You decide to go on a stroll with your bike or even take it to work. Living in California, it’s what many residents do to enjoy the good weather. Then the worst happens. You’re hit by car and you become injured. Or even worse, you loved one is killed by care while riding their bike. Many people go through it. It wasn’t even your (or loved one’s) fault and you’re sure of it. It’s a scary thing to be hit by a 2 ton hunk of metal. You want and need to heal, you don’t want to deal with the consequences. It’s important to know the damages that you may be compensated for and how you can prove to negligence of the driver who hit you.
Anyone can be liable for a bicycle accident who caused it. The types of damages that can be accounted for depend on whether the victim was injured or died as a result of the accident. In that state of California, you are allowed to sue for compensatory damages, these compensate for economic and noneconomic losses.The economic damages are those that can be assigned monetary value. Noneconomic damages are more subjective and can’t necessarily be assigned monetary value. Compensatory damages include things such as medical bills, scarring, pain and suffering, lost wages, counseling, or disfiguration. In general, compensatory damages have no cap. Some of the most common bicycle injuries include concussions, broken bones, hand fractures, head or neck injuries, strains and dislocations, or internal bleeding. Included in non-economic compensatory damages is the loss of consortium. Consortium is the right of companionship and intimacy with ones husband or wife. It’s possible that you may be awarded punitive damages but for this, the driver must have shown extreme or dangerous conduct. For example, they may be awarded punitive damages if they were purposely trying to run over the cyclist.
If the driver was driving reckless or negligent, then they could be liable for injuries they caused to the victim. The victim, or family of the deceased bicyclist, need to prove some things before in order to show the driver was negligent. You must show that the driver owed the cyclist a “duty of care”. Drivers are supposed to show “duty of care” to other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. You must prove that the driver did not follow the “duty of care” by engaging in a negligent activity and you must also show that the negligence was a substantial cause of the injury or death of the cyclist. A driver can also be proved negligent if they violated a traffic rule. This includes things such as speeding, distracted driving, failure to yield, running a stop sign, driving under the influence, or not giving a safe distance with cyclists which is the 3-feet for safety rule in California.
Bicycle accidents are more common in California then you may have thought. In 2015, there were 467,000 bicycle related injuries. California has the highest death rate of cyclists. From 2010-2012 there were 338 cyclist deaths involving cars. No one is prepared for something like this. You need the right legal representation You need someone with a lot of experience. Edward “Skip” Babbitt has over 30 years of experience. Call his office today at 619-543-1789 to schedule your free initial consultation.