Distracted Driving and the Risk to Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous. California has implemented laws banning the use of cell phones behind the wheel without the use of hands-free attachments, but phone use while driving is just one possible form of distracted driving. When drivers fail to pay attention to the road for any reason, they put everyone nearby at serious risk and that includes pedestrians and bicyclists.
A distracted driver may not notice a bicyclist taking a lane nearby or fail to notice a traffic light changing colors to allow pedestrians to cross the road. When a driver causes a pedestrian accident or bicycle accident due to distraction, this is a clear example of negligence. The injured pedestrian or bicyclist in this situation would have solid grounds for a personal lawsuit against the distracted driver.
Proving Negligence in an Orange County Bicycle Accident or Pedestrian Accident Case
When a pedestrian injuries due to a driver’s negligence, the injured party can secure compensation for their injuries through a personal injury claim. An Orange County, California personal injury attorney will be the best resource available to injured pedestrians and bicyclists in this situation. The Orange County pedestrian and bicycle accident lawyers at Easton & Easton, LLP have the skills and experience to hold negligent drivers accountable for the injuries and economic damages they cause.
A plaintiff’s attorney must identify the defendant responsible for causing the plaintiff’s damages and then provide the court with evidence that establishes the four key components of negligence:
- Duty. The plaintiff’s attorney must show the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, such as driving free from distractions, abiding by posted traffic signals, and yielding the right of way as the law requires in the area where the accident occurred.
- Breach. The plaintiff’s attorney must provide evidence that the defendant breached their duty of care, either through a direct action such as driving under the influence or committing a moving violation, or inaction when a particular action would have been reasonable and appropriate, such as yielding the right of way as the law requires in a given situation.
- Damage. A plaintiff can only file a personal injury claim if the incident at the root of the claim resulted in some kind of tangible damage, such as medical expenses or lost income from missed time at work due to an injury. If the plaintiff suffered no losses, there are no grounds for a personal injury claim even if the defendant in the claim was negligent in some way. The plaintiff must provide documentation that shows the full extent of the damages they intend to claim in the case.
- Causation. Finally, it is essential for the plaintiff’s attorney to prove the plaintiff’s claimed damages would not have occurred but for the defendant’s negligence. This means providing evidence that shows the plaintiff would not have incurred their claimed damages if the accident in question had not occurred.
Pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents are potentially quite damaging. It is the pedestrian or bicyclist who will suffer the most. They have little to no protection in the event of an accident with a motor vehicle, and they may suffer broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, and other serious wounds. They may lose income from missed time at work during recovery or develop disabilities that prevent them from working at all.
A bicycle and pedestrian accident attorney is an important resource for any bicyclist or pedestrian who suffers such injuries due to the actions of a negligent driver. Even if the plaintiff was partially at fault, such as by crossing the road outside of the crosswalk or failing to signal for a turn or lane change on a bike, California’s pure comparative negligence statute will still allow injured pedestrians and bicyclists to recover compensation for their damages.
It’s important to remember that while most bicycle accidents happen because of negligence, they may also occur from intentional and illegal misconduct. This can lead to criminal prosecution of the defendant, and their penalties will increase due to the harm they caused to the victim. If a defendant broke the law and caused great bodily harm or death, they are likely to face a felony charge and various penalties alongside their liability for the victim’s damages.
Claiming Compensation for a Bicycle Accident in Orange County
Your first option for recovering compensation for the damages you suffered in your recent accident is to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. State law requires every driver to have auto insurance that meets basic coverage requirements, and a bicycle accident qualifies as a vehicle accident for insurance purposes. However, there is no guarantee they will have enough coverage to fully compensate you.
Your Orange County bicycle accident lawyer can help file an insurance claim and resolve any problems you encounter with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. If they do not have insurance or they do not have enough coverage to fully compensate you for your losses, you can pursue a personal injury claim against them. Under the state’s personal injury statutes, you have the right to seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages they caused.
Economic damages are generally proven with the appropriate documentation. You need to prove that your financial losses directly resulted from the defendant’s actions and not from any other cause. When it comes to non-economic damages, specifically the pain and suffering compensation you seek with your claim, you have the right to seek whatever amount you believe to be reasonable to reflect the severity of the harm you experienced.
When you choose Easton & Easton as your bike injury attorneys in Orange County, our goal will be to maximize your recovery and minimize the time it takes for you to recover your damages. We have decades of professional experience in personal injury law and know all the various challenges you might encounter as you seek the compensation you need to recover from your accident.
Three Things You Should Know After A Pedestrian Or Bicycle Accident
Get the contact and insurance information of the other driver.
Do not talk to the insurance company or give a written or recorded statement to the insurance company without talking to Easton & Easton, LLP.
Call Easton & Easton, LLP as soon as possible so we can advise you what to do next.
You have a relatively short time in which to pursue recovery from your recent bicycle accident. If you were struck by a motor vehicle, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy but have only a few days in which to do so. If you intend to file a personal injury suit, there is a two-year statute of limitations in which you must file the claim with the court. Find an Orange County bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to meet these deadlines.
Q: How Do I Prove Liability for a Bicycle Accident in Orange County?
A: Before you can claim any compensation for your damages from a bicycle accident, you must prove how the accident happened and identify the party or parties responsible. Evidence you may need could include physical evidence from the scene of the crash, cell phone records, traffic camera video footage, and testimony from eyewitnesses who saw the accident happen. Your attorney can help gather the evidence needed to prove liability in a timely fashion.
Q: How Much Is My Bicycle Accident Claim Worth in Orange County?
A: The total value of any civil claim for damages hinges on the severity of the harm done by the defendant and the extent of long-term effects the victim faces. You have the right to claim full repayment of all economic damages the defendant caused, as well as compensation for projected future economic losses. Additionally, you can seek whatever compensation you believe is appropriate for your pain and suffering.
Q: What Happens if a Bike Accident Is Fatal?
A: If you have lost a family member in a fatal bicycle accident, a bike injury attorney can help pursue a wrongful death suit against the at-fault driver. This type of civil claim is functionally similar to a personal injury claim in some ways, with a few key differences. State law restricts eligibility to file wrongful death suits as well as the damages available if you succeed with this type of case.
Q: Can a Bicyclist Be at Fault for Their Accident in Orange County?
A: Bicyclists have many of the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers, so it is possible for an injured bicyclist to bear partial liability for their recent accident. Under California’s pure comparative fault rule, they can still claim compensation for their damages, but their fault percentage will be taken from their case award as a penalty, leaving them with the remainder.
Q: What Are Attorney Fees for an Orange County Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
A: The team at Easton & Easton does not charge upfront or ongoing legal fees to our clients in personal injury cases. We take these cases on contingency, so you will pay our firm a fee only if and when we win your case. Additionally, our contingency fee is a percentage of the total compensation we secure for you, and you pay nothing if we are unable to obtain compensation for your damages.
Contact Our Experienced Orange County Bicycle Accident Lawyers