With miles of beautiful coastline and gorgeous weather year-round, it is no surprise that California has some of the highest numbers of bicyclists in the country. However, California also consistently has one of the highest rates of bicycle accidents every year. Bicycle accidents have the potential to result in severe injuries due to the vulnerability of cyclists on the road. At Williams Iagmin, LLP, we have years of experience representing cyclists and fighting for the compensation they deserve after a bicycle accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 840 cyclists died in bicycle accidents in 2016, accounting for 2.2% of all traffic deaths that year. Every year, California is one of the top states for bicycle accident injuries and deaths. In 2015, San Diego was ranked eighth for the number of fatal bicycle accidents in cities of 500,000 people or more. That same year, the NHTSA reported that nationwide 96% of bicycle accidents involved a cyclist being struck by a motor vehicle on the road. In 84% of fatal accidents, the bicycle was struck by the front of a car or truck on the road. For bicycle accidents involving larger commercial trucks, the majority of fatal accidents involved the bicycle being struck by the right side of the truck, where the driver struggles to see.
Bicycle accident injuries are usually far more serious than the injuries stemming from a car accident due to the lack of protection a cyclist has when struck by a motor vehicle. The most common injuries seen in a bicycle accident include:
Some of these injuries are minor and the recovery is simple; however, in cases of spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, nerve damage, and other severe trauma, the injuries can take years to recover from or result in permanent damage that requires lifelong care.
In California, the victim of a bicycle accident has two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for damages. California law operates under a pure comparative negligence basis when determining fault and awarding damages for bicycle accidents. Under this doctrine, the insurance company or the court determines the degree of fault for the cyclist and the other driver, then limits damages according to that percent of liability. For example, if a cyclist has $100,000 in damages and is found 10% percent at fault, the total damages awarded will be $90,000.
Bicycle accident victims are entitled to economic and non-economic damages that result from the accident. Medical costs and lost wages constitute economic damages, while non-economic damages include the costs of occupational therapy, lost potential earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, scarring, and permanent disfigurement.
At Williams Iagmin, LLP we understand the seriousness of a bicycle accident and are here to help you through the legal process while you recover from your injuries. Contact our office today to schedule a free appointment to discuss your claims.