California, with its sunshine and balmy weather, is a great place to enjoy bike riding. Many Californians ride bikes for fun or as a way to commute. Because of the lack of protection a bicycle offers, however, bike accidents can leave the victim with serious physical injuries as well as detrimental financial impacts. If you, or someone you know, were involved in a bike accident, it can be helpful to understand the average bicycle accident settlement in California.

Factors That Impact a Bicycle Accident Settlement

The average bicycle accident settlement in California is difficult to assess as an exact monetary figure, as every accident is unique. The amount that you should be fairly awarded varies considerably based on the incident you were involved in; specifically, on the ability to prove who was at fault, the extent of physical injuries, and the financial losses caused by the accident. Before examining these factors, it is helpful to understand what kinds of damages are common.

Average Bicycle Accident Settlement in California

Common Damages in a Bicycle Accident Settlement

A bicycle accident falls under personal injury law, similar to a car, truck, or other accident. Generally, the kinds of damages that can be collected from a personal injury case are as follows:

  • Compensation for medical bills that resulted from the injury
  • Money for physical property damage, such as damage to your bicycle
  • Compensation for financial loss, such as from being unable to return to work after the incident
  • Restitution for the pain and suffering that you experienced due to the accident

Certain noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering due to your injuries, may feel hard to evaluate. It is easier to find all your accompanying medical bills and tally the concrete costs. A personal injury lawyer can help you assess your total damages and determine a reasonable amount to ask for.

How the Extent of Physical Injuries Impacts Your Settlement

For a bicycle accident to be a personal injury case, there must be some level of actual injury involved. If, for example, you were sideswiped by a vehicle because the driver was not paying close attention, it may be clear that they were being negligent as a driver. If you came away from the incident unscathed, however, you will not be able to collect any damages.

Hopefully, insurance will be able to cover your medical bills but if not, a personal injury case can help you attain the rest of the compensation you deserve. If, for example, you had to be hospitalized for several days, required surgery, and then required rehabilitation and physical therapy, all of these costs would factor into how much you should reasonably be awarded. The steeper your medical bills, the larger your settlement should be.

Financial Losses Caused by the Accident

Not all financial losses from accidents are due to hospital fees and medical needs. If the accident prevents the victim from earning money due to their injuries, then they are entitled to compensation. This means that your settlement amount will depend, in part, on the earning capacity of the victim.

For example, if you and your 5-year-old are biking and get in an accident, you should not only demand restitution for injuries sustained by the two of you but also for any loss of paychecks if you couldn’t make it to work while recovering. If, however, only your 5-year-old was injured, you could not reasonably expect the same amount of financial aid, as your 5-year-old is not the breadwinner for your family.

Ability to Prove Who Was at Fault

Proving which party was at fault is key in any sort of vehicular accident. While, in some states, bearing any responsibility for an accident negates your ability to claim compensation, California still allows you to seek damages, even if you were mostly at fault. It is important to show that you were not at fault, however, as even bearing a small percentage of the blame can significantly lower your settlement amount.

Going into a bicycle accident claim, your lawyer can help you prove that you were not in breach of your duty as a bicyclist, such as by signaling and following road signage. They can also assist you in proving negligence on the part of the defendant. If you can show that most or all of the responsibility falls on the defendant, you are likely to receive a higher settlement.


Q: How Much Compensation Should I Expect for a Bicycle Accident?

A: The short answer to this question is simply, “It depends.” If you were in a serious crash that was 100% someone else’s fault, have high medical bills, and will be unable to return to work for some time, you should expect a higher settlement. If you were partly to blame, suffered minimal injuries, and maintained your work attendance despite your injuries, you should expect a lower settlement.

Q: How Much Is the Average Accident Settlement in California?

A: While this varies, as stated above, many settlements range from $10,000 to over $100,000. Higher amounts can be expected in major accidents and with sufficient legal support. You can read recent results from legal firms for a closer estimate or speak with an attorney for a more exact one. Easton & Easton recently resolved a case between a biker and the State of California, with the cyclist being awarded $175,000.

Q: Can a Bicyclist Be Found at Fault in an Accident?

A: Yes, a bicyclist still has their duty when using paths and sharing roads with other vehicles. Even without blinkers, you are required to signal to other drivers when making a turn and follow posted signage, just like others. Fortunately, California’s pure comparative fault laws allow you to still seek damages, even if you were partially at fault in an accident.

Q: Is It Worth It to Pursue Compensation If I’m at Fault?

A: It is always worthwhile to know whether you have a case that could allow you to receive compensation. Easton & Easton has previously helped cyclists who appeared at fault, at least to some level. For example, a cyclist, in one case, entered the crosswalk seemingly when it was already red and got struck by a car. Circumstances allowed Easton & Easton to still reach a settlement of $100,000 for this cyclist.

Contact Easton & Easton

If you, or someone you know, were involved in a bicycle accident, it is important not to wait to pursue your potential case. Deadlines to receive compensation from insurance are often only a few days from the time of the accident, and personal injury cases typically have a two-year limit from the time of the incident. If you want legal support or have further questions, reach out to us today.