Bike Accident Injuries: Your Rights and Legal Options
Were you hurt in a bicycle accident? Unfortunately, bike accidents can cause devastating or even catastrophic injuries. It is imperative that you know how to protect yourself. At the Law Offices of Andrew Ritholz, we advocate for injured victims. In this article, our Pasadena personal injury lawyer provides an overview of the risks bicyclists face, highlights the most common injuries, and explains your rights and options if you are involved in a collision in California.
Bicyclists Face a Serious Safety Risk From Traffic
Bicyclists face a significant safety risk when navigating traffic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 1,000 cyclists are killed and 125,000 more are hurt in motor vehicle collisions nationwide each year. Hundreds of cyclists are hurt and thousands are injured in our state annually. Even though California’s infrastructure is gradually improving, there is a long way to go to make our roads as safe as they should be for bicyclists.
An Overview of the Most Common Bike Accident Injuries
Bike accidents can result in horrific injuries. It is imperative that all cyclists are able to receive immediate medical attention for any physical harm that they sustained in a crash. No matter how severe you initially believe your injuries to be, you should be evaluated by a doctor.
- Road Rash: The term road rash refers to skin abrasions. They can result from sliding on the road surface and they can range from minor scrapes to deep wounds.
- Fractured and Broken Bones: Broken bones require immediate emergency medical care. Some of the most common broken bones include the collarbone, wrists, arms, and legs.
- Dislocations: Shoulders and elbows are particularly susceptible to dislocations when a cyclist is struck by a vehicle or otherwise falls in a crash.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): All brain injuries should be taken seriously. While wearing a helmet can help to reduce the risk, concussions and TBIs are still an issue.
- Facial Injuries: A fall can lead to broken noses, jaw fractures, dental damage, and severe lacerations.
- Spinal Cord Damage: A spinal cord injury is a catastrophic injury. A cyclist who suffered spinal cord damage often needs long-term care and/or rehabilitative care.
Your Legal Rights and Options
It is imperative that you understand your rights and your options under state law. Here are four of the most important things that injured cyclists should know:
- You Have the Right to Medical Care: You have the right to seek immediate medical attention after an accident. Make sure you see a doctor right away. Early medical intervention not only supports recovery but can also serve as evidence should you pursue a legal claim.
- You Have a Right to Report the Accident: All collisions involving motor vehicles should be reported to a state or local law enforcement agency, such as the Pasadena Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, or the Highway Patrol (CHP). A police officer will come to the scene and document the crash.
- You Have a Right to Hold the At-Fault Party Liable: Liability for a bike accident is based on fault. The party who is responsible for the crash can be held legally liable for the resulting damages. Notably, California follows a “comparative fault” system. If you—as the cyclist—are found to be partially at fault for the accident, you can still recover financial compensation. However, your recovery will be reduced proportionally. Every accident requires a comprehensive investigation.
- You Have the Right to Seek Compensation: You have the right to seek financial compensation for the full extent of your damages from the at-fault driver, at-fault trucking company, or any other responsible party. Compensation may be available for both economic damages and non-economic losses, such as repairs, hospital bills, other medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Get Help From an Accident Lawyer
At the Law Offices of Andrew Ritholz, we are skilled, experienced, and solutions-forward advocates for injured victims. If you were hurt in a bike accident, we can help. Contact us today for your no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation. With law offices in Pasadena and Monrovia, we handle accident injury claims throughout Southern California.