Biking is a popular, year-round activity in California, not only for commuters but also recreational cyclists. It is concerning then that even with the ever-increasing addition of designated bike lanes to our roads, the number of accidents involving motorists and cyclists continues to grow. These injuries are often serious, since bikers have no real protection from motor vehicles other than their helmets. If you have been hurt while biking due to the carelessness of another person, pursuing compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and other damages may be in your best interest. Injury lawyer Vann H. Slatter has assisted Los Angeles accident victims in bringing claims against negligent drivers for over 30 years. Our legal team offers diligent representation and straightforward legal guidance.Pursue Compensation from a Negligent Driver
Lawsuits arising from bike accidents are typically brought against the person who caused the crash under a theory of negligence, which provides that each person is responsible for the foreseeable harm of others caused by his or her careless conduct. Under an ordinary claim of negligence, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the defendant’s acts did not conform to that duty, the defendant’s acts caused the injury to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff suffered damages as a result.
The duty of care depends on the circumstances of the case and the relationship between the parties. In most ordinary situations, everyone has a duty to use reasonable care to prevent harm to others. In cases involving collisions between a car and bicyclist, for example, the driver’s duty of care to the bicyclist is to exercise reasonable care while operating a motor vehicle to avoid injury to others on the road. In establishing the elements of a negligence claim, the plaintiff or bicyclist must show that the defendant breached that duty, or more specifically, that the driver failed to use reasonable care while driving to avoid injuring the cyclist. This could include presenting evidence that the driver failed to keep a proper look out, failed to yield at an intersection, texted behind the wheel, or any other act that demonstrates the driver was careless.
The plaintiff must also establish that the defendant’s negligent conduct was the direct and proximate cause of his or her injuries. This requires proof that the injury to the plaintiff would not have occurred but for the defendant’s actions, and that the accident was a reasonably foreseeable outcome of the defendant’s conduct.
Finally, the plaintiff is required to prove that he or she suffered a loss, or damages. Compensation may consist of economic damages like medical expenses, lost wages, and the costs of future treatment, as well as non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and others. In California, damages in negligence cases are subject to comparative fault rules. This means that the amount of money you recover may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you, if any, in causing the accident. However, it also means that you can potentially recover damages even if you are substantially at fault for the crash.
In general, a personal injury claim must be filed within two years of the date of the accident or one year from the date of discovery of the injury, or it will be barred by the statute of limitations. There may be exceptions that will extend the time limit, however, and you can discuss the circumstances of your accident with a qualified attorney to see if they may apply.Seek Legal Guidance in Los Angeles for Your Injury Claim
It may be beneficial to discuss the details of your particular case with an experienced personal injury attorney. Attorney Vann H. Slatter represents car accident victims and other individuals throughout the Los Angeles area in a variety of claims. We can assist residents of Bellflower, Long Beach, Lancaster, Canoga Park, and many other Southern California cities. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at (310) 444-3010 or contact us online.