Southern California’s dry weather and breathtaking scenery attract cyclists from the whole state and beyond. While the region is generally safe for cyclists, accidents still happen.
If you’ve been involved in a bike accident in Orange County as a bicyclist, driver, or pedestrian, you may be eligible to seek compensation for personal injuries and property damage from the at-fault or liable party.
Read on to learn how Orange County bicycle accident liability works and whether you may have a valid claim.
Determining liability in bicycle accidents works in much the same way as in other traffic violations. To establish liability or fault, you must show the other driver or cyclist was negligent.
“Negligence” is an umbrella term for any failure to exercise reasonable care that causes injury or loss to another person. For example, drivers and cyclists owe a duty of care to other members of the public using roadways and sidewalks. If they fail to exercise proper care by violating traffic laws, they may be liable for the ensuing harm.
Common examples of negligence by motor vehicle drivers and cyclists that can cause a collision to include:
Many cyclists are unaware they have the same legal rights and must obey the same rules as motor vehicle drivers.
One exception is that, as a bicyclist, you can use a mobile phone while riding. That doesn’t mean you can’t be held liable if you cause an accident because you were using your phone — it just means that you can’t be held liable for phone use as a sole charge.
Here are some other bicycle state laws to keep in mind when riding a bike in Orange County:
As in other personal injury cases, the same state laws regulate compensation in bicycle accidents. Depending on the type and extent of your injuries, you may recover damages for:
Just because you may be partly at fault for a bike accident doesn’t automatically mean you can’t recover damages for your injuries and medical bills.
California law follows the principle of pure comparative negligence. In pure comparative negligence systems, you can seek damages even if the other cyclist or motor vehicle driver isn’t solely responsible for the accident.
In such cases, the total damages will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault. For example, if you are 30% at fault and the total damages for your injuries are $100,000, you may only claim $70,000.
In California, you generally have two years from the date of a bicycle collision to file a personal injury claim. Some exceptions exist, such as in accidents involving minors and hidden injuries, but these are rare.
If the at-fault party is a state or local government entity, you must first file an administrative claim within six months of the accident. The at-fault entity then has 45 days to respond.
Keep in mind that these time frames only apply to personal injury claims. The deadlines for filing insurance claims are significantly tighter and vary across insurance companies and policy types.
Whether you’re a cyclist, driver, or pedestrian, you should consult with an attorney if you’ve been in an accident involving a bicycle and serious injuries. Don’t try to prove Orange County bicycle accident liability or negligence alone. California personal injury law is complicated, and some rules apply differently to bicycles and motor vehicles. A single mistake could cost you your ability to seek damages.
An experienced Orange County bicycle or car accident lawyer can maximize your chances of success by:
If you’ve been injured as a bicyclist, driver, or pedestrian in a bicycle accident, our Khalil Law Group team can help. Our experienced bike accident attorneys can investigate the collision, determine fault, and advise whether you can seek damages. If you are eligible to file a claim, we can support you at every step.
Call (714) 617-7870 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an Orange County bicycle accident liability attorney.