Bicycle accidents usually occur because a motor vehicle driver is negligent in some way. The motor vehicle operator, for example, might have been distracted and paying attention to his or her cell phone, rather than watching the road. At other times, the driver may have been speeding, running a red light, or violating some other traffic regulation. Whatever the circumstances, a motor vehicle impact with a bicycle can lead to severe and traumatizing injuries. The good news is that victims of bicycle accidents are sometimes eligible to pursue monetary compensation through a California personal injury claim or lawsuit.
An experienced El Monte bicycle accident lawyer will be able to review the circumstances of your bicycle accident with you. He or she can then determine your eligibility for filing a personal injury claim and could assist you with getting you the compensation that you need. In some instances, this goal can be accomplished via settlement. At other times, however, your lawyer might need to file a lawsuit in the court system and litigate your personal injury case there.
California is a Fault-Based Jurisdiction
The State of California is a fault-based – or tort – jurisdiction when it comes to auto insurance. This means that for a bicycle accident victim to recover compensation for the injuries he or she suffered in an accident, the accident victim has the legal burden of proof. The injured cyclist, therefore, will need to demonstrate not only that a motor vehicle operator acted unreasonably under the circumstances, but also that his/her injuries directly resulted from the accident.
If you can prove the legal elements of your claim, you might be eligible for various types of compensation. Your attorney can assist you with filing a personal injury claim and proving the necessary elements for your claim to be successful.
Settlement versus Litigation
Many bicycle accident claims settle out of court. However, this typically does not occur until several rounds of negotiations have taken place between the accident victim’s lawyer and the insurance company adjuster. If the adjuster refuses to compensate the accident victim adequately, then the lawyer could threaten a lawsuit in civil court. Even after the lawyer has filed suit, the parties could still resolve the case by way of a monetary settlement. If the case remains pending after discovery is complete, the parties might elect to go to court and try the case in front of a jury.
Compensation Arising from a California Bicycle Accident
Injured cyclists who can prove that another driver caused their accident may be eligible to recover various types of compensation. Monetary damages fit within two categories. The first category, called economic damages, is meant to compensate accident victims for medical expenses, lost earnings, and other out-of-pocket costs. In contrast, noneconomic damages are meant to compensate bicycle accident victims for intangibles, such as their pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, and mental distress resulting from their bicycle accident.
A knowledgeable California bicycle accident attorney at The JLF Firm can determine which of these damages you might be eligible to pursue. Your lawyer can then advocate for you during settlement negotiations, and if necessary, in the courtroom at a jury trial. Contact us today for expert legal assistance.