Breaking Down a Bicycle Accident
Coronavirus shutdowns during 2020 propelled bicycle accidents to a 30-year high. Many people tried to avoid crowded buses, trains, and other mass transit systems. Additionally, many folks wanted an alternative to cars and trucks for short trips. Making matters worse, due to the relatively mild weather we have year-round in the Bay Area, bicycle accidents are always rather high in this part of the Golden State.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of bicycle crashes is that they are fairly easy to prevent. Engineering changes, such as lower speed limits and wider, protected bicycle lanes could bring the bicycle accident total to almost zero. But because of bikelash, or the ill feelings that many drivers harbor about many bicyclists, these programs are difficult to enact.
So, bicycle accidents will continue to be part of the landscape in the Bay Area. And, a Campell personal injury attorney will be there to advocate for victims. Strong advocacy normally produces fair compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Vehicle occupants can rely on steel cages and multiple restraint layers to protect them from crash injuries. But bicyclists are almost completely exposed to danger. Therefore, they often sustain serious injuries like:
- Head Injuries: Flimsy bicycle helmets might protect riders from accidental fall injuries. But they are little help in a high-speed collision. Furthermore, the motion in a crash, as opposed to the impact, often causes a head injury.
- Internal Wounds: These same forces cause internal organs to grind and bump against one another. When that happens, since these organs have no protective skin layer, they normally bleed profusely.
- Biker’s Arm: When victims fall off their bikes, they naturally extend their arms to break their falls. This reaction often causes permanent nerve damage to the brachial plexus area.
In a catastrophic injury claim, like a spine injury, the medical bills alone from injuries like these could exceed $4 million. Most health insurance companies refuse to pay these costs, and most families cannot possibly pay them out of pocket. Therefore, fair compensation is essential.
Bikelash affects many emergency responders, at least subconsciously. Therefore, they rarely issue citations to at-fault drivers, even if these drivers are clearly in the wrong.
So, an attorney must prove negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. Electronic evidence, such as a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder, is often significant. Most EDRs measure and record things like brake application, vehicle speed, engine RPM, and other operational information which helps establish liability.
The so-called helmet defense sometimes comes into play as well. California only requires bicyclists under 17 to wear helmets. But insurance company lawyers could use the lack of a helmet even if the victim was an adult.
The judge could reduce or deny compensation if the victim’s failure to wear a helmet, as opposed to the driver’s negligence, substantially caused the victim’s injuries. However, due to the aforementioned flimsy nature of most helmets, this defense normally does not apply.
Reach Out to a Hard-Working Attorney
Bicycle crash victims often sustain serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced San Jose personal injury attorney, contact Solution Now Law Firm. You have a limited amount of time to act.