Murrieta Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bicycles are popular for many reasons in Murrieta, and while most people are able to enjoy their time riding their bikes in the area without issue, it is important to understand the risks you may face when you ride a bike near motor vehicle traffic. Bicycle accidents do happen in the Murrieta area, and whenever a motor vehicle driver hits a bicyclist, the victim is likely to suffer extreme injuries. If you or a family member recently experienced a bicycle accident because of another party’s actions, it’s vital to know your options for legal recourse and the value of having legal representation you can trust.
Legal Counsel for Bicycle Accident Claims in Murrieta, CA
Kampf, Schiavone & Associates can provide the compassionate and supportive legal counsel you need to navigate a bicycle accident claim with confidence and peace of mind. Our firm has years of experience helping injured clients recover from all types of vehicle accidents, including bicycle crashes. We know how devastating these incidents can be and the various legal challenges you might encounter in the aftermath of a bike accident someone else caused. Whatever your case entails, you can trust our team to provide responsive legal representation through all stages of your recovery efforts.
How to Prove Fault for Bicycle Accidents in Murrieta
The first legal challenge you must overcome in the aftermath of any vehicle accident in Murrieta is proving fault. The state operates on the fault principle for resolving all vehicle accidents, including bicycle crashes. Whoever caused the accident is liable for the resulting damages, but the process of actually proving liability can be more complex than you might initially expect.
Most of the bicycle accidents reported in the Murrieta area happen because of “negligence,” a legal term that defines a party’s failure to exercise reasonable care in a given situation or a failure to meet a specific duty of care. For example, every driver has a duty of care to refrain from distractions like cell phone use while driving. Drivers are expected to use reasonable care during inclement weather and other conditions that make driving more dangerous.
Success with your bicycle accident case begins with proving liability for the accident. A few of the most common ways that bicycle accidents occur in the Murrieta area include:
- Distracted driving, one of the most common causes of accidents in the United States.
- Speeding, which also increases the severity of resulting injuries.
- Traffic violations, such as illegal turns or running red lights.
- Driving under the influence (DUI), which will lead to criminal prosecution of the at-fault driver.
You will need to identify the driver who caused your accident, prove how they caused it, and then prove the full extent of the damages you suffered because of their negligence. If the driver caused your bicycle accident through an illegal act, such as drunk driving, your Murrieta bicycle accident attorney can explain how this could influence your recovery efforts and final case award.
In most bicycle accident cases, a driver who hit a bicyclist is almost always at fault, but this does not mean that an injured bicyclist cannot share liability for the accident. California upholds a pure comparative fault rule that can apply to any civil case in which a plaintiff shares liability with a defendant for causing the damages cited in the claim. If a plaintiff is found partially liable, they lose a percentage of the total compensation won from the defendant. If you are concerned about bearing partial fault for your recent bicycle accident, it is crucial to speak with a seasoned attorney as soon as possible. They can help minimize any comparative fault percentage assigned to you and guide you through the various proceedings your recovery efforts are likely to entail.
Potential Damages in a Bicycle Accident Claim
A bicycle accident has a high chance of resulting in life-changing injuries. State law requires bicyclists to wear Department of Transportation-approved helmets, but these devices can only mitigate head injuries, not prevent them entirely. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and facial injuries are just a few of the most commonly reported injuries from bicycle accidents in the Murrieta area. Many bicycle accident victims suffer multiple injuries that require extensive recovery time.
The victim of a bicycle accident may not only face expensive medical bills for the treatment they require but also future medical expenses if they have suffered long-term or permanent injury. Their accident may have left them unable to work, in which case the defendant would be responsible for the victim’s lost income and lost future earning potential. When you cannot go back to work in the future because of the serious nature of your injuries, the defendant is liable for the future income you reasonably think you would have earned if you hadn’t been injured.
You will also have the right to claim compensation for the loss of your bike and any other personal property damaged in the accident. Your Murrieta bicycle accident attorney can be invaluable for their help in calculating all your claimable economic damages, but this is only one side of your case award. State law also allows you to claim pain and suffering compensation, and there is no limit to how much you can seek from the defendant. However, the amount sought should reasonably reflect the overall severity of the harm you suffered. Your attorney can provide valuable guidance for maximizing the pain and suffering compensation you win from the defendant.
How to File an Insurance Claim for Bicycle Accidents
After proving fault and assessing the extent of your claimable damages, your first option for recovery is filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. State law recognizes bicycle accidents as vehicle accidents, and every driver in the state must have auto insurance that meets the minimum coverage requirements enforced by state law.
Your Murrieta bicycle accident attorney can help file your claim against the defendant’s insurance policy; they can also be invaluable for resolving any disputes the insurance company may raise against your claim. Remember, an insurance company has no incentive to pay out a maximum settlement and will generally look for all reasons it can find to reduce your settlement offer or outright deny your claim. An experienced legal representative can help ensure your claim receives fair treatment from the insurance carrier and that the settlement offer is reasonable to reflect the extent of your damages.
Building Your Personal Injury Claim in Murrieta
When insurance cannot fully cover the damages you suffered in your bicycle accident, your next option for recovery is filing a personal injury suit against the at-fault driver. After your attorney has helped you identify the party responsible for the accident and proven the full extent of the damages you can claim in your civil suit, you can proceed with submitting your complaint to the local court. At this point, your personal injury case can go one of two ways.
If the defendant is clearly responsible for the accident and accepts liability, they are likely to agree to settlement negotiations. During settlement, the parties involved in a civil case meet privately to negotiate terms for resolving the claim. Both parties must be willing to compromise, and as long as they can reach a mutually acceptable resolution, they can save time and money they would otherwise spend on litigation. However, if the defendant denies liability, disputes the range of damages sought by the plaintiff, or if the settlement does not produce mutually acceptable results, the case will need to go to court, and a judge will have the final say on the outcome of the case.
Regardless of whether your personal injury claim is resolved in settlement or litigation, you can expect a far greater recovery from your civil claim than you could receive from an insurance settlement. Additionally, if the defendant caused your accident through some illegal misconduct, such as DUI, you could receive punitive damages alongside your other claimed losses. Kampf, Schiavone & Associates can work diligently for you to assist you in maximizing your total recovery however possible.
What to Expect From Your Murrieta Bicycle Accident Attorney
The right legal team on your side can make a tremendous positive difference in the outcome of the recovery efforts you pursue after your bicycle accident. Kampf, Schiavone & Associates has successfully represented many injured bicyclists in the Murrieta area, and we are ready to put our experience and resources to work for you in your case.
You have a limited time to pursue compensation for your damages after a bicycle accident. The state imposes a two-year statute of limitations or time limit in which to file a personal injury claim, and this begins on the date your accident occurred. If you plan to file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver, you face a much shorter time limit, usually only a few days after your accident.
Kampf, Schiavone & Associates can help you recover as fully as possible as quickly as possible after another party has injured you in a bicycle accident. Contact our team today to schedule a consultation with a Murrieta bicycle accident attorney to start working toward the compensation you deserve.