Oakland Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Many Oakland residents enjoy cycling for exercise and recreation, as well as bicycling as a means of transportation in the Bay Area. Indeed, Oakland has a large cycling community that emphasizes the health and environmental benefits of riding a bicycle. However, bicyclists often suffer serious and fatal injuries in collisions with automobiles. At the Dolan Law Firm, we know how devastating it can be to get hurt in a bicycling accident. In most cases, the crash results from a driver failing to pay attention and striking a cyclist on the road, or a motorist failing to look before turning right and colliding with a cyclist. More drivers in Oakland need to learn to share the road, but until that time, too many bicyclists must face the consequences of debilitating accidents.
Our Oakland bicycle accident attorneys are committed to providing you with aggressive and compassionate representation every step of the way. When you work with one of our committed lawyers, you should know that you have come to the right place. We can get started on your case today.
Rising Popularity of Bicycling Accompanied By Increase in Accidents
According to a report from the University of California-San Francisco, bicycling has “skyrocketed in popularity” in recent years, but with that increased interest in cycling has come “more accidents, with medical costs from non-fatal bike crashes climbing steadily by $789 million annually.” Indeed, a report from the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) indicates that, “since 2006, there has been an upward trend in bicyclist fatalities, counter to the trend of decreasing automobile crashes.” That report provides these additional facts and figures about bicycle crashes in Oakland and throughout the state of California:
- 35,934 bicycle accident injuries occurred in California between 2008-2010;
- Between 2008-2010, bicycle injury collisions accounted for more than 7 percent of the total number of crashes;
- Bicycle fatalities in California in 2011 totaled more than 4 percent of all crashes, which is approximately twice the national average of bicycle accident totals;
- In 2011, nearly 350 bicycle fatalities occurred, accounting for nearly 4 percent of all deadly motor vehicle accidents;
- About 1.2 percent of the California population is made up of bike commuters, meaning that the state has the fourth-highest number of bicycle commuters in the country, and thus putting Californians at a higher risk of bicycle accident injuries;
- Cities in California with the highest percentage of bicycle commuters include San Diego and Los Angeles, but a large percentage of Bay Area resident also commute on bicycle; and
- Approximately 1.5 percent of all trips in California are made on bicycle.
Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
Bicyclists suffer many different types of injuries in accidents. According to a study reported in American Family Physician, the following are among the most common types of bicycle injuries in the U.S.:
- Abrasions (commonly known as road rash);
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI), including concussions;
- Skull fracture;
- Brain contusion;
- Intracranial hemorrhage;
- Facial contusions;
- Facial fractures;
- Dental fractures;
- Corneal foreign bodies;
- Musculoskeletal fractures;
- Muscle strains;
- Rib fractures;
- Parenchymal lung injury;
- Splenic rupture;
- Rental contusion;
- Pancreatic trauma;
- Vascular perforation;
- Traumatic hernia;
- Small or large bowel contusion or rupture; and
- Genitourinary trauma.
As you can see, there are numerous injuries that affect bicyclists who are struck by motor vehicles, and many of those injuries can be debilitating or even fatal. The study in American Family Physician reports that head injuries occur in 22 percent to 47 percent of all bicycle injury cases as a result of collision with a motor vehicle, and more than 60 percent of those brain injuries result in death or long-term disability.
Filing a Lawsuit for Your Bicycle Injury in California
Most bicycle accidents happen because another driver was negligent. Examples of negligence include but are not limited to:
- Aggressive driving, including speeding or following too closely;
- Distracted driving, including using a smartphone behind the wheel;
- Drunk driving; and
- Drowsy driving, including falling asleep at the wheel.
Under California law, a plaintiff injured in a bicycle accident must be able to show that the other driver was negligent in order to recover damages. The essential factual elements of a negligence claim include the following:
- Defendant was negligent;
- Plaintiff was harmed; and
- Defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm.
How can a plaintiff prove the first required element, that a defendant was negligent? According to California law, negligence is defined as “the failure to use reasonable care to prevent harm to oneself or to others.” A person may be found negligent if “he or she does something that a reasonably careful person would not do in the same situation or fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation.”
It is ultimately up to the court to determine whether the defendant’s behavior fell short of how a reasonably careful person would have behaved in the same or similar circumstances. And if the court does conclude that the defendant was negligent, that defendant can be liable for the plaintiff’s losses.
You Have Two Years to File Your Oakland Bicycle Accident Claim
It is important to be aware of the personal injury statute of limitations in California. The statute of limitations is a strict deadline for filing a lawsuit. Please be advised that your potential case is governed by a statute of limitations (a limited time period in which you must begin a lawsuit). Statutes of limitations differ depending on the type of case involved. Some of these time periods may be as short as six months, while others can be as long as two years. We do not have enough information to identify which statute of limitations applies in your case. You should consult with a lawyer, the California Code of Civil Procedure, internet resources, and/or visit your law library to identify the applicable statute of limitations for your matter.
If you do not file your claims before the statute of limitations runs out, you will no longer have a valid claim and cannot pursue a civil case against the defendant.
Discuss Your Case with the Bicycle Accident Lawyer at Dolan Law Firm
Were you recently injured in a bicycle accident in Oakland? You should begin working with an aggressive Oakland bicycle accident lawyer on your case as soon as possible. The dedicated advocates at our firm are committed to serving injury victims throughout the Oakland area and can speak with you today about your options for seeking compensation. Contact the Dolan Law Firm to learn more.