One of the most enjoyable American pastimes is getting out on the open road and riding a bicycle. The vast majority of the time, this is done in a safe and enjoyable manner. The rules of the road exist for drivers of motorized vehicles and bicyclists alike. As long as everyone observes them, accidents are infrequent. There are occasions, however, when a bike and car collide. In such an instance, the answer to who is at fault is not always so cut and dry.
It Comes Down to Negligence
In accident cases, negligence is a legal term used to determine who is at fault. In some cases, this is made extremely clear by the facts of the case. In others, however, it involves such more legal investigation to determine whether the car or the bike was at fault in causing the accident. For the most part, bicyclists are able to enjoy the road right alongside cars and trucks. Alone with this privilege comes the expectation that they will observe the same basic traffic rules as motorized vehicles. When this fails to occur and an accident happens, the bicyclist can be found to be at fault. The reverse is also true of cars and trucks. Whoever is found to be negligent will usually be determined to have caused the accident.
Duty of Care
The operators of both cars and bicycles have a duty of care as they navigate the open road. When a collision occurs between the two, it is usually because one party or the other failed to exercise that duty of care. A bicyclist, for example, is required to have adequate light on both the front and rear of the bicycle when riding at night. This is necessary so that drivers can see them from an adequate distance away and made suitable adjustments to avoid a collision. Failing to have these lights is to neglect the duty of the car provision of the law that governs how bicyclists are to operate when riding on an open road.
By the same token, the driver of a car of truck has a duty to maintain a minimum of three feet distance from any bicyclist that he or she chooses to pass. If these three feet cannot be maintained, then the driver must wait to pass until such time that they are able to do so safely. Failing to do this could result in a collision where the driver of the car will likely to be found to have neglected their duty of care towards the bicyclist.
There are certainly occasions where both the bicyclist and driver are considered to be negligent. In such cases, the police will often assign a percentage of the fault to each party and that will be used as a legal basis to negotiate any future settlement. An example of this can be seen when a driver fails to give a bicyclist the necessary room when passing. If the bicyclist is trying to use his or her phone at the time, a collision may occur because there was not enough time to react. Both parties are at fault: The driver failed to give the necessary three feet, and the bicyclist was playing with a telephone in violation of the duty of care provision.
If you have been involved in a person injury accident, it is important to contact a professional and experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident attorney for assistance right area. If you are in the Los Angeles area, feel free to call our office for a consultation to go over your case.
The mere thought of your children getting involved in a vehicle accident is shocking, to say the least. As a parent, it is difficult to think of a situation where you child is injured in an auto accident; however, it occurs more often than you think. A report by the NHTSA shows that in 2013, 1,149 kids died in car accidents, while 172,000 sustained injuries during the same year. Such statistics bring to light the fact that every time your child is on the road, they stand the risk of being involved in a crash. The following web page will discuss what you need to do when your child is involved in a road accident.
Seek Medical Attention
The first thing to do when your child is involved in an accident is to seek medical attention. Experts say that children experience emotional and physical pain differently when compared to adults. The child’s injuries may take time to manifest; therefore, you should not assume that they are okay. After your child is cleared at the ER, consult their pediatrician later for further examination, and for a medical report that will help you jumpstart the claims process.
Like in any other car crash, it is important to gather evidence to help with your claim. Write notes detailing the events leading up to the accident. It is better to note down occurrences when they are still fresh in your mind. Describe the weather, time, traffic, and other important information concerning the incident. If possible take photos of the vehicles involved, your child’s injuries, and the entire scene of the accident. Exchange contact information with the other driver(s), and any witnesses present.
Make a Police Report
During an accident, the police are probably the first to arrive at the scene of the crash. The police might pressure you into revealing information about the crash; however, you should only record a statement at the station. Even if you are partially to blame for the collision, do not admit fault. Let the police and insurance company conduct their investigation, yours is to cooperate by giving information that will help them arrive at the right conclusions. After giving a statement at the police station, request for a copy of the police report to serve as evidence.
Report to Your Insurance Provider
Insurance companies frown upon claims that are presented after the incident has occurred. Often, your insurance provider will argue that one’s injuries are not related to the accident in question. In light of this, you should not wait for your child’s injuries to manifest before taking your claim to the insurance company. Your insurance provider will send an adjuster to access the value of damage caused by the accident. Do not be in a hurry to settle. Wait until your child’s health condition has been confirmed to determine the value of medical expenses and related damages.
Consult Your Attorney
Insurance companies are usually reasonable with their settlement offers when a claimant is represented by an attorney. In any case, if your case does not settle, you will need a Los Angeles car accident lawyer to use all the evidence available to build a strong case against the insurance provider. There are two types of damages that will arise in your claim:
- Non economic damages
- Economic damages
Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, and emotional distress are owed to the child. Economic damages such as physical impairment and reduced earning capacity are also owed to the child. Parents are entitled to economic damages such as medical expenses paid on behalf of the child.