San Diego is well-known as a bicycle-friendly city. Unfortunately, as more people have turned to cycling, bicycle accidents have steadily ticked up. California is the most fatal state for bicyclists with hundreds of accidents involving bicyclists and vehicles every year. In a crash, bicyclists have virtually no protection and face not only a higher risk of death but increased likelihood of a catastrophic and life-changing injury.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured as a result of the negligence of another, contact a San Diego bicycle injury attorney at Berman & Riedel, LLP today for a free case evaluation. We are aggressive in our pursuit of every bicycle accident case we undertake and committed to serving our clients by providing the absolute highest quality legal representation available.
Our San Diego Bicycle Lawyers Understand Many Bike Accident Causes
Bicycle accidents, like traffic accidents, occur for many reasons, although negligence is usually at the heart of any crash. While it’s commonly assumed that aggressive or distracted motorists are usually to blame for bike accidents, cyclists are actually most likely to be found at fault in accidents that involve death or injury, according to a study of more than 2,500 accident reports in San Diego County.
If someone else is responsible for a bicycling accident that leaves you injured, they may be liable to pay monetary damages. An experienced San Diego bicycle accident lawyer can serve as your advocate to help you protect your rights and seek fair compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
The following are common causes of bike accidents in San Diego.
Dangers Roads & Intersections
Dangerous road conditions and intersections also contribute to bicycle accidents. The most dangerous roads for bicyclists have at least one of the following:
- Parked cars
- Wide streets
- No infrastructure for bicycles
- Downhill inclines
- Streetcar tracks
When roads have bike lanes, the risk of injury to a cyclist is reduced by 50%. Protected bicycle lanes reduce the risk by 90%, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
There are several San Diego intersections and roadways that pose a high risk to bicyclists. One of the most dangerous is University Avenue between 1st Avenue in Hillcrest and 30th Street in North Park. The road isn’t just the most deadly for cyclists in San Diego; it’s one of the most dangerous in the country. The intersection of University and 4th Avenue in Hillcrest has also been identified as one of the top 15 most dangerous intersections for pedestrians.
In downtown San Diego, Gaslamp and Little Italy have higher-than-average bike crash rates. Other dangerous intersections include:
- Midway Dr & Rosecrans St
- Saturn Blvd & Palm Ave
- Rosecrans St & Sports Arena Blvd
- Nimitz Blvd & W Point Loma Blvd
Drivers may be at fault for a bicycle accident if they are distracted, speeding, or under the influence. Sometimes cyclists can be difficult to see, especially along roads with parked cars or at blind intersections. In many cases, inattentive drivers or passengers open their car door into an oncoming bicyclist.
Cyclists can also be at fault for bike crashes in San Diego. In some cases, bicyclists cause or contribute to an accident by failing to follow traffic laws. The same laws that apply to vehicles also apply to bicycles, including yielding the right of way and stopping at red lights and stop signs. Drinking also contributes to many bicycle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 20% of cyclists killed in traffic collisions had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.
In San Diego, over half of bicycle accidents happen at night. Bicyclists who do not wear reflective gear can be difficult to see which increases the risk of an accident.
Other Causes of Bike Accidents
Cyclists can also be injured on public roadways which are not properly maintained by local or state authorities who are responsible for keeping streets and highways in a safe condition. Injuries can also be caused when a bicycle manufacturer, retailer or repair facility either makes or fails to correct a defective bicycle or its component parts.
Proving Fault in San Diego Bicycle Accidents
In California, the negligent party in an accident is at-fault and responsible for damages. Under California law, negligent means acting or failing to in a way that’s expected for a reasonable person under similar circumstances.
In a personal injury lawsuit involving a bicycle accident, your San Diego bicycle accident attorney will work to prove that the driver acted recklessly or carelessly and this negligence directly led to the crash and your injuries.
It’s very common for fault to be shared among two or more parties in an accident. Two motorists may be responsible for a collision, for example, or the driver and cyclist may share fault.
San Diego operates under a pure comparative negligence system which compares which party is more liable than the other. Under this system, if the first party is 40% at fault and the second party is 60% at fault, the first party is entitled to 60% of the damages.
Under this system, it’s crucial to seek experienced and aggressive San Diego bike accident lawyers to represent you. With a pure comparative negligence system, every percent you are found at fault for the accident directly reduces your damages award! A compassionate bicycle injury attorney in San Diego will work on your behalf to investigate your accident and build evidence that may include:
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Expert testimony
- Photos of the accident scene
If you or someone you know has suffered serious harm while riding your bicycle because of the negligent or faulty acts of another, please contact Berman & Riedel, LLP for a free consultation regarding your legal rights with a dedicated San Diego bicycle accident attorney.
Typical Injuries Handled by San Diego Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Cycling injuries can be very serious, mainly because bicyclists are exposed to harsh elements such as asphalt, concrete and metal without the protection that’s afforded motorists. Any collision or fall suffered while riding a bike has the potential to be severe or even fatal. From scrapes and cuts, to broken bones and head trauma, the consequences of suffering an injury while cycling can be lasting and permanent.
Common bicycle accident injuries in San Diego include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Road rash
- Neck injuries
- Loss of limb or amputation
This is particularly true when a cyclist suffers a severe head injury during an accident. A traumatic brain injury can occur when the brain experiences a sudden physical impact, such as the type of impact a cyclist can sustain in a collision or fall. Cyclists who have suffered a closed head injury during an accident or fall can experience headaches, difficulty with focusing on or completing tasks, fatigue, changes in personality or energy level, and more.
Bicycle accidents are also a leading cause of spinal cord injuries, among the most severe and life-changing injuries in an accident. Possible consequences of a spinal cord injury can include:
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Loss of sensation and movement
- Loss of income
- Lifelong high medical costs. A 25-year-old with paraplegia faces an estimated $2.5 million in lifetime costs.
- Risk of secondary conditions such as pressure ulcers, chronic pain, osteoporosis, and deep vein thrombosis
The more severe your injuries, the more important it is to work with an experienced bike injury lawyer in San Diego. Remember: the insurance company is not on your side. They employ their own team of lawyers and adjusters who have a strong incentive to minimize or even reject your claim. High-value personal injury claims involving catastrophic injuries can take years to settle, all while you attempt to heal and move on with your life.
Berman & Riedel, LLP, is one of the premiere personal injury law firms in California and has extensive experience handling cases in which our clients have suffered a full range of injuries which occur from bicycle accidents, be it from broken bones to a brain injury. Our San Diego bicycle accident attorneys understand the challenges associated with litigating complex personal injury cases, and can provide the legal experience and skill necessary to obtain the maximum compensation for any injury suffered by you or a loved one.
Steps to Take After a San Diego Bicycle Accident
The actions you take after your accident can help to strengthen your case and ensure you recover as fully as possible. Your first priority should be seeking medical attention right away. Keep in mind many bicycle accident injuries involve trauma to the head, back, or neck. These injuries may not have immediate symptoms, especially after the shock of an accident. See a doctor right away to evaluate your injuries, even if you feel fine.
After seeking medical attention, record as much information as possible:
- The driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information
- The license plate number, make, model, and color of the vehicle
- Witness contact information
- Photos of the scene
- Photos of your injuries. Our San Diego bike accident attorneys recommend keeping a journal as you recover and seek treatment to record the extent of your injuries and the lengthy recovery process.
Do not admit fault after the accident or apologize. As soon as possible, contact a San Diego bicycle accident lawyer to protect your legal rights and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Road Safety Tips from a San Diego Bicycle Accident Attorney
Before you head out on the road, be sure to take some basic precautions to minimize your risk of injury while riding a bicycle:
- ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET: Head trauma is by far the leading cause of death occurring as a result of cycling accidents. Wearing a helmet significantly reduces the risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury or death in a bicycle accident.
- BE VISIBLE: Head & tail lights, reflective materials, and wearing colorful clothing increase the chances that a passing motorist will notice you and “Share the Road.”
- RIDE WITH TRAFFIC: Cyclists are required by law to follow all of the same traffic laws as automobile, motorcycle, and truck drivers. Stay to the right of traffic to reduce the risk of accidents and use hand signals to alert motorists when you are turning or stopping. Riding with traffic makes a rider more visible and will greatly reduce the risks of an accident.
- ALWAYS WEAR AN I.D. TAG: All cyclists should wear or carry some form of identification while riding. It is easy to inscribe all of you personal information, including important contact information, within your helmet, or through wearing some form of identification bracelet such as a Road ID.
- BUDDY SYSTEM: Whenever possible, ride with one or more companions. This increases visibility and can be helpful in the case of an accident or bicycle malfunction.
- FOLLOW ALL LAWS: The Vehicle Code applies to bicyclists. Please refer to Vehicle Code Sections 21200-21212
Why the Bicycle Accident Attorneys at Berman & Riedel, LLP?
Our San Diego bicycle injury lawyers not only litigate the most serious bicycle accident injury cases, and we have received top ratings including recognition as a Top-10 personal injury attorney in San Diego. Several of our bike injury attorneys also cycle in San Diego and in events through the Western United States. As top rated personal injury lawyers and cyclists, we not only understand the law, but we also understand the sport of cycling.
We understand that drivers fail to pay attention to cyclists on the road and cause serious bicycle accidents. We understand that bicycles and component parts sometimes fail, resulting in severe injuries and accidents. We understand that dangerous conditions on public and private property often lead to bicycle accidents. And we understand that event organizers and vendors sometimes create dangerous conditions that result in bicycle accidents.
There are many circumstances that result in serious bicycling accidents… all this we know.
Dedicated to helping those who have been injured as a result of the negligence of others, the San Diego bicycle accident lawyers at Berman & Riedel, LLP, have significant litigation experience in handling the most serious accident injury claims. Our firm has worked hard to achieve great success in handling serious bicycle accident cases, and has built a reputation as one of the leading personal injury law firms in California by achieving outstanding results for our clients.
We take our role in representing injured cyclists seriously, and we strive to make sure they obtain the best possible results available under the law.
San Diego Bicycle Accident Case – Client Testimonial
Contact a San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer at Berman & Riedel, LLP
Even low-speed collisions with a vehicle can have life-changing consequences for a cyclist. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a bicycle accident, our San Diego bike injury attorneys will work tirelessly on your behalf to safeguard your rights, negotiate with the insurance company, and fight for fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Contact Berman & Ridel, LLP today to schedule your free consultation with a caring bicycle accident attorney in San Diego, CA.
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