Thousands of people ride their bicycles every day through the Sacramento area. Some ride bikes for exercise and pleasure, others as affordable and environmentally responsible local transportation. Whatever your reasons for riding your bike in Sacramento may be, it is essential to know your rights and responsibilities on the road and the risks you face when riding near vehicle traffic.
While most bicyclists reach their destinations safely, some are not so fortunate. Bicycle accidents do happen in Sacramento, often with devastating effects. When these accidents occur, it is crucial for the victim to know how to prove liability and collect compensation for their losses. A bicycle accident can easily cause life-changing injuries and tremendous economic harm, and whoever caused the accident is responsible for these losses.
The attorneys at the Ewing Law Group, PC can represent your claim in Sacramento. We have years of experience handling all kinds of personal injury cases in Sacramento, and we are prepared to leverage this experience for you. Our firm takes the time necessary to learn as much as possible about each client and develops an individualized legal strategy for every case we accept. If you are unsure how to proceed with your impending bicycle accident claim, we can help, and it is important to reach out to legal counsel you trust as soon as possible after your accident if you want to optimize your recovery efforts.
It’s likely for the victim of a bicycle accident to have many pressing legal questions in the initial aftermath of their accident. You may have suffered severe injuries and may have little recollection of the moments leading up to your accident. It’s also possible for the at-fault party to have fled the scene, leaving you to wonder how you will hold them responsible. You could face many problems in the wake of your bicycle accident, and the right attorney can provide guidance and support in this challenging situation.
It is technically possible for you to pursue compensation for your damages on your own. You are not legally required to hire an attorney, but it is vital to understand the risks you would face if you attempted this route to recovery. First, you would be forced to contend with strict court filing deadlines and other procedural issues while managing your medical recovery. Bicycle accidents can easily cause severe physical injuries that are painful and difficult to treat. Hiring legal counsel that you trust enables you to focus on recovering while your attorney manages your legal proceedings for you.
Your recovery from a bicycle accident in Sacramento is likely to begin with a claim against an at-fault driver’s insurance policy, followed by a personal injury claim when their insurance cannot fully cover your damages. Confronting an insurance company on your own in your weakened state would be unlikely to generate the result you deserve, and any procedural errors in the handling of your personal injury claim could lead to missing your chance to recover compensation for your damages. Ultimately, it is more likely that you will win your claim when you have legal counsel on your side, but you are also more likely to maximize the total compensation you win for your damages with a Sacramento bicycle accident attorney’s help.
Before the victim of a bicycle accident can secure any compensation for their damages, they need to prove the exact cause of their accident and identify the person or party responsible for it. California operates on the fault principle for resolving vehicle accidents, including bicycle accidents. This means it is crucial to prove fault before any compensation can be obtained for the damages from an accident. A few of the most common ways for bicycle accidents to happen and generate civil claims in Sacramento include:
These are only a few ways that a driver could potentially cause a devastating bicycle accident. Proving fault for your recent crash is likely to require multiple forms of evidence, including traffic camera recordings, eyewitness statements from those who saw the accident happen, records from the driver’s cell phone, and more.
Your Sacramento bicycle accident attorney can be invaluable for building the foundation of your claim. Once you have proven fault for your accident, you can proceed with claiming compensation for your damages through an auto insurance claim and/or a personal injury suit against the at-fault driver.
California law requires every driver to have personal auto insurance that includes liability coverage for bodily injuries and property damage. When a driver causes an accident, their insurance coverage may pay for the damages they cause. However, even if you are certain of your ability to prove fault for your recent bicycle accident, you should not assume that filing your insurance claim will be an easy or straightforward process or that the insurance carrier will handle your claim in good faith.
You have a very limited window in which to report an accident to an insurance carrier, usually only a few days. It’s important to note that you must report an accident to the appropriate insurance company immediately, but you do not necessarily need to settle the claim right away. In fact, it is ideal to meet your notification requirement and inform the insurance company that you must consult with your legal counsel before discussing a settlement.
Having an experienced Sacramento bicycle accident attorney helping you with your auto insurance claim will significantly reduce the chances of encountering any bad-faith tactics from the insurance carrier. Your attorney can review your settlement offer to ensure it is acceptable under the terms of the defendant’s policy and resolve any conflicts that might arise between you and their insurance carrier. Once you have recovered as much as you can through insurance, any remaining damages can be claimed through your personal injury suit against the defendant.
The objective of your personal injury suit is to have the defendant declared accountable for the damages they inflicted. To succeed with your claim, you must identify who is responsible for the damages, prove they were negligent or intentionally harmful in some way, and then prove their actions caused your damages.
Most personal injury claims filed pertain to acts of negligence, or failure to exercise reasonable care in specific situations. The average driver has a duty of care to operate their vehicle responsibly, to heed posted traffic signals and speed limits, and to refrain from reckless or inappropriate actions behind the wheel. Success with your personal injury claim will hinge on your ability to prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care that they breached in some way and consequently caused your claimed damages.
Alternatively, it is possible for a personal injury to result from intentional and illegal misconduct. In this situation, the defendant faces not only liability for the victim’s civil damages but also criminal charges filed by the state. If the defendant who caused your bicycle accident did so through some illegal act, your Sacramento bicycle accident attorney can advise you as to how this could influence your recovery efforts and the final amount of compensation you obtain for your damages.
You can only file a personal injury claim against another party if their actions caused actual harm, meaning you must be prepared to prove the extent of the effects a defendant’s actions have had on your life to proceed with your personal injury case. Under California law, the plaintiff in a personal injury suit has the right to claim compensation for all economic damages they suffered because of the defendant’s actions, which may include:
The typical bike accident victim can likely assess immediately noticeable damages such as hospital bills and bicycle replacement costs, but calculating the full long-term economic impact of their accident could be very challenging without an attorney’s help. When you hire an experienced Sacramento bicycle accident attorney to represent your claim, you may be surprised to discover that you have grounds to seek much more compensation than you initially expected.
Beyond economic damages, plaintiffs in civil claims also have the right to seek compensation for the pain and suffering they experienced. In most personal injury cases, nothing limits how much pain and suffering compensation a plaintiff may seek from the defendant. The amount should reasonably reflect the overall seriousness of the experience, and their attorney can help them determine a suitable figure.
Most attorneys handling personal injury cases in Sacramento will use the multiplier method or the per diem method to calculate pain and suffering compensation for their clients. The multiplier method is generally considered more suitable for clients who have suffered significant permanent injuries and involves multiplying their total financial damages by a number between one and five to represent the serious nature of their injuries. The per diem method is more commonly used for clients who are expected to make full recoveries. The attorney sets an appropriate amount of daily compensation and then multiplies this by the number of days it takes their client to fully recover from their injury.
If you sustained any permanent harm from your bicycle accident, it is likely that the pain and suffering compensation you obtain from the defendant will overshadow your economic damages. When you hire the Ewing Law Group, PC to handle your claim, our goal is to help maximize your recovery as much as the law allows, and we will seek the maximum amount of pain and suffering compensation possible for your injury.
If you plan to file any type of personal injury claim, it is vital to assess whether you could bear any partial fault for the incident and to know how the state’s pure comparative fault rule works if you do. Under this rule, a plaintiff may still recover compensation from a defendant even if the plaintiff is partially to blame for causing the damages in question.
When a plaintiff shares fault with a defendant, the judge handling their case will assign fault percentages to each liable party. For example, after considering the evidence and facts of a bicycle accident case, the judge may determine that the defendant bears 70% liability, and the plaintiff bears 30% liability. The plaintiff would then lose 30% of the total compensation claimed from the defendant to reflect their shared fault. California does not enforce any fault threshold that would bar plaintiff recovery, but the higher their fault percentage, the more they lose from their case award.
Gathering evidence to prove liability, filing a motor vehicle insurance claim, then building your personal injury suit for your bicycle accident can be far more challenging than you expect, and the right attorney is an invaluable asset for many reasons. When you hire the Ewing Law Group, PC to handle your case, you are investing in an experienced legal advocate who will be readily available to assist you with your recovery efforts. You can rest and recover with peace of mind while our team manages your legal proceedings for you.
Most of the personal injury cases filed in Sacramento each year do not end in trial. The private settlement negotiation process allows the parties involved in a civil case to privately negotiate a resolution and avoid the need for expensive and protracted litigation. As long as both the plaintiff and the defendant are willing to negotiate and compromise, it is possible to settle a civil claim in a fraction of the time that litigation would require. However, if settlement is not an option for any reason, you will need to rely on your attorney to represent you in court.
The Ewing Law Group, PC has years of professional experience with all kinds of civil cases for our clients in the Sacramento area. We know that no two cases are exactly alike and that every client has different needs and concerns when it comes to their recovery efforts. If you are ready to learn what an experienced Sacramento bicycle accident attorney can do for you in your impending case, contact the Ewing Law Group, PC today to schedule a consultation with our team.