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Lafayette and East Bay Rear-End Bicycle Accidents

Paceline Law Bicycle Injury Lawyer helps anyone in Lafayette or the East Bay area when there’s a bicycle accident. Whenever you ride your bike, your health and safety is ultimately up to the mercy of drivers you share the road with. This brings up one of the most common types of bicycle accidents, a rear-end accident. To learn more about your legal options in this situation, contact us today for a free consultation.

When Should You Work With a Lawyer?

Dealing with injuries from a bicycle accident can be tough and life-changing. Not all accidents are serious, and minor ones might not need legal help.

However, many bicycle accidents, especially rear-end ones, cause significant injuries. In California, hiring a lawyer is your choice, but if your injuries are severe, you’ll likely need all the help you can get. That’s where my firm comes in. Here’s how we assist bicycle accident victims:

  • We investigate what happened and figure out who is at fault.
  • We help you gather all necessary paperwork and evidence.
  • We handle the legal work so you can focus on recovery.

When you’re facing injuries, everything becomes more difficult. That’s why we take such pride in our approach and how we can help you through the process. But there’s also things you can do to help yourself.

Can You Strengthen Your Injury Claim?

A rear-end bicycle accident can be terrifying, often resulting in serious injuries. Despite the challenges, it’s vital to take certain steps to gather the necessary information and evidence to strengthen your claim. Here’s what you should do after the accident:

  • Move to a safe place – Move to a safe area away from traffic if possible and call 911 for an ambulance. When they arrive, let EMTs take care of any medical needs.

  • Call the police – Contact the local police, either the Lafayette Police Department or the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department, so they can come and take care of the scene.

  • Go to a hospital – Even if you feel fine, get further care at a hospital or urgent care. This can guarantee that you’re taking care of any unseen injuries.

  • Start gathering evidence – If possible, gather evidence immediately. Take photos of the scene, focusing on your bike’s damage, involved vehicles, and visible injuries. Get contact information from witnesses.

  • Keep track of your damages – Maintain detailed records of everything related to the accident, including medical visits, insurance communications, and expenses. These will be crucial for filing claims or seeking damages.

Obviously, taking these steps is easier said than done if you’re facing serious injuries from your rear-end accident. Still, it needs to be done to make sure you have the necessary information and evidence you need for your legal options.

What Options Do You Have After a Rear-End Bicycle Accident?

Even though your injuries are typically more severe with a rear-end bicycle accident, your legal options don’t change. As a victim, your primary right is to file an injury claim. You have two main options:

  • Filing an insurance claim outside of court
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit

Both options are designed to help you get financial support under California law. Which option you choose is up to you, and often starts with an insurance claim and progresses to a lawsuit. The main goal is to recover “damages” like:

  • Medical expenses covering surgery costs, emergency care, treatment, and ongoing care needs
  • Repair or replacement costs for your bike or any other damaged items
  • Lost income or reduced earning potential due to not being able to work
  • The impact on your quality of life, including your relationships
  • Physical pain and suffering from the accident
  • Emotional distress you have experienced
  • Funeral or burial expenses if the accident is fatal

 

As with any other injury claim, you have two years from the date of the accident to file. If you miss this deadline, you can’t recover damages–no matter how strong your claim is. But there’s another key piece of information you need: liability.

Who’s Liable For a Rear-End Bicycle Accident?

Liability is a key part of any claim. It tells you who is responsible for covering your damages and sets the course for the claim process. Determining liability in a rear-end bicycle accident might seem easy, but every case is unique and can be complicated.

The main question is who was careless and caused the crash and your injuries. In legal terms, this is known as “negligence.” Even if you were injured, you might share some blame, which can affect how much you can receive in damages. This is due to California’s “comparative negligence” rule, where your damages can be reduced based on your percentage of fault.

Where things get complicated is when others are involved, which often happens in a rear-end accident. Along with the driver that hit you, others can share liability, like:

  • Another driver – If another driver was speeding or not paying attention, and caused the driver to rear-end you, they can share liability.

  • Another bicyclist or pedestrian – Similarly, if another cyclist or pedestrian caused or contributed to the accident, they can be held partially liable for your damages.

  • Local or state government – If poor road conditions or malfunctioning traffic signals played a role, the government agency in charge could be partially liable.

  • Manufacturers – If defective brakes or car parts caused the accident, the maker of the part could share responsibility.

Because liability can be complex and you might share some blame, it’s important to gather strong evidence to support your claim. It also helps to look at how these accidents happen, since the circumstances can make it easier to suss out liability.

What Leads to Rear-End Bicycle Accidents?

A rear-end bicycle accident might not seem all that complicated, and most of the time, they aren’t. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t serious. What’s worse, there’s certain parts of the area where these accidents are more common. Then, there’s layout and weather that can also contribute to a rear-end accident.

Ultimately though, a rear-end bicycle accident happens for reasons that have to do mostly with another driver’s negligence. In looking at the common causes of these accidents, you’ll likely find the following 

  • Distracted driving – When a driver is using their phone, eating, or otherwise distracted, they may not notice you on your bike in front of them until it is too late to stop. 
  • Tailgating – When a driver is tailgating you on your bike, they may not have enough time to stop if you suddenly slow down or stop.
  • Speeding – If a driver is traveling too fast, they may not have enough time to stop if you suddenly appear in front of them.
  • Driving under the influence – When a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their reaction time may be slowed, making it difficult to avoid a rear-end collision.
  • Lack of visibility – Lafayette’s hills and streets can make it difficult for drivers to see you on your bike, particularly when they are traveling at high speeds or weaving through traffic.

These are just a few examples of how rear-end bicycle accidents can happen in Lafayette or the East Bay. Given that they frequently lead to injuries involving your spine, neck, and head, it’s important that you have the right legal guidance and support.

Contact Paceline Law Bicycle Injury Lawyer After a Rear-End Bicycle Accident

Facing a rear-end or any bicycle accident in Lafayette or the East Bay is certainly not what you want to go through. It not only impacts you, but your entire family. At Paceline Law Bicycle Injury Lawyer, my team can give you the legal guidance and support you need for a successful claim. Don’t wait–contact us today to set up a free consultation to get the recovery process started.