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. Los Angeles Bike Accident Lawyer Vann H. Slatter and Slatter Law Firm have assisted victims in bringing claims against negligent drivers for over 40 years. Our legal team offers loyal and aggressive 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 to 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. This does, however, mean that you can sometimes get compensation even if you are partially or overwhelmingly at fault in the accident.
In general, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the incident 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 an experienced attorney to see if they may apply.What to do at the Scene of a Bike Accident
Being in a state of shock is a common reaction to an accident. However, it is in your best interest to remain calm and make an effort to remember details of the scene. Get the driver’s information from his license, insurance card, and their phone number. Get contact information from witnesses as well. Do not let a language barrier dissuade you from doing so as this can be overcome by a translator. In addition, if you have a smart phone with you take pictures of everything. Most importantly, call the police, and let them know you are injured. It can be difficult to prove that the accident took place if a police report is not filed. Any other information that you can take note of may help your lawyer get you the compensation you deserve.Seek Legal Guidance After a Bike Accident
Pursuing an insurance claim or a lawsuit after a cycling accident is important and requires well-informed legal advice. Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney Vann H. Slatter represents bike-accident victims and other individuals throughout the Los Angeles area in a variety of claims. We can assist residents of Los Angeles, Santa Clarita, Antelope Valley, South Bay, Long Beach, Canoga Pa, and many other Southern California cities. To schedule a free consultation, call our office toll free at (888) 293-0404 or contact us online.