Santa Rosa Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bicycle Injury Attorney in Santa Rosa, California
Riding a bike has many benefits. They’re environmentally friendly, improve health and fitness, can help save money on fuel costs, and offer a convenient alternative to typical modes of transportation. Regardless of the reason, cyclists deserve to ride safely. However, even with the Santa Rosa initiatives designed to reduce bicycle accidents, cyclists still face a risk of an accident. Cyclists involved in accidents with motor vehicles are at enormous risk of sustaining catastrophic and even fatal injuries because they lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle. Even being involved in a pedestrian accident can be dangerous for cyclists because the impact may push them into oncoming traffic.
A bicycle accident often results in severe injuries that may even cross the catastrophic injury threshold, making it extremely important that the accident and the injuries sustained are thoroughly examined. The best way to ensure that you have a strong claim is to work with a skilled and determined bicycle accident lawyer who knows what it takes to recover maximum compensation.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents Involving Vehicles
Understanding the common causes of bicycle accidents can help cyclists stay safe and prepared should they be involved in similar situations. The reason that the accident occurred is also vital information in a personal injury claim. What caused the accident can help establish negligence to prove the driver is liable for damages.
Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Distracted driving: Drivers who aren’t paying attention to the road are significantly more likely to cause dangerous accidents.
- Tailgating behind a cyclist: Drivers who tailgate cyclists create an unnecessarily dangerous situation. They leave themselves and the cyclists with less room to move and respond to avoid an accident.
- Speeding: When drivers speed, they limit their response time.
- Weaving through traffic: Drivers weaving through traffic are less likely to see cyclists. They may also drift outside traffic lanes and into bike lanes.
- Unsafe lane changes: Making unsafe lane changes is always dangerous and places cyclists that the driver may not have seen at risk.
- Turning without looking: It’s unfortunately common for drivers to turn without looking out for cyclists.
- Running a red light or stop sign: Running a red light or stop sign is dangerous, but it’s also a common reason for accidents despite the known dangers.
- Failure to yield: Another known risky but common behavior is failing to yield when a cyclist has the right of way.
- Impaired driving: Alcohol and drug impairment significantly reduces a driver’s ability to make smart decisions.
- Driver fatigue: Driving while tired or sleepy impairs the brain.
When a driver fails to obey traffic laws, such as using their turn signal or failing to check their blind spots, they are violating their legal obligation to behave in a way that prevents harm. A driver who violates their duty of care can be held liable for the harm they cause.
Determining Fault for a Bicycle Accident
Determining fault in an accident involves figuring out what caused the accident and who’s actions contributed to its occurrence. Once fault is established, so can liability, the legal term used to refer to the individual legally responsible for the accident. Personal injury cases typically prove liability around the theory of negligence. Negligence is the term that encompasses a party’s failure to exercise reasonable care and caution in a situation that may place others in harm’s way. There are four main components of negligence.
Duty of Care
Duty of care refers to the legal standard of reasonable care that drivers and others on the road are required to uphold. The standard is shaped around what an average person would have done in a similar situation. For instance, a driver exercising reasonable care would check their blind spot before turning to keep an eye out for others, such as cyclists.
Breach of Duty
Breach of duty is the action that falls out of that area of what a reasonable person would have done in that situation to prevent harming the cyclist. Not checking a blind spot before making a turn is a breach of duty because the driver failed to follow traffic laws.
Causation means proving that the driver’s actions (breach of duty) were the direct cause or significantly contributed to the accident. Generally, this means proving that the accident nor the harm the cyclist suffered wouldn’t have happened if not for the driver’s negligence.
Damages can be used in two different ways in a personal injury claim. The first one refers to the injury or other losses the cyclists suffered—the damage they suffered. The second way it’s used is to refer to the monetary award that cyclists can recover for their injury and related losses. Receiving compensation for the damages the cyclists suffered means proving their existence and placing a monetary value on them. An attorney knows how to accurately and fairly calculate the value of damages to ensure victims recover fair compensation.
Compensation for a Bicycle Accident
After an accident caused by a negligent party, cyclists may file a personal injury claim and recover these types of damages:
Economic damages are designed to compensate accident victims for financial losses they incurred because of the accident and their injury. These kinds of damages include:
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses
Economic damages are often proven with invoices, pay stubs, bills, and other quantifiable evidence.
Non-economic damages are often subjective and harder to quantify than economic damages. They usually consist of:
These types of losses are harder to prove because they don’t have receipts attached to them. An experienced attorney can use their knowledge of similar cases and legal background to estimate an accurate value for these damages that is fair for injured victims.
Work With an Experienced Santa Rosa Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Setareh Law is a firm dedicated to helping accident victims get the compensation they deserve. We have handled numerous bicycle accident claims and know what it takes to build a strong claim to get victims the money they deserve to help their recovery and help them forward with their lives. Our attorneys will work with you to help ensure you get fair compensation, even if it means going to trial.