Involved in a Serious Bike Accident?
San Jose Bike Injury Lawyer Answers Frequently Asked Questions
Every time you choose to ride a bicycle, you are unfortunately assuming a certain amount of risk. However, if another individual chooses to be negligent in their actions — putting the cyclist in harm’s way — the victim may be entitled to recover damages from the negligent party. In California, roads create confusing and therefore hazardous conditions for cyclist and motorists alike. Although both modes of transportation must follow the main traffic laws, the way these laws affect a victim differs slightly. This is where a San Jose bike accident lawyer can help your case.
Based in San Jose, California, the experienced attorneys at Needham Kepner & Fish, LLP assist people throughout the San Francisco Bay Area who have suffered injuries in a bicycle accident. We have experience assisting in many different types of bike accident cases and can ensure that, no matter what situation you find yourself in, your rights are not being violated. Below are answers to questions we often receive about bicycle accidents. For further information, or to speak with a San Jose bike accident lawyer, please contact us today.
Q: What Do I Do in the Event of a Severe Bike Accident?
If you are involved in a serious accident, the first thing that you need to do is seek any necessary medical attention. Your health is most important. Even if you feel as though you are not able to pay for the necessary treatment, choosing to avoid treatment could end up costing you more than your opportunity to recover compensation — it could cost you your life. At the time of the accident, if you are able to do so, then it is important to contact the police.
Even if you are partially at fault for the accident, expert testimony can help prove what exactly happened. Photograph the site, including damage to persons and vehicles, and take physical evidence as soon as possible. It is also important to keep a written and detailed record of your memories of the incident as soon as you are able. Additionally, make sure to gather information from the driver and all available witnesses. Then, after you are safe, contact a bicycle accident lawyer.
Q: Who Is Responsible If a Defective Road Caused My Accident?
You can sue the government entity in charge of maintaining a roadway if your bike accident occurred because the road was dangerous as a result of poor maintenance, defective construction, poor signage or other unsafe conditions. There are, however, greater limits and difficulties when suing the government (e.g., a city, county or the state) as opposed to a person or business. Generally, California law gives you two years after an injury to file suit against a private person or private business. To sue the state government, however, you must provide written notice of your claim to the proper public entity or entities within six months of the accident, a much shorter deadline.
Q: Do Bicyclists Automatically Have the Right of Way?
Unlike pedestrians, bicyclists do not have the right of way at an intersection. Rather, bicycle riders must follow the same rules as cars. This includes obeying traffic lights and stop signs as well as yielding to pedestrians.
Q: If I Violate a Traffic Regulation, Can I Still Recover Damages for My Injuries?
Under California’s comparative negligence law, you can still recover damages even if you were partially at fault. However, your damages will be reduced by the percentage you were at fault. For example, if you failed to yield and that failure is determined to be 20 percent responsible for the accident, your recovery would be reduced by 20 percent. For these and other reasons, it is in your best interest to contact a bike accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash. Our California bicycle accident lawyers will investigate all possible causes of your accident in order to maximize your claim.
Q: What Are the Helmet Requirements in California?
California requires bicyclists younger than 18 to wear helmets. Even though adult riders are not required to wear helmets in most of California, it is still a good idea to wear one. A properly fitting helmet can greatly reduce the risk of serious head injuries if you are involved in a crash. Some cities and counties extend the helmet requirement to riders of all ages.
Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Claim After a Bicycle Accident?
Typically, you have two years from the date of the incident with a negligent party to file a claim. However, if a public or government entity is in any way responsible for the accident, then the claim must be filed with the proper public entity or entities within six months. There are also unique rules and timelines when a child is involved in an incident. Generally, it is wise to not wait long before making a claim because evidence can be lost and the exact details of the accident may become more difficult to prove after the passage of time.
Q: How Can Our Bike Accident Lawyers Help You?
In the event of a bike accident, you may feel like you do not have many options for recovery. Without the help of a San Jose bike injury lawyer, you may be left thinking that your only option is to pay out of pocket and go through your own personal insurance. This is not always the case. Our experienced legal team has been serving the Santa Clara, Alameda and San Mateo counties for decades. We are willing to fight for the rights of our neighbors. Contact us today for a free consultation and learn how we can assist you.