Bicycle Accident Lawyers in Riverside, Ca.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), bicycle fatalities slightly decreased from 147 deaths in 2013 to 128 deaths in 2014. Nationwide, over 900 people were killed in bicycle accidents during 2013 and more than 494,000 emergency room visits were reported due to bicycle accidents. In 2010, the lifetime medical costs and productivity costs of both fatal and non-fatal bicycle crashes totaled $10 billion.
Even though bicyclists may be at an increased risk of harm in a crash due to the lack of protection that a bicycle provides, riding bicycles is still a common form of recreation, exercise, and low-cost transportation in California and throughout the United States. Unfortunately, as the number of bicyclists increases on our roads, the number of bicycle accidents is likely to increase as well.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Riverside and throughout California
In a 2012 national survey of bicyclists, vehicle collision remained the number one reason for bicycle accidents. Nearly one-third of all bicycle accidents reported in the survey were as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle. Other common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Roadway hazards and/or improperly maintained roads (i.e. potholes, uneven pavement, gravel, etc.)
- Rider error (i.e. distracted riding, going too fast for conditions, etc.)
- Falls and/or other collisions
- Improperly maintained bicycle and/or equipment
- Faulty bicycle parts and/or improperly installed bicycle parts
Regardless of the cause of a bike accident, the rider may be entitled to receive compensation for damages if the bicycle crash is the result of another party’s careless, reckless, or negligent behavior. The bicycle accident attorneys of Heiting & Irwin Attorneys At Law are prepared to aggressively fight for your right to receive compensation for your bicycle accident injuries. Contact our office online or by calling 951-682-6400 today to speak with a representative and to schedule your free legal consultation.
Common Injuries and Damages in a Bicycle Accident
As with motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents tend to result in catastrophic injuries, due to the lack of protection. A motor vehicle offers the occupants a great deal of protection in a collision; however, there is nothing between the bicyclist and the other vehicle during a collision. The rider receives the full impact of the crash. Therefore, bicyclists tend to suffer severe injuries in accidents between a bicycle and a motor vehicle.
One of the most common injuries in a bicycle accident is a head injury. Skull fractures, brain contusion, concussions, intracranial hemorrhage, and closed head injuries are common for riders. Bicycle helmets reduce the risk and severity of some head injuries; however, helmets cannot prevent all injuries. Other common injuries in a bicycle crash include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries and/or internal bleeding
- Rib fractures
- Injuries to the face, mouth, and teeth
The amount of compensation available for damages in a bike accident depends on several factors including the severity of the injuries, the type of injuries, and the facts surrounding the bicycle accident. In bicycle accident cases, the accident victim may be entitled to receive compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Funeral, cremation, and burial expenses
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Transportation costs to and from doctor appointments
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident
Beware of insurance adjusters who request recorded or written statements to “get your side” of the story or request medical releases to “verify your injuries.” These insurance tactics are designed to obtain information to be used to lower the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive for your injury. Contact our office immediately to avoid being taken advantage of by big insurance companies looking to pay you less than your bicycle accident claim is worth.
When settling a bicycle accident claim, it is important to wait until you reach maximum medical recovery before settling your claim. Insurance companies will push you to settle quickly before you realize the full extent of your injuries and damages. It is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Riverside bicycle accident attorney prior to accepting any settlement offer by the other party’s insurance company.
What to Do Immediately after a Bike Accident
Your health is your number one priority after a bicycle crash; however, once you have taken steps to protect your health by seeking medical attention, the next steps you take can help your personal injury attorney build a strong case against the party who caused the crash. Therefore, after a bicycle accident, you should:
- Contact the police – Call for emergency medical assistance and call the police to report the accident. While a police report is not considered evidence in a trial, it does provide valuable information for your attorney to use as he or she is conducting the accident investigation and building a case against the at-fault party.
- Preserve evidence – Your smart phone is equipped with a camera. Use it to take pictures of the accident scene including your bicycle, the other vehicle, traffic signs, skid marks or lack of skid marks, and landscape. Keep your bicycle, safety equipment, and the clothes you were wearing at the time of the crash. Take pictures of your injuries before and after treatment and during your recovery.
- Obtain contact information for eyewitnesses – Eyewitness testimony can be a powerful piece of evidence in a bicycle accident case. Ask for the name and contact information of anyone who witnessed the crash.
- Do not discuss the accident – Do not discuss the accident with anyone until you have consulted with an attorney, especially the other driver and the insurance company for the other driver. Refrain from posting anything about the accident or your injuries on social media.
- Hire an attorney – As soon as possible after a bicycle accident, retain the services of an experienced bicycle accident attorney. Your attorney will have your best interest as his top priority—no one else involved in the accident claim, with the exception of your medical provider, will protect your best interest.
Hiring an Experienced Riverside, CA Bicycle Accident Attorney
Contact our office online or by calling 951-682-6400 to speak with an experienced bicycle accident attorney. At Heiting & Irwin, Attorneys At Law, we do not charge you a fee until and unless we win a settlement or obtain a judgment verdict on your behalf. You are entitled to a fair and just settlement for your injuries—our attorneys will not stop fighting until we are convinced justice has been served.