Paceline-FINAL-blk

Bay Area Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Paceline Law helps people who get hurt in bicycle accidents in the Bay Area. We know it’s tough dealing with injuries and money problems after accidents. Our team is here to help you with your insurance claims and make sure you get the help you need. Contact us for a free consultation about how we can help you.

Do You Even Need a Lawyer?

Bicycle riding is popular in the Bay Area, just like in other parts of the state, because of the good conditions for it. But this popularity also means there’s a higher risk of accidents. Even if you’re careful, accidents can still happen.

We’re here to help, but whether you need us depends on your situation. If your injuries are minor, you might not need legal help. But if your injuries are serious, like in a typical bike accident, our team can help you. We’ll investigate what happened, help you gather evidence, then guide and support you through the legal process.

Improving Your Bicycle Accident Claim

Just like with any injury claim, what you can recover depends a lot on the evidence you have and the circumstances that went into the accident itself. It’s not just about medical records and pictures, although those are important. What you do (or don’t do) after the accident matters a lot too. Here’s how you can make your claim stronger:

  • Document everything – Write down what happened in detail as soon as possible after the accident. Include where and when it happened, what the weather was like, and any road conditions. Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to your bike or other belongings.

  • Get witness statements – If there were witnesses to the accident, get their contact information and ask them to write down what they saw. Their statements can strengthen your case.

  • Get medical attention – Even if you don’t feel seriously injured, it’s important to see a doctor. Also, make sure to get care from the ambulance at the scene. Some injuries may not be immediately obvious. Keep records of all medical visits, treatments, and bills related to the accident.

  • Keep track of expenses – Keep receipts for any expenses related to the accident, such as medical bills, bike repairs, or transportation costs.
  • File a claim with your insurance – Tell your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Provide them with all the necessary information and keep copies of any correspondence.

  • Follow medical advice – Follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment and recovery. Not doing so could weaken your claim.

  • Be careful with statements – Be cautious about statements or correspondence with an insurance adjuster or company. Anything you say could be twisted and used against you, so stick to the basics of what happened and let us handle the negotiations.

By following these steps and gathering strong evidence, you can strengthen your bicycle accident claim and improve your chances of receiving a fair offer for your injuries and damages.

Injuries and Damages in a Bicycle Accident

What sets a bicycle accident apart from other types of accidents are the injuries it can leave you with. This is true across the many different types of accidents that can happen, from rear-end collisions to sideswipes to head-on collisions. Nearly all leave you vulnerable to injuries due to the relative lack of protection, even if you wear a helmet and gear. Most of the time, you’ll be looking at:

  • Scrapes and cuts from falling or hitting objects.
  • Bruises from impacts with the ground or objects.
  • Broken bones, especially in your wrists, arms, collarbones, or legs.
  • Head injuries, like concussions or brain injuries.
  • Spinal injuries, which can cause paralysis.
  • Dislocations when joints can be forced out of place.
  • Internal injuries, including damage to organs like the spleen or liver.
  • Soft tissue injuries to your muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

The extent of these injuries will go a long way in determining your damages. This is the legal term for your losses, and is the actual goal of filing an injury claim. While there are other things to think about, the damages you can recover in a claim include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Future medical expenses
  • Wrongful death expenses, if the injuries are fatal
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of consortium or quality of life
  • Punitive damages

With any claim, what you’re ultimately able to recover is going to depend on how effectively you show the extent of your damages and present your case. Another huge aspect, though, is what actually happened and who is responsible for paying these damages.

Liability and Negligence in a Bicycle Accident

Because bicycling is so popular in the Bay Area, it means that there’s a lot of opportunities and places to go to ride your bike. But it also means there’s a lot of other bicyclists out there, along with some of the most densely-packed areas in the entire country, not to mention a huge number of vehicles and drivers trying to navigate around.

This, obviously, leads to accidents, usually caused by:

  • Lack of cycling infrastructure – Even though there are bike paths in many places in the area, some roads don’t have them. Those roads might not have bike lanes or signs to help keep cyclists safe.

  • Poor road conditions – Bumps, potholes, and uneven surfaces frequently lead to accidents.

  • Driving under the influence – When people drive after drinking or doing drugs, they can’t think clearly, react slowly, and make it difficult to respond to bicyclists.

  • Distracted driving – When drivers don’t pay attention because they’re doing something else, like looking at their phones, it can lead to accidents with cyclists because they might not notice them or give them enough room.

  • Driver negligence – One of the top reasons for bicycle accidents is when drivers aren’t careful, like when they don’t let cyclists go first or drive too close to them.

  • Bad weather – The Bay Area typically has great weather for biking, but it’s also known for rain and fog, which can make visibility poor and decrease traction and maneuverability.

Liability

The cause of your accident is also important when thinking about liability. Liability is what determines who will pay for your damages once you decide to file a claim. But in order to nail down this liability, you have to establish negligence. In legal terms, negligence means:

  • A person or entity breached their duty of care to ensure your safety and that of others, thereby causing the accident and your resulting injuries.

Potential liable parties in a bicycle accident may include:

  • Drivers
  • Other bicyclists
  • Pedestrians
  • Employers
  • Construction companies or crews
  • Local governments
  • Maintenance workers
  • Property owners

You could also be partially at fault for the accident, which could mean your damages may be decreased by the same percentage. This is because of the state’s “comparative negligence” rule. For example, if you’re 20% responsible, your potential recovery drops by 20%.

However, you can still seek damages under California’s laws after a bicycle accident. It’s wise to talk to my firm first.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the driver flees the scene after hitting me?

Try to remember details like their license plate or what their car looked like. Tell the police right away and get advice from our team to help you find them and file a claim.

Are there ways to stay safe on a bike?

Yes, wear a helmet, follow the rules of the road, use lights and reflectors, and watch out for hazards. You can also take classes on bike safety and use bike lanes when you can. 

Should I repair my bike after an accident?

Not right away. Take pictures of the damage, get repair quotes, and keep track of any costs for fixing or replacing it. You can use this information when you ask for damages.

Experienced Bay Area Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Getting into a bicycle accident in the Bay Area is never a good thing, especially when you get hurt. But sometimes, even if you’re careful, other drivers on the road can cause accidents. That’s where Paceline Law comes in. We’ll explain your options and guide you through the recovery process. Don’t wait–contact us today to set up a free consultation.

Additional Resources