Biking is a great way to exercise and can be a cheap method of transportation. Unfortunately, however, accidents do happen, especially as bikers and motorists share the road in crowded metropolitan areas.
Stress is usually magnified in the aftermath of a car-bike accident due to the vulnerability of the biker. This inevitably brings up the question of who is at fault in a car-bike accident.
At Los Angeles Bicycle Law, we exclusively represent cyclists. We can help you review the case and advocate for you in court. Contact us today to learn more about how a bicycle accident attorney can help.
Issues Involved in Car-Bike Accidents
Helmets do play a big role in protecting a cyclist’s brain and head from trauma, but serious injuries like bone fractures, joint dislocation, and painful cuts and scrapes can arise after an accident. Car drivers also face the risk of injury in an accident with a bike alongside damage to their vehicle.
In the case of a car-bike accident, the driver is often held liable because they have more protection. However, cyclists who were riding negligently can also be at fault after a car-bike accident.
Bike accident law can change rapidly, and some insurance companies might not be completely up to date on how it works. Others might make the claims process after a car-bike accident difficult because of the situation’s unique nature.
As a result, it’s important to speak to an experienced bicycle accident attorney at Los Angeles Bicycle Law if you were in a car-bike accident. We understand how to deal with insurance companies. And we always keep up to date on the latest changes to bike law.
What Causes Bike Accidents?
The vast majority of bike accidents occur when a rider loses control and hits hard concrete or pavement. These types of accidents can occur without any vehicle contact.
However, a sizable number of bike accidents do involve motor vehicles. These types of accidents usually occur when a cyclist or driver is not watching very closely while out on the road, leading to a collision.
Crashes between bikers and drivers often take place as a cyclist is exiting a private driveway, when a biker is riding against traffic, or as a driver starts to accelerate to try and get past a moving cyclist. Accidents can also take place due to defective bike parts, if a driver is intoxicated or driving under the influence, or when a car door opens right when a biker is riding by.
Who Is Liable After an Accident?
Liability after a car-bike accident usually falls to the driver since bikers are less protected. However, a cyclist who ignores a stop sign or light, or is riding on the wrong side of the road could be deemed at fault for an accident.
Even though bikes do not have motors, they are still expected to follow the same traffic rules as drivers.
Examples of negligent riding include:
- Failure to yield to traffic,
- Sudden turns without any signal, and
- Straying out of a bike lane.
All of these actions place cyclists and motorists at great risk of an accident on the road.
What Type of Negligence Can Be Established Post-Accident?
If the law finds that you were negligent, this may fall under a legal theory called “contributory negligence.” You as the cyclist would not be able to recover any restitution since your actions partially contributed to the accident.
In another theory known as “comparative negligence,” the court distributes fault between both the cyclist and car driver in an accident. Compensation might be awarded to each party, but it will be smaller than the full potential amount.
These types of guidelines change when the biker is a child. The ‘tender years’ doctrine says children do not fall under contributory or comparative negligence because they can’t always be expected to follow traffic rules while riding.
Under this doctrine, responsibility will automatically shift to the vehicle driver in a car-bike accident.
Speak With a Los Angeles Bike Accident Attorney
To learn more about who is at fault in a car-bike accident, speak with an experienced bike accident attorney. At Los Angeles Bicycle Law, we will be able to educate you on traffic and biking laws and inform you about the types of damages you could receive. Contact us today for a case evaluation.