Bicycles are very popular throughout Orange County, and many people in the area ride their bikes every day for exercise, leisure, or as environmentally friendly transportation around the area. While most people who ride bikes in Orange County are able to enjoy their time riding without issue, bicycle accidents can and do happen regularly for many reasons. Even the most experienced and cautious bicyclists must acknowledge the risks they face whenever they ride near motor vehicle traffic.
In California, bicyclists have many of the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. Additionally, with the exception of highways and other specified roads, bicyclists can use the same streets as motor vehicles and maintain space in lanes of traffic. Unfortunately, not all drivers extend the same courtesy to bicyclists as they do to other motor vehicle drivers, and other drivers are negligent behind the wheel in various ways that cause accidents.
If you or a loved one recently experienced a bicycle accident in Orange County because of another party’s negligence or misconduct behind the wheel, the team at Zwick Law can help you hold them accountable and secure fair compensation for your losses. The right personal injury attorney can make a substantial positive impact on your recovery from a bicycle accident, and they may be able to uncover channels of recovery you didn’t know were available to you at first. When you pick our firm to represent you, our goal is to maximize your recovery to the fullest extent possible under state law.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
California enforces a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, meaning you must file your claim within two years of the date the injury occurred. However, your recovery from a bicycle accident is likely to require an auto insurance claim first. Your wisest option is to consult with an Orange County bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident, and they can guide you through each stage of your recovery efforts with confidence.
If you can prove another party is directly responsible for causing your recent bicycle accident, you have the right to seek accountability for any and all economic losses their actions caused. You can also claim compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced because of their actions. The exact value of any personal injury claim hinges on multiple factors, so it’s important to consult an Orange County bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident to have the optimal chance of recovering as fully as state law allows.
If you lost a loved one unexpectedly in a fatal bicycle accident, you likely have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the party responsible for causing the accident. A wrongful death claim is functionally similar to a personal injury claim with few significant differences. You need legal counsel you can trust to guide you through this case with compassion and ongoing support.
Zwick Law accepts personal injury clients on a contingency basis. This means that when you pick our firm to represent you, there are no upfront costs to secure our representation, and you will not be required to pay ongoing legal fees for the duration of your proceedings. Instead, we take a percentage of the total compensation we win on your behalf as our fee, but only if we win your case. If we cannot secure compensation for your losses, you pay nothing, so there are no economic risks to you by hiring Zwick Law to handle your bicycle accident claim.
If the defendant who hit you is clearly responsible for the bicycle accident you experienced and they accept liability for the incident, you should be able to settle your case within a few weeks with the right attorney assisting you. However, should the defendant deny liability for the accident, contest the damages sought in your claim, or refuse to negotiate a settlement for any reason, your case will need to be resolved through litigation. This will take much longer, potentially several months, and the final outcome rests in the hands of the judge overseeing the case.
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.