Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorneys
How Bicycle Accidents Happen in Los Angeles
Riding a bicycle is a popular way to get around Los Angeles. Cycling keeps you in shape, gives you a chance to enjoy the beautiful Los Angeles weather, and allows you to avoid waiting in the notorious traffic.
In a single year, about 467,000 cyclists sustained injuries in crashes in the United States, while more than 1,000 cyclists died from their injuries. Statistics indicate that cyclists have a greater risk of sustaining catastrophic injuries or fatal injuries than drivers or passengers in motor vehicles.
The following are some common ways that bicycle crashes occur in L.A.:
- Collisions at intersections – A cyclist stops at an intersection but a vehicle driver does not, resulting in a rear-end crash. Often, the driver is going too fast or following too closely and cannot brake in time.
- Left-turn collisions – As a cyclist comes through an intersection, a car already in the intersection makes a left-hand turn. A driver who is not paying attention can slam into or pull directly in front of the bicyclist, causing the bicyclist to crash into the side of the car.
- Right-hand turn (“right hook”) collisions. As a bicyclist and car approach an intersection, the car makes a right-hand turn, crossing the bike lane and crashing into the bicyclist, who is going straight. Sometimes, the vehicle’s driver fails to use the turn signal to alert the cyclist.
- Collisions with doors. An occupant of a vehicle might open a door without checking whether a bicyclist is approaching from behind. It can prove extremely easy for the cyclist to slam into the door.
These are only some of the more common types of bicycle accidents—and each can lead to others. A collision with a pedestrian or a car door may not cause serious injuries on its own, for example, but it could send the cyclist into the path of oncoming cars or trucks, where infinitely more severe damage can result.
Proving Your Bicycle Accident Claim
The law requires that you prove liability in a personal injury claim. Many forms of negligence can lead to bicycle accidents, and some of our cases involve:
- Careless driving – Every driver should safely share the road with bicyclists by paying attention and complying with all applicable traffic laws. We all know that careless drivers can make mistakes or poor choices. These can include distracted driving, forgetting to signal, or failing to yield properly.
- Aggressive driving and road rage – It is no secret that California drivers are often in a hurry. Motorists move significantly faster than cyclists, and impatient drivers sometimes turn aggressive. Drivers may tailgate a bicycle to try to get the cyclist to move over or speed up. Drivers may also try to improperly pass bicyclists and come too close, crashing into them. Road rage drivers may even attempt to threaten or purposefully injure cyclists.
- Impaired driving – Drunk drivers have a difficult enough time paying attention and not hitting other cars—it can prove particularly difficult for drunk or drugged drivers to see and avoid hitting bicyclists. Drunk driving is a completely preventable cause of many life-threatening or fatal bike crashes around Los Angeles.
- Opening vehicle doors in a cyclist’s path – As mentioned above, open door accidents happen often in Los Angeles. While these accidents do not involve collisions with moving cars, cyclists can suffer devastating injuries if they suddenly hit a fixed car door and get thrown from their bikes and into traffic, other objects, or the road. Vehicle occupants commonly fail to check their mirrors before opening their doors like the law requires.
Drivers are not the only negligent parties who may contribute to accidents. An employer may face responsibility for an employee’s negligence if the driver was on the job at the time of the crash. In addition, the negligence of other companies and parties may lead to bicycle accidents. Such negligence can include:
- Improperly designed bike lanes or other dangerous road conditions resulting from governmental errors – Departments of Transportation have the duty to design and maintain safe roads, and this includes bike lanes and bike paths. When a bike lane, road, or path contains potholes or other hazards, or is dangerously designed, the responsible government agency should face liability if a bicyclist suffers serious injuries.
- Improperly designed bicycles or components and defective bike helmets – Bicycle manufacturers have the duty to sell safe bicycles for proper use. When a corporation sells a defective bicycle or bicycle part, and a malfunction causes the cyclist to crash, victims should hold the corporation accountable for the cyclist’s extensive losses. The same goes for defective bicycle helmets that failed to work properly, leading to catastrophic brain injuries.
Identifying and proving acts of negligence can present challenges. At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, we are diligent about thoroughly investigating our bicycle accident cases because we need to prove to an insurer that our client deserves the compensation for which we are asking, or to prove to a jury that our client was not at fault.
We have the resources it takes to investigate bike accident cases and demonstrate negligence and liability. When available, necessary, or appropriate, we gather police reports and locate and interview witnesses. We maintain an evidence warehouse where we store damaged vehicles for post-crash examination, testing, and mechanical review. We look for any available video of accidents. We examine road conditions, signs, visibility, and lighting—even taking aerial photographs and road photographs. We employ the help of accident reconstruction or bicycle manufacturing experts when needed. We use all of the necessary resources to hold negligent parties and their insurers liable for the injuries and losses of our clients.
Injuries and Financial Compensation for Bicycle Crash Victims
Our bicycle accident attorneys represent clients with catastrophic and life-threatening injuries, including:
Traumatic brain injuries – The human brain is not designed to contact hard surfaces like the ground or even the inside of the skull, so head trauma can often result in severe traumatic brain injuries. Even bicycle helmets do not always prevent traumatic brain injuries. Serious brain injuries can cause many complications, including a lengthy coma, dangerously high intracranial pressure, and brain hemorrhaging. Depending on the seriousness of the injury, victims might need surgery before they can begin to recover. A seriously injured brain may impair walking, talking, or performing the daily tasks that many of us take for granted. These injuries might require a lifetime of rehabilitation and lasting and permanent disabilities.
Spinal cord injuries – The spinal cord runs down the middle of the back and carries signals from the brain to other parts of the body. Vertebrae may protect the spinal cord from injury, but in serious accidents, the vertebrae can get crushed or shatter. If you suffer damage to the spinal cord, you might experience the following permanent effects:
- Tingling pain in your hands and feet
- Lost sensation in your limbs
- Lost motor skills, such as the ability to grasp things
- Paralysis in your trunk and arms in addition to your legs
Bicycle accident victims might need surgery to remove bone fragments and stabilize the spine. In the event of paralysis, patients might need rehabilitation to help them learn new ways of taking care of themselves, or they may require attendants to provide care such as bathing, feeding, and transportation.
Wrongful death – Hundreds of cyclists die in collisions each year. In the event a loved one dies as a result of someone else’s negligence, surviving close family members can file a wrongful death claim to receive financial compensation for their tragic loss.
Because of the severity of many bicycle accident injuries, victims can incur astounding losses. Our lawyers know how to calculate high-value claims worth millions of dollars to ensure that catastrophically injured clients receive the amount they need to recover as much as possible. Some losses for which we regularly seek compensation after a bicycle crash include:
- Medical care – The legal system endeavors to make accident victims “whole,” aiming to put you in the same position you would have occupied but for the accident. Consequently, you can seek financial compensation for the money paid for your medical care. Since many severe injuries and disabilities require continuing care, you can also seek compensation to pay for future medical expenses. In the case of traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, that care can range into the millions of dollars during the course of a person’s lifetime.
- Lost wages – Devastating bicycle accident injuries often leave victims unable to work for years, or possibly never again. The law allows you to recover this lost income. If your injuries prevent you from returning to your old job in the future, you can seek recovery for the future income you would have earned.
- Pain and suffering – Many accident victims suffer from intense physical and mental pain and suffering as they try to recover from their injuries or deal with permanent conditions. Such losses can prove more challenging to calculate, but at Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, our lawyers have years of experience doing just that. We know what evidence will convince the opposing party or jury of the scope of a client’s suffering and the full compensation they deserve.
When Should You Contact a Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
Your choice of a lawyer is important. Nevertheless, do not take too much time to contact the right law firm. If you do, you may find collecting evidence more difficult as time passes. California law also only gives you a limited amount of time to bring a lawsuit:
- If you must sue the government, you typically get only six months from the date of your accident.
- If you must sue a private citizen, you usually get only two years from the date of the accident.
To ensure you protect your right to compensation after a life-changing injury, please call our office as soon as possible to discuss your options.
We Know What It Takes to Protect Your Rights
At the law firm of Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, we have helped many clients in the aftermath of life-altering bicycle accidents and injuries. We never hesitate to take on tough and complicated cases. Over the years, we have built a reputation for success because of our ability to represent and protect the rights of severely injured clients.
Our firm was named the “#1 personal injury law firm in California” by Best Lawyers in America, and a Top Tier national firm in Products Liability by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Lawyers. We also received recognition for nationwide excellence by the National Law Journal. Our opponents know about our record and reputation and understand that we do not back down when it comes to fighting in or out of the courtroom for a client’s rights.
Millions in Recovery for Our Vehicle Accident Clients
In addition to our reputation in California and across the United States, our history of results for our clients speaks for itself. We represent clients who suffer millions of dollars in losses after catastrophic injuries, and we regularly and successfully obtain the settlements and verdicts they truly deserve to compensate them for their enormous losses.
Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, for example, recovered $11.75 million for the family of Milton Olin Jr. when a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy struck and killed him. Olin, a Vietnam War veteran and former executive for A&M Records and Napster, was riding his bicycle on Mulholland Highway when Deputy Andrew Wood reportedly entered the bicycle lane in his patrol vehicle while typing on his in-car computer. The distraction of texting and driving contributed to the collision and Olin’s death. The tragedy led the sheriff’s office to prohibit the use of computers and texts while driving under most circumstances.
In addition, we obtained a $2.3 million settlement when a defective seat clip resulted in serious head and neck injuries to a cyclist, and we secured a $1.23 million verdict when a tractor-trailer struck a bicyclist.
The following is only a sample of our outcomes in other vehicle accident claims:
- $36.1 million verdict – A car crashed into a young girl crossing the street for a school bus. The bus company was liable for failing to report that the bus stop was unreasonably dangerous.
- $32.5 million settlement – A vehicle passenger suffered catastrophic intestinal injuries and lost the majority of digestive track functioning.
- $22 million verdict – A woman got hit by a car due to a wrongful police chase. She got pinned underneath the vehicle, crushing one leg and requiring the partial amputation of the other leg.
- $13.8 million verdict – When a bus got in a collision, a passenger suffered severe brain damage from a subdural hematoma, as well as hemiplegia on the left side of his body.
- $10 million settlement – A passenger of a vehicle driven by her mother suffered a severe brain injury in a broadside collision.
- $7 million settlement – A man suffered a traumatic brain injury and had his left arm amputated after a collision.
- $5.3 million verdict – A passenger sustained head injuries and the amputation of the lower left leg in a rollover SUV accident.
- $3.67 million settlement – A motorist suffered facial paralysis, brain damage, and many other traumatic injuries in a failure-to-yield accident.
- $2.5 million settlement – Two children died when a truck with a defective gas cap and filler neck system burst into flames.
These are only some of the many examples of how our team of attorneys have helped our clients in the wake of devastating accidents and injuries.
Contact Our L.A. Injury Lawyers Right Away if You Suffered a Severe Injury or Lost a Loved One
Bicycle accidents can leave victims facing a lifetime of disabilities, financial losses, and pain and suffering. However, do not lose hope, as the highly skilled and committed attorneys of Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, know how to help accident victims in this dire situation. We dedicate ourselves to taking the most challenging injury cases because we know we have the ability to help seriously injured clients and their families.
Many law firms ask us to take cases involving catastrophic injuries because they do not have the resources or experience to provide the necessary level of representation. We consult with other firms and directly represent clients in Southern California and throughout the state and nation. Contact us online or call (310) 576-1200 if you suffered a severe or disabling injury in any type of accident. We will evaluate your rights and potential case for free.