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What You Should Know About Bicycle Accidents

July 01, 2020

The era of COVID-19 shutdowns has led to a resurgence in bicycle use. One Florida retailer recently said that bicycles “are the new toilet paper.” For some, a bike is a good way to stay fit while the gym is shut down. For other people, bicycles are a good alternative to crowded public transportation.

Unfortunately, bicycles are also dangerous. Bikers account for less than 1 percent of roadway traffic, yet they account for almost 3 percent of roadway fatalities. People over age 50 account for most of the fatalities. Children under 7 account for most of the serious injuries.

Safety innovations, such as designated bike lanes, have been slow to catch on, mostly because of a concept called bikelash. Many drivers do not like designated bicycle lanes because they make traffic lanes a bit more narrow. Additionally, many people think that concrete safety pillars are eyesores.

So, for the most part, it is up to Los Angeles bicycle accident attorneys to protect the growing number of bikers. Attorneys push for additional safety laws and also obtain compensation for accident victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Bicycle Crash Injuries

When a 17lb bicycle collides with a 3,000lb car, the results are usually catastrophic for the bicyclist. Some of the serious injuries these victims sustain include:

  • Head Injuries: Thin bicycle helmets usually protect riders from fall injuries, but they do little good in a high-speed collision. Additionally, the sudden, jarring motion is usually enough to cause a head injury, helmet or no helmet.
  • Broken Bones: Vehicle collisions often crush bones instead of simply breaking them. As a result, doctors must use screws or plates to set the bones. And, these victims must endure months of physical therapy to regain lost function.
  • Biker’s Arm: When riders fall off their bikes, they naturally extend their arms to break their falls. So, they often damage the nerves under their arms. These brachial plexus injuries often cause permanent paralysis.

The aforementioned head injuries merit a closer look. These injuries often trigger medical bills of well over $100,000. 

Head injuries are difficult to diagnose. Frequently, doctors dismiss symptoms like confusion or headaches as shock from the accident. Head injuries are also difficult to treat. Brain injury physical therapists must train uninjured parts of the brain to take over lost functions. This process is laborious, to say the least.

A Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney helps in both these areas. Lawyers send letters of protection to medical providers. Therefore, these providers usually agree to defer payment until the case is resolved. In other words, victims get needed medical care at no upfront cost.

These doctors are also top medical professionals who frequently deal with car crash head wounds. They know how to diagnose and treat these injuries. As a result, the victim gets maximum recovery, in addition to maximum compensation.

Liability Issues

Bicycle crashes are hardly ever “accidents.” In fact, driver error causes over 90 percent of the bicycle collisions in California. These collisions usually involve either ordinary negligence or negligence per se.

Ordinary negligence is a lack of reasonable care. Drivers have a duty to slow down around bicyclists and share the road freely. If they fail to do so, and that failure causes a crash, the driver is legally responsible for damages.

Negligence per se is the violation of a safety statute. The three-foot law is a good example. Under AB 1371, drivers must give bikers at least a three foot operating cushion. If they do not follow this law, and that violation substantially causes a crash, the driver is presumptively responsible for damages.

Additional evidence on this point includes other driving behavior, such as speeding, which could cause a crash.

Los Angeles personal injury attorneys must also be ready to deal with a number of insurance company defenses, such as comparative fault. This legal loophole shifts blame for the accident from the negligent driver to the victim. If the insurance company introduces a defense, its lawyers typically have both the burden of proof and the burden of persuasion.Bicycle crash victims might be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney, contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim. We routinely handle matters throughout Southern California.

Sharona Hakim

Sharona Eslamboly Hakim, Esq. is a successful personal injury attorney and the principal of the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim firm in Beverly Hills, California.

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