WHY YOU NEED AN ORANGE COUNTY BICYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
There may not be a law that specifically requires you to hire legal counsel for a personal injury case, but hiring legal counsel you can trust provides several important benefits in any civil claim for damages. Primarily, hiring an attorney to represent your case means you will not need to manage all your legal affairs by yourself while struggling with the medical complications caused by your accident.
When you have an attorney you can trust, you can focus on your recovery while your legal team handles all your legal affairs on your behalf. Zwick Law has years of experience handling all types of vehicle accident claims, including bicycle accident cases. We know the legal challenges the average person would likely encounter if they tried to handle their recovery efforts on their own. Our firm will carefully review the details of your accident, help you gather any evidence needed to prove liability for the accident, and assist you in exploring every avenue of compensation that might be available to you.
If you tried to handle your bicycle accident claim by yourself, you would not only need to meet strict filing deadlines with the court and other procedural requirements, but you would be compelled to do so while also managing your recovery, your household, and your other personal obligations. Do not make the mistake of assuming that legal counsel is unaffordable or that legal recourse wouldn’t yield good enough results to justify the effort put into it. The right attorney can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your recovery efforts.
COMMON CAUSES OF BICYCLE ACCIDENTS IN ORANGE COUNTY
Before you can proceed with your recovery efforts after another party has injured you in a bicycle accident, you must identify the party responsible for causing the incident and prove they are directly responsible for your claimed damages. Unfortunately, most bicycle accidents reported in Orange County are the result of incidents of negligence, such as:
Moving violations, such as illegal turns, improper lane changes, failure to yield the right of way, and running red lights. Traffic signals and road signs exist to provide drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians with a means of anticipating the flow of traffic. Moving violations disrupt the flow of traffic and can easily cause accidents in many ways.
Distracted driving, which is the leading cause of all traffic collisions in the United States. Whenever a driver isn’t paying full attention to their surroundings, they can easily cause a serious accident. Bicyclists are especially vulnerable to accidents caused by inattentive drivers because a distracted driver is more likely to overlook a bicyclist than they would another motor vehicle.
Whenever a driver exceeds the speed limit, they reduce the time they have to slow down or stop. Additionally, when an accident happens and at least one of the vehicles involved is speeding, the risk of catastrophic injury and death increases dramatically. This is especially true if a speeding driver hits a bicyclist who has little to no physical protection from the crash impact forces of an accident.
It is also possible for a driver to cause a bicycle accident through intentional misconduct. The two most common examples of this would be driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs and reckless driving. DUI is a serious crime, and the penalties for conviction depend on the severity of the offense, whether the defendant hurt or killed anyone, and their prior DUI conviction record.
When a DUI driver hits a bicyclist, they are highly likely to not only cause devastating injuries to the victim but also face the harshest possible penalties upon conviction. Reckless driving refers to intentional disregard for the safety of others while driving. Intentional moving violations, street racing, and excessive speeding are just a few examples of behaviors that could lead to reckless driving charges for a driver in Orange County.
HOW TO DETERMINE FAULT FOR A BICYCLE ACCIDENT
The first step in recovering from any personal injury in Orange County is proving the exact cause of the injury and identifying the party or parties responsible for causing it. Proving fault generally requires careful evaluation and leveraging of physical evidence, digital records, and eyewitness testimony. However, California upholds the pure comparative negligence rule, which means that if a plaintiff is found to be partially responsible for their personal injury, this will be reflected in their final award.
When comparative fault comes into play in any vehicle accident case, the judge overseeing the matter will assign each liable party a fault percentage. This dictates what share of the victim’s damages they are responsible for repaying. When a plaintiff is found partially liable for causing the personal injury, their fault percentage is deducted from their final award. For example, if a judge determines that a plaintiff is 25% at fault, they will lose 25% of the compensation won from the defendant. In a $200,000 bicycle accident claim, this would amount to losing $50,000. If you have concerns about possibly bearing partial liability for your recent bicycle accident, it is essential to hire legal counsel you can trust to guide you through your proceedings and minimize your fault percentage.
Zwick Law has successfully handled many bicycle accident claims on behalf of Orange County clients. It’s relatively common for defendants accused of causing accidents to accuse their victims of partial liability in their efforts to avoid financial responsibility for the damages they have caused. Our team will gather evidence such as the at-fault driver’s cell phone records and vehicle computer data, footage from traffic cameras in the area where your accident happened, and statements from eyewitnesses to help you firmly establish liability for the bicycle accident you experienced.
DAMAGES AND COMPENSATION IN YOUR ORANGE COUNTY BICYCLE ACCIDENT CLAIM
After identifying the party or parties responsible for your bicycle accident and proving their negligence or misconduct directly caused your claimed damages, the next step in your case will be proving the exact extent of those damages. Under state law, you have the right to claim compensation for both economic and non-economic damages resulting from a defendant’s negligence. However, economic damages are more straightforward and generally include the following:
Property losses. You have the right to seek repayment for any property lost in the accident the defendant caused. For most bicycle accident victims, this will include the cost of repairing or replacing their bicycle and other personal belongings lost in the accident.
Medical expenses. Any bicycle accident, even one that happens at a relatively low speed, can easily cause severe injuries to the bicyclist. Broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, and damage to internal organs are possible, and the victim is also likely to sustain a host of cuts, scrapes, and bruises from the incident.
Long-term medical treatment costs. Unfortunately, some bicycle accidents cause catastrophic injuries that demand months or even years of ongoing treatment. When you have proven another party is responsible for the injuries you suffered in a bicycle accident, they are liable for any and all medical treatment costs you incur to recover from the incident. Your Orange County bicycle accident attorney should consult your medical care team to determine the full scope of treatment you are likely to require for healing as fully as possible from your injuries.
Lost wages. Many bicycle accident victims are injured so severely that they must stay home and recover, unable to work and earn income. If this applies to your situation, the defendant is responsible for the income you are unable to earn during your recovery. This applies to the value of any vacation time the victim was compelled to use after the injury.
Lost future earnings. When a bicyclist has suffered catastrophic injuries due to the actions of another party, they could be left unable to work at all. If your future earning capacity has been diminished or destroyed by the defendant’s actions, your Orange County bicycle accident attorney can help you prove how much income you would have reasonably expected to earn in the future had the incident not occurred.
While the average bicycle accident victim is likely able to calculate immediately recognizable economic damages like hospital bills and the cost of repairing their bicycle, assessing long-term damages is far more challenging. For optimal chances of accurately calculating all the immediate and future damages you can claim from the defendant, it is crucial to work with an experienced Orange County bicycle accident attorney you can trust.
CLAIMING PAIN AND SUFFERING COMPENSATION FOR A BICYCLE ACCIDENT
California law acknowledges that the experience of a personal injury is itself a form of harm to be compensated by the defendant responsible for causing the injury. Most people are aware of the term “pain and suffering” for personal injury cases, but it can be challenging to determine a fair amount of monetary compensation for intangible losses like physical pain, psychological distress, and emotional trauma caused by an accident.
If you have suffered injuries that are expected to heal completely within a relatively reasonable time, your attorney may seek a per diem pain and suffering compensation arrangement on your behalf. This would involve determining a fair amount of compensation for each day the victim spends in pain during their recovery, and the victim would receive compensation for every day they spend recovering until they reach maximum medical improvement from their injuries.
Alternatively, when a plaintiff has suffered catastrophic, life-changing injuries that entail permanent disability, their attorney is more likely to seek a large lump sum of pain and suffering compensation. Attorneys typically use a multiplier to determine fair pain and suffering for their clients in these situations. Your Orange County bicycle accident attorney may multiply your claimed economic damages by a factor of one to five to reflect the severity of the harm you experienced and the permanent impact the accident has had on your quality of life.
Depending on the severity of the injuries you suffered, it is possible that your pain and suffering compensation could amount to more than the total of your claimed economic damages. Zwick Law aims to help every client we represent recover as fully as state law allows, and this includes seeking as much pain and suffering compensation as we reasonably can for every client.
FILING AN INSURANCE CLAIM FOR A BICYCLE ACCIDENT
Every driver in the state is required to carry auto insurance that includes liability coverage. If one driver causes a motor vehicle accident with another driver, the injured victim has the right to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. This rule applies to bicycle accidents as well, so if you were hit by a motor vehicle driver while riding your bike in Orange County, filing a claim against their auto insurance could be a valuable option for some initial compensation.
Unfortunately, insurance company dealings are rarely easy or pleasant. An insurance carrier has no incentive to help you maximize your recovery, and on the contrary, they usually look for every reason they can find to justify a lowball settlement offer or deny your claim outright. Insurance companies are driven by profits, not helping people, so you cannot assume that the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will handle your claim in good faith or offer a fair settlement for your claim.
If you intend to file an auto insurance claim after any kind of accident in Orange County, it is crucial to have an experienced attorney represent you and assist you with the claim filing process. Your legal team can examine the at-fault driver’s insurance policy to ensure the insurer delivers a fair offer for your claim, and if you encounter any bad faith handling of your claim, your attorney will be ready to address it on your behalf.
Once an insurance company’s representative notices that a claimant has legal representation, they will be disinclined to try any bad faith tactics, but there is always a chance for other disputes to arise with any auto insurance claim. When you have Zwick Law representing you, our firm has years of experience handling all types of insurance claims for motor vehicle accidents, including bicycle accidents, and we will address any disputes that arise with the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf.
RESOLVING YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM
After exploring preliminary recovery options like auto insurance, you can proceed with a personal injury case against the other driver. Zwick Law can provide the ongoing support and reassurance you need in this difficult time, helping you identify every avenue of recovery available to you and maximizing the compensation you win from the defendant. We’ll seek to settle your case as quickly as possible to streamline your recovery, but if your case must be resolved in trial, we are fully prepared to provide the comprehensive support you will need in these challenging proceedings.
Ultimately, any bicycle accident can result in devastating damages for the victim and their family, and every personal injury plaintiff will have an entirely unique experience as they seek compensation for their damages. Zwick Law is ready to help you have some peace of mind as we help you navigate your recovery efforts after a bicycle accident caused by another party in Orange County.
CONTACT US TODAY
Zwick Law has the professional resources and experience necessary for handling the toughest personal injury claims filed in Orange County, including those generated by bicycle accidents. We know the challenges you are likely to face as you seek compensation for your damages, and we want to help you maximize your recovery. The sooner you secure our firm’s representation, the more likely you are to reach the most positive outcome possible for your impending bicycle accident case. Don’t wait and risk your recovery. Contact Zwick Law today and schedule your case review with an experienced Orange County bicycle accident attorney.