Unfortunately, the roadways are dangerous for all drivers. Cyclists are no different. But cyclists are more likely to get injured in an accident because they are more exposed on a bike than inside a car. This unsafe exposure can lead to more fatalities in bike accidents. The California Department of Motor Vehicles estimates that every year over 10,000 bicyclists are injured, and 100 are killed in crashes.
You might wonder, can you sue a driver for hitting you on a bike? The answer is yes. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, a bicycle accident lawyer can help you manage your bike accident claim and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact the Frederick Law Firm, and see how our seasoned personal injury attorneys can help you.
Whom Can You Sue If You Get Hit by a Car on a Bike?
If you or a loved one was injured in a bike accident, can you sue someone for hitting you on a bike? Yes. You can sue any of the following:
- Car driver,
- Car manufacturer,
- Car mechanic, and
- Government entity, if the car is government-owned or operated.
In some cases, more than one party can be at fault for the accident. Your bicycle accident attorney can review the evidence and identify the culpable parties.
How Do I Prove Bike Accident Liability?
A cyclist has the same risk as a car or truck driver when on the road. Even an experienced cyclist can get into an accident. Common factors that increase the risk of injuries in a bicycle accident include the following:
- Time of day,
- Traffic congestion,
- Helmet use, and
- Drug or alcohol impairment.
Bicycle accidents are a type of personal injury. With personal injury cases, you can sue the party who wronged you if you can prove their negligence led to your injuries.
Negligence refers to the failure to take the appropriate care a reasonable person would have taken in a similar situation. To prove negligence, you need to prove four elements:
- Duty—you must prove the other party had a duty to take care;
- Breach of duty—you must prove that the party breached this duty by not acting reasonably;
- Causation—you must prove that the breach directly caused the bicycle accident; and
- Damages—you must prove your damages.
Proving these four elements increases the chances of success of your negligence claim.
Can I Still Sue for a Bicycle Accident If I Am Responsible?
Yes. Both parties can be at fault for the bicycle accident. Your responsibility does not prohibit suing the other party for compensation. California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means compensation for your damages is reduced proportionately to your level of fault.
Example: Suppose you are riding a bicycle and are hit by a car that ran a red light at an intersection. The driver of the car breached their duty to drive safely, which made them hit you on your bike and cause you injury. However, suppose you were not wearing a helmet. Because of this failure, your traumatic head injury is much worse than it would have been if you wore the helmet.
Your damages are calculated to be $200,000. The car driver is found to be 75% at fault for the accident, with you being responsible for the remaining 25%. You can only recover $150,000, the portion for which you are not at fault. You are not entitled to the remainder.
What Can You Sue for in a Bicycle Accident?
You can recover the damages incurred if you were injured in a bicycle accident and can prove the other party’s fault. The damages are classified as either economic or non-economic. Economic damages are quantifiable and include the following:
- Medical bills. Any medical expenses resulting from the accident can be recovered. Medical bills include doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, diagnostic tests, therapy, counseling, and long-term care costs.
- Loss of income. After the accident, you probably had to take time off work, depending on the severity of your injuries. Any income lost during this time is recoverable.
- Loss of earning capacity. You may also be able to collect damages for loss of earning capacity resulting from disabilities or injuries sustained from the accident.
Noneconomic damages are more difficult to calculate without the experience of an attorney. They include the following:
- Pain and suffering. You likely sustained tremendous pain or discomfort if you were injured in a bicycle accident. California law allows you to receive compensation for this pain.
- Loss of consortium. Your bicycle accident injuries may leave you unable to give your significant other attention. This attention includes love, relations, support, and companionship.
A bicycle accident attorney will help you collect the documentation necessary to calculate and prove your damages accurately.
How Long Do I Have to Sue a Driver for Hitting Me on My Bike?
Bicycle accidents fall under the personal injury umbrella. The California statute of limitations allocates a two-year deadline to file a bicycle accident claim. Apart from a few exceptions, you cannot recover compensation from the party who wronged you if you fail to file your claim during this period.
Time is of the essence. After a bicycle accident, you should contact a personal injury law firm as soon as possible. Your lawyer will need time to review your case and all the evidence. You do not want to miss your opportunity to hold the parties who wronged you accountable.
Contact the Frederick Law Firm
To learn more about bicycle accident claims in California and how you can recover compensation, contact the Frederick Law Firm. Our experienced bicycle accident legal team dedicates its time to protecting the rights of injured victims. We have 40 years of experience advocating for our clients and upholding justice. Don’t waste time. Contact our offices today for a free case evaluation.