The Basics of Bicycle Accidents
While cars and bicycles are supposed to share the road, every year thousands of bicyclists are injured by drivers who fail to follow all the safety rules. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident you need to understand what your rights are.
Who Is at Fault?
California law gives you the right to recover damages when you are injured because of someone else’s negligence. Deciding who is at fault for an accident, unfortunately, is not always straightforward.
In the state of California, if both the driver and the cyclist share blame for the accident, the cyclist may still be able to recover damages. However, those damages will be lowered by the percentage of fault the cyclist shares in the accident.
Other factors may also lead to a reduction in damages paid out by the driver. If the injuries the cyclist sustains are primarily because the cyclist failed to wear a helmet, a court may allow for the damages paid to the injured cyclist to be reduced.
Hit and Run and Uninsured Drivers
Getting paid the compensation you are legally entitled to can also be complicated if the driver who hits you fails to stop or the driver does not have insurance. While you have a legal right to sue the uninsured driver, that driver is unlikely to have the financial means to cover your damages. If the driver did not stop and you do not know who the driver is, you also will be unable to make a claim against him or her.
While it is possible to buy bicycle insurance, few riders have a bicycle insurance policy, but there may be another alternative. If an uninsured driver hits you or the driver fails to stop and exchange information, you may be able to recover under your car insurance’s uninsured driver provision. This would require you to file a claim for damages with your own insurance company. However, just because you pay premiums to your insurance company does not mean they are on your side when it comes time to pay a claim. You will still need to prepare your case thoroughly in order to maximize your recovery.
Get Help With Your Accident
If you have been injured in a car crash, bicycle accident, or any other type of collision, contact an experienced San Jose car accident lawyer to discuss your case. Call 408-286-2300 for a free, no-obligation consultation at Janoff Law today. We will help you explore your options for collecting compensation and work with you in getting your life back on track quickly.