Being injured on a bike by a motor vehicle can cause serious life changing injuries. You might be scared or frustrated about the steps needed to pursue a lawsuit. The Ventura Bicycle Accident Guide was created by personal injury lawyer Craig Murphy to help injured residents of California shine a light down a dark tunnel.
After your bicycle accident, you’re probably not feeling great. On top of the physical pain that you are probably in, you may feel like you are helpless and unable to get around, especially if biking was your main form of transportation. This can be frustrating and particularly overwhelming. The good news is that you don’t have to deal with the legal aspect of this by yourself. An experienced Ventura bicycle accident lawyer can take the reigns of this case and allow you to really focus all of your energy on healing.
There are many great reasons to ride your bike instead of taking a bus or driving a car. You get some good exercise, fresh air, and not to mention, you lessen your carbon footprint. Ventura is one of the most beautiful places in the country to ride your bike; whether you are riding in Sycamore Canyon at Point Mugu State Park or you are taking the city roads to work. Unfortunately, California is also one of the most dangerous places to be a cyclist.
In 2012, California had more bicycle accident fatalities than any other state with 338 riders killed by motor vehicles. This could certainly be attributed to the constant comfortable weather that we experience. The nicer it is, the more people like to be out in the sunshine experiencing nature. And while there are more people on their bikes, there’s a higher chance of accidents.
These accidents often involved a bicyclist and motor vehicle. While the driver in their vehicle might have no damage to their car and barely feel the collision, it could have life-threatening injuries to the rider of the bicycle. Even something as simple as being bumped by a car could send a cyclist flying over their handlebars.
Injuries Suffered in Ventura Bicycle Accidents
There are several circumstances that typically lead to bicycle accidents. The first being the most common one that we see. While sharing the road with other vehicles, a bicycle rider gets hit by a car perhaps trying to veer into a lane, neglecting to see the bicycle. Another common instance is quite the opposite. Sometimes on the road, a cyclist is compromised for a number of reasons and swerves into oncoming traffic, resulting in getting hit by a vehicle. Lastly, there may be something on the road that the rider cannot avoid such as sticks or rocks. They hit that object and are thrown over their handlebars. These are all real examples of accidents that have happen in Ventura.
Most often, when you read about these accidents, there are a few injuries that most of these people have in common. Because these riders are mostly unprotected, except for a helmet usually, their whole body is exposed to trauma. However, it is most common to see serious head injuries in relation to bicycle accidents. This along with spinal injuries, including neck and back, are the most common serious injuries that bicyclists suffer. Often these injuries to the head and spine are what causes the most fatalities. With the head injuries, there will often be a loss of consciousness and sometimes that can range from a concussion to a coma.
Injuries that can take a huge toll on the body and make for a slow recovery are internal injuries and broken bones. Organs can be bruised and severely damaged in a collision, especially if part of the body is run over by the vehicle, or the bicycle lands on the abdomen with great force. These injuries can require surgeries and a lot of recovery time in the hospital. Broken bones are less life-threatening than the rest of these injuries, but still can have a big negative impact. You may be unable to go back to work or normal daily activities for some time. This is especially true for those who need to ride their bikes to get from point A to point B. If you are seriously injured, that may no longer be an option for you.
If your injuries are so severe that your life is either permanently or temporarily and significantly changed, you have a case. You don’t have to surrender to the pain and try to forget about the accident. This lifestyle of limited activity does not have to be your new normal. You should not avoid continuing your medical treatment because you are worried about the bills and co-pays. Your health is number one priority. A California personal injury lawyer will make sure that you are fully and fairly compensated, so you don’t have to worry about the finances and you can just focus on getting healthy. Let your attorney take on the legal matters.
Reducing Bicycle Accidents in Ventura
Ventura has been recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as one of the few places that is trying to make their area safer for bicyclists. There are strides being made to improve conditions on the road, and it is something that will benefit both motorists and cyclists alike. If you have tried riding your bike, it will not come as a surprise to you to know that roads, in most areas of the country, were built with motor vehicle traffic in mind. It totally excludes the cyclists from the picture. Therefore, it is dangerous for bicycles to share the road with cars. This is particularly ironic with you consider that California law states that bikes have equivalent rights on the road and cars are required to share it with them. Ventura hopes to make roads safer for bicycles by changing their design to be more accessible.
Unfortunately, there is another issue that leads to bicycle accidents and fatalities. Perhaps you’ve decided to go out to a party and know that you don’t want to drink and drive. You might think that riding your bike is the next best option. When someone gets a DWI, it is because they were impaired and made a foolish mistake by operating a motor vehicle. The same thing is true when someone decides that they are going to try to ride a bicycle while intoxicated. This, and riding without a helmet are the two leading causes of death in bicycle accidents. Riding your bicycle on roads that are already dangerous for bicyclists while drunk makes it even more dangerous.
Hiring a Ventura Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Just as you wouldn’t settle for just any doctor to perform your surgery after your accident, you should not settle for just any lawyer to represent your case. This may be one of the most important decisions you make following your injury. The right attorney will be a good personal injury lawyer who does not back down when the insurance companies are looking to throw away your case, and they will try to do this every time. It is too easy for them to simply blame the whole accident on you, even if you were absolutely not at fault. A good personal injury lawyer will be able to take your case to trial and know exactly how to defend your case.
When you are looking for the right person to take on your case, we are confident that you won’t have to look any further than us. We are willing and able to do whatever it takes to make sure that this accident is taken seriously and that you are fully compensated for the injuries that have majorly affected your life.
Frequently Asked Questions | Ventura Bicycle Accident Guide
How Do I Choose a Bicycle Accident Attorney?
You need to make sure that you get the best attorney for your bicycle accident claim. Here’s how you go about doing that. Number one, you’re going to have to interview a number of bicycle accident lawyers. You can’t just hire the first one that you talk to who tells you to come into the office. You need to interview the attorneys and find out how long they’ve been practicing. What is their level of experience? How long have they been handling litigation cases? What is their trial experience? What is their track record with the insurance company? All of that is very important because the insurance companies know who the lawyers are and what their case results are. That goes into their valuation and evaluation of your claim.
Your case could take a number of years to get resolved. You have to have a very close, personal, working relationship with your attorney. When you’re interviewing those attorneys, here’s what you need to ask yourself:
- What attorney is taking the time to be interested in me?
- Who is taking the time to answer all my questions?
- Who will I have the best working relationship with?
- Who do I feel best with?
If you think that some firm down in L.A. that says they handle cases in Ventura is going to make you a top priority, you’re probably mistaken.
You need to have somebody who’s here. You need someone that you can talk to and interact with who has your best interests in mind. Someone who doesn’t treat you just like some number, but is really interested in you and your case.
What Should I Know About Bicycle Accident Claims?
In California, bicycle accident claims differ greatly from car crash claims for a number of reasons. The first thing is, typically, the insurance company will claim that you were either at fault or partially at fault for causing the wreck. In most car crashes, you know if somebody ran a red light or ran a stop sign or rear-ended you. When a bicycle is involved, they can always say that you were at fault or partially at fault. That is one of the major differences. The insurance companies will always try to avoid the full extent of their responsibility by putting some of the blame or most of the blame on you.
The other way in which they are substantially different from car crash cases is that you’re out there, completely unprotected, and you’re hit by a vehicle that weighs many thousands of pounds that’s moving very fast. The force and the impact that’s going to happen when they hit you can cause severe damages that can last for the rest of your life. These are the types of claims that will typically go into a lawsuit and litigation because the insurance companies are just not going to pay the money that it’s going to take to fully compensate you.
You need to get an attorney who is skilled and experienced in handling these kinds of cases. They should be an attorney who is a trial lawyer, who will file the lawsuit and take all the steps to fully prepare your case so that the insurance company knows that you are ready, willing, and able to go to trial if that’s necessary. When that happens, they will come to the bargain table and you can get fully and fairly compensated for your case. If not, your attorney will be ready to take your case to trial and a jury will decide.
Do I Have Bicycle Accident Insurance Coverage?
People who have been injured in a bike crash want to know, “Will my insurance cover me?” The answer to that question really depends on the nature of your insurance policy. Here’s what you need to know and what you need to look at. Does your insurance policy have uninsured, underinsured motorist coverage? Because if a car hits you and it takes off, that is an uninsured driver. If you have uninsured coverage, your insurance policy should be responsible for paying for your injuries and damages.
If a car hits you while you’re on your bike and you’re injured, the unfortunate reality is you could have very severe, life-long injuries. If the person that hit you does not have enough insurance to fully compensate you and take care of all your damages, and you have underinsured motorist coverage, your policy could also be responsible for paying for your injuries and damages.
Can I Sue the Car Driver in a Bicycle Accident?
In most instances, you can sue the driver of the car who hit and injured you on your bike, even if you are partially at fault. What you need to do is contact an attorney right away. They are going to have to investigate exactly what happened. They may need to go out and take measurements on the road, look for evidence, and see if they can find any witnesses and get witness statements.
What If I’m Partially at Fault for the Accident?
If you are partially at fault for your bike accident, you can still file a claim. If the driver of the car that hit you was partially at fault, and so were you, the percentages of fault of each of you will have to be determined. Whatever the percentage of fault of the car driver was, they are responsible for that portion of your injuries and damages.
The unfortunate thing is, often in car verses bike accidents, your injuries can be very severe. In those situations, you want to make sure that you get everything that you’re entitled to from the insurance company for the driver of that car. You need someone who has experience in dealing with these types of claims here in California.
Can I File a Claim If a Pothole Caused the Bicycle Accident?
The unfortunate fact that we must deal with here in California is that many of our roadways are deteriorated. They have potholes, large cracks, and hazards that can cause bike wrecks. If you’re riding your bike and are on a busy roadway where the county or city knows the road are unsafe for cyclists, they could absolutely be responsible. However, here’s what you need to know.
You need to get an attorney who has dealt with these types of claims because there’s going to be a lot of investigation that must be conducted. You need to get somebody on the case right away, before the city or county goes out and repairs that and destroys the evidence. If you’ve been injured in a bike crash or a bicycle accident here in California because you’ve hit a pothole or large defect in the road, give me a call. We will sit down and meet with you. We will determine what needs to be done so that we can go out there and gather the evidence and be able to present a claim against the county or the city. The time frame for making these claims is very short. It can be as short as six months.
How Do You Determine the Value of a Bicycle Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident here in California, how can you determine what the value of your claim is? The answer to that question is it depends on a number of things.
– What were your injuries?
– How badly were you hurt?
– Do you have broken bones?
– Did you require surgery?
– Were you hospitalized?
– What is the full extent of your injuries?
– Are you going to have pain, suffering, disability into the future?
All of this goes into determining what the value of your claim is. The other things that come into the determination of the value of your claim is, how much insurance the driver of the car has.
The bottom line is, it can be very complicated and complex in determining what the value of your bike crash was here in California. The only way that you’re really going to know and be able to make that determination is to contact an attorney who has years of experience in handling these types of claims. Sit down with that attorney, go through all of the facts, and do all of the analysis that is necessary to figure out the valuation. It’s most likely that it will be necessary to file a lawsuit and to get into litigation before any determination as to the value of that claim can be made.
How Long is a Bicycle Accident Settlement Timeline?
At the beginning, we don’t know how long your case will take. There is not a standard cookie-cutter answer that I can give you for that because it’s really dependent on a couple of things.
– how badly you were hurt
– how long it will take for you to heal
– how much care you will require in the future
– if you will have future disabilities
– the amount of pain and suffering you will experience
The only way to really get a good idea of what the valuation of your bicycle accident claims in Ventura is to come in and meet with me because we have to look at all aspects of your case. When we do that, we can place a range on the value of your case. Then we can go about building your case and making sure that we take the steps that are necessary so that we can prove to the insurance company that you are entitled to every bit of those damages that we have determined is the value of your case.
What Damages Can I Recover?
If you’ve been seriously injured in a bicycle accident, you’re going to want to know what injuries and damages you are entitled to receive compensation for. You are entitled to any damages that have occurred to your bike. If you have an expensive road bike and a car has hit you, they’re going to have to pay to replace or repair your bike. In addition to that, you’re entitled to compensation for all your personal injuries. What those personal injuries include are your medical expenses, out-of-pocket expenses, any type of co-pays or prescriptions or anything else that you have had to pay for.
In addition, if you have lost time from work and you have suffered a wage loss, you are entitled to the repayment of all of your lost wages and compensation that you would get from work. If you’ve had to use up vacation time, you are entitled to get repaid for that vacation time. In addition, you’re entitled to pain, suffering, disability, or disfigurement. If your injuries are so significant and so severe that you are going to have pain, disability, medical care and attention into the future, you’re entitled to get compensated for that also.
The way to make sure that you get compensation for all of the areas and all of the levels of damages that you have suffered in this type of bike/car accident, is to hire an attorney who deals with these cases on a regular basis.
Are There Bicycle Accident Statute of Limitations?
Typically, you will have two years from the date of that bicycle accident to file your claim. You have two years in which to settle it or file the lawsuit. If it goes beyond the two years, typically, you will have lost any chance that you have to resolve your California bicycle claim. Now, the circumstances may be different that can either extend or shrink that two-year period, and that’s why it’s critical that you immediately talk to a Ventura bicycle accident lawyer.
What you need to do to make sure that you protect your interests is to call me right away. We need to sit down and figure out exactly what your timeframe is and what needs to be done to investigate your claim. We will go out and build the case so that we can protect your interests and make sure that you are properly compensated for all of the damages that you have sustained.
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