What should I do if I get into an accident?
Follow our Bicycle Accident Checklist. (click link)
How much time do I have to file a bicycle accident lawsuit?
Generally, there is a two (2) year statute of limitations for personal injury claims in California.
However, there are additional limitations periods to consider for specific circumstances. For instance, if you were injured as a result of the negligence of a government employee or entity, you must file an administrative claim within six (6) months of the date of injury. After you file your claim, the government has 45 days to respond. If the government agency denies your claim during the 45 days, you have 6 months to file a lawsuit in court from date the denial was mailed or personally delivered to you. If you do not get a rejection letter, you have 2 years to file from the day the incident occurred. But do not count on having 2 years to file your claim. Calculating the correct statute of limitations can be complicated and we recommend you contact an attorney to determine you have the correct date.
I don’t know if I can afford to hire an attorney to help me with my bicycle accident case. How much will it cost me?
We understand that most people can't afford to pay hourly attorney fees. That's why we work on a contingency fee basis. I only recover if I obtain a successful settlement or verdict for you. If I do not recover anything on your case, then you are not responsible to pay me for my time or any costs I may have incurred in pursuit of your case.
The police report listed me as "at fault" for the accident. Do I still have a case?
If you are listed as "at fault" in the police report, you may still have a case. Often there is a bias against cyclists that can affect how an officer writes his police report. In addition, many officers aren’t familiar with the current law and put the incorrect vehicle sections in their reports. Bottom line, the facts dictate whether or not you have a case. Lastly, California is a comparative fault state. This means that even if you were partially at fault for an accident, the other party may be held responsible for their percentage of fault.
I’m new to bicycling. What can I do to learn the rules of the road and be more comfortable riding on the street?
I recommend you contact your local bike organizations or coalitions who often hold free bicycling safety classes or workshops. If you live in or near San Diego I recommend contacting the San Diego Bicycle Coalition, and if you live near San Francisco, I recommend you contact the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
If someone opens their car door, causing me to crash, who is at fault?
California Vehicle Code Section 22517 states that a person may only open a car door on the traffic side of a vehicle when it is reasonably safe. A common type of bicycle accident, especially in urban cities, is being “doored.” Bicyclists have a right to share the road with other vehicles, and it is the duty of the person opening the vehicle door to ensure that it is safe to open the door.
I was in a bike accident and I wasn’t wearing a helmet. How will that affect my case?
California Vehicle Codes Section 21212 requires persons under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle in California. Cyclists over the age of 18 are not required to wear a helmet in California. Failing to wear a helmet will likely affect the severity of the injuries you suffer in an accident, however it should have no affect on the liability portion of your case.
Is there any type of insurance, other than medical insurance, that would cover the medical bills from my bicycle accident?
Yes. If you or someone you live with owns a car that has a medical pay provision on it, there may be coverage for this bicycle accident. Medpay is a no fault provision on a driving insurance policy that will pay for medical bills related to an accident.
What if the responsible party does not have any insurance or assets, will I still be able to be compensated for my injuries?
You may still be able to recover money from your accident if you have an uninsured motorist policy on your own vehicle.
If I call you, will I actually get to speak to an attorney?
The number listed in the contact section of this site will go directly to my cell phone. I will be the one speaking with you initially and working with you all throughout your case if it is accepted.
What are some common mistakes to avoid while riding my bike?
1. Riding Too Close To Parked Cars
While it’s always best to leave room for vehicles to pass on your left, it’s equally important to leave enough space between your bike and parked vehicles on your right hand side to avoid being doored.
2. Riding Unpredictably
Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve in and out of traffic or lanes. This will let approaching motorists know how much room is needed to safely pass you. If you are making a turn, signal ahead of time to give notice to motorists.
3. Responding To Road Rage
Some motorists are angered that they have to share the road with cyclists. Be the better person and do not get into a shouting match or argument with an angry motorist. If you feel threatened or have been injured by an angry motorist, report the incident to the police.
4. Not Slowing Around Pedestrians
Slow down and be extra cautious when riding in areas with a high concentration of pedestrians. Pedestrians are often unaware that you are approaching and can be very unpredictable in their direction of travel. Be ready to stop at any time.
5. Not Wearing A Helmet
Even if you are taking a short trip down the street, strap on your helmet. Helmets might not look cool or give you that same feeling of freedom when the wind is blowing through your hair, but they can protect you from suffering a traumatic brain injury.
6. Trolley Tracks
If you must pass the tracks, try to cross them at a perpendicular angle, so that your tires will not get stuck. Even the most experienced cyclists have stories about getting stuck in trolly tracks and being thrown from their bikes to the ground.
7. Beware Of Dogs
Slow down and be extra cautious when approaching dogs. We all know how easily excited dogs can get, so you never know what could send them running in front of your bike. Even if they are on a leash, dogs can bolt in your pathway at any time.
8. Not Following Traffic Laws
Obey all stop signs and traffic signals. Failing to do so can put your safety in jeopardy and have a negative impact on the public opinion of cyclists. Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other motorists on the road.
9. Assuming Cars See You
Wear bright colors with reflective material when riding to increase your visibility to motorists. Often drivers can look right through cyclists and not see them at all. Try to make eye contact with drivers. If you are riding at night, use bike lights.
10. Braking Too Late
Brake before you get into a turn instead of waiting until you are already in the turn. When braking in a turn, you have less traction which can cause you to skid and potentially lose control of your bike.
Are there laws that specifically address what a cyclist can and can't do on the road?
Yes. In California, the California Vehicle Code has specific laws that address the rights and responsibilities of cyclists on the road. For a list of California Vehicle Code sections related to bicyclists please click here.