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Lafayette and East Bay Sideswipe Bicycle Accidents

Paceline Law Bicycle Injury Lawyer helps anyone that’s been hurt in a bicycle accident in Lafayette or the East Bay area. Sideswipe accidents, where a car hits the side of your bike, can cause severe injuries even at low speeds. Being injured makes everything more difficult, but it does give you certain legal rights. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

The thing about bicycle accidents, even sideswipes, is that every one of them is unique. You have legal rights, but whether or not you need a lawyer depends on your circumstances.  For minor accidents with sufficient insurance information, filing a claim might be enough.

For more serious accidents and injuries, my team can help you get the financial support you need by creating a timeline of events, evaluating your options, gathering evidence, talking to witnesses, reviewing insurance policies, and assisting with filing claims or lawsuits. We support you throughout the entire process, making it easier for you and your family. Regardless of your situation, we’ll guide you through the legal steps.

What Are Your Legal Options After a Sideswipe Bicycle Accident?

Being in a sideswipe bicycle accident is very scary, as with most bicycle accidents. But in terms of your legal options, they’re pretty much the same as any other type of accident. Basically, as a victim, you have the legal right to file an injury claim to recover “damages.” To do this, there’s two main options:

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

Both aim to provide financial support, covering:

  • Medical expenses (surgery, emergency care, treatment, ongoing needs)
  • Repair or replacement costs for your bicycle and other property
  • Lost wages or reduced earning potential
  • Impact on your quality of life and relationships
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Wrongful death expenses
  • Punitive damages, in certain cases

The amount of damages you receive depends on the strength of your evidence and how well it shows the accident’s impact. You must file your claim within two years of the accident; otherwise, you can’t recover damages.

Who’s Liable For Your Damages After a Sideswipe Accident?

Not surprisingly, a sideswipe bicycle accident makes liability fairly straightforward. The driver that collides with you is probably going to hold the majority of liability for your injuries. But California law goes a step further in terms of a sideswipe accident thanks to the “Three Feet for Safety Act,” which became law in 2014.

This is a law that requires drivers to give bicyclists at least three feet of space. If road conditions or traffic make this impossible, drivers must slow down and pass safely. This law applies in the following situations:

  • Passing a bicycle from behind
  • Sharing the same lane and direction
  • Passing a bicycle in an adjacent lane

Despite this law, sideswipe bicycle accidents are common, often because drivers don’t follow the rule. Other causes of these accidents include:

  • Not checking blind spots before changing lanes
  • Weaving in and out of lanes
  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving recklessly or speeding
  • Failing to signal
  • Driving too fast in bad weather

Again, the driver that hits you is probably going to carry most of the liability, but depending on the circumstances, others may also share some of the liability for the accident:

  • Passengers
  • Other drivers
  • Pedestrians or other bicyclists
  • Third parties, like construction companies
  • Car or parts manufacturers
  • Local governments responsible for road maintenance or signage

Any of these parties could have contributed to the accident and may be liable for your injuries and losses. Even though you have legal protection, you have the responsibility of putting together a strong claim.

How Do You Put Together a Strong Claim After a Sideswipe Bicycle Accident?

When it comes to a sideswipe bicycle accident, the steps you take immediately after the accident are crucial for the process that follows. Mainly, you have to gather the information and evidence necessary for a strong claim. Our team can assist you with this, but it’s mostly in your hands right after the accident happens. So, here’s what you need to do to put together a strong claim:

  • Get to safety – Move to the side of the road or into a bike lane to avoid further danger. Check yourself for any injuries. If you’re hurt (which is likely), call 911 for an ambulance.

  • Report the accident – Call the police or local sheriff’s department to report the accident. Also, get medical care from an EMT on the scene when they arrive.

  • Collect information – If the driver is still there, get their contact and insurance details. If they fled the scene, make sure to inform the police when you report the accident.

  • Document the accident – Use your phone to take pictures or videos of the accident scene. If your phone is damaged, ask the police or a bystander to help with documentation.

  • Gather witness information – Collect contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident.

  • Get further medical attention – After handling everything at the scene, visit an urgent care center or emergency room for a thorough medical check up. High adrenaline levels can mask injuries, so it’s important to get checked out even if you don’t feel hurt immediately.

  • Preserve your evidence – Keep any physical evidence from the accident intact. Don’t repair your bike or any other damaged property until the claims process is complete.

Taking these steps ensures that you have the necessary information and evidence to support your claim and helps protect your legal rights following the accident. But remember, it’s always in your best interest to reduce the chances that you’ll be in an accident in the first place.

While bicycle accidents, including sideswipes, can’t be completely avoided, you can reduce risks by wearing bright clothes and safety gear for visibility, using signal lights, staying in bike lanes, avoiding sudden moves, following traffic laws, and avoiding risky behaviors like weaving through traffic. Even with these precautions, accidents can occur. That’s what makes the legal process so important, and we’ll be there to support you.

Dedicated Help After a Sideswipe Bicycle Accident in Lafayette or East Bay

If you find yourself in a sideswipe bicycle accident in Lafayette or the East Bay area, Paceline Law Bicycle Injury Lawyer is here to help. We have extensive experience in helping our clients that have been injured in sideswipe bicycle accidents. We’ll identify the liable parties, negotiate with their insurance company, and provide the legal support and guidance you need. Contact us today for a free consultation to start your claim.