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Lafayette Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Paceline Law Bicycle Injury Lawyer represents those injured in Bay Area bicycle accidents. My firm has the experience and resources to make sure you’re taken care of following any type of bicycle accident in Lafayette or anywhere else in the area. To learn more about our approach, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Do You Need to Work With My Firm?

Whether you’re riding on the Lamorinda Loop Trail or along Mt. Diablo Boulevard, biking in Lafayette is usually an enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, an accident can happen at virtually any time. Part of being prepared is knowing whether or not you need to work with my team. The answer depends on your circumstances. If your accident was only minor in nature, you probably won’t need to take legal action.

However, in the event that your injuries are more in line with a typical bicycle accident, my firm can be a huge help. Here’s what we can do:

  • Explain your rights and options
  • Look into the accident and figure out who’s responsible
  • Work with insurance adjusters and companies
  • Gather important evidence

My top priority is making sure the legal process is as easy as possible for you. Being injured is hard enough on its own without worrying about dealing with insurance companies and the legal process. My team can support you and make sure you have a strong claim.

Who’s Liable in a Bicycle Accident?

Possibly the biggest initial question to answer is who’s liable for your injuries. Liability–or the legal responsibility–for covering your damages revolves around the concept of negligence. In certain cases–like when a driver is speeding and sideswipes you–this is fairly easy to figure out. Other times, though, it’s not as straightforward.

Basically, it depends on what happened. Most often, it falls on the following:

  • Drivers – If a driver breaks traffic laws or isn’t careful, they can cause an accident with a cyclist and be responsible for it.
  • City or state government – If the roads or paths aren’t well-maintained or designed, and this contributes to an accident, the government might be at fault.
  • Third parties – Other people, like pedestrians or other cyclists, could also cause accidents through carelessness, making them responsible.
  • Parts manufacturers – If a bike part is defective and causes a crash, the company that made it could be held accountable.

Why is liability important?

Liability is an extremely important part of any bicycle accident because it sets the course of your injury claim. As you’re probably aware, a bicycle accident can cause all sorts of different injuries and losses for you. Most of the time, it results in things like:

  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Burns
  • Joint dislocations
  • Facial injuries and scarring

The extent of these injuries and how it affects your life will make up the core of what’s known as your “damages,” and liability is what determines who actually pays for them.

Claims Process in a Bicycle Accident

In terms of the claims process after your bike accident, you have two basic options for starting it: filing an insurance claim or filing a lawsuit. Procedurally, both are very similar with one key difference–the insurance process is outside of court and is much less formal. You’re still going to present a case for damages, though. While it’s up to you to show the extent of your losses, a claim will allow you to potentially recover:

  • Medical expenses – These cover all medical bills and treatment costs, from initial emergency care to ongoing rehabilitation for permanent injuries.
  • Lost income – These cover any income you couldn’t earn because of the accident, or reduced earning capacity resulting from it.
  • Property damage – This includes repair or replacement costs for your damaged property, such as your bike.
  • Reduced quality of life – Financial consideration for any negative changes in personal life or relationships due to the accident.
  • Pain and suffering – Financial consideration for physical discomfort and mental anguish caused by the accident.
  • Emotional distress – Financial support for psychological effects like anxiety or PTSD resulting from the accident.
  • Wrongful death expenses – If the accident is fatal, surviving family members can seek expenses like funeral or burial costs, or loss of earnings or benefits.

Your damages are heavily dependent on your injuries, but that’s not the only factor. There’s also “comparative negligence”, where any percentage of fault you share in the accident will reduce your damages accordingly. Also, you have to file your claim on time. The statute of limitations for an injury claim in California is two years from the date of the accident.

What Should You Do After the Accident?

Because it’s up to you to show how the bicycle accident has impacted your life, it becomes very important to do a few things to bolster your claim. This isn’t all that different from other accidents, but are especially important in a bike accident:

  • Get to a safe spot – If possible, the first step is to move to a safe area of the road or trail, away from traffic. Check yourself for any injuries.
  • Call 911 – Dial 911 to report the accident. Emergency services will be dispatched, including an ambulance and police. Seek attention from EMTs and provide information to the police about the incident.
  • Get further medical care – Once the scene is taken care of, get further medical care for your injuries at a hospital, urgent care, or doctor’s office.
  • Document the accident scene – Take photos or videos of the accident, capturing bike damage and the surroundings. Also, get contact and insurance details from all parties and witnesses involved.
  • Maintain records and losses – Keep records of medical treatment, accident reports, and any related communication. Follow your doctor’s instructions and refrain from repairing damaged belongings immediately. This will connect everything for your damages.
  • Call your insurance company – Call your insurance company and start their claims process. This could take care of any immediate medical concerns or other losses.

Again, it’s hard to overstate how important these steps are. They can’t prevent the accident from happening, but they can make a huge difference in how your claim plays out and what you’re able to recover.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do bicycle accidents happen a lot in Lafayette?

This varies given the time of year, but according to the California Highway Patrol’s Traffic Injury Mapping System (TIMS), there’s only been 1.6 bicycle accidents per year over the last five years.

Can I be at-fault for my accident?

You can share some of the liability, depending on the circumstances. If you were riding on the sidewalk or in between lanes, it could be considered “comparative negligence” and reduce your damages.

What evidence is there in a bicycle accident?

Usually, evidence includes medical records, accident reports, visual evidence of your injuries and bike damage, and sometimes could include security or video footage.

Count on Paceline Law Bicycle Injury Lawyer After a Lafayette Bicycle Accident

For as nice as it is to ride your bike in Lafayette, this can change quickly when there’s an accident. This usually means injuries and other losses you have to deal with, and my team at Paceline Law Bicycle Injury Lawyer can help. We’ll explain your options and guide you through the recovery process. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to get started.