Several years ago, California legislators launched the Vision Zero plan, an initiative aimed at reducing the number of fatal accidents to zero, with a particular focus on bicyclists and pedestrians. Unfortunately, while some of the measures implemented by this plan have been successful, the most recently available data covering bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents throughout the state shows that while the number of these accidents has decreased, fatalities have risen. Essentially, this means that while bicycle and pedestrian accidents are statistically less likely to occur than in previous years, they are more often fatal.
If you ride a bicycle in the Santa Monica area, it is essential to know the risks you face on the road. While most bicyclists are able to enjoy their time riding without any issues, others are not so fortunate, and even the most experienced bicyclists cannot always anticipate the actions of motor vehicle drivers around them. When a bicycle accident happens, you must know your rights and options for legal recourse when it comes to securing compensation for your losses.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Santa Monica
The state allows bicyclists many of the same rights afforded to motor vehicle drivers, but bicyclists also have many of the same responsibilities. For example, while a bicyclist can hold space in a lane of moving traffic on most roads, they must do so without disrupting the flow of traffic. They can also navigate intersections like motor vehicle drivers, and they are expected to signal appropriately when stopping or completing turns.
Unfortunately, motor vehicle drivers do not always show appropriate consideration to bicyclists around them. As a result, bicycle accidents can happen because of driver inattention, aggressive driving, and various other forms of negligence and misconduct. However, these incidents may also occur when bicyclists fail to exercise appropriate care and caution. For example, bicyclists are expected to use bicycle lanes whenever they are available, and bicyclists have the same obligation to refrain from consuming alcohol or drugs prior to using their bikes.
Distracted driving is the most commonly reported cause of all vehicle accidents in the United States, and bicyclists are especially vulnerable to inattentive drivers. In addition, a bicycle is much smaller and more difficult to notice, so it is much easier for a bicycle to slip inside a nearby driver’s blind spot. If you think any other party is responsible for causing your recent bicycle accident, you must understand how to prove their liability if you want to recover appropriate compensation for your damages.
How to Prove Fault for a Bicycle Accident
Bicycle accidents can easily result in catastrophic injuries, including those that cause permanent disabilities. If you were severely injured in a bicycle accident and do not remember exactly how it happened, or if the driver who caused the accident fled the scene of the crash, you will need an experienced attorney to help you establish liability for the incident and hold the at-fault driver appropriately accountable.
Proving fault in a personal injury case of any kind requires accurate identification of the party or parties who caused the harm in question. Once the plaintiff has identified the defendant responsible for their damages, they must be prepared to prove the full extent of those damages and provide clear evidence that their damages directly resulted from the defendant’s negligence or misconduct. California law allows the plaintiff of a personal injury case to seek full recovery from any and all economic losses they suffered, along with pain and suffering compensation. When you have an experienced attorney representing your case, it is more likely that you will maximize the total compensation you secure for your damages.
Q: Where Do Most Bicycle Accidents Occur?
A: Most of the bicycle crashes reported occur within urban areas. While it’s possible for bicycle accidents to happen on any road, these incidents are likely to occur in places where bicyclists are forced to ride alongside motor vehicle traffic. For example, Santa Monica is part of the larger metropolitan area of Los Angeles County, and most bicycle accidents happen in the busiest areas of the city.
Q: What Are the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
A: According to the most recent available data, the most common cause of bicycle accidents is collisions with motor vehicles, followed by falls and roadway disrepair. Whenever a motor vehicle driver hits a bicyclist, they can easily inflict tremendous harm, potentially even catastrophic or fatal injuries. Therefore, if you are not sure or do not remember how your recent bicycle accident happened, it is essential to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible to discuss your potential legal options.
Q: What Is the Most Commonly Reported Injury From Bicycle Accidents?
A: Traumatic brain injuries are the most commonly reported bicycle accident injury in the Santa Monica area. Any bike injury has the potential to cause life-changing problems for the victim and their family. Even a seemingly mild brain injury can lead to permanent disabilities and diminished quality of life for the victim, including the inability to work and earn income.
Q: What Happens If a Bicycle Accident Is Fatal?
A: When one party’s actions harm another party, the victim can file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for the losses they suffered. However, if a personal injury is fatal, the victim’s family would need to pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party in lieu of a personal injury claim. A wrongful death action mirrors a personal injury claim in several ways, but it is vital for the plaintiff to have legal counsel experienced with this specific type of case.
Bicycle accidents can potentially cause severe or fatal injuries, leaving victims and their families wondering how they can recover and how they can ensure accountability for the party responsible. If you are struggling in the aftermath of a bicycle accident someone else caused, contact McLachlan Law, APC, today and schedule a case evaluation with our team. We will let you know your options for legal recourse and explain how our firm can empower your recovery efforts.