Orange County Bicycle Accident Attorney
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Bicycling can be a healthy, inexpensive and environmentally friendly alternative to driving. With Orange County's bike lanes, beaches and trails, bicycling is also a great recreational activity. There are great mountain biking opportunities along the Santa Ana River Trail and there are about 1,000 miles of bike lanes that connect Santa Ana, San Juan Capistrano, and Brea. However, riding a bicycle comes with inherent risks. When a bicycle collides with a motor vehicle, it is often the bicyclist who suffers grave injuries.
Protecting Your Rights in California
The experienced Orange County bicycle accident lawyers at BISNAR | CHASE have a long and successful track record of representing the rights of severely injured victims and their families. We will help you secure fair and full compensation for all your injuries, damages and losses. We will provide you our legal services without any money up front or out of your pocket. Our program guarantees you that regardless of the outcome of your personal injury case, you will never have to pay any attorney's fees or costs if your case is not successful. To find out how we can help you, please contact us at 949-203-3814.
Injuries Suffered in Orange County Bicycle Accidents
The nature, extent and severity of injuries suffered in a bicycle accident usually depends on the impact of the collision, if the bicyclist was wearing a helmet or other protective gear, the speed at which the crash occurred and the condition of the roadway or trail. The most common type of injury sustained in a bike accident is a head injury. This is because cyclists are thrown over the handlebars and could land on the roadway or hit the windshield of a vehicle. Head injuries that could result from bicycle accidents could range from bumps, concussions and gashes to skull fractures and other traumatic brain injuries. Research has shown that brain injuries are more likely to occur when the bicyclist is not wearing a helmet.
Bicyclists may also suffer spinal cord trauma when they land on their back, neck or head. This type of trauma could result in vertebral fractures or even paralysis. When bicyclists fall off their bikes, they could also land on their face, which could lead to injuries such as eye damage, broken jaw or broken nose or teeth. Bone fractures are also common consequences of bike accidents. Bicyclists may break bones in their legs, shoulders, arms, hips or back. Bone breaks require extensive treatment and rehabilitation. In extreme cases, bicyclists may also lose their limbs as a result of multiple fractures. Bicycle accidents also often result in internal injuries such as a punctured lung or ruptured spleen.
What Should You Do after a Bicycle Accident?
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, it is likely that you require immediate medical attention. However, the actions you take in the aftermath of the accident may have a significant impact on whether you are able to receive compensation for your losses. First and foremost, if you have been involved in an accident, wait for the police to arrive at the scene so they can file a report. If you are able, make sure your account of the incident gets into the police report.
Always ensure that you receive the medical attention you need right away, even if you believe you're not injured. Some bicyclists do not realized they have been injured until several hours after the accident. There are also instances where seemingly minor injuries later evolve into permanent and chronic issues. When you remain at the scene, do not admit fault or divulge any specific details to anyone. However, do make sure you get the name of the driver and his or her contact, driver's license, vehicle and insurance information. Also try to get the name and contact information for anyone who witnessed the accident.
Carefully document what occurred at the accident site. Try to make notes about traffic, roadway and weather conditions. Document your injuries. Seek medical attention even if you believe your injuries are minor. Take photos of the accident scene as well as your injuries. Make sure that the physical evidence is preserved. Keep torn or bloody clothing. Do not repair your bike or dispose of your damaged helmet. Make sure you seek the counsel of an experienced Orange County bicycle accident lawyer who can advise you regarding how to proceed, help negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance companies or help represent you in a lawsuit.
Bicycle Accident Statistics in Orange County
If you have been injured in an Orange County bicycle accident, you are not alone. More than a thousand people are injured in countywide bike crashes each year. According to the California Highway Patrol, there were 13 traffic deaths and 1,315 injuries sustained in Orange County bicycle accidents in the year 2011. Orange County cities that had the most bicycle injury accidents include Huntington Beach (168), Santa Ana (161), Anaheim (121) and Newport Beach (92). Many of these accidents could have been prevented if only the driver involved exercised due care.
Driver Negligence and Bicycle Accidents in Orange County
A significant number of Orange County bicycle accidents result from driver negligence. Motorists often fail to look for bicycles before changing lanes or making a turn. Drivers who are impaired, distracted, fatigued or speeding may fail to even notice a bicyclist before it's too late. Some of the common causes of bike accidents include drivers failing to see bicyclists; failing to judge a bicyclist's speed or path; driving carelessly or at a high rate or speed; passing bicyclists too close. The most dangerous types of crashes for cyclists are those that take place at or near an intersection. Some of the common scenarios we have seen in bike accident cases involve:
- Bike lane intrusions on the part of drivers.
- Drivers turning into the path of bicyclists.
- Motorists rear-ending bicyclists.
- Drivers or passengers opening doors in the path of moving cyclists.
- Sudden or unsafe lane changes by drivers.
- Large trucks turning at intersections.
- Drivers failing to yield the right-of-way to bicyclists at intersections of while exiting a driveway or parking lot.
Bicycle Accidents Involving Dangerous Roadways in California
Bikes are particularly vulnerable to accidents caused by roadway hazards. Due to their small size, relative instability and thin tires, sudden and abrupt changes in road surface could be extremely dangerous. These hazards could cause even the most careful and experienced bicyclist to lost control or fall off the bike. Dangerous roadway conditions for bicyclists include potholes, sewer grates, uneven pavement, damaged or cracked roadways and debris on the street.
Poor roadway design or lack of bike lanes could also cause serious injury bicycle accidents. Any time a dangerous or defective roadway causes a bicycle accident, the injured victim can file a claim against the governmental agency responsible for maintaining that roadway. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury claim against a governmental entity must be filed within 180 days of the incident.
What is Your Claim is Worth?
Injured cyclists can pursue compensation for all of the financial and non-economic damages they have suffered because of someone else's negligence. All of your medical bills should be covered including the cost of surgery, hospitalization and physical therapy. Support should also be available for lost wages and the loss of earning potential if your injuries prevent you from returning to work at full capacity.
In the event of a serious injury, support may also be available for physical pain and emotional suffering. This is why it is crucial for victims to keep a journal of their daily struggles since the accident. Your journal can serve as documentation of your treatment and recovery process, of what you can or cannot do during this period. Make notes of activities you are unable to perform, family gatherings you have missed and how your injuries have inhibited your quality of life.