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B-Cycle, MetroBike, and Bike Nation are examples of bike-share systems that have grown in popularity across major U.S. cities and other “smart cities” worldwide. While these innovative programs are widely supported because of their positive effects on the environment, they are not without fault. Cycling has been linked to increased traffic accidents, bike injuries, and related fatalities.

Bicycle-related deaths make up 4% of all road accidents, which increased by 16% in 2020, according to the American National Safety Council (NSC). Cyclists face multiple hazards threatening their lives, such as distracted drivers and poor road conditions. If you’re an avid cyclist, here is how liability is demonstrated following a bicycle accident.

How to Establish Fault in a Bicycle Accident

Whether your bicycle accident involved a pedestrian, another cyclist, or a motorist, you must take specific measures to reserve your right to compensation. In case you suffered severe injuries due to someone else’s negligent actions, you need to hire a personal injury lawyer to prove the party who caused the accident was negligent. Your lawyer must prove the following four components of negligence as part of your injury claim:

  • The defendant owed you a standard of reasonable care to keep you safe
  • They breached that duty of care by speeding, driving under the influence, etc.
  • You suffered severe injuries because of their duty of care violation
  • You incurred significant damages in terms of medical expenses and lost wages due to your injuries

To show fault in bicycle accident cases, your bicycle accident lawyer uses evidence based on the legal concept of negligence. For example, all cyclists need to obey road safety rules, and so do motorists. Your attorney determines the rules breached by the at-fault party. Speed limits, road conditions, and driver safety all factor in when determining fault in a bicycle accident case. Once fault is established, the responsible party compensates you for medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering resulting from a bicycle accident.

Preserving Evidence in a Bicycle Accident

Bicycle accidents are caused mainly by reckless drivers, careless pedestrians, and dangerous road conditions. California’s personal injury laws allow bike accident victims to file lawsuits against the person or parties responsible for the incident. Additionally, family members whose loved one has died in a bicycle accident may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to compensate for their loss.

The most important thing you can do to preserve evidence after a bike accident is to seek medical attention if you’ve been injured. Many bicycle accident injuries involve spinal, neck, and head trauma. You may feel fine after a crash but wake up the following day in chronic pain. Your doctor’s report will come in handy as supporting evidence in your personal injury claim. In addition, gather as much information as possible about the accident, including:

  • The other driver/cyclist’s name and contact information
  • The other party’s license number, if applicable, and vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • The other road user’s insurance information
  • Vehicle details such as color, make, model, and year of the car involved in the accident
  • Contact information and testimony from eyewitnesses
  • Photos or videos of the accident scene, of your damaged bike, the other vehicle, and pictures of any injuries you’ve sustained

Whether you caused the accident or not, never admit fault. It’s not uncommon for people to apologize, especially when faced with an aggressive motorist—you must be careful of what you say because your words can come back to haunt you in a personal injury lawsuit. If you’re not 100% sure who caused the accident, let your lawyer, who is conversant with California bicycle laws, deal with the other driver’s insurance company.

Is the City Responsible if Poor Road Conditions Caused My Bicycle Accident?

If you were cycling on poorly-maintained cycling paths and got into an accident, you can file a lawsuit with the local, state, or federal government responsible for road maintenance. Defective road conditions are frequently blamed for most bike accident cases. Common road conditions that cause bike accidents include damaged or missing road signs, potholes, uneven cycling paths, cracked cement, loose gravel, and lifted tarmac.

Fortunately, the California premises liability law can hold the city accountable for poor road conditions or design. Accidents due to poor road conditions can also be blamed on privately-owned companies contracted by the government to repair, maintain or build roads. If the bike accident happened around private property, the landowner could be liable for not maintaining their pavement or asphalt surfaces.

Filing a Claim Against the Local, State, or Federal Government

Bad road accidents can generate sizable compensation. Although most government agencies can afford the payoff, they’re immune against monetary damages, and victims must file a claim on the government’s terms. You, therefore, require a personal injury lawyer to:

  • File a notice of tort claim for personal injury or property damage with the responsible government organization
  • File a notice with the appropriate California division of risk management committee and its legal representative
  • Wait for the government attorney to decide on your claim within 90 days
  • If you don’t settle the claim within three months, file a lawsuit against the government

The Los Angeles city has paid out millions in damages to families who’ve lost loved ones due to poor infrastructure, reports the LA Times. According to the report, nearly 20% of the city’s bike lanes are rated D or F, and as a result, the city awarded 17 claims for more than $19 million in 2017. So, if you’ve been injured due to poor road conditions, an accident lawyer can help you determine the actual value of your claim and negotiate a fair payout on your behalf.

An Experienced California Personal Injury Lawyer at Kash Legal Can Help

If you have suffered catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one in a bicycle accident in California, our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at Kash Legal want to help. We can avail all our resources to research your case, gather sufficient evidence, and build a strong case.

Filing a claim against the negligent party may provide the financial compensation you need for medical bills and lost wages, including pain and suffering. Call us at (888) 527-4128 or use our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation today.

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