Cycling is a popular form of transportation, exercise, and leisure throughout California, and most cyclists understand the importance of following traffic and safety laws. However, thousands of biking collisions occur each year, and many of these accidents result in serious or life-threatening injuries. Bike accidents are most often caused by negligent or reckless motorists or dangerous road conditions. Injured victims may be able to recover compensation from the at-fault party. Orange County bicycle accident lawyer Adam Krolikowski at Krolikowski Law has over 15 years of experience handling all types of personal injury claims, including bicycle accident cases, and he can help you seek compensation for your injuries.Risk Factors in Bicycle Accidents
Various factors can put a cyclist at risk of falling victim to an accident, such as the weather and terrain, the availability of bike lanes, and the speed and volume of traffic in the area. Although helmets do not prevent an accident, they can drastically change the outcome of a collision. People who do not wear a helmet are more likely to suffer serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries. Recent statistics suggest that adults between the ages of 50 and 59 suffer the highest rate of fatal bicycle accidents. However, children have the highest rate of non-fatal biking injuries.Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
About one-third of bicycle accidents involve intoxicated driving, but there are many other causes as well. These include:
- Motorists drifting into bike lanes
- Distracted motorists
- People opening a car door into a bicyclist (dooring)
- Violations of crosswalk rules
- Defective bicycles or bicycle components
Bike accidents tend to occur suddenly, and cyclists rarely have an opportunity to avoid a collision. While most bicycle accidents involve another motorist’s negligence, some accidents result from dangerous road conditions, such as uneven sidewalks, damaged road signs, potholes, and cracked pavement. In these situations, private property owners, city governments, or commercial property owners may be liable for a biker’s injuries. A bicycle accident attorney in Orange County can bring all the appropriate parties into the litigation.Negligence in Bike Accidents
After identifying the responsible parties, the next steps in a bicycle accident case involve apportioning fault and calculating damages. California negligence laws impose liability on reckless or careless motorists (or other parties) who cause bike crashes. Accident victims who wish to recover damages must prove that the defendant owed the biker a duty of care, breached that duty by committing some negligent act, and caused or was a significant factor in causing the biker’s injuries.
Defendants in these cases often try to avoid liability by claiming that the biker was at least partially responsible for the accident. However, California follows the theory of pure comparative negligence, which allows plaintiffs to recover damages even if they were partly at fault. Under a pure comparative negligence analysis, a plaintiff’s damages will be reduced based on their level of responsibility. A victim should retain an Orange County bicycle accident attorney who knows how to prevent defendants from unfairly dodging the blame.California Helmet Laws
Under California law, children under 18 years old must wear a helmet when operating or riding a skateboard, roller skates, a non-motorized scooter, or a bicycle. This law applies when they are riding on public roadways, bike paths, or trails. Although helmet use is important regardless of age, adults do not need to wear a helmet statewide. However, some California municipalities have enacted their own rules regarding helmet use.
Injured cyclists too often assume that they cannot recover compensation if they were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. However, the fact that a biker is not wearing a helmet does not make an accident more likely. Thus, generally, evidence that an accident victim was not wearing a helmet will not preclude their ability to recover damages for their injuries.Discuss Your Bike Accident Case With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone you know has suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident, Krolikowski Law can assist you in determining your rights and pursuing your remedies. Serving people throughout Orange County, our experienced bicycle accident lawyer understands the importance of fighting for every dollar that you deserve. Contact our office at (949) 274-9915 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.