Legal Representation for San Diego, CA Bicycle Accident Victims
Bicycles are popular throughout southern California for many reasons. The weather in the San Diego area is ideal for outdoor cycling throughout most of the year, and many people enjoy riding bikes for pleasure and exercise. Others use them to get to and from work, helping to reduce carbon emissions from commuting. Whatever your reasons for bicycling in San Diego might be, it’s vital to understand the risks you face every time you take your bike on the road.
When bicycle accidents occur, bicyclists can suffer catastrophic injuries, many of which can cause permanent disabilities and medical complications. Bicycle accidents can also easily be fatal. If you or a loved one recently experienced a bicycle accident in the San Diego, CA area, you need to know your rights and how to secure compensation for your damages. Under the personal injury laws of California, a victim has the right to seek compensation for any and all damages caused by another party’s negligence. Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates can offer the comprehensive legal counsel you need after experiencing a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
Why Should I Hire a San Diego Bicycle Accident Attorney?
If a negligent driver is clearly responsible for your recent bicycle accident in San Diego, you may wonder why you can’t simply file a civil claim against them on your own and save yourself the expense of hiring a San Diego bicycle accident lawyer to represent you. If your claim seems straightforward this is a reasonable question, but it’s vital to consider the risks you face by attempting to handle your case alone compared to the potential benefits that reliable legal counsel can offer.
Filing any type of personal injury claim requires meeting various filing deadlines with the local court and adhering to strict procedural requirements. You would not only need to meet these obligations entirely unassisted but do so while also recovering from your bicycle accident injuries and managing the economic aftermath of the incident. Even slight errors in your court paperwork can lead to significant delays in the processing of your claim. It’s also possible for the court to reject your claim on a technicality before it even reaches a judge for consideration.
Even if you are successful with your case without an attorney, you may unintentionally settle for less than you could have secured with the help of a San Diego bicycle accident lawyer. The average person with no formal legal training may not know of the various open channels of compensation available in their claims, and they may overlook crucial avenues of compensation that an attorney would have easily identified. Ultimately, the amount you could save by handling your case alone isn’t worth the tradeoff when you consider the difficulty of managing your own personal injury claim and the fact that your San Diego bicycle accident attorney can likely obtain a much larger settlement than you could manage alone.
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates has successfully represented many past bicycle accident cases and can apply this professional experience to your case. We understand how devastating these incidents can be and that many bicycle accident victims face long-term medical complications due to these accidents. Our team will handle your legal proceedings on your behalf so you and your family can focus on recovery with peace of mind.
How Do I Choose a Good Accident Lawyer?
Finding the right attorney to represent your bicycle accident claim can seem like an enormous challenge. You are already likely struggling with the aftermath of your bicycle accident. This could include medical complications, inability to work, and mounting economic pressure from a lack of income and unpaid bills. The search for a San Diego bicycle accident attorney can seem to add more stress to an already extremely stressful situation.
When it comes to choosing the right San Diego bicycle accident lawyer for your claim, it’s vital to evaluate a few key areas of consideration:
Experience. Perhaps the most important factor you must consider when looking for a San Diego bicycle accident attorney is their experience level. Find an attorney who has not only significant experience with personal injury claims but also specific experience handling bicycle accident claims like yours.
Performance history. Evaluate the attorney’s professional record. Look at reviews from past clients, both on the attorney’s own website and those published on third-party sites, so you can get an accurate idea of what it will be like to work with the attorney.
Responsiveness. Ask the potential attorney about how you can get in touch with them, how often you can expect updates on your case’s progress, and their anticipated timeline for your case to conclude. A good personal injury lawyer should offer several methods for contacting them throughout your case.
Billing policy. It’s natural to be apprehensive about the potential cost of your legal fees. A good San Diego bicycle accident lawyer should carefully explain their billing policy and provide you with a transparent contact so you can make a fully informed decision about your legal representation.
The team at Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates has the professional resources, skill, and vast experience necessary to handle the most complex bicycle accident cases on behalf of San Diego, CA clients. Attorney Kenneth Sigelman is not only an experienced and highly accredited California personal injury attorney but also an MD. Our firm knows how to carefully examine a client’s medical complications resulting from a personal injury to ensure we maximize their recovery as fully as California state law allows.
Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accident
Bicycle accidents occur throughout southern California for many reasons. Some of the most commonly reported causes of bicycle accidents in the San Diego area include:
Distracted driving. All motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists need to pay close attention to their surroundings on the road. Distracted driving is a leading cause of all motor vehicle accidents. Since bicyclists are smaller and harder to see than other passenger vehicles, distracted driving is especially dangerous for bicyclists.
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. It is illegal and extremely dangerous for anyone to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In the event you or a loved one suffer a bicycle accident caused by an intoxicated driver, you have the right to hold them accountable for your losses with a civil claim. In addition to civil liability for your damages, the intoxicated driver will also face criminal prosecution for violating California’s DUI laws.
Poor visibility. Bicyclists may be harder to see than larger vehicle, but drivers must still use caution on any road where bicyclists may be present. Bicyclists who ride at night or in highly congested areas should use extra caution and do whatever they reasonably can to make themselves more visible to nearby drivers.
Speeding. Posted speed limits are not suggestions. Drivers must adhere to posted speed limits to minimize their risk of causing accidents and to ensure a stable flow of traffic. When a driver speeds, they have less time and space with which to react to changing traffic patterns and can easily cause a devastating collision.
Moving violations. Illegal turns and U-turns, improper lane changes, and other moving violations are extremely hazardous for both the driver who engages in such actions and all others around them.
Aggressive driving. Unfortunately, not all motor vehicle drivers recognize the rights of nearby bicyclists and their legal ability to take a lane. If a driver acts aggressively toward a nearby bicyclist, such as swerving close to them to scare them, this can easily cause a bicycle accident. The driver could face not only civil liability for the victim’s damages but also criminal charges for reckless driving or even vehicular manslaughter if the bicyclist does not survive.
These are only a few examples of how bicycle accidents might happen in the San Diego, CA area. Ultimately, the determining factor when it comes to whether you have the right to file a personal injury claim in response to a bicycle accident is whether another party caused the incident. If so, you have the right to seek compensation for any and all damages their actions caused.
Determining Fault for Your Recent Bicycle Accident
A bicycle accident claim is a type of personal injury claim, and every personal injury claim filed in California hinges on the legal concept of “negligence.” This term refers to a failure to exercise reasonable care in a situation or failing to uphold a specific duty of care. For example, every driver has a duty of care to avoid distracted driving and pay attention to the road when operating their vehicle. Distracted driving is a clear breach of this duty of care and can easily cause a bicycle accident.
Your San Diego bicycle accident attorney can help you determine which party or parties bear responsibility for your recent bicycle accident. Depending on how and where your accident occurred, you may not have been able to immediately identify the at-fault driver. For example, suppose you were seriously injured in a hit-and-run bicycle accident. In that case, you may not have been able to obtain the driver’s license plate number or any other identifying information that could help you determine who caused your accident.
Your attorney can help you gather evidence like traffic camera footage, cell phone records, and eyewitness testimony from others who saw the accident occur. After you positively identify the party responsible for causing your bicycle accident, you can file your Complaint with the San Diego civil court system. This complaint must name the party or parties you believe to be responsible for your damages and provide a complete list of all the damages you intend to claim with the suit. Once the court receives your complaint, they will send the necessary paperwork to the defendant named in your claim. At this point, the defendant can either accept liability and agree to settlement negotiations, or they may contest liability and demand a trial.
Commonly Reported Bicycle Accident Injuries
Time is a critical factor in any personal injury case. The sooner you begin working on your case, the better your chances are of holding the defendant accountable and maximizing your recovery. Your San Diego bicycle accident lawyer can draft your claim and include a completely breakdown of all the damages you are claiming. One of the most important aspects of your case is likely your medical expenses, which are likely to be substantial. Bicycle accidents are easily capable of causing severe life-changing injuries, including:
Traumatic brain injuries. The human brain is highly susceptible to traumatic injury in any type of vehicle accident. Even if a bicyclist wears the highest-quality safety helmet, these devices can only reduce the severity of head injuries, not eliminate the risk of them entirely. Head injuries are often complex and unpredictable, and it’s possible for two people to suffer apparently identical traumatic brain injuries but have completely different symptoms and recovery experiences. Your attorney can examine your medical reports to determine the full range of effects your traumatic brain injury is likely to have.
Spinal injuries. The human spine is incredibly delicate and vulnerable to injury. It’s possible for the vertebrae to suffer fractures, for the discs between the vertebrae to become slipped or herniated, or a complete spinal cord injury may occur. Whenever the spinal cord is damaged, the effects are permanent as the spinal cord cannot repair itself. Spinal injuries may cause a loss of sensation or even complete paralysis in the body regions connected to the spine below the injury site.
Broken bones. The crash impact forces in play in a bicycle accident can easily result in severe bone fractures, many of which can cause permanent damage. Some bone fractures will heal completely with time and appropriate treatment, but others may involve nerve damage and other complex injuries. Some fractures may require surgical correction and cause chronic pain and limited range of motion for years to come.
Internal organ damage. The organs of the body can easily suffer traumatic injuries in a bicycle accident. Some of these injuries can create long-term medical complications for the victim, and many will require immediate medical treatment to save the victim’s life.
Facial and dental injuries. A bicycle accident can easily cause severe injuries to the bicyclist’s face and teeth, some of which may be permanently disfiguring. These injuries are not only incredibly painful but also involve complex recovery processes and may cause psychological trauma.
Soft tissue injuries. The tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the body can experience traumatic injuries from the crash impact forces of a bicycle accident. While some of these injuries will recover with rest and minimally invasive treatments, others may require surgery and pose long-term complications to the victim.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the injuries a bicycle accident might cause. Ultimately, a bicycle accident victim may face catastrophic injuries that pose lifelong medical complications and other challenges, such as inability to work or even live independently. These incidents also cause tremendous physical pain and emotional trauma.
Compensation for Bicycle Accident Damages
California state law allows a personal injury victim to claim compensation for any and all damages resulting from a defendant’s negligence. When it comes to filing your personal injury claim in response to a bicycle accident in San Diego, you mustn’t delay too long and risk missing the statute of limitations for personal injury actions in California. However, it is also important to allow enough time for you, your attorney, and your medical providers to accurately assess the full scope of your damages. Some injuries may not manifest immediate symptoms, and other injuries may pose various long-term risks that require time to evaluate. Your San Diego bicycle accident attorney can help you estimate the full scope of your claimable damages, which may include:
Medical expenses. California law allows a personal injury plaintiff to recover the full costs of all medical treatments they require due to a defendant’s actions. This not only includes immediate medical expenses incurred from a bicycle accident, such as hospital bills, ambulance fees, surgery costs, and prescription medication costs but also long-term medical expenses. For example, you may require ongoing physical therapy to regain functionality after sustaining a severe bicycle accident injury, and the defendant who caused your accident would be liable for these treatment costs.
Lost income. Your bicycle accident could mean you are unable to work for an extended time. You have the right to include lost wages in your bicycle accident claim if your injuries prevent you from returning to work for an extended time. In the event you suffer a catastrophic injury that causes a permanent disability, you might be unable to work at all in the future. In this situation, your San Diego bicycle accident attorney would help you figure out the future income you would have reasonably expected to earn if your accident had not occurred.
Property damage. A bicycle accident claim plaintiff can include the cost of repairing or replacing their bicycle and any other personal property lost in their accident as economic damages in a personal injury claim.
Pain and suffering. California law allows personal injury plaintiffs to recover noneconomic damages for emotional distress, physical pain, and psychological trauma caused by a defendant’s negligence. Your San Diego bicycle accident attorney may help you seek “per diem” compensation for every day you spend in pain until you reach maximum medical improvement, or they may seek a larger lump sum instead if you suffered any permanent damage from your bicycle accident. Pain and suffering could form a large portion of your total recovery.
In addition to these basic economic damages and noneconomic damages, other factors can also influence a plaintiff’s case award in a bicycle accident claim. For example, if the defendant was engaged in any illegal activity when they caused the accident, or if they intentionally struck the bicyclist, the judge may award punitive damages to the plaintiff to further punish the defendant. The amount a defendant must pay in punitive damages typically depends on their financial status and the seriousness of their actions.
It is also possible for a bicyclist to lose a percentage of their case award due to California’s pure comparative negligence law. This states that someone partially responsible for causing their own damages may still recover compensation for those damages. Still, they lose a percentage of the case award equal to their fault percentage. For example, if a plaintiff seeks $500,000 in compensation but the judge overseeing the case finds the plaintiff 10% at fault, the plaintiff loses 10% of their case award, receiving $450,000 instead. If you have any concerns as to whether comparative negligence is likely to come into play in your case, consult your San Diego bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.
What to Expect From Your San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer
The right attorney can make a tremendous positive impact on the outcome of your San Diego bicycle accident claim. When you choose Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates to represent you, you will not only have instant access to an invaluable source of critical legal information but also reliable guidance as you navigate a complex series of legal proceedings. Even the most seemingly straightforward civil claim can pose numerous challenges to an injured plaintiff, and the representation and guidance your attorney can provide will allow you to approach the situation with more confidence and peace of mind.
Your legal team can help you gather the evidence and witness testimony you may need to establish liability for your recent bicycle accident, assist you in drafting your initial Complaint against the party responsible for your damages, and represent you in settlement negotiations. In the event settlement is not possible or your settlement negotiations fail for any reason, you can rely on your bicycle accident lawyer to represent you in trial.
Talk to a Lawyer About Your San Diego Bicycle Accident Claim
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates can provide the legal counsel you need after a devastating bicycle accident in San Diego, CA. We understand the economic pressure and other challenges facing victims of these incidents and have successfully helped many past clients secure compensation for their damages. If you are ready to discuss your legal options following a bicycle accident in San Diego, we can help. Contact Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates today to schedule your consultation with our team.
Kenneth M. Sigelman and Associates possesses an exceptional and thorough knowledge of California law, decades of legal experience and a commitment to achieve justice and obtain fair compensation for victims. Click below to learn more about our team of San Diego, CA attorneys.
KEN SIGELMAN J.D., M.D.
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