Victims of Bike Accidents Face Extra Challenges
Compared to a car accident, securing fair compensation in a bicycle accident can be more challenging in LA.
Though more commuters than ever are choosing two wheels instead of four, biking to work, shop, and play around LA rather than driving their cars, many cities in the LA metro area have been slow to respond to bicyclists’ needs. Plenty of streets lack bike lanes, forcing cyclists to ride uncomfortably close to vehicles on poorly maintained curbs riddled with hazards. Needless to say, many bicycle accidents occur as a result.
Unfortunately, securing compensation following a bicycle accident is not always easy for victims. Here are three extra challenges that victims seem more likely to face as victims of bicycle accidents than as victims of motor vehicle accidents.
- Severe Injuries:
Even with protection from a helmet, cyclists are still at risk of severe injuries in the event of an accident with a car. Head injuries may still occur if the cyclist’s head strikes the pavement, and broken bones and lacerations are common. Severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation and/or permanently change the victim’s quality of life require very careful analysis and presentation in the personal injury claim. It is important to choose a personal injury accident attorney who is equal to this challenge in order to ensure all applicable types of compensation are sought in the case.
Numerous opinion pieces in the LA Times have advanced the notion that the public and even the police seem prejudiced against bicyclists when it comes to assigning fault for an accident. For example, in one high-profile case, investigators faulted the cyclist in a deadly accident that occurred when a truck turned right across the bike lane in front of her. Later, a bike advocacy group—not the police—uncovered surveillance video clearly showing that the truck was at fault in the accident, but the prosecution felt this evidence was not strong enough to justify a criminal case. This type of prejudice can create a significant challenge for personal injury cases as well. After all, a police report assigning fault is often a key piece of evidence in a bicycle accident injury case.
- Hit and Run Drivers:
While the overall rate of hit and run accidents has been declining in recent years, for cyclists the danger has actually increased. A recent analysis of California Highway Patrol data showed that between 2002 and 2012, hit and run accidents involving cyclists increased 42 percent. Naturally this presents a huge challenge to securing compensation, because the LAPD solves barely 20 percent of these cases. Most victims never know who to blame for their injuries. In many cases the hit and run driver may have fled the scene because they lack insurance, so even if they are eventually caught and identified there may still be a significant hurdle to securing compensation.
Do Not Despair—Hire Fernando D. Vargas
Just because it can be more challenging to pursue compensation in certain bicycle accident cases does not mean you should give up on your claim. Come to a free consultation with expert personal injury attorney Fernando D. Vargas to learn how he would tackle your case.