Bike Accident Lawyer in San Diego
Bicyclists and pedestrians have rights on California roadways just like motorists. Unfortunately, bicyclists and pedestrians are often the victims of traffic accidents through no fault of their own. California leads the nation in pedestrian fatalities and bicycle accidents in the state are also at an all-time high. In San Diego, it’s no surprise that bicycling is popular given the area’s year-round beautiful weather, but congested roadways and busy intersections can also prove fatal for bicyclists.At The Law Office of Stephen Mitchell, we represent bicyclists who have been seriously hurt in traffic accidents caused by careless or reckless drivers. Motorists have a duty to obey traffic laws and operate their vehicles in a safe manner. When someone causes an accident because they are speeding, distracted, under the influence, or otherwise negligent, they can be liable for the damages they cause. An experienced bicycle accident attorney at The Law Office of Stephen Mitchell can help you pursue fair compensation from the at-fault party for the injuries you have sustained.
Bicycle Laws in San Diego
Bicyclists have the right to use public roads just like motorists, but they must also abide by traffic laws. California and San Diego have several laws designed to protect bicyclists on the road with motorists.
- Bicyclists must obey all traffic laws. This includes stopping at red lights and stop signs, yielding to emergency vehicles, and signaling for turns.
- Bicycles on public roads must have functioning handlebars, brakes, lights, and reflectors.
- Bicyclists under 18 must wear an approved helmet.
- Bicyclists cannot wear headphones covering both ears or earbuds in both ears.
- Motor vehicles must give bicyclists 3 feet of clearance when passing under the Three Feet for Safety Act.
- Bicyclists can ride on public streets but must ride with the flow of traffic and stay on the right side of the road as close as reasonably possible to the curb. Exceptions include when making a left-hand turn, passing another cyclist or car, or avoiding objects.
- Bicyclists are obligated to use the bike lane when one is available.
- Bicyclists must give pedestrians the right-of-way in marked and unmarked crosswalks.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicyclists involved in a traffic accident often suffer serious and even fatal injuries. Injuries sustained in a bicycle accident can affect your quality of life, leave you with chronic pain, and cause disability and long-term health problems like arthritis. Common injuries associated with bicycle accidents in San Diego include:
- Fractured clavicle
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Nerve damage
- Head and neck injury
- Joint dislocation
- Leg and arm fractures
- Jaw and dental injuries
It’s important to seek medical attention right away after your accident, even if you do not think you are seriously injured. It’s common for the shock of an accident to mask serious injuries, especially neck and brain injuries. Prompt medical attention can help diagnose any injuries you may have sustained in the accident to protect your health. It can also protect your case. Delaying medical attention or failing to follow your doctor’s instructions can give the insurance company ammunition to claim you are exaggerating your injuries or your injuries are not connected to the accident.
Types of Compensation in a San Diego Bike Accident Claim
When you are injured due to someone else’s negligence or reckless behavior, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages. The compensation you receive will likely come from a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company, although sometimes personal injury cases go to trial and receive a jury award.
There are two main types of compensation in a bike accident case: special and general damages. Special damages are available in all cases and include your economic damages like your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced earning capacity. You have the right to recover damages for all out-of-pocket medical expenses, including hospital bills, surgery bills, ER bills, physical therapy, reconstructive surgery, medical devices, prescription drugs, home health care, and necessary home improvements to accommodate a disability.
General damages are harder to quantify and include the non-economic damages in your case. This includes psychological and emotional damages like physical disfigurement, reduced enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. Most insurance companies use your total special damages multiplied by a factor of 1.5 to 5 as a starting point for negotiations when calculating general damages. General damages tend to be higher when injuries are hard tissue (not soft tissue), long-lasting, very painful, or result in disfigurement or disability.
If your case goes to trial, a jury may also award punitive damages. These damages are only awarded in rare cases of extremely egregious wrongful conduct and they are designed to punish a wrongdoer.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a San Diego Bike Accident Lawyer
If you have been seriously injured in a bicycle accident, it may be tempting to accept the first settlement offer you receive from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Do not give in to this temptation as you are most likely receiving a lowball offer that does not fully compensate you or consider your long-term expenses or psychological damages.
At The Law Office of Stephen Mitchell, we represent bike accident victims in San Diego in the pursuit of fair compensation. An experienced accident attorney will serve as your advocate to investigate your accident, establish liability and your damages, and negotiate a fair settlement offer — or take your case to court if necessary. Do not speak to the insurance company before you consult with an injury lawyer to protect your legal rights.
Contact The Law Office of Stephen Mitchell today at 619-802-0190 for a free case review with a bicycle accident attorney in San Diego, CA to explore your legal options.