Questions like ‘Can you sue if you get hit by a car on a bike?‘ usually arise if you are involved in a car crash as a bicyclist with another automobile. The answer is that whether you can sue after being hit by a car on a bike depends on factors such as your state law. Well, in California, you may sue and qualify for compensation if you prove the liability. Legal claims for injuries incurred in a bike and a car collision follow similar principles as those for accidents involving two vehicles. While suing is an option, there are alternatives, such as settling out of the court, which can be quicker with legal guidance. However, consulting a Sacramento bicycle accident attorney is advisable for an equitable financial recovery.
When to sue for a bicycle accident?
Deciding when to sue after a bicycle accident can be challenging. But different critical signs may prompt you to consider legal action after a bike accident.
You may consider legal action when the insurance settlement offered by the at-fault driver’s insurer is unreasonably low and does not cover the full extent of your recovery needs. Additionally, the severity of the accident can lead to high medical expenses. If the anticipated insurance settlement is inadequate to cover these huge bills, suing the responsible party becomes necessary.
It is crucial to assess your injuries and compare them to the offer from the other driver’s insurance company. In such a situation, Seeking legal recourse becomes essential to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Lastly, if the negotiation with the at-fault driver’s insurance fails when they cannot meet your demand, in such cases where there is no agreement on compensation for your losses, taking legal action becomes crucial.
Establishing negligence in a bike accident
Similar to other personal injury cases, legal claims for a bicycle accident revolve around negligence. While the term’ negligence’ is easy to understand, establishing it in a court involves different challenges. Hence, seeking help from a skilled Sacramento bicycle accident lawyer is crucial if you face difficulties after such an experience. Now, let’s explore the four elements of negligence and their impact on a bicycle accident.
The motorist has a duty: Both drivers and cyclists have a duty on the road, which is to follow traffic laws and regulations. It includes stopping at red lights or stop signs, adhering to speed limits, and checking before merging lanes. In a bike crash claim, your lawyer must establish that the driver had a duty of care. For example, in a left turn accident, the driver must wait for space before making a left turn.
The motorist breached the duty of care: Once you prove that the driver had a duty to act in a certain way, the next step is proving that they breached this duty of care. In the mentioned example, they have breached the duty if the driver turns too quickly and hits a passing cyclist.
Their breach of duty of care directly caused your injuries: Having established the driver’s duty, you must prove that this action caused your injuries. This step usually involves crucial evidence like medical records and expert witnesses.
Your injuries are compensable: This is the last step, where negotiations lie in determining the worth of your injuries and other damages. While calculating value to aspects like bicycle damage is straightforward, evaluating pain and suffering can be challenging. Your lawyer may rely on medical experts to determine fair compensation.
Damages you can claim in bicycle accident case
Bicycle accidents can have profound impacts on various aspects of your life, leading to financial loss, emotional distress, health issues, loss of income, etc. Your legal right is to seek compensation from the responsible party to help you navigate such challenges. The damages you may claim include:
Special damages include compensation for costs incurred during and after the bicycle accident. For example, lost income, medical expenses, and property damage.
Noneconomic damage compensates for intangible harm such as emotional trauma, mental stress, and other psychological harm caused by bicycle accident injuries.
How much is a bicycle accident claim worth?
Your bike accident claim’s worth depends on factors like injuries’ severity, medical costs, property damage, or lost wages. Additional considerations include the impact on your life, such as pain and suffering. Insurance companies and legal experts assess these factors to determine compensation.
Legal rights if you have been injured in a bike accident in California
If you have sustained injuries in a bicycle accident, it is crucial to be aware of your rights and legal options. Some of the legal options that you should know if you are hurt while cycling are:
Right to medical care: You can seek immediate medical attention after an accident. It is crucial to consult with a medical professional promptly. Early medical treatment not only aids in recovery but also serves as strong evidence of the claim.
Right to report the accident: You can report the accident to a state or local law enforcement agency, such as the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department. A Police officer will arrive at the scene to document the details of the crash. You must avoid providing false information.
Right to hold the at-fault party accountable: Liability for your bicycle accident depends on fault, and you can legally hold the party responsible for the incident. However, California operates under a comparative fault system, meaning that even if you, as a cyclist, are partially at fault, you can still seek financial compensation. But the authority will proportionately reduce your compensation.
Right to seek compensation: You can pursue financial compensation for all damages from the party at fault. This compensation may cover economic damages such as repairs, hospital bills, lost wages, and noneconomic injuries like pain and suffering.
Are there any bicycle laws?
Yes, there are bicycle laws in Sacramento, California. Bicycle rules and regulations in Sacramento promote a harmonious coexistence between cyclists and motorists, as they have a shared responsibility. Also, the specific traffic laws aim to ensure the well being of both cyclists and drivers. Some of the laws regarding bicycles are:
- If you are a cyclist in Sacramento, you must use hand signals to communicate your intentions.
- You must adhere to the traffic rules like drivers, including stopping at red lights and stop signs.
- If you are a motorist, you must treat cyclists like any other vehicle on the road.
- You must wear a helmet to reduce head injury risks in accidents. This rule is compulsory for cyclists under 18.
Understanding and adhering to these laws ensures legal compliance and empowers you to assert your rights in case of accidents due to someone else’s negligence.
How long do I have to file a bicycle accident lawsuit in Sacramento, California?
You have a two year timeframe to initiate a lawsuit for bicycle accidents that arise from someone else’s negligence. In some cases where the accident occurs due to hazardous conditions of public property, the deadline to file a claim against a public entity may be limited to one year.
What is an insurance claim in a bike accident?
The formal request to an insurance company for compensation to cover damages and injuries is called an insurance claim. The process involves submitting accident details, supporting evidence, and relevant documentation. Your insurer reviews the claim, investigates liability, and compensates the cyclist if the accident was not their fault.
Can a cyclist be at fault?
Despite most injuries and damage to cyclists, they can be at fault. For instance, they may contribute to an accident by neglecting traffic laws and being unaware of the vehicles around them, which could lead to an accident. And they may face liability for damages to the other party.
Do I need to hire a lawyer for my personal injury lawsuit?
Whether you hire a lawyer for your personal injury lawsuit entirely depends on the specifics of your situation. While it is not mandatory, having legal representation can significantly impact the outcome of your case. If your injuries are minor and the at-fault party’s insurance company cooperates, you can navigate the process independently. However, seeking expert guidance is advisable in cases of severe injuries, disputed liability, or resistance from the insurance company.
A personal injury lawyer can bring expertise to your case, help you understand your rights, assess the real value of your claim, and navigate the complexities of legal procedures. They can negotiate on your behalf with insurance companies, gather evidence, and advocate for your best interests, ensuring you receive fair compensation.
If you are a bike crash victim in Sacramento or nearby areas. In that case, the legal team at the Law offices of J.G Winter can provide valuable insights into the strength of your case and the potential benefits of legal representation. Additionally, after an accident, it’s important to consult a legal professional. Contact us to learn more about your legal rights.