According to the California Vehicle code, drivers have an obligation to others they share the roads with including cyclists. They are supposed to treat the bicycle as if it were another car; therefore the laws and rules that apply to vehicles are used when bicycles are involved. This article seeks to advise you on the steps to take when involved in a bicycle related accident in California and whether or not you should hire a personal injury attorney.
Steps to Take When Involved In an Accident
Wait for the arrival of the police: You need to wait for the arrival of the police for the filing of a police report. The police will also ticket the driver who was at fault which is useful when settling your case with an insurance company.
Seek medical care: Your medical reports are crucial in helping you secure a claim against the reckless driver.
Gather evidence: You need to look for witnesses and make note of anything that will help your case- for instance, photographs that were taken at the scene of the crime.
File a claim: the step of filing a claim depends on whether the defendant (driver at fault) accepts their responsibility and agrees to a settlement. However, in case the driver rushed off, you need to take the vehicle’s number plates and bear in mind the color of the car as this will be crucial in your suit for personal damages. After this, the next step will be to file a claim and give notice to the defendant of your claim against them.
What Cases Can You Handle on Your Own?
If You Are in A No-Fault Region: No fault is a legal concept used in personal injury claims where you are only entitled to compensation if the injuries you suffer as a result of an accident, reach a specified level. If the person at fault has an insurance cover, you have the right to be compensated, and so there is no need for an attorney.
If The Settlement Cannot Go Beyond a Certain Amount: An insurance company is limited to pay the value equivalent to an insurance holder’s policy. Therefore, if the insurance company decides to settle an amount that equals the value of the offender’s insurance policy, you have no option but to settle since there is no further negotiation hence no need for an attorney.
When to Hire An Attorney
Major Injuries: In case you sustain major injuries like broken limbs or paralysis that require you to be hospitalized for a long period, then you need a lawyer to help you get a fair compensation. Some of the damages you are entitled to for severe injuries include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of work and loss of enjoyment of life.
To Get A Fair Compensation: The insurance company of the defendant will usually want to settle at the least amount possible. In case you think you are entitled to a better deal, you can hire an attorney at this point.
If you are involved in a bicycle accident in Orange County, you should seek to enforce your rights by demanding compensation from the defendant. For serious cases or where the defendant is not agreeable hiring an attorney will better your chances of receiving justice.