Did you suffer injuries in a bicycle accident? Did another person’s negligent actions cause it? If so, call the Santa Clarita personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw right now to discuss your available legal options. You might be entitled to compensation for your medical treatment and other incurred costs.

Although riding a bike is excellent exercise and a convenient form of transportation, it can also be dangerous. When you share the road with motor vehicles, you have an increased risk of becoming involved in an accident. You can’t control another person’s actions and prevent them from behaving recklessly.

Collisions between bicyclists and the occupants of vehicles can lead to significant property damage and bodily harm. The person riding the bike typically sustains more severe injuries than the occupants of the other vehicle. They don’t have an airbag to cushion them during the impact or a seatbelt to hold them firmly in place. They could become airborne or end up under the car. The consequences are often catastrophic and can even be fatal.

For a free consultation with one of our Santa Clarita bicycle accident lawyers, call OnderLaw today.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer? Why Choose OnderLaw?

One of the best decisions you could make after a bicycle accident is to hire an attorney. You might think an insurance claim won’t be that difficult to handle alone. However, you could face roadblocks that result in less compensation than you deserve or a denied claim.

OnderLaw has taken on insurance companies and aggressively pursued fair settlements on behalf of our clients since 2002. We can perform a thorough investigation and gather all available evidence to prove your case. You can depend on our legal team to meet your needs and do whatever it takes to try to reach a favorable outcome.

Our Santa Clarita bicycle accident lawyers have received awards and recognition from prestigious organizations, such as The National Trial Lawyers and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Martindale-Hubbell gave us an AV® rating, the highest possible rating, indicating the level of service we provide to our clients. We have also been featured in the media for the case results we have achieved for accident victims.

Bike Laws in Santa Clarita

Anyone operating a bicycle must follow state laws to ensure their safety and the safety of other people. They have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. Violating these rules could lead to a severe accident and a traffic citation and fine in some cases.

People under 18 years old always have to wear a helmet that fits properly and meets the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission or the American Society for Testing and Materials standards while operating a bicycle.

You must use the designated bike lane if you’re riding at a slower speed than traffic. You can exit the lane if you:

  • Need to avoid dangerous conditions
  • Prepare for a left turn at a private road, intersection, or driveway
  • Approach an area where you can make an authorized right turn
  • Pass another biker, vehicle, or pedestrian in the lane

You might encounter a road without a designated bicycle lane. If that happens, you must ride as close to the right-hand curb or edge of the road as possible. The only exceptions include:

  • If you need to pass a bicyclist or driver traveling in the same direction as you
  • If you’re about to make a left-hand turn at an intersection, private road, or driveway
  • If you approach a place where you can make an authorized right-hand turn
  • If you’re trying to avoid hazardous conditions, such as animals, moving or fixed objects, or a vehicle

Laws regarding the consumption of alcohol are similar for bicyclists as for motor vehicle drivers. You are not allowed to operate a bike on a highway while under the influence of a drug or alcoholic beverage or under the combined influence of a drug and an alcoholic beverage.

Causes of Bike Accidents

Bike lanes typically don’t contain a barrier to separate them from passing cars and trucks. There’s nothing to stop a driver from drifting or swerving into your lane. Since bicycles are much smaller than vehicles, drivers have a hard time seeing them nearby. Many people aren’t on the lookout for bikes because they’re focusing on other motorists instead. Inattention and human error often lead to collisions involving bicycles.

The most common causes of bike accidents include:

  • Failure to check blind spots – A motorist sharing the road with a bicyclist must check their blind spots before merging. If they don’t, they could sideswipe a rider already in the lane.
  • Tailgating – There isn’t enough space between a vehicle and a bike if the driver follows too closely. They likely won’t have enough time to react and come to a complete stop if necessary to avoid crashing into the back of the bicyclist.
  • Poor road conditions – Potholes, branches, and other debris are common on roadways. An inattentive driver can’t adequately prepare for the hazard. If they have to swerve out of the way at the last second, they could crash into a bicyclist riding alongside them.
  • Dooring – A car door could end up in your path if a driver doesn’t check for approaching bicyclists after parking their vehicle and opening their door.
  • Distracted driving – Motorists encounter distractions but should stay focused on the task at hand. If they direct their attention to something else, like texting or checking the GPS, they won’t notice their vehicle drifting towards a nearby biker.
  • Passing too closely – Passing a bicyclist requires careful maneuvering by the driver. If they don’t leave enough space, they could clip the rider with their side-view mirror or sideswipe them with the car.
  • Failure to yield at intersections – A motorist turning left or right might need to slow down or come to a complete stop before proceeding. Blowing through a stop sign or red light could put them on a collision course with a biker riding across the road.

The careless driver should be held accountable if they did anything to cause your injuries. You deserve compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses suffered from the crash.

Common Injuries Suffered in Bike Accidents

When a biker ends up in an accident with a motor vehicle, the injuries can be debilitating. The most common injuries include:

  • Road rash
  • Concussion, traumatic brain injury, and other head injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Accidental amputation
  • Permanent disability
  • Broken bones
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Deep wounds and burns
  • Psychological trauma
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Paralysis
  • Back and neck injuries

Unfortunately, many bicyclists sustain life-threatening injuries and die from severe physical trauma. Accident victims who survive often require emergency medical care and ongoing treatment. Impaired mobility and chronic pain are common problems bikers struggle with following a crash.

Compensation for Bike Accident Injuries

California has a traditional fault system regarding accidents involving motor vehicles. The at-fault driver becomes financially responsible for the victim’s injuries and resulting losses. State law requires motorists to carry auto insurance with minimum liability limits to cover these losses. Even though you were on your bicycle when the collision occurred, you could file a claim with the negligent driver’s auto insurance company.

The settlement you receive should compensate for the losses you suffered, such as:

  • Physical impairment or disfigurement
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress

Filing a claim isn’t your only option for seeking compensation. You could also sue the at-fault driver. However, there is a strict timeframe called a statute of limitations you must follow. California has a two-year statute of limitations. That means you have to file your lawsuit within two years of the crash date.

You can pursue exemplary damages in a lawsuit. State law requires proving the defendant acted with the intent to oppress you, with malice, or with the intent to commit fraud for a jury to award this to you. Instead of compensating you for your losses, an award of this type punishes the defendant for their wrongdoing and is meant to deter similar behavior in the future.

California Bike Accident Statistics

Bicyclist fatalities reached an all-time high between 2016 and 2018. The highest rate of deaths occurred during these three years than any other three-year period in 25 years. A total of 455 bikers died in traffic accidents in California.

Los Angeles County had the highest number of bicyclist accidents in California in 2019. A total of 195 bikers were killed in traffic-related collisions that year.

Contact Us

At OnderLaw, we understand the financial burden of being injured in a bicycle accident. You’re left with expensive medical bills and related costs that you might not be able to afford. We don’t want to be responsible for causing you to take on additional expenses. That’s why we accept cases like this on contingency. That means there are no upfront fees or costs when you retain our legal services. We don’t expect payment unless we secure compensation for you.

Our Santa Clarita bicycle accident lawyers always fight for the rights of accident victims. You will be our top priority while we work on your case. We provide one-on-one attention and the necessary guidance to help you navigate the complex legal process. You can expect a dedicated team to fight by your side until the end.

If you sustained injuries in a bicycle accident in Santa Clarita, call OnderLaw for a free consultation.