Lake Forest is a wonderful community to ride your bike, but bicycle riding can get dangerous. When a bicycle collides with a larger vehicle, it is often the bicyclist who is seriously injured. Bicycle accidents result in major or even catastrophic injuries including brain injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones and internal injuries. Bicycle accident victims who have been injured due to the negligence of others can seek compensation for damages. An experienced Lake Forest bicycle accident lawyer can help injured victims and their families better understand their legal rights and options.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol's Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 19 injuries reported as a result of Lake Forest bicycle accidents in 2009. During that same year, 12 fatalities and 1,199 injuries occurred as a result of bicycle accidents in Orange County.
Common Bicycle Accident Causes
There are many potential causes of Lake Forest bicycle accidents. Bike accidents may occur as a result of:
- Lack of visibility: Many bicycle accidents occur because car drivers simply do not notice the bicyclist until it is too late. Motorists must remain attentive and focused so that they will notice any bicyclists who may be ahead or alongside them. Bicyclists can increase their visibility by wearing bright and reflective gear and by adhering to California laws pertaining to lamps and reflectors.
- Speeding motorists: When drivers exceed the posted speed limit, there is an increased chance for a bicycle accident to occur.
- Distracted driving: Drivers who take their eyes or attention off the roadway have an increased chance of striking a bicyclist. Car drivers should turn off their phones and remain focused while driving. Bicyclists about to enter an intersection would be well advised to make eye contact with the nearby motorists.
- Drunk driving: Alcohol is a contributing factor in many Lake Forest car accidents. Drivers who are under the influence are more likely to speed, drive recklessly or make dangerous choices.
- Failure to yield: Many bicycle accidents occur at street intersections. Under California law, bicyclists have the same right of way privileges as motorists. Car drivers who fail to yield to bicyclists at four-way stops and traffic lights may be held accountable for the injuries and damages caused.
- Dangerous roadway conditions: Often, bicycle accidents occur due to dangerous roadways or intersections. They may also occur due to defective street conditions such as potholes or uneven pavement. In such cases, the city or governmental agencies responsible for maintaining the roadway can be held liable. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental entity must be filed within 180 days of the incident.
Proving who was responsible for an accident is an important of the claim process. Injured bicyclists have to prove not only who caused the accident, but also that the at-fault party was negligent in some way. This process is simplified when the at-fault motorist is cited or charged by the authorities for the crash. A driver does not, however, have to face charges or be cited in order to be held civilly liable for an incident. Was the motorist speeding? Did the motorist fail to notice the bicyclist while looking at a phone or talking to a passenger? A skilled bicycle accident attorney will review the circumstances of the case to help hold the negligent driver accountable for the injuries suffered by the victim.
An experienced Lake Forest bicycle accident lawyer will help victims pursue compensation for all of their losses. Negligent car drivers can be held accountable for:
- Medical expenses
- Hospitalization fees
- Cost of rehabilitation services
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning potential
Unfortunately, it is common for insurance companies to offer inadequate settlements that do not fully cover the losses suffered by the victim. A skilled Lake Forest bike accident attorney will fight to protect the best interests of injured victims. The experienced Lake Forest bicycle accident lawyers at our firm have a long and successful track record of helping injured victims and their families obtain fair and full compensation for their losses. Please contact us for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.
(click on icons for more information)