants in civil suits will assert comparative negligence as a defense against liability for plaintiffs’ damages. California is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning a plaintiff can still recover damages when they are partially responsible for causing those damages. The plaintiff loses a percentage of their case award equal to their fault percentage. For example, if a judge determines a plaintiff is 10% at fault in a $200,000 case, the plaintiff loses 10% of the case award, resulting in net compensation of $180,000 instead.

Your San Rafael bicycle accident lawyer can help you determine whether comparative negligence will be cause for concern in your case. You may need to gather extensive evidence that proves exactly how your accident occurred. Your attorney may also coordinate expert witness testimony on your behalf to help you minimize or negate claims of comparative negligence.

Potential Injuries from Bicycle Accidents

When a motor vehicle hits a bicycle, the bicyclist is likely to suffer severe injuries. Even if the bicyclist is wearing high-quality safety gear and the accident occurs at low speed, the risk of injury is still very high. Some of the most frequently reported injuries from bicycle accidents in California include:

  • Traumatic brain injury. A properly worn bicycle helmet may help reduce the damage from a head injury, but these safety devices cannot prevent brain injuries entirely. Traumatic brain injuries often cause a host of symptoms, some of which are unpredictable and can pose extensive medical complications or permanent disabilities to the victim.
  • Spinal injury. The spinal cord carries brain signals throughout the body, and any damage to the spinal cord can permanently disrupt these signals. A severe spinal injury can potentially cause paralysis in the parts of the body connected to the spine below the injury site.
  • Bone fractures. Both the primary impact of the vehicle hitting the bicycle and the secondary impact of the bicyclist hitting the ground can easily cause serious bone fractures. Some of these injuries can fully heal with time and appropriate treatment, but others may require surgical correction, long-term rehabilitation, and cause chronic pain.
  • Facial and dental injuries. A bicyclist could injure their face severely in a crash. This could potentially result in damaged and lost permanent teeth, facial scarring, and other injuries that are both debilitating and disfiguring. These injuries often require extensive corrective treatment and psychological counseling.

Bicycle accidents often cause multiple injuries, some of which can cause serious complications and difficult chronic symptoms. If a driver is responsible for causing a bicycle accident, they are liable for any and all medical expenses the victim incurs from the accident.

Damages and Compensation for Bicycle Accident Cases

California state law allows the victim of a personal injury to claim compensation for any and all medical treatments they require. If your accident led to an extended hospital stay and long-term physical therapy or other rehabilitation, the defendant who caused your accident is liable for all of your medical treatment costs. Additionally, you have the right to seek compensation for other economic damages their actions caused. Your injuries may leave you unable to work for a long time, and you can claim lost income in your civil suit. You also have the right to recover lost future income if their actions prevent you from returning to work due to permanent disability.

Bicycle accidents are also highly traumatic experiences, and California state law recognizes the fact that experiencing a personal injury takes a toll on mental health. Plaintiffs can claim compensation for physical pain and emotional distress caused by a defendant. Your San Rafael bicycle accident lawyer will help you determine a fair amount to include in your claim based on how long the symptoms of your injuries are likely to last. If you develop a permanent disability from your bicycle accident, this could potentially lead to substantial pain and suffering compensation in your claim.

The at-fault driver’s auto insurance may cover some of your losses after a bicycle accident. An injured bicyclist has the right to file an insurance claim against an at-fault driver just like a motor vehicle driver would. However, the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is unlikely to cover the full scope of damages caused by a bicycle accident. Once you exhaust available insurance coverage, your San Rafael bicycle accident lawyer can help you compile your civil claim against the driver who caused your bicycle accident.

What to Expect in Your San Rafael Bicycle Accident Injury Claim

Any personal injury claim can be a very difficult experience for the victim and their family. Even a seemingly straightforward claim is likely to generate challenging legal proceedings, and the right attorney can make a tremendous impact on your experience in the civil court system. You can rely on your legal team to help you gather evidence and the documentation you need to establish the full scope of your claimable damages. They will handle court filings on your behalf and assist you in meeting all procedural requirements with the court.

The majority of personal injury claims filed in San Rafael, CA will settle outside of court. Avoiding litigation benefits both parties, allowing them to resolve the case much faster than a protracted court battle would allow. However, a settlement requires the consent of both parties. If the defendant denies liability for the accident or contests the scope of damages sought by the plaintiff, the case may need to be resolved in a trial. If your case proceeds to litigation, you can rely on your legal team to prepare you for each court appearance and help you make the most compelling case possible to secure your damages.

Rush Injury Law can provide the comprehensive legal counsel you need to approach your bicycle accident case with confidence. If you are ready to take legal action and discuss your case with an experienced San Rafael bicycle accident attorney, contact Rush Injury Law today and schedule your consultation with our firm.

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