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Oceanside Bicycle Accident Lawyer


Across California, cycling has become a way of life for many. Gorgeous Oceanside usually is a very safe place for cycling. Not only is it straightforward and convenient to get around on a bike, but the city also maintains several local biking trails and is home to several cycling clubs. Even so, accidents do happen, and cycling can be a hazardous activity.

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, in 2014, fifty-five cyclists (including six young children) were either injured or killed while riding their bicycles. Compared to cities of similar size across California, Oceanside ranks 22nd out of 57 regarding bicycle safety.

From cars and buses to pedestrians and other cyclists, there are numerous ways to collide between vehicles and bicyclists.

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle owners know firsthand how dangerous California’s roads can be. Many drivers forget to look for crossing cyclists; sometimes, bicycles can end up in blind spots. As a result, riding a bicycle on the road can be hazardous. At night, bicyclists are much more challenging to see, even when proper reflective equipment is utilized. The reality is that sometimes, drivers simply do not pay enough attention to people not driving cars.

Even the sidewalks and bike trails can be dangerous occasionally. While riding a bicycle off the road is often safer than riding on the road, accidents can happen anywhere. This is because bicycles have to share the sidewalk with other people, including runners, skaters, and rollerbladers. Riding a bicycle is a safe way to get around most of the time, but collisions always hurt when they happen. Even strolling can cause crashes by stopping or shifting directions without warning. Either way, if a cyclist falls victim to the negligence of some other person and an accident happens, the cyclist may be able to get a legal recovery.

  • Driver negligence: the two most common driver-cyclist accidents are left-turn crosses and right-turn sideswipes. Left turn crosses happen when a car turns left at an intersection and rams head-on into a bicycle. Not only are motorists laser-focused on oncoming traffic rather than bicycles, but when making left turns, bicycles often end up in blind spots. Right turn sideswipes occur when a car turns right without warning and slams head-on into a bicycle. These incidents are common because drivers look less often before making right turns, particularly when turning into driveways. After all, right turns are usually very safe for cars.
  • Hit and run: These types of accidents are, unfortunately, way more common than they should be. Often, the driver will be frightened and take off without checking to see if the accident victim is injured. Talking to witnesses who saw the accident may be critical to learn the driver’s identity.
  • Unsafe driving speedsSpeeding is one of the most dangerous roadway habits drivers have, making accidents all the more deadly. It may be hard to determine precisely how fast a car was moving just by looking at it, but it is often apparent that a driver exceeded the posted speed limit. These crashes are particularly deadly.
  • Drug and alcohol use: From drunk drivers to drunk pedestrians, alcohol and drugs create a hazard for cyclists. Alcohol consumption impairs sensory perception and makes it harder to see cyclists, even when they wear reflectors.
  • Dooring: It happens in movies all the time, but does it happen in real life, too. Drivers are always less vigilant when their vehicles are stopped than when moving. Most drivers open their doors without looking or thinking, creating instant sidewalk and roadway hazards. Most cyclists cannot react fast enough to avoid running into opening car doors.
  • Insurance issues: While many drivers have auto insurance, do not assume everyone does. Fewer people actually have car insurance than someone would believe. Uninsured motorists and accidents involving skaters or runners can be particularly tricky because it is harder to track down a means of repayment.
  • Government vehicles: While government vehicles, such as city buses or roadwork construction vehicles, can be responsible for all of the same types of accidents described above, government vehicles warrant special mention because California law requires accident victims to promptly report their claims to preserve the ability to recover. If you have been injured by a government vehicle, such as a city bus, contact us immediately to preserve your right to sue.

In addition to driver-caused accidents, other types of road hazards can also be grounds for a legal recovery. For example, other common causes of bicycle accidents include:

  • Faulty repair: Most bicycle repair shops are professional and do good work, but sometimes, they may use bad parts or not fully complete repair work. Busted chains and failed brakes are an accident waiting to happen, and you might not realize the problem before it is too late.
  • Manufacturing defect: Sometimes, bicycles come out of the box with defective parts, but these defects create the same hazards as faulty repair work.
  • Defective equipment (including faulty helmets and reflectors): New technology is being created all the time, but sometimes, essential products for road safety are not thoroughly tested or simply do not work as advertised.
  • Breach of manufacturer’s warranty: Many products, such as helmets, come with a warranty that describes the type of protection offered. Occasionally, the product does not perform as the warranty claims, which can result in injuries.
  • Dog chase/bite accidents: Animals can be unpredictable, and while they may not mean any harm, they can be hazardous to cyclists. Pet owners can be held liable for any injuries caused by their pets.
  • Road debris and street defects: Often, no person or thing is truly responsible for an accident or fall, but the road or sidewalk itself might be to blame. Poorly maintained bike trails or potholes in the road can cause severe injuries when cyclists run into them and fall.

While many factors may have contributed to your Oceanside bicycle accident, you need a lawyer with an investigative team that can collect and examine all of the relevant evidence and assess the proper basis for your personal injury claim.

What To Do After an Oceanside Bicycle Accident

If you are physically able, call the police and ask for medical assistance. Even if you and the reckless driver think your injuries are relatively minor, ask an officer to come to the accident scene so they can file an accident report. This is extremely important because this report can become valuable evidence during the injury claims process.

If possible, use your smartphone to take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, the damage to your bicycle, traffic signs, etc. Also, if there were any witnesses, get their contact information. This is important because your Oceanside bicycle accident lawyer may need to contact these people and potentially depose them to establish liability for the reckless driver.

Once you’ve received medical treatment, you should speak to an attorney. Most injury attorneys offer free consultations, so no financial risk is associated with simply speaking to an attorney about your legal options.

This video provides some safety tips for bicyclists to increase safety.

Bicycle Accident Injuries Can Be Life-Altering

No matter what caused the accident, injuries suffered in a bicycle accident can be catastrophic, given how little protection bicyclists have available. The human body is not designed to withstand a head-on collision with a car without protection or even while wearing a helmet. As a result, bicyclists hit by vehicles may wind up suffering the following traumatic injuries:

Common Types of Damages That Can Be Recovered
  • Medical Expenses: Doctor’s visits, medical diagnosis, surgery, long-term care, and treatment can all be recovered under California Law.
  • Pain and Suffering: Accident injuries hurt. Fortunately, California law allows accident victims to recover damages associated with the hardship of surviving an accident.
  • Emotional Distress: Bicycle accidents can be extremely traumatic, causing sleep loss, recurrent nightmares, and psychiatric trauma. Damages for these emotional injuries can be recovered. Additionally, if you witness a loved one who has a bicycle accident, you may be able to recover damages for your own emotional distress as a bystander.
  • Lost Income and Earning Capacity: Temporary and permanent disability after an accident can cause accident victims to miss work or even lose their jobs if their injury prevents them from returning to work. However, these economic injuries may also be recoverable as personal injury damages.
California Follows Comparative Negligence Standard

In some instances where a bicyclist is involved in a collision, evidence may indicate that you were partially at fault for the accident. Do not fret. California law still allows you to recover economic and non-economic damages. This is because California adopted a pure comparative negligence standard in personal injury cases.  That means you can still recover financial restitution after deducting a percentage of fault.

You could still recover some economic and non-economic damages, even if you were 95 percent at fault for the accident. This is a more generous standard when compared to other states. In fact, some states require that the injured party be no more than 50 percent at fault to recover damages. For example, if a plaintiff seeks $200,000 in damages and a jury determines that the plaintiff was 25 percent at fault, they will recover $50,000 in economic and non-economic damages.

Benefits of Hiring an Oceanside Bicycle Accident Lawyer

The personal injury claims process can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially if you are injured and trying to recover. Personal injury lawsuits often involve complex moving parts ranging from settlement negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, investigating the cause of the accident to craft a winning legal argument, conducting pre-trial discovery, and filing a lawsuit in civil court when necessary. An experienced and skilled Oceanside personal injury lawyer will take the burden off your shoulders and build a compelling case on your behalf.

Hiring an Oceanside bicycle accident attorney is also beneficial because there is a good chance you will recover more money. Obviously, no one can guarantee an outcome to your case, but evidence indicates that injured claimants receive larger settlements and verdicts than those without legal counsel. This was discovered by the Insurance Research Council when it conducted an exhaustive study involving thousands of claims. Claimants represented by a personal injury lawyer received about 3.5 times more financial compensation than those not represented by an attorney.

Take Legal Action Sooner Rather Than Later

The sooner you take action, the better. Why? Because under California law, you only have two years from the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is known as the California statute of limitations. This period is even shorter if you were hit by a city or state vehicle. If a driver employed by a local government entity is involved, you only have six months to file a notice of a claim. This is why you need to speak to an Oceanside Bicycle Accident attorney about your legal case sooner rather than later.

Additionally, suffering a serious injury in a bicycle accident can have life-altering consequences. You may have bills and little income coming in since you are forced to miss work to recover from your injuries.

Bicycle Accident Lawyers in Oceanside, CA

If you or someone you love has been injured by a careless motorist in a severe bicycle accident, please call our experienced Oceanside bicycle accident lawyers at (760) 509-8818 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice. See our case history of verdicts and settlements.

Editor’s Note: updated [cha 10.16.23] Photo by pixabay.com on pexels sb bw [cs 1968]