Bicycle Accidents in Los Angeles: Expert Insights From a Top Bicycle Injury Lawyer

Bicycle Accidents in Los Angeles

I was 12 years old when I was involved in a bicycle accident. I was riding my bike on the sidewalk on Third Street in Los Angeles when a white Toyota ran the stop sign and hit me from the side. I was thrown onto the street and lost consciousness for a few seconds. When I came to, there were about 7 or 8 people around me asking if I was okay. Unfortunately, the driver had escaped and I was left alone to deal with the consequences of my injuries. It took me months to fully recover. I was not only left with physical but also emotional scars from that biking accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle crash in Los Angeles, it is natural to feel scared and overwhelmed about what to do next. As a bicycle accident lawyer in Los Angeles, and a victim of a hit-and-run myself, I understand firsthand how terrifying these cases can be. One minute you are riding on the beautiful city streets of Los Angeles like Brentwood, Westwood, or Santa Monica Boulevard, and the next minute a reckless driver hits your wheel from behind, causing you to lose control of your bicycle and hit the ground hard.

In this post, I’ll walk through the key steps you should take after a bicycle accident to protect your rights and increase the chances of a successful claim or lawsuit. These practical tips will help you make informed choices while avoiding common mistakes during this difficult time.

What Causes Most Bicycle Accidents

Frankly, there are many causes of bicycle accidents in Los Angeles. Some of the common causes involve collisions with reckless car and truck drivers. For example, I’ve seen cases where drivers failed to properly yield the right-of-way to bicyclists before turning. Other times, drivers were following too closely or were distracted by their phones or infotainment systems. 

Dangerous sideswipe and rear-end accidents are also another frequent cause of bicycle accidents on Los Angeles’ crowded streets. Bicycle riders in Los Angeles also risk getting struck when people negligently open their car doors without looking for bike riders. Right hook crashes occur at intersections when motorists make improper right turns in front of bicycles traveling straight in the bike lane. These types of vehicle and truck collisions result in some of the most catastrophic injuries I see when representing bicycle accident victims. 

What makes these cases even more devastating is that the victims are often kids or younger adults. These vulnerable bicyclists can be left with horrific injuries, such as paralysis, broken bones, skull fractures, nerve damage, vision or hearing loss, or post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see young lives shattered by the negligent actions of reckless drivers. No settlement can make up for the pain these victims endure.

What Are Some of the Common Bicycle Accident Injuries

Let’s talk about some of the most common, and some not common, injuries from bicycle accidents. Bicycle accidents in Los Angeles can cause a wide range of injuries, the lucky riders suffer very minor and inconsequential damages, while some riders experience debilitating, and even deadly, injuries. 

Minor biking injuries include such things as scrapes and bruises or soft tissue injuries. These superficial wounds and cuts happen when a bicyclist falls on the ground. Soft tissue injuries involve damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These types of injuries typically resolve with the help of physical therapy or chiropractic care in about 3 to 6 months. But it’s important to note that while these injuries are less severe, they still cause discomfort and require attention to ensure proper healing and prevent complications later on. 

The serious bicycle accident injuries I see include: traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) such as concussions or hemorrhages; spinal cord damage resulting in partial or complete paralysis; neck and back fractures; internal organ damage; facial disfigurement; broken noses, jaws and teeth; amputated or severely cut fingers and toes; severe road rash; and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

These types of severe bicycle injuries in Los Angeles require extended hospitalization and long-term rehabilitative treatment. They are truly life altering and the riders in many instances don’t make a full recovery. They often end up suffering with permanent physical handicaps for the rest of their lives. My goal as a personal injury attorney is to secure the compensation needed for all short and long-term medical injuries. You can read below to see the types of money compensation I seek in bicycle accidents cases in Los Angeles.

Immediate Medical Treatment and Follow-up Care after a Bicycle Accident

This goes without saying, but I will say it: It is crucial to get prompt medical attention after any bicycle accident or injury in Los Angeles. Even if you think your injuries are minor or small, see a doctor. The reason is simple: there may be internal damages or traumatic brain injury requiring emergency care. The adrenaline rush after an accident often masks pain. Call 911 and have them take you to the emergency room or a nearby urgent care facility for evaluation. 

When you get to the ER or urgent care center, tell the doctors that you were involved in a bicycle accident so that they order the appropriate tests. Make sure all your physical complaints and symptoms are noted in your chart, no matter how unrelated they may seem. Thoroughly document all diagnoses and treatments. 

Make sure to follow all discharge instructions closely. But more importantly, schedule follow-up visits with your primary care physician or a specialist if one is recommended. Your ongoing medical care, along with maintaining full medical records, will help your injury claim.

What to Do Immediately After a Bicycle Accident

There are many articles and help guides about what to do after an accident. But let’s face it – no matter how much you read up on tips and attorney advice, when faced with such a sudden, traumatic event, it can be hard to remember what to do. Instead of simply offering a checklist, I’ll share some common sense observations that I hope will help if you’re ever involved in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles:

  • Take a breath and try to stay calm. I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t panic. Try to focus and calm yourself down.
  • If you are able to walk, immediately get off the road and into a safe area. Your safety is the most important thing after a bicycle accident. You do not want to remain on the road where other cars or trucks could potentially hit you and cause further injury. Get to a safe spot as soon as possible and call 911. 
  • In many bicycle accidents which I’ve seen in Los Angeles, the car or truck drivers usually escape – what we call a hit-and-run. In other cases, drivers pull over and attempt to help. Try to find the driver that hit you and get their information. All you really need is their license plate number. But if you can get additional information, such as insurance information, name and address, and driver’s license number, it would greatly help your attorney.
  • Get immediate medical attention, even for injuries that seem minor. Symptoms of concussions, for example, may not be immediately obvious. 
  • If you are able to document the scene with photos, do it. Capture images of vehicle damage, skid marks, street signs, or anything else that you think will help you later on make a claim. 
  • In most instances in bike accidents in Los Angeles, there are witnesses who saw the crash. Get their contact information – this will greatly help your case. 

How Much Can You Get in Compensation Damages After a Bicycle Accident

To no surprise, one of the most common questions that we get at our law firm is “How much is my bicycle accident case worth?” This is a difficult question to answer because each case is unique, especially accidents that occur in Los Angeles. However, what I try to do when speaking with clients is give them an idea of the types of damages that we can potentially recover. I explain the categories of damages that I will request in our initial demand to the other side, or if the case eventually ends up in litigation.

Factors that Affect the Value of a Bicycle Accident

There are many factors that affect the value of a bicycle accident case, some of which include: 

  • The severity of injuries suffered, 
  • The lasting effects of the injuries, 
  • Whether there are permanent damages, such as a disability, 
  • Are there any visible disfigurements, 
  • Are there any nerve damage or brain injury, 
  • Has the rider suffered emotional trauma?

The Different Types of Compensation that are Available in Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents are really no different than any other type of personal injury that occurs on the streets of Los Angeles. The types of recoverable damages available include both economic damages and non-economic damages. Here’s a brief overview of what each category includes:

Economic Damages Recoverable in Bicycle Accidents

Economic damages are those that can be easily identified and quantified. They essentially include any out-of-pocket expenses relating to the bicycle accident. The following is a non-exhaustive list of economic damages which I always seek compensation for on behalf of my injured clients:

  • Medical expenses: This covers the ambulance ride, hospital stay, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any other medical costs related to the accident. It’s important to remember that this includes future medical expenses as well.
  • Lost income: Whenever my client has missed work or lost profits from his or her business, I always make sure they recover these losses. Of course, we would need past pay stubs or tax returns to establish the exact amount. 
  • Loss of future earning capacity: If the bicyclist has suffered permanent injuries which limit his or her ability to make money in the future, we always make sure that this is recovered. Sometimes, we would need to hire experts, such as an economist or a medical expert, to establish this fact. 
  • Damages to the bicycle or other property: As many bicycle riders know, bicycles are not cheap, sometimes costing up to $5,000, and this is something we will recover from the other side. I also always ask to get reimbursed for any and all personal property, such as damaged phones, watches, helmets, shoes, clothing, or anything else that was damaged or lost as a result of the bicycle accident. 

Non-economic Damages Recoverable in Bicycle Accidents

As the name implies, non-economic damages cannot be easily quantified because there are no invoices or receipts for them. For instance, there is no receipt for emotional trauma – we usually have to substantiate it by examining medical records and testimony from the victim or family members. Some of the key non-economic damages I typically seek compensation for on behalf of my injured bicycle accident clients include:

  • Pain and suffering: This is money compensation for any physical pain, discomfort, or mental anguish experienced as a result of the bicycle accident. 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: For example, if the bicyclist can no longer ride his or her bike, or engage in other hobbies or activities, I try to recover compensation for them from the other side. 
  • Disfigurement or disability: The victim is always owed compensation if they’ve suffered bicycle injuries that have caused them permanent scarring or disability.

I aim to paint a full picture of both the economic and non-economic damages to demonstrate the complete value of the case, but not every case will have every single of these types of damages. While it’s impossible to pinpoint an exact figure a victim can recover, we can provide an estimated range based on prior cases that have been litigated in California. At the end of the day, our goal is to maximize recovery for the injured bicyclist.

Call a Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney to Preserve Your Rights

One of the most common mistakes I see people make after any type of accident, whether it’s a bicycle accident or a car accident in Los Angeles, is to contact the other side’s insurance and try to resolve the matter by themselves. Why? So that they can save on attorney’s fees and costs. But this is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes that an injured person can make after an accident. Saving money should not be a reason to forgo contacting a personal injury attorney. 

After getting medical treatment for your injuries, the most important step you can take is call a bicycle accident attorney in Los Angeles. Do not delay because there are strict deadlines to file lawsuits after an accident – known as the statute of limitations. An attorney will advise you of your legal rights and options and immediately start to investigate the matter. They will send preservation of evidence letters to preserve key evidence, vehicle damage, witness accounts, and medical records. A bicycle attorney will file an initial claim with the insurance company and coordinate with the adjuster to determine liability and damages. A bicycle attorney in Los Angeles will also handle complicated legal procedures like settlement demands and litigation so you can focus on recovery. By hiring a personal injury attorney for your bicycle accident, you will pay a percentage of your recovery for fees and costs; but your ultimate recovery may be much larger than anything you can get by yourself.

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