Providing Legal Counsel to Injured Bicycle Accident Victims in San Diego, CA
Bicycles are popular throughout southern California. Many people ride them for leisure and exercise, while some use them as alternative transportation to reduce their carbon footprints. Bicycles are environmentally friendly and generally safe for most riders, but riding near motor vehicle traffic always risks experiencing an accident. When motor vehicles collide with bicycles, bicyclists almost always suffer serious injuries, which may be life-threatening or cause permanent disabilities.
Have You Been Injured in a Bicycle Accident in San Diego?
If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries due to the negligence of a driver while you were riding your bike in San Diego, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim against the driver who caused the collision. When another party is responsible for your economic damages and the pain your injuries have caused you, there is no reason you should be left to bear the cost alone. An experienced San Diego bicycle accident lawyer is the best asset you can have on your side if you intend to hold the negligent driver accountable for their actions and secure the compensation you deserve.
Chris and Frank provides client-focused and responsive legal counsel to injured bicyclists in the San Diego, CA, area. If you are struggling with a painful recovery from injuries a negligent driver caused, our team will thoroughly review the details of your situation and help you recover your damages with confidence. We understand that every client’s situation is unique, so we take time to get to know you and learn how your bicycle accident has affected your life to provide the most individualized and comprehensive legal representation possible throughout every stage of your claim.
Do I Really Need to Hire a San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
You may wonder why you need to hire a lawyer after experiencing a bicycle accident in San Diego, especially if the fault for the incident seems clear. Whenever a motor vehicle driver hits a bicyclist, the driver is almost always responsible for the collision. Even if the bicyclist was somewhat negligent, drivers can inflict much worse injuries on bicyclists than vice versa and therefore hold a higher duty of care to prevent bicycle accidents. However, no matter how clear your case may seem at first, there is always the potential for complicating factors to arise and make it difficult for you to secure the compensation you need after a bicycle accident.
An injured bicyclist attempting to handle their own personal injury claim faces several significant risks and challenges. First, they will need to handle all aspects of their claim entirely on their own while also managing the effects of their accident, such as their medical complications, the pain of recovery, and the financial stress the situation has caused for them and their family. Second, filing any personal injury claim in San Diego requires meeting various procedural requirements with the court. Failing to meet these requirements or missing a filing deadline could jeopardize the injured bicyclist’s claim and significantly extend the time required to receive compensation for their damages. Finally, an injured bicyclist with no legal counsel may mistakenly settle for much less compensation than they deserve under California law.
It’s best to avoid these risks by hiring an experienced San Diego bicycle accident lawyer to represent your claim. This will allow you to rest and focus on your recovery while your legal team manages the preliminary stages of your case. As the claim progresses, you can rely on your legal team to provide updates about the latest proceedings and coach you for each stage of the case. An experienced legal team is also the best resource to ensure you maximize your compensation to the fullest extent possible. While you may be able to calculate some of your immediate damages unassisted, an experienced lawyer can carefully review the details of your situation and make sure you uncover every avenue of compensation available in your claim.
How Do I Choose a Good Accident Lawyer?
Finding the right attorney can seem like an incredible challenge when you are struggling with the aftermath of a bicycle accident. However, many personal injury attorneys are operating in the San Diego, CA, area. Therefore, you can probably find lots of positive reviews for several attorneys close to you, and you could also ask friends and family about their past experiences with local attorneys.
The lawyers at Chris and Frank are confident in our ability to handle your case with the utmost care and professionalism. We have cultivated a solid reputation as a leading personal injury firm in the San Diego area and have successfully secured millions in compensation for past clients. We’re ready to put our resources and experience to work in your case, and our team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to hear your concerns and answer your most significant legal questions after a bicycle accident in San Diego CA.
How Do Bicycle Accidents Happen in San Diego?
Bicycle accidents can happen in many different situations, but these incidents are most common in areas with lots of motor vehicle traffic. While there are some roads that bicyclists may not use, such as freeways and highways, most of the roads in the San Diego, CA, area allow for bicycle travel, and some even have designated bike lanes. Bicyclists also have the right to “take the lane” in many places throughout Southern California, but unfortunately, many motorists do not know about this rule, and others do not respect it.
When drivers fail to yield the right of way to bicyclists where appropriate or engage in reckless or hostile driving maneuvers near bicyclists, they can easily cause devastating bicycle accidents. Some of the leading causes of bicycle accidents reported in the San Diego, CA, area include:
- Distracted driving. All drivers are responsible for paying attention while driving, and bicycles are smaller and harder to see than most passenger vehicles. When a driver is distracted for even a few seconds near a bicyclist, they can easily cause a bicycle accident.
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and drugs. Impaired driving is illegal and dangerous for both the intoxicated driver and all others around them. Impaired drivers experience diminished reaction time and spatial awareness. As a result, they may not notice a nearby bicyclist in time to avoid a collision, or they may engage in risky maneuvers due to impaired judgment. If a driver causes a bicycle accident because of DUI, they are not only likely to cause severe injuries to the bicyclist but will also face criminal penalties for violating California’s DUI laws.
- Aggressive driving. When drivers attempt to intimidate nearby bicyclists or intentionally engage in reckless maneuvers when bicyclists are nearby, they can easily cause bicycle accidents. When intentional misconduct causes a bicycle accident, the at-fault driver could face liability for criminal negligence or other offenses in addition to civil liability for the victim’s damages.
- Speeding. Posted speed limits exist to ensure a safe and steady flow of traffic. When drivers ignore these signs and speed, they reduce the time and space they have to slow down and stop in time to avoid accidents. Bicyclists are more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries when drivers hit them at high speed.
- Moving violations. Illegal turns and U-turns, improper lane changes, and running red lights and stop signs are just a few of the moving violations that could potentially cause a bicycle accident.
These are only a few examples of how bicycle accidents can happen in the San Diego area. Therefore, if you or a loved one recently experienced a bicycle accident, it’s essential to determine whether another driver bears responsibility for the resulting damages.
Determining Fault for a Bicycle Accident
A bicycle accident claim is a personal injury claim, and success with any personal injury claim requires the plaintiff to prove that another party was negligent or intentionally harmful in some way that directly caused their damages. If another driver caused your recent bicycle accident, your San Diego bicycle accident lawyer would help you gather the evidence and testimony you may need to prove their liability for your damages. For example, your attorney might secure vehicle computer data, the at-fault driver’s cell phone records, or traffic camera footage that captured the bicycle accident. They may also obtain statements from eyewitnesses who saw the accident occur.
Once you have positively identified the defendant responsible for causing your bicycle accident, you must show the court how they caused the accident. Establishing negligence in any personal injury claim means identifying the defendant’s duty of care in the situation in question and showing that they failed to uphold this duty of care in some way. For example, driving under the influence of alcohol or while distracted by a cell phone would be examples of a lack of reasonable care that can cause a bicycle accident. Every bicycle accident claim is unique, and the path to proving negligence will differ for each plaintiff.
Comparative Negligence in California Injury Claims
It’s crucial for any personal injury plaintiff in San Diego to understand California’s pure comparative negligence law and how it may come into play in a bicycle accident case. This law upholds that a plaintiff partially responsible for causing their claimed damages still has the right to recover compensation, but they lose a percentage of their case award equal to their percentage of fault for causing their damages. Unfortunately, it’s common for defendants in bicycle accident claims and other personal injury claims to respond to a plaintiff’s complaint by asserting comparative negligence, claiming the plaintiff shares responsibility for causing their claimed damages.
Hiring the right San Diego bicycle accident attorney is one of the best ways to defend yourself against comparative negligence claims or at least limit the fault percentage assigned to you if you do bear partial responsibility for causing your damages. When comparative negligence comes into play, the plaintiff will lose whatever percentage of their case award the judge assigned to them as a fault percentage. For example, if a plaintiff is found 20% at fault in a $1 million bicycle accident claim, they would lose 20% of the case award and receive $800,000 instead. Depending on the scope of a bicycle accident claim and the amount of damage in play, even a seemingly small fault percentage can significantly impact the plaintiff’s overall recovery.
Damages and Compensation for Your Bicycle Accident Claim
Bicycle accidents tend to result in devastating injuries, which may be life-threatening without immediate emergency treatment or cause permanent disabilities. Even when bicyclists wear appropriate safety equipment, they can still experience catastrophic injuries. Some of the most commonly reported bicycle accident injuries in California include:
- Traumatic brain injuries. A properly fitted safety helmet can potentially reduce the risk of death from a bicycle accident. However, a cyclist can still suffer severe head injuries when they are struck by a car. Traumatic brain injuries are unpredictable and have the potential to cause lifelong damage to the victim.
- Spinal injuries. The spinal cord cannot repair itself when damaged, so any spinal cord injury is permanent and can result in a loss of sensation or even paralysis. Injuries to the spine’s other components, such as the vertebrae and spinal discs, can also cause the victim chronic pain and other medical complications.
- Bone fractures. These are some of the most common injuries reported from bicycle accidents. While some will heal completely with time and proper medical treatment, others can require multiple surgeries and cause lasting nerve damage to the victim.
- Internal injuries. Crash impact forces can easily cause devastating internal injuries that may be life-threatening in some cases. Some internal injuries may not immediately cause noticeable symptoms and can easily worsen rapidly if the victim does not seek immediate medical attention after their bicycle accident.
These are only a few of the possible injuries a bicyclist might experience. A successful personal injury claim can allow them to secure compensation for all the medical expenses these injuries are likely to incur, both immediate and future. The plaintiff can recover immediate medical costs like their hospital bills and ambulance fees, but if their injuries demand ongoing treatment and restorative therapies, they can claim compensation for these long-term medical costs as well.
Severe bicycle accident injuries can prevent the victim from working until they recover, and they would have the right to include lost income in their bicycle accident claim. When a bicycle accident causes a catastrophic injury that prevents the victim from returning to work in the future, their San Diego bicycle accident lawyer can help them recover compensation for the income they would have expected to earn until retirement had their bicycle accident not occurred.
California law also allows a personal injury plaintiff to recover non-economic damages for physical pain, psychological trauma, and emotional distress inflicted by a defendant’s negligence. Their attorney will help them determine an appropriate amount of pain and suffering compensation to include in their personal injury claim based on the overall severity of their injuries, the total amount of their claimed economic damages, and whether they developed a permanent disability from the incident.
What Happens If a Bicycle Accident Is Fatal?
Unfortunately, not every bicycle accident victim survives their experience, and fatal bicycle accidents are tragic and financially devastating for victims’ families. When a bicyclist dies due to the negligence of a motor vehicle driver, their surviving loved ones have a right to file a wrongful death claim. Suppose death was not instantaneous, and the victim spent time in the hospital before succumbing to their injuries. In that case, the family could also file a survival action on their behalf to secure compensation for damages incurred by the deceased’s estate.
What to Expect From a Good San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer
The right attorney can make a tremendous positive impact on the outcome of a bicycle accident claim in San Diego, CA. Chris and Frank strives to provide client-focused and responsive legal counsel to every client we represent. We understand the challenges facing many bicycle accident victims, especially those left with permanent disabilities and incredible financial losses due to the negligence of others. It’s our goal to provide the comprehensive legal counsel you need to approach your bicycle accident claim with confidence.
We’ll carefully review the details of your recent bicycle accident and gather the evidence you need to establish liability for your damages. Once we have built the foundation of your bicycle accident claim, we’ll assist you with filing it with the local court and guide you through the preliminary stages of your case. While most personal injury claims filed in California end in the settlement, there is always a chance for a claim to escalate into a complex legal battle. We’ll do our best to secure a swift settlement on your behalf, but we’re not afraid to take your case to trial if that is what is necessary to ensure your full recovery.
If you are ready to discuss your legal options with an experienced and compassionate San Diego bicycle accident attorney, the team at Chris and Frank is ready to answer your most significant legal questions and provide the guidance you need during this challenging time. Contact us today to schedule your case review with our team and find out how we can help you recover your damages.
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