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San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Cyclists face a unique risk compared to other vehicles on the road. They are almost invisible to drivers of motor vehicles.  Most drivers are not used to sharing the road with bicycles. In fact, some think they belong on the sidewalk and not in their way.

Without the protection of 3,000 pounds of metal, seatbelts and air bags, cyclists face huge injuries when they collide with a car or truck. There almost 4 million car accidents requiring medical attention a year. Why? Because one driver (or both drivers) didn’t see the other car. Now imagine a single rider on a bike in place of the car. How is that driver going to see you?

After your accident, all of a sudden you are faced with a bunch of issues and questions:

  • "Will my bike be replaced?"
  • "Can I see a doctor for my injuries?"
  • "Will the insurance company pay for my medical bills?"
  • “How much is my case worth?”
  • And many more questions

With so many things to worry about, give us a call right now and let us fight the insurance company, so you can focus on recovering and getting your life back.

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BICYCLE Accident Frequently Asked Questions

Why are bicycle accidents different?

Bicyclists are completely unprotected. There is no cabin, seatbelt restraint systems, front airbags, side airbags, bumpers, or headrests to protect you. So if you are struck while riding a bike, chances are you will suffer severe injuries. Bicyclists face greater risks of injury and death than occupants of motor vehicles.

What are the most common auto vs. bicycle accidents?

The Left Hand Turn: This is actually a frequent occurrence  with auto vs bicycle as well as auto vs motorcycle accidents. Vehicle Code Section 21801(a) requires all drivers turning left or making a u-turn, to yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles and not to make that left or u-turn until it is safe to do so. But a lot of drivers miss the oncoming bicycle rider and make a left turn anyway, colliding with the bike.

Colliding With An Open Door: You’ve seen it on TV. But it happens in real life. Also known as a Door Prize, a bicyclist is riding his bike along the road, closer to parked vehicles to avoid and not impede regular motor vehicle traffic. All of a sudden a car door opens and the rider crashes right into it. Vehicle Code 22517 states “No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic,” but reality is there are many who carelessly open their door even when there is traffic. Even when there are clearly marked bike lanes where the vehicle is parked.

The Right Cross Intersection Crash: In some areas, this is the most frequent car vs. bike accident. A car is pulling out from side street, parking lot, or driveway on your right. There are actually two ways to crash here. The car pulls out far enough and you run into the car’s side. Or the car hits you when you ride in front of it.

Unexpected reversing: A car reverses quickly without checking all around to make sure it’s clear. You’re hard enough to see already when people are looking for you. Imagine the risks when the driver is not even looking!

Three Feet For Safety Act

What do I do after a bicycle accident?

After a car accident these are the steps you need to take:

  • Call the police. In the off chance you are reading this immediately after an accident, call the police and wait for them to arrive. Be sure to report any injuries. Even minor injuries may turn into major ones. So that pinch in your neck? Report it.
  • Get driver and witness information.
  • Write everything down. As soon as possible after the accident, write everything down. What happened, how it happened, the weather, the traffic conditions, the road conditions, everything you can remember.
  • Seek medical treatment. As soon as possible, go see a doctor if you’re not taken to Emergency Room via ambulance. See your primary care physician/family doctor.
  • Preserve as much evidence as possible.
  • Don’t talk to the insurance adjusters if they call you. It serves you no purpose, only theirs.
  • Document your injuries, and your daily struggles with them. Be as specific as possible. Hurt your shoulder when brushing your teeth? Right it down. These will be very important later in your case.

How much time do I have to pursue a bicycle accident claim?

The general rule is, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. ((California Code of Civil Procedure 335.1))

This is called the statute of limitations. If the person who caused the accident happens to work for the government, then you have 6 months from the date of the accident to file a claim against the responsible government agency.

Who are most at risk of getting into a bicycle accident?

Adolescents and young adults aged 15-24, and adults older than 45 are most at risk of dying in a bicycle accident. Children, adolescents and young adults endure the majority of all bicycle crash related injuries. Men are more likely to be killed or injured in a bike crash, and most crashes occur in urban areas, but not in intersections.

Who is at fault – the bike or the car?

Proving liability in a bicycle vs car accident is the same as proving liability in a car vs. car accident. The same rules apply. Remember, bicyclists are subject to the same rules and regulations as motor vehicles, in addition to the bicycle specific laws.

If you don’t follow the laws you may be found at fault for the accident. The question of liability (determining who is at fault for an accident) is a question of fact. Who did what, and when. Sometimes one side is found 100% at fault. Sometimes its split.  To prove your case, it is best to hire an attorney as soon as you think you need one. That way a proper investigation can begin with crucial evidence preserved if necessary.

How much is my case worth?

After a car accident, this is the #1 question of injured victims once things settle down. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer or formula that will definitely answer your question. There are so many factors affecting the value of your case. The value of your case can be simply summarized as:

Medical Costs + Future Medical Costs + Missed Time at Work + Future Earning Capacity + Pain, Suffering & Inconvenience = Value of Your Case

Looks easy right? If only it were so. Just looking at this formula gives you the sense this isn’t so simple at all. The hardest part to calculate is “pain, suffering and inconvenience.” Calculating loss of future earning capacity is also hard, but at least that is a concept most people understand.

If you were making $50,000 a year before your injuries, but now you can only take jobs that make $30,000 a year, we know the accident has caused you to lose $20,000 earning capacity per year, for the rest of your normal working life. Pain and suffering however, is much harder to visualize. We do know the defendant owes you money for pain, suffering and inconvenience. They are liable for all the damage they have caused.10

How do you put a dollar amount on the pain you suffer every day? What is the value of the difficulties you experience every day because of the accident? We know you’ve experienced pain. We also know you have suffered.

But when it comes time to place an actual dollar amount on this, where do you begin? We begin with your story. Your story is what drives the value of the case. Your story must be told to the adjuster, and to the jury if it gets that far. How was your life before the case? How was it after? How is it now?

Those are the questions that must be answered. And depending on the answers, the jury might give you more for pain and suffering, or less. This is why you can’t determine with any accuracy, the value of your case. Only rough, but educated guesses can be made when it comes to valuing your case.

Do I need a lawyer for my accident case?

Not always. Cases where you are not injured or your injuries are very minor, can often be handled on their own. If the insurance company does not want to pay a fair amount for a settlement, these smaller cases can be handled through the Small Claims Court.

While you might not need a lawyer for your case, you should always contact one immediately after an accident. You don’t have to hire an auto accident lawyer right away, but it doesn’t hurt, and may help immensely to talk to one as soon as possible. Some advice is needed right away. Maybe the insurance companies (yours and the other driver’s) and are pressuring you to give a recorded statement and settle quickly.

A 30 minute conversation and case review with an attorney will lead you in the right direction, even if you aren’t planning to hire anyone real soon. I don’t charge for an initial conversation and case review. After a quick screening on the phone, a more in-depth conversation and review occurs in person or on the phone. This is all free of charge, if I agree to meet with you after the initial screening. To hire me, or most all other injury attorneys, you only have to sign a contract.

The contract itself can be revoked at anytime by you. But I work on a contingency basis. That’s just fancy lawyer talk for saying, I don’t get paid my fee until you win your case. If you do win, then my fee is a percentage of the total settlement/award. If you don’t win, or you decide not to pursue the case, you do not owe me any unpaid fees (although you may be responsible for costs which haven’t been reimbursed).

I was injured in a Lyft/Uber accident. Is it the same thing?

While all motor vehicle accident laws apply to Uber and Lyft car wrecks, there are some additional wrinkles. Whether you're an Uber/Lyft driver, passenger, or were hit by an Uber/Lyft driver, there are some things you need to be aware of.

These companies are called Transportation Network Companies (PNCs) and are even regulated differently than taxi cabs and other transportation services. TNC drivers usually have 3 stages of insurance. The first stage is where their TNC app is not on. There is no TNC insurance at that point.

The second stage is when they're app is on, but they have not accepted a ride. This is the worst stage. Typically, the driver's private insurance is not in force because they have the app on and are "working." But the TNCs only provide minimal coverage at this point.

The third stage is when the driver has accepted a ride. Even before they picked up the passenger, their full policy has kicked in. Usually this is $1 million in coverage. There are many more differences and issues when it comes to Uber and Lyft car accidents.

Be sure to read more about Uber, Lyft and Rideshare accidents here


General Bicycle Accident Rules in California

The general rules containing state laws governing how bicycles are to be ridden is the California Vehicle Code.

Rights and Responsibilities

Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. CVC 21200

A person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division, including, but not limited to, provisions concerning driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs,

Where You Can Ride

Roadway: If you ride on a roadway, and are riding at speeds less than normal, you must ride as close to the right side of the road as safely practical. Exceptions to this rule include when passing, making a left turn, avoiding hazards in the road.

Bicycle lanes: If there is a bike lane, and you are traveling slower than traffic, bicyclists must use the bike lane except when passing, making a left turn, avoiding hazards in the road, or approaching a turn where right turns are authorized.

Sidewalks: Local regulations and ordinances control whether bicyclists may ride on sidewalks.

Pedestrians at Crosswalks: Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within marked crosswalks or within unmarked crosswalks at intersections, and exercise due care when when approaching pedestrians within those marked crosswalks or unmarked crosswalks at intersections.

Bicycle accident insurance claims

Hopefully the driver of the vehicle that hit you, is insured. But even if they were insured, it does not mean you will have an easy time filing and settling an insurance claim. The insurance companies are in business to make money. There is nothing wrong with that. However, the best way for them to make money is to take premiums from their insureds, and to not pay out any money for claims. So they will try to pay you as little as possible.

Their dirty little tricks

They will pretend to cooperative and nice with you at the beginning. I see this all the time. They’ll call you, and pretend they are genuinely interested in your health and well being. They’ll accept liability as a gesture of goodwill. They promise to pay your medical bills, and give you a little “extra” for your inconvenience (they’ll usually avoid the term “pain and suffering” here).

Anything, to keep you from hiring an attorney

Then the tricks start. They’ll claim this or that can’t be paid for whatever bogus reason. They’ll avoid your calls. Ignore your settlement demands. The insurance companies know, as a result of their own studies, they pay out much more money on cases involving an attorney. Even after the attorney’s fees are taken out, injured victims make much more on cases with attorneys involved.

The insurance company knows this, and will do everything they can to keep you away from professional representation and counsel.

Maximizing the value of your bicycle accident case

If someone injures through their own careless acts or behavior, they owe you monetary compensation for those injuries. So if it’s their fault and they caused the crash, you are entitled to money if they caused you harm.

This is because they were “negligent.” They are responsible for any injuries they caused by their lack of ordinary care and skill.

So injured bicyclists can recover money for many categories:

  • past and future medical bills
  • past and future physical pain
  • past/future emotional suffering
  • past/future wage loss,
  • loss of future earning power
  • loss of enjoyment of life
  • property damage,
  • and other categories.

To maximize the value of these categories, the case must be handled correctly or you risk losing value in your case. Mishandling of cases happens all the time, with the victims losing money right before their eyes. The faster you get a professional in your case, the better for your recovery.

  • "Truly amazing lawyer, that fully helps you from beginning to end"

    "Mr. Dang is truly amazing at what he does! After I got T-bone on the freeway, the last thing I needed was extra headache on what to do after my accident. ... but Mr. Dang told me not to worry and he will help me. Which he went above and beyond! He took care of everything and helped me through out the whole process. I was very bless to have found him and very happy with everything he did for me!"
    Emily R.
    San Diego, CA
  • "Excellent attorney that is very knowledgeable and competent"

    "... which always gave me a peace of mind. While helping me with my car accident case, not only was Joseph Dang reliable and informative, he was also able to help get me the best outcome for my case."
    Patricia M.
    Modesto, CA
  • "Best choice I made"

    "Joe has been a pleasure to work with. He has always answered all of my questions regarding my case/claim. He returns my phone calls promptly and does what he says he's going to do. He has continued to contact my insurance company to settle my case/claim. I would recommend him to everyone."
    Elexander N.
    San Diego, CA
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Articles Related to San Diego Bicycle Accidents

To help you better understand bicycle accidents and the numerous questions and issues involved, I’ve collected answers to some other frequently asked questions we run into as a car accident law firm

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We exclusively handle personal injury and disability cases. This allows us to garner in-depth knowledge of these cases.

If you were injured in an accident, you may be entitled to a major cash settlement.

But receiving fair compensation for your injuries will not be easy. The insurance company employs highly trained adjusters and attorneys to ensure their profitability, which means paying you as little as they can.

Rely on the skills and knowledge of experienced team to level the playing field. We hold the insurance companies responsible and aggressively fight for the compensation you deserve.

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