Protecting Your Bicycle Accident Case
Injury lawsuits often come with added complexities when they involve a bicycle collision. Physical evidence, 9-1-1 call recordings, and witnesses quickly disappear. In addition, many people wrongly perceive all bicycle riders as risk takers who disregard the rules of the road. If you were hurt on a bicycle as a result of someone else’s negligence, you deserve to have your voice heard. An experienced attorney can bring a strong bicycle accident case by starting an investigation as early as possible. Below are a few of the factors that come into play.
State laws: It’s important to hire an attorney who knows your state’s bicycle and motor vehicle laws and handbooks inside and out. This knowledge sets the groundwork for proving that the parties at fault acted negligently, and those actions caused your injuries.
Finding fault: Was the motor vehicle driver the only party whose carelessness led to the collision? Poorly maintained roads, defective equipment, or other factors may have affected the situation. A thorough investigation will show whether there might be multiple defendants in your case.
Crash mechanics: There are common crashes between cars and bicycles, such as “dooring” and improperly overtaking a bike. Your attorney will identify the scenario that led to the crash and will examine any safety precautions you took to try to avoid it.
Case investigation: Acting fast is critical to preserving the evidence to prove your case. Sometimes, the police will close an investigation too quickly and delete the 9-1-1 recording, according to “Looking for Signals in Bicycle Cases” by CaseyGerry partner Thomas D. Penfield. Security cameras may overwrite the footage that showed the crash or the nearby background environment. A skilled attorney knows it’s important to gather all available evidence immediately to preserve it for your case. CaseyGerry has two full-time case investigators to work on your case.
Consultations: You and your attorney will have an opportunity to thoroughly discuss the facts before, during and after the crash, reconstructing the events down to the smallest detail. The more you can recall, the better it will be for your bicycle accident case. That’s why we recommend taking pictures of the crash that depict the scene, injuries, skid marks, and anything else that may be relevant. If you were riding with someone, your lawyer will likely want to talk to that person to hear their recollection of the crash.
Accident reconstruction: An experienced attorney may use an accident reconstruction expert with bicycle experience to interpret the damage and explain the mechanics of the crash. He or she may also hire a safety or human factors expert and/or a bicycling expert to explain the perception or reaction limitations during the crash.
Depositions: This part of the litigation process is also critical. A lawyer with bicycle case experience will know the right questions to ask the defendants.
Understanding the biases, evidence and issues in bicycle crash cases will help your attorney represent you well and prepare your case for success.
Who Should Be a Defendant?
Anyone whose negligence led to your injuries might be a defendant in your bicycle injury case. Defendants might include:
- Individuals, such as another rider, a vehicle driver, a pedestrian, or the other person’s employer (if they were in the course and scope of their job)
- A company, such as the manufacturer of a defective bicycle or safety equipment
- A governmental entity for improper road design, improper maintenance of road, failure to provide warnings, and/or other problems
The California statute of limitations gives injured people two years to file a lawsuit against an individual or company. If the injured person is a minor, he or she may file within two years of turning 18. Injured plaintiffs (both adults and minors) have six months to file a claim against a governmental entity.
CaseyGerry has been advocating for injured bike riders for decades. If you or a family member was hurt in a crash, we can explain how to protect your rights and what you can expect. California’s statute of limitations restricts the amount of time an injured person may file a claim, so acting immediately is critical.