Updated: Dec 19, 2022
Getting The Most Of Your Bicycle Accident Payout In California
Cyclists are more vulnerable on the road than people who drive cars. Bicycles are the most affected by poor road conditions and careless drivers while also being at more risk for severe injuries in the event of getting into an accident with a bigger vehicle. That said, you'll want to know how to get compensation for your injuries and losses and advice on making the most of your claims in California.
It's critical to recognize that all road users owe each other a duty of care to keep each other safe on the road. That means they must drive safely, pay attention to others, and avoid being confrontational. In addition, to be eligible for compensation for any injuries you suffer as a result of a riding accident, you must show that:
In some sense, the other road user was negligent.
Because of their actions, you were injured.
To pursue a personal injury claim for a bicycle accident in California, you must establish that you received compensable damages due to the accident and that the accident was caused by someone else.
Most drivers have insurance for when they get into an accident. However, an insurance adjuster will endeavor to keep the amount paid out by the insurance company to a minimum. They might trivialize your injuries and twist your statement if you are not careful.
That said, the assistance of a skilled California Attorney For Personal Injury can make all the difference.
To get the most out of your claim, you should do the following:
1. Attend All Of Your Doctor's Appointments
First, you need to get medical help as soon as the accident happens. Some cyclists brush off possible injuries thinking they aren't as severe as they believe. However, some injuries might not be immediately apparent—either because they're not visible or felt, or the cyclist is feeling a wave of adrenaline keeping them from feeling the pain.
Afterward, go to every scheduled doctor's appointment. This is how your medical provider can monitor your health and oversee your recovery. Follow your doctor's treatment and prescription instructions in the letter. Failure to do so may be used against you as proof that the accident did not seriously harm you.
Additionally, having medical records of your injuries is a great way to leave evidence of your injuries. You or your California Personal Injury Lawyer can obtain these records for when you need to prove the severity of your injuries.
2. All Receipts Should Be Saved
When you're trying to get accident claims for your injuries, you'll need proof of the expenses you've incurred. This is because the point of compensation is to pay for all the losses you've sustained, including medical fees, property damage, and income loss.
While there are economic (tangible losses, like medical fees) and non-economic (intangible losses, like emotional distress) damages, getting economic damages is the easiest. This is because it is relatively easy to prove, given that you have all the receipts, invoices, and medical records to show how much you lost during the accident.
Make a list of all the expenses you've incurred due to the accident. Save everything relating to the accident, including medical bills, bike repair or replacement estimates, and messages or emails about missing work or other commitments. If you cannot return to work while recovering, that will count as lost income and can be shown through your pay stubs, employee records, etc.
3. Don't Negotiate With Insurance Companies On Your Own
Even your insurer, the insurance company, wants to pay you as little as possible. Notify your insurance company of the accident, but do not give a written or recorded statement without seeking legal advice first. A rapid settlement offer that appears to be a good deal is seldom one.
Insurers know how much similar claims have cost them and how much they can get away with. Therefore, please take advantage of your California Personal Injury Attorney's services and refer the insurer to your attorney whenever they contact you.
Remember that insurance companies are there for profit. So they'll try underhanded tactics to disprove and trivialize your injuries or push more of the blame onto you. It won't be ideal for you, who recently was in an accident, to stress over and deal with insurance adjusters while you're potentially in shock or recovery.
Avoid getting intimidated by these adjusters by sending in your legal representative. Your attorney will be able to face these people, handle things for you, and strike deals in your interest.
4. Contact A Bicycle Injury Attorney in California
Your priority should be your health and well-being. A qualified Personal Injury Attorney in California can handle all documentation required to file an insurance claim and investigate the accident to build a good and reasonable claim for you.
They can represent you through negotiations with the insurance adjusters and the at-fault party. And, when you don't get to a proper settlement, your lawyer can help you take things to court.
Sometimes, a demand letter from a lawyer is enough to prompt better offers and more negotiation. This way, you'll be able to keep the problems of your insurance claims off your mind and focus on your recovery instead.
5. Avoid Talking About The Accident In The Meantime
Despite your frustration, it is common for your lawyer to advise you to avoid discussing your accident and settlement claims in public spaces. This includes social media and some of your friends.
When insurance adjusters and the at-fault party's lawyers investigate the claim, they will look you up and try to find anything they can about you. Of course, one of their first stops would be your social media accounts.
If you posted or said anything about the accident, they might take and twist that to make you look bad and weaken your case. They will try to make it seem like it's your fault or that you weren't as injured as you claim to be.
Can Bicyclists Prevent Fatalities in Traffic Accidents?
It looks like you can, which is encouraging. Front crash prevention technology, which detects vehicles in front of the car and automatically applies the brakes to avoid collisions, is becoming more common in modern vehicles. According to the IIHS, such technology could increase the ability to recognize bikes in front of vehicles and take appropriate action in specific scenarios.
Although automakers may not yet have developed the detection sensitivity required to achieve this, the IIHS believes that enhanced technology will avoid or lessen many rear-end bicycle accidents, resulting in far fewer bike deaths and injuries in traffic.
Rear-end bicycle accidents, like rear-end car accidents, nearly never include the bicyclist who is hit from behind. The failure of the person driving the car that strikes the bicycle from behind to see or appropriately react to the bicyclist almost always causes such accidents. Without bike lanes, a cyclist has a limited chance of avoiding a collision with an inattentive car. A bicyclist lacks the acceleration ability to move out of the way of any motorist about to rear-end the rider, even when employing rear-view mirrors.
Nonetheless, riders can:
Get a headlamp
Make sure a driver sees you by waving your arm.
In the absence of bike lanes, keep closer to the center or left side of the lane.
Never ride against the flow of traffic. Bicyclists going in the wrong direction account for about a quarter of all collisions.
Stopping in a vehicle's blind area is not a good idea.
Passing on the right is not a good idea. The right side of a car has more blind spots, which means the driver can't see you.
Turns must be signaled.
While cycling, don't listen to music or use your phone.
It may seem unfair to put so much of the responsibility for remaining safe on the shoulders of the bicyclist, but let's face it: in any collision involving a car and a bike, the cyclist always ends up with more injuries and property damage.
Severe injuries, property damage, and income loss mean more losses for you. You'll likely suffer more financial and emotional losses after a crash with a car. These losses can set back cyclists, and if your insurance adjuster tries to trivialize your injuries and claims, the worse an experienced recovery will be.
That said, if you are ever in an accident while cycling, you should contact a California Personal Injury Attorney before you even meet with insurance adjusters.
Furthermore, the California Three Feet for Safety Act imposes the following rules on California drivers:
A driver must leave three feet between the car and the bike when passing a bicycle on the road.
If local conditions prevent the car from maintaining this distance, the motorist must drop to a reasonable and sensible pace when passing, and only pass when doing so will not jeopardize the bicyclist's safety.
A motorist who causes an accident through negligence may be held liable for the injuries sustained by the other driver, who, in this example, is a biker.
When Does UM/UIM Cover a Bike Collision?
Your own insurance policy may cover the damages if an uninsured driver hits you. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is frequently included in vehicle insurance policies, while California citizens can opt-out of it. This is something that bikers should avoid at all costs. If you are a cyclist, you should obtain the most significant amount of UM/UIM possible. This will protect your capacity to receive the financial compensation you require in a crash.
Even if you are not driving a car, UM/UIM insurance will cover your damages if an underinsured or uninsured motorist hits you. This includes mishaps that occur while you are jogging or riding your bike. Your insurance will pay for any damage to you or your bike up to the maximum amount stipulated in your policy. This type of policy may also protect you if you are involved in a hit-and-run bike accident.
One disadvantage of this coverage is that it requires you to own an automobile. As a result, many individuals in California rely only on bicycles for mobility. You may acquire separate bike insurance, but these policies can be complex regarding what damages they cover and what they don't.
Speaking with a prescreened Bicycle Injury Lawyer in California before you give up on getting compensation for your injuries from the party at blame or damages from your own insurance after a bike accident.
When Is a Bicycle Accident Covered by Homeowners/Renters Insurance?
When a bicycle incident is not your fault, reimbursement may be provided by the other driver's auto insurance or your own UM/UIM policy. If you are at blame for the accident, however, your homeowner's or renters insurance's personal liability coverage may be able to assist you in paying for the damage you caused. In addition, this coverage can help pay for property damage or personal injury if your bike collides with a car, pedestrian, or another cyclist.
If you are struck by another biker, jogger, or skateboarder, their personal liability insurance may cover your injuries. In addition, most people have a homeowners or renters insurance policy that covers these types of damages. This policy may also cover a claim if your bike is stolen from your home or elsewhere.
Each insurance coverage is unique. As a result, following a crash, it's critical to talk to an experienced California Attorney For Personal Injury about your coverage and needs. In addition, if you are ever in an accident while riding your bike, you must consider all of your alternatives.
The Costs of Bicycle Collisions and the Compensation You Might Receive
California is the most populous state in the United States, and many residents prefer to spend their time outside. This is true for recreational cyclists and those who ride for work or family purposes.
That said, when a cyclist gets into an accident, Personal Injury Laws in California might help them get the compensation they deserve. Remember, these damages or settlements are meant to get the injured party back to the position they once were in before the accident.
So, if you're working with a California Attorney For Personal Injury, you might be able to claim the following compensations following your injuries:
1. Past And Future Medical And Recovery Expenses
Because of the nature of the impact, you are likely to sustain severe injuries if you are involved in a bicycle accident. The accident might result in minor cuts, bruises, and more serious issues such as paralysis or even lifetime disability.
In any case, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible following an accident to discover the reason for the disaster. This ensures that non-physical injuries, such as internal bleeding, are treated as quickly as possible.
You will be entitled to recover all medical expenditures incurred due to the bicycle accident under this compensation. Hospital expenses, prescription pharmaceutical charges, rehabilitative treatments, and other medical costs are included in this category.
If, on the other hand, the accident resulted in the death of a family member, you will be eligible to suit for Wrongful Death and any additional medical expenditures incurred between the time of the accident and the time of death as funeral and burial expenses.
2. Wages, Earnings, and Income Opportunities Lost Because Of The Accident
You are entitled to compensation for missed wages up until the arbitration or hearing date if you cannot return to work due to a bike accident. In addition to missed earnings, you may be compensated for lost benefits such as health and retirement.
When you get in a bicycle accident, compensation for lost wages is calculated, proposed, and negotiated until a settlement is reached. You may be eligible for compensation if your injuries are severe enough to risk your future wages.
3. Pain And Suffering Damages
Bicycle accidents can result in excruciating pain and suffering. People who have suffered losses due to a bike accident are compensated. However, the accident may cause them to suffer bodily or emotional suffering for the rest of their lives.
This type of compensation is determined by the severity of the injury, discomfort, and the likelihood of future pain resulting from the bicycle accident. The readiness of your attorney is critical to the success of this case.
Your California Personal Injury Attorney would need to gather all of the required information to prove the level of your suffering, the length of time you were in agony, and any extra losses you sustained to build a compelling case.
4. Loss Of The Enjoyment Of Life
On the other hand, serious injuries can prevent you from participating in sports, hobbies, and other leisure activities that you previously enjoyed. Similarly, a severe injury sustained in a bicycle accident can take away the joy or pleasure you used to get from partaking in some cerebral hobbies.
Losing interest in physical and mental activities significantly negatively impacts your quality of life. As a result, you won't be able to enjoy yourself as much as possible before the accident.
Your personal injury claim will be able to compensate you for this loss through an award of economic damages. However, because the amount of compensation that can be awarded is solely at the judge's discretion, it is impossible to predict.
5. Emotional Distress Damages
Accidents don't just pose financial consequences. They leave victims shocked and traumatized. On top of that, victims also have to deal with the stress of negotiating with insurance companies, being unable to go back to work, being unable to help and interact with their families, and going through the distressing process of physical and emotional recovery.
Emotional distress awards are intended to compensate bicycle accident victims for the psychological difficulties their injuries have caused in their daily lives.
There are a number of indicators that someone is experiencing emotional distress. Anxiety, apprehension, and a lack of sleep are all possible symptoms. This is a very personal loss that varies significantly from person to person.
As a result, it's vital to keep track of all psychological effects following a bicycle accident as soon as feasible. In addition, any indicators of mental illness should be reported to a doctor for documentation.
Because emotional distress can be used as evidence in a personal injury case, it must be reported to a doctor. You can also file a claim with your insurance company using the same information. Another way to get information is to keep a regular journal of your feelings since the accident.
6. Damage To Property
This form of coverage might reimburse you if your item was stolen or damaged in an accident. Cycling helmets, shoes, and any other personal property will almost certainly be included in your case. In addition, if your phone or other non-cycling-related property was damaged during the accident, those too will be included in the list of compensable damaged properties.
Furthermore, you have the right to seek reimbursement for the cost of restoring the bicycle is less than its value before the accident.
However, if the cost of restoring your bike exceeds the value of your bike before the incident, or if your bike is irreparably damaged, you are entitled to damages equal to the value of your bike before the accident.
You must provide correct documentation and validated estimates from a reputable bicycle shop to be eligible for this refund. Then you can take your bike to a professional who will assess the damage and assist you in determining its market value.
Check that the information in the assessment corresponds to the current model and year of your bicycle. If you're having trouble finding your brand, go to a secondhand bike shop for help.
FAQ: After a bicycle accident in which I was injured, can I repair or sell my bicycle and purchase a new helmet?
Yes, but you may be harming your case irreparably. An evaluation of the helmet will be crucial if your case involves a head injury or traumatic brain damage. As a result, you should always keep your helmet clean. Furthermore, the bicycle should be left in the same condition as it was before the collision.
Bicycle accident claims almost frequently involve disputed liability, and examining the bicycle will substantially benefit an accident reconstruction expert or bicycle expert in evaluating the case. By inspecting the bike, an expert can estimate the speed of impact and all of the forces involved in the accident.
If the bicycle is still missing, you should have a photograph of it in its pre-accident condition. If you don't, don't give up on the issue; instead, seek legal advice from someone who may be able to prove the case in a different method.
7. Punitive Damages
In a personal injury case, punitive awards are made to compensate the plaintiff for specific losses due to a bike accident. Punitive damages are also commonly utilized to punish a defendant whose actions caused harm.
That said, punitive damages are only ever awarded when the accident circumstances are especially egregious. But, again, it's meant to teach the at-fault a lesson, so the jury might "make an example" of them by requiring the defendant to pay punitive damages.
To collect this type of compensation, the plaintiff must show that the respondent was guilty of gross negligence or criminal activity.
Find Top-Rated Personal Injury Attorneys In Los Angeles for Bike Accidents
Whether you're dealing with severe injuries, income loss, or emotional distress, it is best to seek legal direction in your time of confusion. You can also seek compensation for losing a loved one due to someone else's negligence.
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