Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Lawyers
The bicycle accident lawyers at Ellis Law, based in LA for more than two decades, represent bicycle commuters, couriers, and recreational cyclists who’ve been harmed by reckless or negligent drivers. Ask any seasoned cyclist living in the Los Angeles metro area and they’ll warn you of the city’s inherently dangerous streets. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 857 bicyclist fatalities nationwide in 2018, with 155 of those occurring in California. Out of those 155 fatalities, 20 of them transpired here in Los Angeles, which was the highest total for any individual city in the entire country.
Most bicycle accidents in Southern California are caused by motorists who either do not see the cyclists or choose to ignore their rights. In Los Angeles, bicyclists are afforded the same rights and obligations as any motor vehicle, except in areas where sidewalk-riding ordinances and bike lanes are present.
What do the numbers tell us about bicycle accidents?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also digs deeper and examines both the types of vehicles involved in bicycle accident fatalities nationwide and the initial point of impact on each vehicle in these accidents. Here are some noteworthy statistics that stand out in this particular study:
- Out of the 795 bicycle accident fatalities nationwide in 2018, 294 involved a passenger car
- 356 out of the 795 fatalities involved a “light truck,” which is defined as an SUV, pickup, or van
- Among the fatalities involving passenger cars and light trucks, the initial point of contact on the vehicle was the front in over 87 percent of the crashes
- Out of the 71 fatalities involving large trucks, the initial point of contact on the vehicle was the front in only 45 percent of the accidents. It was the right side in 23.9 percent of the crashes, the left side in 7 percent of the fatalities, and the rear of the truck in 12.7 percent of the accidents.
- Out of the 7 bicyclist fatalities involving buses, the initial point of contact on the vehicle was the front in 57.1 percent of the crashes and the right side in 28.6 percent of the accidents.
When are bicycle accident fatalities most likely to occur?
Out of concern for their safety, many bicyclists may be interested to know when these fatal accidents are most likely to occur, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration breaks it down in detail:
- The period between 6 pm and 8:59 pm on both weekdays and weekends saw the highest frequency of bicycle accident fatalities
- On weekdays, the second-highest frequency of bicycle crash fatalities occurred between 3 pm and 5:59 pm
- On weekends, the second-highest frequency of these fatalities transpired between 9 pm and 11:59 pm
- The lowest frequency of bicycle crash fatalities on weekdays occurred between the hours of 12 am and 2:59 am
- On weekends, the lowest frequency of bicycle accident fatalities was found during the timeframe between 12 pm and 2:59 pm
Safety tips for everyone to follow
The NHTSA’s Office of Safety Programs provides some key safety tips both for bicyclists and drivers of motor vehicles so we can all do our part in reducing the number of bicycle accident fatalities:
- Wearing a properly fitted bicycle helmet every single time you ride is the single most effective method of preventing a head injury in a bicycle accident
- Because they are considered vehicle operators, bicyclists are required to follow all of the same traffic laws as drivers of motor vehicles
- Drivers of motor vehicles should allow at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road, monitor their surroundings for bicyclists before opening a car door or pulling out of a parking space, yield to bicyclists both at intersections and as directed by signs and signals, and watch for bicyclists when turning in either direction
- During the day, at dawn, and at dusk, bicyclists should increase their visibility to others by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing
- At night, bicyclists should use a front light and a red reflector or flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing
Ellis Law represents bike accident victims in LA
Bicycle accidents, by their very nature, often leave cyclists with serious bodily injuries – sometimes requiring months or even years of medical treatment. If you were struck while commuting to work, or simply enjoying a recreational ride, the faster you retain Los Angeles car accident lawyers, the better your chances are for financial recovery.
Prompt action from experienced personal injury lawyers at Ellis Law will ensure your legal rights are protected every step of the way. Our bike accident attorneys will help you understand your eligibility for securing monetary damages to cover your injuries and economic losses. We can also begin communicating and negotiating directly with the insurance company immediately so you no longer have to worry about that and so we can increase your odds of receiving a fair settlement offer to compensate you for your damages.
Do not delay hiring an attorney
In the aftermath of a bicycle accident in which you were seriously injured, it may seem as if all time has stopped because your world has been suddenly and drastically changed, you may not be able to work, your medical bills are piling up, and your stress, pain, and fear are at an all-time high. However, as important as it is for you to focus on your physical and psychological recovery from this crash, it is vital for you and your family financially that you hire an experienced bicycle accident attorney in a timely manner. The statute of limitations for bicycle crashes here in California is two years. What that means is that within two years of the date of your accident, you must either file a bicycle accident lawsuit or risk the complete and permanent dismissal of your claim. By hiring an experienced attorney as soon as possible after your crash, you can ensure that all deadlines will be met and your legal rights will be preserved.
Common causes of bicycle accidents
Due to the complexity of laws surrounding California bicycle accidents and liability for personal injuries, pursuing a case without competent attorneys is not recommended. Ellis Law understands the hazards cyclists face from negligent and reckless motorists and have secured more than $350 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.
We are well-versed in the common causes of LA bicycle accidents and are prepared to help victims on their road to recovery.
In our experience, the most frequent situations that lead to bicycle accidents include:
- Intersection collisions
- Merging or lane changes
- Motorists passing cyclist without adequate distance
- Left turning vehicle at an intersection
- Right turning car traveling ahead of or overtaking a cyclist
- The open door collision
- Rear-ended by a car when merging lanes to turn left
- Side-swiped by a passing car
- Rear-ended by a passing vehicle
- Dog attacks
Serious rider injuries sustained in bike accidents
While California’s mandatory helmet laws have reduced the incidence of fatal injuries, any type of bicycle crash can cause catastrophic damages.
The most common bike accident injuries include:
- Closed head injuries and concussion
- Broken legs, arms, and ribs
- Back injuries and herniated discs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Deep abrasions, also known as “road rash”
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Damage to internal organs
Any of the above injuries can entail long-term medical treatment, diagnostic tests, surgeries, and costly rehabilitation. Hospital expenses can tally in the thousands of dollars, putting added strain on the victim.
Our bicycle accident lawyers will do everything in our power to obtain maximum compensation
Our immediate goal is to help our clients focus on their recovery, while we handle all aspects of litigation, making sure that victims recoup fair compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and emotional suffering, and any other non-economic losses.
A $130,000 recovery for our client
One client of ours was riding his bicycle on a sidewalk here in LA. His front wheel fell into a utility hole that was two feet deep and was not properly covered, causing him to flip over and fall face first. Not only was the cover of the hole unstable, but there were not any cones or warning signs advising of the danger. The victim suffered facial, hand, shoulder, wrist, and knee injuries. Our attorneys were able to recover a $130,000 jury verdict on his behalf against the property owner.
Intricacies of establishing liability
Determining fault in bicycle & car accident lawsuits isn’t always cut and dry. That’s why injured cyclists should entrust this vital task to a team of highly experienced car accident attorneys who will carefully review the crash scene, and work with in-house experts to reconstruct events leading up to the collision.
At Ellis Law, after analyzing every detail of your case to determine who was responsible, we’ll gather depositions of physicians and retain expert witnesses should your claim go before a jury. The majority of bicycle accident lawsuits in Los Angeles involve negligent motorists, but in cases where visual obstructions or dangerous road conditions such as potholes were present, the city or property owner may be held accountable.
Don’t be fooled by unscrupulous insurance companies that may try and negotiate a settlement with your “best interests” in mind. In their efforts to save money, most will offer low-ball amounts, which don’t reflect the true nature of your injuries and losses. Our personal injury attorneys will take care of all communication with insurance carriers in a way that positions you for the most favorable outcome.
Damages available in bicycle accident claims
Due to the massive discrepancy in size and lack of any protective shield, bicycle accidents can be devastating both in terms of the physical and psychological injuries they can cause and the financial impact they can have on you and your family for years to come. For that reason, courts here in California enable bicycle accident victims to seek financial compensation for a number of different types of damages, including the following:
- All medical costs, including ambulance rides, hospital visits, doctors visits, surgeries and procedures, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and assistive devices
- Lost wages, which entails the income you lost due to your injuries forcing you to miss work
- Loss of earning capacity, which compensates you for any “steps back” that you are forced to take in your career due to your physical or psychological injuries. For example, if you were making $70,000 per year working in construction but can no longer perform that job due to your injuries, you may be relegated to clerical work for the foreseeable future. If that job only pays you $50,000 per year, then loss of earning capacity would help you fill in that $20,000 gap that this accident caused
- Damage to property, such as the bicycle you were riding or anything valuable that you were carrying that was destroyed
- Pain and suffering, which may include psychological harm such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages may also be possible if the wrongdoer’s actions were particularly egregious, as this category of damages is designed to punish people that step so far over the proverbial line
Leading bicycle injury attorneys in LA
If you suffered injuries in a bicycle accident in the greater LA area, you need a lawyer with considerable experience both trying cases before a jury and dealing with insurance companies. As your attorneys at Ellis Law, we are prepared to litigate on your behalf if the insurance company is unwilling to settle your claim for the amount you deserve.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident and you would like to discuss your case with one of our Los Angeles attorneys without charge or obligation, call us toll-free 24 hours a day at 888-664-8389 to discuss your legal options.