Representing Hawthorne, CA Bicycle Accident Victims
Many people living in and around Hawthorne, CA enjoy riding bicycles. Some use bicycles as alternative transportation to and from work while others ride for pleasure and exercise. While bicycling is generally safe, there are some situations that are inherently risky for bicyclists. In particular, any situation in which bicyclists are riding near motor vehicle traffic creates a potential risk of a bicycle accident occurring. If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, a Hawthorne bicycle accident attorney may be your best available resource for securing compensation for your losses.
The attorneys at McLachlan Law, APC have years of experience handling the most difficult personal injury claims on behalf of our clients in the Hawthorne, CA area. We have successfully represented many bicycle accident victims and helped them secure substantial compensation for their losses. We understand the devastating toll a bicycle accident can take on a victim and their family, and we extend the full scope of our resources, experience, and legal skills to every client we represent.
Why Should I Hire a Bicycle Accident Attorney?
Many people who experience personal injuries do not pursue legal action because they believe they cannot afford their legal fees. Others believe they can handle their cases without the help of legal counsel, only to settle for much less than an experienced attorney could have secured on their behalf. Working with a reliable Hawthorne bicycle accident attorney offers the best possible chance of maximizing your compensation after a bicycle accident. Your attorney can not only handle the procedural requirements of your case but also help you explore every available avenue for compensation, likely securing a much greater recovery than you initially expected.
It is also important to remember that attempting to navigate your personal injury claim on your own would mean handling difficult legal matters while recovering from painful and debilitating injuries. If your loved one was the victim of a bicycle accident, you would need to pursue your legal claim while caring for them during their recovery and managing your own day-to-day needs. Ultimately, hiring an experienced Hawthorne bicycle accident attorney allows you and your family to focus on recovery with peace of mind knowing your case is in capable and trustworthy hands.
How Can Bicycle Accidents Happen?
Bicycle accidents occur for many different reasons. It is possible for a motor vehicle driver to cause a bicycle accident if they are negligent in the operation of their vehicle. It is also possible for bicyclists to cause accidents when they do not pay attention to where they are going or if they are reckless in the handling of their bicycles. Some of the leading causes of bicycle accidents throughout California include:
- Distracted driving. All drivers must pay attention to the road when they are operating their vehicles. Distracted driving is the leading cause of all motor vehicle accidents, including those involving bicyclists. Distracted driving includes using a cell phone behind the wheel, eating while driving, and anything else that requires a driver to take their eyes off the road or their hands off of their vehicle controls.
- Impaired driving. It is both illegal and extremely dangerous for anyone to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Any driver who causes a bicycle accident due to driving under the influence (DUI) is not only likely to cause severe damages to the bicyclist, but also injure themselves. Causing a bicycle accident because of DUI will likely lead to criminal prosecution as well as civil liability for the victim’s damages.
- Poor visibility. Drivers and bicyclists should all use extra caution during periods of poor visibility. Bicycles are smaller and harder to see than passenger cars, especially at night. Drivers must use extreme caution whenever they drive at night, in severe weather, or any other period of poor visibility.
- Gross negligence. Unfortunately, some bicycle accidents occur because of drivers’ willful negligence, such as knowingly committing moving violations, driving aggressively, or refusing to yield the right-of-way when required.
These are only a few examples of situations that can easily lead to devastating bicycle accidents. Whenever a car collides with a bicycle, the bicyclist is likely to suffer severe injuries while the driver is likely to emerge from the incident relatively unscathed.
The most important factors in any bicycle accident that typically determine the scope of the victim’s injuries are the speed at which the accident occurred and the location of the accident. The victim will also sustain injuries from the initial impact from the vehicle and the secondary impact of hitting the ground. It is also possible for the accident to send the bicyclist into dangerous conditions, such as propelling them into traffic or sending them over a guardrail on the side of the road. Ultimately, a bicycle accident has a very high chance of causing devastating physical injuries.
Possible Injuries From a Bicycle Accident
Bicycle accidents can easily cause many injuries at once. Most bicycle accident victims face long recovery times and many of them develop long-term or permanent medical conditions from their injuries. Bicycle accidents also have a high chance of causing fatal injuries, leading to wrongful death actions from victims’ families against the drivers responsible for causing these accidents. Some of the accident injuries possible from a bicycle accident include:
- Bone fractures, some of which may cause nerve damage and require surgical treatment.
- Brain injuries, many of which cause lasting neurological damage and may cause permanent disability.
- Spinal injuries, which often result in paralysis, diminished sensation, and a host of medical complications.
- Facial injuries, which may cause permanent scarring or disfigurement.
- Dental injuries.
- Severe lacerations.
- Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, a condition that affects the soft tissues in the head, neck, shoulders, and back.
A bicycle accident victim is likely to experience several of these injuries. Many bicycle accident victims are left with severe injuries that take months or even years to completely heal, and many victims are unable to work while they recover. This can lead to significant economic problems if victims do not secure legal counsel as soon as possible after their bicycle accidents.
Proving Fault for a Bicycle Accident in Hawthorne, CA
A bicycle accident claim is a personal injury claim, and the central legal concept of any personal injury claim is negligence. The term “negligence” describes a failure to act with reasonable care in a given situation. If you want to succeed with your bicycle accident claim, your attorney must identify the defendant responsible for causing your bicycle accident and prove they were negligent in some way that directly resulted in your damages.
The first step in proving negligence for a bicycle accident is identifying the party responsible for causing the accident. In most cases, drivers will be forced to stop when they cause an accident, but it is possible for a driver to hit a bike and then attempt to flee the scene in what is called a “hit-and-run.” Drivers who commit hit-and-run offenses will face harsh criminal penalties once caught. Whether you know exactly who caused your bicycle accident or you need help tracking down a hit-and-run driver, your Hawthorne bicycle accident lawyer will know the best approach to establishing liability for your bicycle accident.
Once you have identified the defendant responsible for your bicycle accident, the next step in proving negligence is showing how the defendant breached their duty of care for the situation in question. For example, if your bicycle accident happened because a driver was under the influence of alcohol and lost control of their vehicle. Driving while impaired is a criminal offense and a clear breach of the driver’s duty of care to operate their vehicle safely.
After establishing the defendant’s negligence, the next step in succeeding with a bicycle accident claim is providing a full accounting of all damages resulting from the incident in question. It is important for plaintiffs to remember they can only claim compensation for damages directly caused by the defendant’s negligence. Your attorney can help you calculate your claimable damages so you know what you can expect in terms of overall compensation for your losses. Your damages are likely to include:
- Medical expenses, both immediately after your accident and those you incur in the future for treating your injuries.
- Lost income, including lost wages while you recover from your injuries and lost future earning capacity caused by disability.
- Property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing your bicycle.
- Pain and suffering, which seeks to compensate a plaintiff’s physical pain and emotional suffering following a traumatic injury. The amount you receive depends on the severity of your injuries and whether they caused long-term or permanent damage.
Many bicycle accident plaintiffs who choose reliable and experienced attorneys to represent them discover that their claims are worth much more than they originally thought. When you choose McLachlan Law, APC to represent you in your bicycle accident claim, you can rest assured that our team will do everything we can to maximize the compensation you receive from your successful lawsuit.
Settlement and Litigation in Personal Injury Cases
Almost all personal injury claims end at the settlement negotiation table. Once the plaintiff in a bicycle accident claim has submitted their complaint to the court and the defendant is formally served a copy of the complaint, settlement negotiations typically begin in short order. During settlement negotiations, both parties have an opportunity to secure a swift, mutually agreeable resolution to the situation in question.
Unfortunately, it is possible for settlement negotiations to fail. For example, a defendant may contest liability for the plaintiff’s damages, or they may disagree as to the scope of the plaintiff’s claimed damages. If the two parties are unable to reach a deal through settlement negotiations, the case proceeds to trial. Litigation in personal injury claims can take months or even years before any results are reached. It is generally in the best interests of both the plaintiff and the defendant to work toward a mutually agreeable resolution as quickly as possible.
What to Expect From Your Hawthorne Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one have recently suffered injuries in a bicycle accident due to a driver’s negligence, it is crucial to secure legal counsel as soon as possible if you want the best chance of securing fair compensation for your losses. The right personal injury lawyer can make a tremendous difference in the quality of your recovery, helping you secure compensation for your losses and holding the defendant accountable for their negligence.
A good attorney should begin handling your case by thoroughly reviewing all of the available evidence in play, such as the police report from the incident, the medical report from your doctor detailing your injuries, and any available video footage that captured the accident. Your attorney may also help you locate eyewitnesses who saw the accident occur. In some bicycle accident cases, attorneys may coordinate expert witnesses to support their clients’ cases. Accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, outside legal experts, engineers, and various other expert witnesses could all perform crucial roles in helping an injured bicyclist secure compensation for their losses.
Time is a critical factor when you are facing any type of personal injury lawsuit. California provides a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, but this window can close surprisingly quickly when you are dealing with recovering from your injuries and the financial aftermath of your accident. You may not be able to immediately calculate the total scope of your losses until several months after your accident occurred. Ultimately, it is best to secure legal counsel as soon as possible for the best chance of success with your personal injury claim.
Find Legal Counsel Now
McLachlan Law, APC can provide the compassionate, responsive, and detail-oriented legal representation you need to navigate the most difficult personal injury cases. Our team has successfully represented clients in many bicycle accident claims throughout the years of our firm’s operation and can put this experience to work in your case. If you or your loved one suffered injuries in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, contact McLachlan Law, APC as soon as possible to learn how our firm can assist in your recovery.