Proving Bicycle Accident Liability
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As a bicyclist, it is in your best interest to follow the rules of the road. Although it is becoming easier for bicyclists to get from place to place in Los Angeles, the city is still the most car-crazy place in the country. If you ride a bike, you must be cautious and vigilant. Not all motor vehicle drivers are as good about obeying the rules as you are.
If you have collided with a vehicle and suffered an injury, then you may be entitled to compensation. You should contact a Los Angeles personal injury attorney. They will help you put together the kind of case that can get you the money you deserve.
Know the Law
Riding a bicycle puts you in a unique position. Bicycles are light, compact, and easy to maneuver. This gives you the ability to go around vehicles that may be stuck in a traffic jam. Even if you are traveling down a busy road, you can change lanes and ride on the shoulder. You can make many other moves that a motor vehicle cannot make. However, you must do so safely, and you must obey the law.
As a bicyclist, you must avoid unsafe lane changes, yield to pedestrians, and obey traffic signs and signals. If you violate a traffic law and cause an accident, you will be limited in the amount of compensation you can claim. You should consult with a personal injury bicycle accident lawyer to know where you stand.
Riding a Bicycle in a Big City
The one thing that all big cities have in common is that they contain a multitude of roads and highways that are nearly always filled with cars, trucks, and SUVs. Indeed, what used to be called rush hour is a thing of the past. Modern cities have become so crowded and so busy that there is no longer any such thing as a slow time or hours of non-congestion.
Los Angeles is an especially crowded and bustling city. Drivers on the city’s streets can be aggressive. Many of them have an antagonistic attitude toward bicyclists. They are annoyed that they must share the road with bicycles, and this leads many of them to make bad tempered and ill-considered decisions.
Negligence and Recklessness
Anyone operating a motor vehicle on the road owes a duty of care to others. That means they must follow traffic rules and laws. They must also be reasonably attentive to what other vehicles and bicyclists are doing. A failure to act with such care amounts to negligence, and the person can be held liable for the property damage and personal injury they have caused others.
A driver can also be held accountable for acting in an outrageous, provocative, and intentionally unsafe way. A motor vehicle driver cannot intimidate, threaten, and bully you off the road. Nor can they make aggressive moves to cut you off or prevent you from using the maneuvering abilities of your bicycle. Any one of these actions amounts to recklessness and if they have led to a bike and car accident, then you can hold the driver accountable. A personal injury bicycle accident lawyer can help.
Shared Fault and Contributory Negligence
After an accident, the driver may claim that you contributed to the accident. They may claim that you moved in a way that was confusing or illegal. If you ran a red light, rolled through a stop sign, or violated any other traffic law, the court may decide that you have shared fault in the accident, and it will be hard for you to recover full damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
Even if you were partly at fault for the accident, you should not give up all hope of getting compensation. You should speak to a lawyer with experience of handling minor to severe injury cases to determine how much it is worth.
The state of California has a comparative negligence system. Under this law, each person involved in the accident can recover the percentage of the damage that they were responsible for causing. If, for example, you did roll through a stop sign rather than coming to a complete stop but the person who hit you was driving under the influence of alcohol, much of the fault for the accident will be placed on them.
Taking Steps to Avoid Accidents
You should do all that you can to avoid an accident. Even if you can claim compensation afterward, colliding with another vehicle can cause problems that no amount of money can solve. A serious accident can lead to the complete collapse of life as you know it. You may suffer a debilitating and permanent injury that puts you out of work for good. The strain of your injuries can also lead to the deterioration of your family relationships—bonds that no amount of money can re-forge.
You should never get on a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol. You should also take the following common sense bicycle safety measures:
-Install blinking lights
-Use adequate illumination
Fighting for Damages
If you have taken all these steps and are still run off the road or hit by a negligent or reckless driver, then you should fight for compensation. A bicycle accident lawyer in Los Angeles can help you get the money you deserve.
The insurance company of the motorist will be responsible for settling your claim. The main aim of all insurance companies is to minimize the amount of money they must pay out. To this end, they will make you a low-dollar offer. You should not accept it; instead refer insurance adjusters to your legal counsel.
In fact, all communication and negotiation with the insurance company should be left to your bike accident lawyer. This is the best way to avoid errors that may lower the amount you eventually get.
The more evidence your attorney can gather against the other driver the more likely your claim will go through. If you were seriously hurt in the accident, your legal representative will seek damages for medical bills, loss of wages, loss of potential income, pain and suffering, and other expenses and losses you have been forced to endure.
If you have collided with a motor vehicle, your first call should be to a car and bike accident lawyer, who will ensure that you are treated fairly and justly.