Collisions Involving Cyclists

It’s no secret that Southern California boasts one of the best climates in the world. Los Angeles, for example, has an average daily temperature of 72 degrees. Regardless of the time of year, the weather is usually perfect for people who like to be outside, especially for those who can think of no better way to celebrate California’s good fortune than to hop on a bicycle and go for a ride.

As a result of annually leading the nation in days with sunshine, California also leads the nation in a much more serious statistic. As recently as 2012, California had more bicyclists die on its roads than any other state in the country, whether in solo accidents or in collisions with automobiles. Whereas bicyclists were killed in 2% of all traffic accidents nationwide, in California, that figure rises to 4% of all traffic fatalities. In all, 338 people lost their lives while riding a bicycle in this state between 2010 and 2012, 84% of which were adults aged 20 or older.

Who Is to Blame?

Bicycle accidents can be solo crashes involving only the rider, or can involve others sharing the road. Regardless of which it is, the accident is usually the result of one or both parties’ negligence. It could be the result of an inattentive driver, or a cyclist who is distracted by the music playing in his or her earphones. Often, the rider is in the driver’s blind spot, and the driver does not see the rider as the car changes lanes. The accident could also be the result of a dangerous condition on the road itself, which could place the blame on the local government entity responsible for the road’s maintenance.

No matter who was to blame, if you are involved in a collision between a driver and a cyclist, you might have a legal right to be compensated for your injuries. You should seek the help of a skillful and knowledgeable personal injury attorney to help you recover your damages.

Steps to Take If You Are In a Collision As a Cyclist

1. Wait for the police
If a driver runs into you while you are riding your bicycle, you should call the police and wait for a response. You will want an official report to be filed, even if you do not believe you were injured. The reason for this is that it may take hours for your injuries to become noticeable. An injury that seems minor at the time could develop into a far more serious and permanent problem. Without a report, you might have no way to identify the driver later.

2. Ask to Verify the Officer’s Report
Everyone makes mistakes, especially when other people may be distracting someone from doing his or her job. You should verify that the information in the report is accurate before you leave the scene. Be sure that your statement is included if you are well enough to provide one. Without your statement, the officer may not be able to determine an accurate liability decision. The report will include the driver’s statement as well as those from any witnesses to the collision.

3. Get Contact Information
You should be sure to get the driver’s name, contact information, and insurance company information. If possible, you should collect names and contact information of any witnesses to the collision.

4. Do Not Put Off Medical Treatment
Seeking medical attention serves two purposes. First, you might not be aware of how injured you actually are. You might feel fine after a collision, suffering what appears to be only slight bruises and scrapes. Regardless of how you feel, a physician should examine you to be sure that any slight injuries you sustained do not become more serious later. For example, concussion symptoms might be slow developing, but can later develop into a debilitating condition that lasts for weeks or months.

The other reason you should go to a doctor is so that you have proof of your injury. Medical records generated from the examination will help establish the extent of your injuries. You should also take several injury photos from different angles under good lighting conditions. It is also a good idea to keep a written record of your physical symptoms, starting immediately after the collision. This will establish the extent and duration of your injuries.

5. Do Not Repair Your Bicycle
You should leave your bicycle and other damaged property in the same condition that it was in immediately following the collision. Document the extent of the damage by taking photos of your bicycle and any other personal items that were damaged.

6. Avoid Contacting the Driver or the Insurance Company
Most people do not like confrontation, and the thought of taking someone to court is difficult to fathom. For this reason, a lot of people who deserve compensation for injuries suffered in a collision end up settling for less or dropping the case altogether because they feel guilty about the process.

Speaking with the other party or the insurance company without legal representation may hurt your case. Settling a case may be a perfectly acceptable outcome for you, but you should be sure to have an attorney safeguarding your best interests before approaching the other party or the insurance company.

If you are a cyclist, and have suffered an injury or loss because of a collision with an automobile, we urge you to contact Jamal Injury Law for a free consultation. Please call 714-907-1021 or complete the “Contact Form” and we will contact you.