Since the start of the pandemic, more California residents have been spending time outside walking and bicycling. At the same time, more people are choosing to travel by car than ever before instead of taking forms of mass transit. As more people use bicycles and more motor vehicles are on the roads, there are increased accident and injury risks. According to a report from U.S. News & World Report, the rate of deadly bicycle accidents in California hit a 25-year high in 2020, and both accident and injury rates persist throughout the state. While overall bicycle injury and death rates have risen across the country, they have been markedly high in California. When a bicycle accident happens in Vista, who is liable? Consider some of the following information from our Vista bicycle accident lawyers.
Negligent Motorists are Often Liable for Bike Collisions
When a bicyclist is injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, the driver of the motor vehicle is often at fault and liable for injuries. There are many different ways in which driver error can cause collisions with bicyclists, including distracted driving, intoxicated driving, and aggressive driving.
Much too often, motorists are distracted and are not paying proper attention to the road. In those circumstances, a driver might not notice a bicyclist on the road, or might not look in the bike lane before making a right-hand turn. Likewise, intoxicated drivers might not see bicyclists and will not have the capacity to safely share the road. In other circumstances, motorists might be in a rush and speeding, or they might even engage in road rage behaviors involving cyclists that can lead to collisions. In any of these situations, as well as many others, the driver can be responsible for harm.
Auto and Bicycle Defects
In some bike crashes, product defects are to blame. For example, an automobile involved in the collision might have defective brakes that prevented the motorist from stopping and avoiding a collision with the bicyclist. Or, for example, the bicyclist might have purchased a bike with defective tires or defective handlebars that contributed to a crash. Under such circumstances, the injured bicyclist could be eligible to file a product liability lawsuit.
Government Liability for Damaged Road
Sometimes bicycle accidents happen because of road damage or uncleared road debris. While bicyclists cannot expect all roads and bike lanes to be in constantly pristine condition, an injured bicyclist may be able to hold a government entity accountable when negligent road maintenance resulted in serious bicycle accident injuries.
In order to file a government claim, a bicyclist will need to follow specific steps and will need to do so quickly. In most cases involving government agencies, California law requires an injured bicyclist to file a claim with the agency within 6 months from the date of the bicycle accident. The government can either approve your claim, or deny your claim. If your claim is denied, you may then be able to move onto filing a lawsuit to seek compensation with assistance from a Vista personal injury attorney.
Contact a Vista Bike Accident Lawyer Today
If you were injured in a bike accident and need to file a claim for compensation, one of our Vista bicycle accident attorneys can help you to determine which party or parties may be liable for damages. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can help.
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