Bicycles are a popular form of both transportation and exercise in California. However, San Jose remains one of the deadliest areas in the South Bay for bicycle accidents. Between 2014 and 2018, there have been 1,473 crashes, 1,428 injuries, and 21 deaths in the area. San Jose is also home to 11 of the top 25 most dangerous spots for cyclists in the country.

When a bicyclist comes into contact with a reckless or negligent motorist, the consequences are almost always traumatic for the cyclist. The physical and financial strain of a serious accident can threaten a victim for months or even years after the initial incident. The best way for cyclists to protect themselves, their health, and their financial stability is to talk to an experienced San Jose bicycle accident attorney.

The San Jose personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw immediately spring into action to protect the rights of cyclists, and we work hard to make sure that they are being treated fairly. Victims of serious bicycle accidents deserve full and fair compensation for their injuries and our team is dedicated to helping victims try to achieve that goal.

After a bicycle accident, contact the legal team at OnderLaw for help. Call us anytime and let’s set up a free consultation.

Why Choose OnderLaw After a Bicycle Accident?

Filing a claim against a reckless or negligent driver can be an exhausting and challenging process, especially if you are injured and trying to recover from traumatic wounds. You may not be up to long phone calls with insurance adjusters or tracking down crucial evidence that can support your claim against the at-fault driver. That’s where the team at OnderLaw comes into play.

At OnderLaw, we have the time, resources, and experience to investigate the circumstances of the accident and locate critical evidence that may help substantiate your claim. The stronger your case, the more likely it is that you could receive all the compensation that you deserve after an accident. No for-profit company wants to be out money because of an accident, and that’s why you need a skilled attorney on your side fighting for every penny you are entitled to.

OnderLaw has a track record of success handling personal injury cases like bicycle accidents. We will work with you to obtain the money you need to move on with your life. Before you accept anything from an insurance company, talk to a seasoned San Jose bicycle accident attorney about your situation. You deserve to work with someone you can trust, not an insurance adjuster working for the other driver. Contact the team at OnderLaw today for help with your claim.

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents

Serious bicycle accidents are becoming an all-too-common occurrence in San Jose. Turn to the local news almost any given week, and there is a story about another vehicle versus bicycle collision. By April of 2021, there had already been three deadly collisions between drivers and bicyclists in the city. Unfortunately, there are several reasons for this, especially since it has become more popular than ever to choose a bike as a mode of transportation. Some of the most common causes of vehicle versus bicycle accidents include:

  • Distracted driving. Distracted driving is anything that takes a driver’s eyes or attention off the road where it belongs. Since bicyclists are harder to see, distracted driving is particularly dangerous for those traveling in bike lanes, crosswalks, and anywhere where a cyclist may encounter cars.
  • Drunk driving. San Jose has a high number of drunk driving incidents. Drunk drivers have impaired vision and judgment and have slower than normal reflexes. Drunk drivers often don’t notice bicyclists until they crash into them. If they do spot a cyclist, they are often unable to stop in time to avoid a collision.
  • Drowsy driving. The symptoms of sleep deprivation are remarkably similar to symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol. A driver can experience a lapse in judgment and a slowing of basic motor skills and reflexes. Driving while fatigued is dangerous to everyone sharing the road with the drowsy driver, especially bicyclists.
  • Left-hand turns. Left-hand turns can be dangerous for bicyclists trying to enter the crosswalk. A driver may fail to notice the bicyclist in the crosswalk, or if the driver doesn’t use their turn signal, a cyclist may not realize that they intend to turn left.
  • Speeding. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the more damage it can do when it impacts something. Speeding is dangerous and can cause significant injuries to a bicyclist who cannot get out of the way in time to avoid the speeding vehicle.
  • Failure to observe traffic signs and signals. Red light running and failing to yield are common traffic violations that can impact bicyclists using bike lanes and crosswalks.
  • Dooring. Motorists always need to be aware of their surroundings. When they open their car door without looking, especially in a downtown area, a bicyclist can collide with the door, causing serious injuries. Drivers need to park, check their mirrors, and open their car doors with caution.
  • Lack of visibility. Bicyclists are understandably more difficult to spot than cars, but drivers have the responsibility to always check their surroundings and be on the lookout for other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Injuries Commonly Seen in Bicycle Accidents

Other than a helmet, bicyclists are left virtually unprotected. When they encounter a reckless or negligent driver, the outcome tends to be catastrophic for the bicyclist. Injuries are often significant and may pose challenges to the victim in the weeks, months, and even years to come.

Injuries that cyclists may sustain in a collision can include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Concussion
  • Neck and spinal injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Facial injuries
  • Dental injuries
  • Fractured bones
  • Organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Crushing injuries
  • Road rash
  • Lacerations
  • Contusions

Compensation for a Bicycle Accident

Bicycle accidents are significant events. They can cause extremely traumatic physical and emotional issues, not to mention extensive financial distress and hardship. While the severity of the injuries involved and the liability each party has in causing the accident can contribute to the amount of compensation that a victim is due, all cases are unique. Each claim must be evaluated individually, and there is no magic amount of money that can be conjured up to cover all the physical and emotional pain that an accident may cause to a victim.

Typically, a victim may be able to recover compensation meant to address expenses such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering

While the total value of a compensation package may address the expenses just mentioned, the total value of a claim may not be what a victim ends up walking away with. The California court system subscribes to a system called the “pure comparative negligence” model.

When a bicycle accident claim goes to court, the court will assess each party’s responsibility for causing the crash. If a bicyclist is found to be 15 percent at fault for the crash, their total amount of compensation will be decreased by 15 percent. Under this model, even the at-fault driver can seek compensation. However, if they are 85 percent responsible for the accident, their share of compensation is decreased by 85 percent. They also remain responsible for covering the victim’s compensation.

While this rule only stringently comes into play when a case goes to court, it is important to remember that although insurance adjusters are not bound by this regulation, they still use it to help them calculate a claim’s value. An adjuster will typically consider how a case will play out in court and use that information to guide their compensation assessment.

Statute of Limitations on Bicycle Accident Lawsuits

Many people don’t realize that the clock begins ticking immediately after a bicycle collision occurs. This clock ticks down the time you have to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver that caused the accident. The restriction on the time you have to file a lawsuit is called the statute of limitations. California gives cyclists two years from the date of the accident to file a legal claim against the negligent driver to recover economic losses, such as medical expenses and property damage. The law gives a victim three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit that seeks only reimbursement for property damage.

It may sound like a lot of time, but if negotiations between a victim and insurance company break down, there may not be much time left to mount legal action. Once the statute of limitations expires, the courts can dismiss the case without ever hearing it.

Bicycle Accident Statistics

The San Jose area has been a hotbed of serious traffic-related accidents and fatalities for both cyclists and pedestrians. The problem has gotten so intense that the city of San Jose has adopted a Vision Zero initiative to help control the problem. In the first three months of 2021 alone, nine people had already lost their lives on San Jose streets.

The initiative is long overdue, according to many biking enthusiasts. San Jose has been tied with San Francisco as one of the most dangerous cities in the country for cyclists. In 2019, 8.9 percent of all traffic fatalities were cyclists.

Other statistics show that San Jose’s pedestrian and cyclist fatality rate is at least triple the national average, and car-related fatalities have risen by 37 percent in just the past decade.

Call an Experienced San Jose Bicycle Accident Attorney Today

You have the right to seek all the compensation you’re owed following a devastating accident. The legal team at OnderLaw can help you exercise that right and build a compelling case that gives you the best chance at recovering the money you deserve.

After a bicycle accident, contact the team at OnderLaw to find out more about how we may be able to help you get the compensation you are entitled to from a reckless driver. Call us today and let’s talk about your situation. The initial consultation is free.