Bicyclists share the road with drivers, yet OC motorists are failing to recognize bicycle riders on a daily basis. Bicycle accident lawyers in Orange County see the problems first-hand; motorists are distracted and bikes offer less protection than car frames to those who use them, creating a recipe for disaster.
While airbags and other safety features have reduced the number of fatalities in car accidents over the last several decades, the percentage of fatal injuries to bicycle riders in traffic accidents has increased annually for the last ten years.
Nationwide, bicyclists now represent 2.3% of all accident victims who die in car crashes. In California, bicycle riders account for 4.7% of traffic fatalities.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, the responsible driver’s insurance company should be made to pay your medical bills and reimburse your lost wages. You are also entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the expenses you will incur to cope with a disabling or long-term injury.
Newport Beach Orange County bicycle accident attorney can help you along the road to recovery from your bicycle accident by fighting on your behalf for the compensation you deserve. Call us to learn more about your right to recover compensation for your bicycle accident injuries.
Causes of Orange County Bicycle Collisions
Some bicycle accidents are caused by careless riding. It is tempting to run red lights or to ride in the wrong lane when traffic is stalled, but traffic safety laws are meant to protect bicyclists as well as drivers. We urge all bicyclists to ride with care and caution, remembering that they are less visible than the cars and trucks that surround them on city streets.
When collisions with a bicycle are caused by the driver of a car, the five most frequent explanations for the accident are:
- The driver made a right turn on red and did not see a bicyclist in the car’s path.
- The driver drove through a stop sign or tried to beat a red light and struck a bicyclist that had the right-of-way.
- The driver made a left turn in front of an oncoming bicycle.
- The driver failed to observe a bicycle when changing lanes or moving within a lane.
- The driver was intoxicated, fatigued, or distracted by cellphone use and crashed into a bicyclist who was riding in front of the driver’s car.
Too often, collisions between cars and bicycles are never reported to the police. In some cases, the driver of the car takes the bicyclist to an emergency room but neglects to notify the police about the accident. If you were injured in a bicycle accident involving a careless driver, make sure to contact the police as soon as you can so that the accident is properly investigated and documented.
Bicycle Crash Injuries
When cars crash into bicycles, head injuries are typically the most severe result. Head injuries are the most frequent cause of hospital admissions when cars hit bicycles. Most bicyclist fatalities are caused by head injuries. When head injuries do not cause death, they often result in traumatic brain injuries that can be permanently disabling.
Bicycle helmets provide effective protection against some head injuries, but they do not provide complete protection. Helmets are designed to protect against massive head trauma. They are not typically designed to prevent concussions, which are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries.
Other common injuries include broken arms and legs. Less common, but still significant, are neck and back injuries that lead to total or partial paralysis.
Soft tissue injuries, including nerve damage and stretched or torn ligaments, tendons, and muscles, can be particularly vexing. Bicycle riders may require months or years of physical therapy before they are rehabilitated to their pre-accident condition. Some riders never make a complete recovery from soft tissue injuries.
Orange County Bicycle Accident Compensation
Bicycle riders who are injured in a collision with a negligent driver deserve compensation. Medical expenses, including prescription medications, should be paid or reimbursed by the driver’s insurance company. Lost wages should be restored. Loss of future earning capacity should be computed by vocational and economic experts and included in the insurance settlement.
Riders also deserve compensation for their past, present, and future pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Riders who are suffering from a disabling injury should receive funds that will help them modify their environment to cope with their disability. If vocational rehabilitation is required, the cost should be included in the settlement.
When a bicycle rider dies in a traffic accident, surviving family members may be entitled to wrongful death compensation. In California, they can receive compensation for the funds they would have received from their deceased spouse or relative. Some family members are also entitled to compensation for loss of love and companionship.
Negotiating an adequate settlement is not easy. Insurance adjusters too often take advantage of injury victims who try to settle their own claims. Studies show that, in most cases, the increased compensation paid to injury victims who are represented by a lawyer more than offsets the contingent fee that the lawyer charges.
An experienced bicycle accident attorney in Orange County can help you maximize your compensation if you were injured by a careless driver while you were riding a bicycle. To schedule a free evaluation of your case with one of Orange County’s most respected bicycle injury lawyers.