A Dana Point bicycle accident lawyer knows that a collision can be one of the most traumatic events in a person’s life. The bicycle laws in Dana Point are laid out in the California Vehicle Code, and they cover everything from how to share the road to visibility to helmet laws.

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule in the Golden State is for drivers to give bicyclists at least 3 feet of space at all times. Most drivers would be considered at fault if they failed to do so at the time of the accident.

Bike Accidents in Dana Point

California is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that both parties may be assigned fault depending on their role in the collision. In general, bicyclists are expected to take precautions, such as using hand signals and making eye contact when on the road. Should the insurance company, judge, or arbitrator decide that a bicyclist was a quarter at fault, then they would be given a quarter less of what they were asking for. (For instance, they’d be given $75,000 if they were requesting $100,000.) Similarly, when motorcyclists find themselves in accidents due to others’ recklessness, a motorcycle accident lawyer may be sought for legal assistance. If you’re looking for a bike accident attorney
in Dana Point, it’s likely because a driver chose recklessness over safety.

Common Accidents in Dana Point

The most common car accidents typically involve the following:

  • Pulling out: Cars pulling out from streets or parking lots can easily strike a cyclist because they’re only looking for regular roadway traffic. But bikes have the right of way in this case. If a cyclist is struck in such an instance, contacting a car accident lawyer might be a crucial step in navigating through the legal complexities that follow.
  • Opened doors: Drivers must check their side mirrors before opening their door. No California driver may open their door on the side of moving traffic.
  • Cyclist against traffic: Drivers are typically only looking in one direction for traffic. If the cyclist is on the other side of the road, it would be both the driver’s and the cyclist’s fault.
  • Turning: If the car turns in front of a bike, this would be the driver’s fault.
  • Same direction: If a driver is attempting to pass the bicyclist without giving them enough room, this would be the driver’s fault.

Bicycle Accidents at Night

Bicyclists at night are expected to be seen on the road. When you’re riding in the dark, the rules stipulate the following equipment:

  • Rear reflector or light: This can be either solid or flashing red, visible from 500 feet away.
  • Pedal reflectors: These must be on both pedals, shoes, or ankles. They can be either white or yellow and must be visible from 200 feet away.
  • Wheel or tire reflector: You should have a white or yellow reflector on the front wheel and a white or red reflector on the rear wheel. You can also have reflectorized tires as an alternative.

Failing to have all these components does not necessarily mean that you are to blame for the accident, but it may affect the compensation you’re awarded. Speaking with a pedestrian accident lawyer could provide clarity and help you navigate through the complexities of your case.

Understanding Comparative Negligence

California allows people within its borders to share blame in the case of an accident if the situation warrants it. For instance, if you were hit by a driver who was speeding but you also failed to stop at a red light, a judge may determine that you were 30% to blame for the accident, while the driver assumed 70% of the blame.

Strengthening Your Case

Comparative negligence comes down to painting an accurate picture of what really happened at the time of the crash. This is why a Dana Point bicycle accident attorney can structure your claim so you’re more likely to get the compensation you deserve. Verifying the statements of eyewitnesses, compiling doctor’s expenses, and talking to law enforcement are all in a day’s work for an attorney and their staff.

Bikes vs. Cars in Dana Point

There are numerous rules in the vehicle code that cover proper etiquette on the road. However, there are a few overarching ideas that govern the specific points. The general rule is that people with more protection have more responsibility. So even though a bicyclist may not have followed every law when on the road, they may be given the benefit of the doubt if they’re hit by a car.

Consideration for Bicyclists

Regardless of how the collision occurred, the bicyclist is likely to be traveling far slower than the vehicle in question, giving the driver of the vehicle more time to spot them and take proper precautions.

The size discrepancy makes it very easy for a bicyclist to be seriously injured or even killed without causing nearly any damage at all to the vehicle involved or its driver. While the laws may not directly favor bicyclists, bicyclists are looked at differently by the judge or arbitrator before making final decisions about the case.

Bicycle Accidents in Dana Point

With its temperate weather, Dana Point is a popular place to go for a bike ride. Despite its residential reputation, though, it can still be a dangerous ride. With all the cars and trucks on the road, just one collision can leave a bicyclist with severe injuries.

Receiving compensation means finding a bicycle accident lawyer who understands how the courts determine who should receive what. In the state of California, tens of thousands of people are injured on bikes every day, so it helps to find an attorney who has worked on a variety of cases.

Common Injuries in Bike Accidents

The most common injuries for a bicycle accident attorney include:

  • Brain injuries: Even with a helmet, it’s possible to sustain a traumatic brain injury. The consequences will be far more severe if you don’t wear protection, but they can still stem from a mild concussion to severe brain damage. In situations like these, seeking advice from a brain injury lawyer can be a pivotal step in navigating through legal options available for compensation.
  • Blunt-force trauma: This term refers to injuries that do not actively break the skin. Internal bleeding or organ rupture can cause irreparable damage to the liver, lungs, or intestines.
  • Broken bones: Broken bones, which can include anything from your rib to your skull, can take a long time to heal. Even when the cast comes off, it can still cause chronic pain afterward.

Seek Immediate Medical Attention After an Accident

Injuries can be deceptive after a collision. A person may look fine only to find later that something in their body was badly damaged during the crash. It’s important to get checked out by a doctor, not just for the sake of filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit but because immediate intervention may be the best way to prevent more severe injuries in the future.

How Fault Is Determined in a Bicycle Accident

Fault in Dana Point is assigned based on how the accident occurred. Motor vehicles are expected to drive safely, if motor vehicle drivers fail to operate their cars safely and hit a bicyclist, then the motor vehicle driver is at fault.

The Laws in Orange County

To prove that a bicyclist wasn’t at fault, an Orange County bicycle accident attorney will need to know how the laws in Orange County work to their client’s advantage. Accidents are more than just cars against bikes while on the road.

Dogs, Bicyclists, Defects, and Hazards

Due to the nature of bikes, you may be in an accident for any number of reasons. You may have had an off-leash dog attack you or another bicyclist crash into you. A vehicle may have forced you off the road, into a dangerous condition, or collided into you. You may have encountered a hazard on the road, such as a large flaw or fault in the asphalt. You may even have crashed because the bike manufacturer made an error that caused the bike to malfunction.

In each case, who you sue and how you file will be different. For instance, in the case of a stray dog, you may need to sue the dog owner or the homeowners association for failing to enforce proper animal control policies. If you sue the company that made your bike, you may need to file the claim in the place where the company is headquartered.

Types of Compensation After a Bike Accident

Compensation in Dana Point after a bike accident goes beyond direct costs for the accident, here are just a few things you can receive compensation for:

  • Medical costs: Even if your injuries are minor, you can still get compensation for any medical treatment you receive, including emergency room visits and appointments with your primary care physician. Whether it was a one-time visit just to determine you didn’t need stitches or five months of long-term medical supervision, your rights are still the same. Please note that these costs can refer to those incurred due to mental health treatment as well.
  • Wages: Being out of work can wreak havoc on your income and livelihood. Even missing a few days can cause an employer to throw up their hands and let you go. If you had to miss work because of your injuries or if you lost your job, you could ask for direct wages lost and potentially even future income as well, like if you lost your job as a bricklayer because of nerve damage in your hands after the accident.
  • Property damage: When you’re on your bike, you can have any number of expensive items on you. In addition to any damages to the bike itself, your compensation can include the costs of your smartphone/watch, helmet, glasses, laptop, or backpack.
  • Pain and suffering, Emotional Distress, Scarring, and Disfigurement: Pain and suffering refer not to physical pain but rather to mental anguish that occurs after the accident. So, if you develop a severe phobia after the accident, you can estimate (in dollars) how it’s impacted the quality of your life. Dana Point bicycle accident lawyers can make it easier to help you document these kinds of damages so you’re more likely to recover them in your compensation package.
  • Punitive damages: Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party, which typically only occurs if the person or persons was acting maliciously.

The Range of Injuries

In the worst-case scenarios, people will sue for the death of a loved one. They can file for compensation that ranges from the cost of the funeral to the mental pain of ongoing grief. Despite the range of potential consequences after an accident in Dana Point, though, even small collisions can end up resulting in more severe injuries than are initially apparent. For instance, your neck may hurt slightly after falling, only to have it develop into chronic pain over the next months that may require pain management and even surgery. In such instances, speaking to a personal injury lawyer to understand your rights and explore avenues for compensation might be an invaluable step.

Recovering Your Damages

It’s not always easy to recover the damages in the case of a bicycle accident. You can file an insurance claim, but they will likely not fully compensate you for your injuries and damages. They may argue with every point, and contest all your damages. This is why people will often look to a lawyer to help.

How an Orange County Bicycle Accident Attorney Can Help

Filing a lawsuit in the Dana Point courts can help you sidestep at least some of the obstacles that are often thrown in the way of a regular insurance claim. It’s best to get a lawyer involved right away to protect your rights, and not speak to the other side’s insurance company. Furthermore, if the at-fault party is not cooperating, you’re seeking pain and suffering, or you were offered a small fraction of what you believe you were owed by the insurance company, it may be time to ask a Dana Point bicycle attorney if you have a case.

If you’re looking for a Dana Point bicycle accident lawyer, Neale & Fhima can tell you more about what to expect from your case.

If you were involved in a bicycle accident in Dana Point, call Neale & Fhima at 888-407-2955 to get the help you need and the compensation you deserve.

Attorney Aaron Fhima

Aaron Fhima, California attorneyAaron Fhima is a trial attorney who has secured numerous settlements and verdicts against large corporations and some of the largest auto manufacturers in the world. Representing consumers and injury victims throughout the state of California, Aaron’s practice areas include personal injury, and lemon law litigation. Aaron has a long record of success taking on large defense firms; and he doesn’t hesitate to take cases to trial when necessary to enforce his clients’ rights. [ Attorney Bio ]