Were you involved in a bicycle accident caused by a reckless or careless driver? If so, the Newport Beach personal injury attorneys at OnderLaw, LLC may be able to help you hold the at-fault driver liable and seek the compensation you deserve.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s data shows that there were 857 bicyclist deaths in 2018, a 6.3% increase from the previous year, and the highest rate in 30 years. When you’re on a bicycle, there isn’t anything to protect you from the impact of a vehicle. Even if you’re hit by a slow-moving vehicle, you could still get knocked to the ground and suffer head injuries, broken bones, or worse.
Drivers are required to keep an eye on bicyclists and yield the right-of-way when necessary. Breaking traffic laws or passing too close to someone on a bike could result in severe injuries and even fatalities.
If you get hurt in a bicycle accident, it is your right to hold the at-fault driver accountable for their actions through an insurance claim or lawsuit. Call OnderLaw, LLC at (314) 963-9000 for a free consultation with one of our Newport Beach bicycle accident lawyers and find out more about how we can help.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Newport Beach
All vehicles have blind spots, and drivers are responsible for checking those blind spots for bicyclists and other vehicles that may be nearby. If drivers aren’t thorough in checking their blind spots or forget altogether, they could cause a devastating accident.
Many bike accidents are the result of driver error or distraction. A split-second decision could be the wrong one that injures others. When a driver is distracted by a cell phone or a passenger, they can’t focus on the task of driving and the road ahead. Distracted drivers may be unable to react quickly to an emergency or stop in time when a bicycle is crossing the road.
The most common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Reckless driving
- Failure to check blind spots
- Distracted driving
- Improper lane change
- Passing too closely
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Running a red light or stop sign
Although biking is an excellent option for transportation in Newport Beach, it comes with risks. Riding near motor vehicles is dangerous, and a single mistake by a driver can lead to a devastating accident. OnderLaw, LLC can review your case to determine what caused the accident and how to hold the at-fault driver accountable for their negligence.
Common Injuries Associated With Bike Accidents
Bicycles are thin and can easily crumple under the weight of a car. Biking exposes you to hazardous conditions and variables that are outside of your control. When you become the victim of someone else’s carelessness, you can suffer injuries that range from minor to life-threatening.
The most common injuries sustained in bicycle accidents include:
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Road rash
- Lacerations and contusions
- Blunt force trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
Some injuries don’t heal completely or correctly. When that happens, you could suffer consistent pain or require ongoing physical therapy and medication. If you cannot return to your job, you might have to apply for disability insurance benefits to afford your medical care and other costs. The driver who caused the accident or their insurance company should be held responsible for your losses.
Determining the Value of Your Case
The compensation you could seek in an insurance claim will depend on many factors, including your total damages. “Damages” refer to losses incurred after an accident. Whether your injury is minor or severe, you likely have different types of damages that you’ll seek to cover through an insurance settlement.
The damages from a bicycle accident may include:
- Disability or disfigurement
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
California follows a fault system when it comes to liability after a traffic-related crash. That means the person who caused the accident becomes financially responsible for the injured person’s damages. All vehicle owners and operators are legally required to carry liability insurance with minimum coverage limits of $15,000 for bodily injury and $5,000 for property damage.
When you file a liability claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you can seek monetary compensation for your past and future damages. The insurance adjuster will review your claim and might use some of the contributing factors below to determine how much they are willing to pay in a settlement:
- Type and seriousness of the injury
- Impact of the accident on employment, relationships, and quality of life
- The total value of damages
- Time spent away from work due to pain, doctors’ appointments, etc.
- Duration of the recovery period
- Amount of evidence proving the driver was at fault
- If future medical treatment is necessary
- Whether the injury caused physical or mental impairment or disability
OnderLaw, LLC will investigate your accident carefully, and when we find sufficient evidence that proves the at-fault driver was to blame and should be held liable for your damages, we will submit your claim to the insurance company and negotiate for the full and fair settlement you deserve.
Most insurance companies will prioritize their bottom line over your needs. They might deny the claim or come in with a lowball offer to save money. If that happens, we are prepared to go the distance and file a lawsuit to fight against them in court.
What You Might Expect From a Lawsuit
You could try to handle your lawsuit without seeking legal representation, but you will likely end up with less compensation than you deserve. That’s because insurance companies will take advantage of unrepresented claimants and use tactics to try to get them to sign away their rights.
When you hire an experienced Newport Beach bicycle accident attorney from OnderLaw, LLC, we will maximize the value of your case and handle all communication with the insurance adjuster so they can’t use your own words against you.
California has a statute of limitations you must follow if you want to file a lawsuit against the driver. California’s statute of limitations is two years. The “clock” will begin on the date of your injury and run out after two years have passed. If you don’t initiate civil action by then, the court will dismiss your case unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as:
- The defendant is out of state. The clock would start when they return.
- The defendant is a minor at the time of the accident. The clock would begin when they turn 18 years old.
- The defendant is insane. The clock would not start unless or until they were mentally competent.
Although two years seems like enough time to prepare your case, you could encounter roadblocks along the way. For instance, if you choose to file an insurance claim first, it could take months or years for the adjuster to make a decision. If they deny your claim and the two-year statute already passed, you won’t have the opportunity to file a lawsuit. That’s why it is essential that you hire an attorney and begin the legal process immediately after the bicycle crash.
Another key factor in lawsuits that you should be aware of is the pure comparative negligence rule. According to this rule, your compensation could be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault that you share in the accident.
If you share any amount of blame for the crash, it could hurt the outcome of your case. For example, if you incurred $100,000 in damages, but a jury decides you were 25% at fault for the accident, you could only seek $75,000 in compensation.
Newport Beach Bicycle Accident FAQs
Our clients will often come to us with questions about their legal options following a bicycle accident and how they should proceed with their case. We answered some of these questions, below, so you can be prepared for the legal road ahead.
How do I request a copy of the collision report?
Visit the California Highway Patrol website and fill out the Collision Request form. Mail it to the office with a copy of your driver’s license or state-issued ID and a personal check or money order for the fee.
Should I talk to the insurance adjuster?
No. You should never speak with the at-fault driver’s insurance company after a bike accident. Let your lawyer handle all communication on your behalf. That way, we can avoid potential pitfalls that can crop up during the legal process, such as a claimant admitting partial fault.
What should I do if I get hurt in a bike accident?
The first thing you should do is call 911 if there are any injuries. After the officer investigates the scene, immediately seek medical treatment, and hire a lawyer to represent you in your case. While we’re handling the legal aspects of your case, you should continue seeing your doctors until you recover or they release you from their care.
Contact OnderLaw, LLC Now
Since 2002, our Newport Beach bicycle accident attorneys have won over $3 billion in settlements and jury verdicts. Our results and dedication to our clients have earned us recognition from some of the country’s most prestigious organizations, such as Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, and Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We have also been featured in Missouri Lawyers Weekly, St. Louis Business Journal, and other publications and news outlets.
When you hire OnderLaw, LLC, we will dedicate our time, energy, and attention to every detail to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. We will determine your legal options and create a plan that reaches your goals and helps you recover from this traumatic experience.