Orange County Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Orange County is a popular destination for cyclists. In the past, the Santa Ana River Trail was a favorite ride for bicyclists because it allowed for short and longer excursions. However, the proliferation of homeless encampments along the path has greatly decreased the trail’s appeal.
Regardless, there is an increasing number of bicycle riders in the city. You can witness a growing number of commuters using bicycles in Orange County on any weekday.
As bicycling becomes increasingly popular, the road must be shared with both cars and bikes. Problems arise on shared roadways, and more and more, there are OC car accidents or trucking accidents involving unprotected cyclists with no airbags to protect them from injuries, often debilitating.
Why Hire an Orange County Bicycle Accident Attorney?
While Orange County has opened up many great bike paths for cyclists, such as the Class III shared lanes on streets specifically marked as bike routes, many problems still arise. With delivery trucks and tourist buses, crowded roadways can leave even these “safer” lanes a potential danger.
Our team at MKP Law Group, LLP knows the complications that can arise when it comes to roadway accidents resulting in bicyclist injury. We understand the Orange County bike laws and have experience in injury litigation. Our vast network of contacts will connect you with the best medical professionals and any other experts you may need to get through this difficult time.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bicycle accident, you need an Orange County bicycle accident lawyer who can help you get the compensation you deserve. There are no upfront, out-of-pocket costs to our clients. Call us today at 310-285-5353 to schedule your 100% FREE consultation.
Frequent Risk Factors for Bike Crashes in the OC
Orange County is well known for its proximity to the ocean. Roads near the ocean frequently have slick sand and troublesome debris in gutters, which makes staying to the right (as bicyclists must do) dangerous.
Similarly, Class III bikeways are great, but riders find that entering the lane – the process when a cyclist moves to the center – can be especially dangerous as motorists still attempt to squeeze by.
To find dangerous routes within a mile of the coast, it is helpful to check out the 1Point21 Interactive map that pinpoints areas of collisions. While the information collected does not take into account Irvine bicycle accident data for crashes further inland, the map highlights potentially hazardous areas like Barranca Parkway or Warner Avenue.
BikinginLA keeps an insightful running total of L.A. and OC bicycle injuries and fatalities. This can help alert bike riders to the dangers of specific spots, including PCH, just west of Busch Drive, and 16th Street crossing Irvine Avenue. That particular case involved an alleged DUI, but there are many other risks cyclists have to deal with – even when motorists are not breaking the law.
- Car doors: It happens frequently. The driver parks the car, gathers their belongings and opens the door without glancing into the rearview mirror. For many cyclists, the opening car door is an obstacle they cannot avoid, which results in a collision.
- Confusion about the laws: Orange County drivers are expected to maintain a three-foot distance between their vehicles and a bike. How many drivers are aware of this rule? Others have forgotten the right-of-way details at a four-way, which leads to dangerous false starts. Similarly, there is the “California Roll” when a driver slows to a roll but not stop fully at a Stop sign.
- Blind spots: Some cars have more than others. Add typical distractions such as changing a radio station, talking to a child in the backseat, or eating, and it makes sense why some drivers simply do not see cyclists. This can be worse for big vehicles.
Beyond that, NHTSA officials identified four additional fatality risk factors for bicyclists and other cyclists in a recently updated (2020) fact sheet.
- Riding in urban areas: According to 2018 data, 79% of cycling deaths occurred in these regions.
- Intersections: Of the fatalities, 29% happened at intersections.
- Middle-aged: The average age of a bicycle fatality victim is 47.
- Gender: Men have a higher deadly crash rate than women.
Also, fatalities typically occur when the rider makes contact with the front of a vehicle resulting in car accidents that often cause little car damage and can be very damaging for cyclists. Light trucks are, by far, the riskiest vehicles to encounter. When encountering buses and large trucks, accidents generally involved right-side collisions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I talk to the insurance company representative right after my bike accident?
Our advice, proceed with caution.
If you speak with any Orange County bicycle accident lawyer, the first advice you will hear is to take care when speaking to the opposing driver’s insurance company.
Some insurance companies are quick to contact accident victims to catch them off guard before they speak to anyone (like legal counsel) about the situation.
It is important to remember that the insurance company’s goal is to pay the least amount possible. Therefore, they will likely offer you an insurance settlement that is lower than any injured bicyclist should receive.
Moreover, some insurance adjusters try to get you to make incriminating statements. By being able to partially blame you for the accident, the insurance company can minimize any settlement payment.
Bicycle accident victims who aren’t involved in fatal bicycle accidents often suffer from severe injury. Catastrophic injury victims may be shaken and incapacitated due to a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury resulting from a bicycle crash. If you speak with an insurance adjuster at this time, you may not be aware of what you’ve said, OR you may simply want to say anything to get off the phone and focus on recovery.
This is not the time to discuss your future with someone who is biased. You may be left living with medical bills, property damage, and potential disability and no way to reassess the case because you’ve already agreed to a settlement.
Instead, talk with a trusted OC bicycle accident lawyer who can and will assist you with the determination of damages and relieve you of the stress so you can focus on recovery.
Should I see a doctor following my accident?
You may be surprised to learn that what you thought was just a minor knee injury might actually be an initial indication of internal bleeding and possibly bone fractures. However, you cannot know that until you undergo a full examination.
The insurance company might attempt to persuade you to accept a settlement before then. Your attorney will most likely advise patience and recommend you head straight to a doctor, preferably within 24 hours of the accident.
Does auto insurance cover cyclists in bicycle accident cases?
Yes, most of the time.
Typically it comes down to who was at fault in the accident. If the accident was the fault of a vehicle driver, the driver’s auto insurance should cover the damages.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is a deadline to file a lawsuit. This means lawsuits filed after the statute of limitations will be entirely dismissed and void for being untimely. Generally speaking, there are two statutes of limitations that apply to California bicycle accident cases:
Private Individuals: For filing claims against private drivers, other cyclists, etc., following a bike accident, you have 2 years from the exact date the accident occurred.
Exception for Minors: If the bicycle accident victim is a minor at the time of the incident, a claim can be filed at any point until the minor’s 18th birthday. After the minor turns 18, the standard 2-year statute of limitations applies.
Governmental Entities: Suing governmental entities like the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) or governmental workers will trigger a statute of limitations of only 6 months.
Note: If the individual being sued dies (whether in the bicycle accident or otherwise), a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within 1 year of the incident.
Contact an Orange County Bicycle Accident Lawyer at MKP Law Group, LLP Today
Have you been harmed in a cycling accident in the OC? Did your loved one get hurt? Don’t try to figure things out on your own.
Although your first call should be to the police and first responders, remember to get advice about your legal rights, too. While these frequently take a backseat, remember that the clock starts ticking the moment the accident happens. Make a mistake here, and you may forfeit any rights you have.
At MKP Law Group, LLP, our team is experienced in bicycle injury cases. Contact us today at 310-285-5353 for your free consultation.
We know how to deal with insurance companies so that you do not have to and, instead, can focus on getting better. Our priority is for you to get the best care on every level.
As always, if we don’t win your case, you don’t owe us a dime.
We proudly service clients in and around Orange County and the surrounding Los Angeles area.
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