What Happens If My Bike Hits A Car?
If your bike hits a car due to poor maintenance and you are entirely at fault, you may face a claim raised by the other party. Similar to car accidents, the driver of the vehicle can pursue compensation for the damages you caused. Your homeowners or renter’s insurance policy may cover the driver’s damages in such cases.
In this article, we will look at the effects of inadequate bike maintenance and the actions to take when you are involved in a bike accident due to this specific rider error.
Bike Accidents In Del Mar
Del Mar is a picturesque seaside village promoting safe cycling through its 269 bicycle routes. However, despite the city’s bike courses, laws, and regulations, out of 18 traffic collision victims in 2020, 10 were from bike accidents.
While there are multiple reasons for bicycle crashes, one significant cause is the rider’s error, which includes poor bicycle maintenance.
Who May Be Liable For A Bicycle Crash?
Bicycle accidents can occur for several reasons. Generally, you will need to determine who is responsible for the bicycle crash and prove liability by having solid evidence. In most cases, the following may be liable for a bike accident:
You Are Partially Responsible for the Collision
If you are partially responsible for the bicycle crash due to your bike defects, you may still pursue compensation for the damages. However, your restitution will likely be reduced depending on how much you are to blame for the bike accident.
Likewise, the driver has the right to file a claim against you, which may force you to pay for the damages of the crash regardless of how much they are at fault. For instance, if they are 80% liable for the collision, they can go after 20% of the settlement value. This is because California follows pure comparative negligence, where a person is allowed to recover any portion of the damages.
To prove that the other driver is partly responsible for the crash, you will need evidence to support your claim. It is best to gather proof at the accident scene, such as:
- The driver’s name, residential address and insurance provider,
- Photos of the accident, including the property damage, and road or skid marks,
- Contact information and statements of witnesses.
- CCTV or surveillance footage of the accident from cameras nearby.
The Auto Driver Caused The Accident
- The driver is responsible for ensuring the safety of other road users, including you.
- The driver breached this duty.
- The breach caused the bicycle crash.
- The accident resulted in property damage and injuries.
When determining the total settlement amount, you may add the following types of damages:
- current medical bills
- future health expenses if your injury persists,
- property damage,
- pain and suffering
- lost wages, and
- burial expenses (if the bicycle accident led to a wrongful death).
While it may seem impossible and challenging to calculate these damages, a personal injury lawyer has the knowledge and expertise to quantify these factors and maximize your payout.
A Third-party Caused The Bicycle Crash
If you are hurt because of the road’s poor condition, you may file a claim against the local government responsible for maintaining the roadways. However, you may only pursue the claim within 6 months after the incident. You may win your case if you maximize your limited time by avoiding trials and errors with the help of accident attorneys.
On the other hand, you may also recover compensation from the bike manufacturer if the defects were caused by their errors. This, then, becomes a product liability claim.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Bike Accident?
If you are liable for the bike accident, you may still recover compensation for the damages of the crash, including:
- medical costs,
- future treatments and rehabilitation if you have a disability,
- medical equipment or aid if necessary,
- Bbke or property repair or replacement,
- out-of-pocket expenses,
- lost wages,
- future loss of income,
- pain and suffering,
- emotional distress,
- punitive damages, and others.
While some damages may be challenging to quantify, such as pain and suffering, your personal injury lawyer can help compute and include them in your total settlement value. They will also gauge if the compensation offer equates to how much the other driver is liable for the crash.
What Insurance Can Cover the Driver’s Damages?
If your poor bicycle maintenance ultimately causes the bike accident, you most likely need to cover the damage expenses of the driver. This is especially true if the driver files a claim against you.
There are several insurance coverages that can pay for the driver’s damages from the bike accident, namely:
Homeowners insurance typically pays for repairing or replacing your home and possessions if unexpected events, like fire or theft, damage them. Additionally, you may use this coverage if you unintentionally damage someone else’s property or harm a guest at your home.
Meanwhile, a renter’s insurance has similar coverage to a homeowner’s insurance. The only difference is that you may avail of this insurance policy if you rent an apartment or house.
The Risks of Having Inadequate Bicycle Maintenance
Generally, riding a bicycle is more dangerous than operating a vehicle. This is because the rider’s body is more exposed compared to vehicle passengers, making them susceptible to harm. Their visibility, weight, and limited safety equipment also contribute to the potential risks of bicycle crashes.
According to a survey by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, here are the leading causes of bike accidents:
|CAUSE OF CRASH
|Collision with auto vehicles
|Poor road conditions
|Hitting a stationary object
|Dog blocking the rider’s pat
Unfortunately, 13% of bike accidents occur due to rider error, which includes failure to follow California bike laws and poor bicycle maintenance. This is why it is crucial to constantly check the condition of your bike to avoid being involved in bike accidents.
Common Bike Defects that Cause a Bicycle Crash
There are a series of bike components you need to examine to secure your safety when riding. Some may overlook the importance of maintaining their bikes, which increases the risk of being involved in a bicycle crash. Here are the common defects caused by poor maintenance that cause bike accidents:
Flat tires occur when the air in your tire escapes through a tiny hole in your rubber tire. You may experience this if you run over glass, nails, or other sharp objects. To prevent traveling with a flat tire, make sure to:
- Check your tire pressure before using your bike. Generally, your tire should have the following pressure, depending on its type:
- Road tires: 100 to 140 psi (pounds per square inch).
- Mountain bike tires: 30 to 50 psi.
- Urban and casual bike tires: 60 to 80 psi.
- Examine your bike tires for objects that may cause tears, such as embedded glass, nails, or rock shards.
- Use tube sealants to repair a flat tire with them or avoid future flats.
- Insert a tire liner to have an extra layer to prevent flats.
Hardened or squeaky pedals
Hardened or squeaky pedals may prevent you from traveling smoothly. There are reasons why your pedals have hardened, including:
- Your wheels are rubbing against a frame, brake pad, or fender.
- You have low-pressure tires.
- You need to lubricate, clean, or replace your chains.
- There is a defect in your derailleur or bottom bracket.
- The height of your bike seat is inappropriate for your size.
Sometimes, your bike chains may click or snap while riding. This can be dangerous, especially if you are moving in traffic. In most cases, chains may break because of the following:
- There is too much tension in your chain.
- Your chains are bent or twisted.
- Your chains are worn out.
- You hit an object that caused the break.
When traveling, it is best to have chain tools to repair your broken chains and avoid causing further damage.
Traveling on a poorly-conditioned road and running over a pothole may lead to defective spokes. In some cases, your spokes may also break if the bike has too much weight.
If your spokes break while riding, you should:
- Stop immediately.
- Tighten the spokes if it is still connected to a hub.
- If the spoke is loose or completely broken, replace it.
- Change the entire wheel if the spokes are severely bent.
It is essential to consistently assess the condition of your bike to ensure your safety on the road. If you are a new bike rider, you need to gain more knowledge about how to take good care of your bicycle. The ABC bike check can help you inspect your bike in simple ways to begin your safe bike journey.
|Push down on the top of the tire to check that it has sufficient air pressure. The tires should feel firm.
You may also use a bike pump to check the pressure.
While checking the air, you may also check if the quick-release levers and thru-axles (if you have any) are correctly tightened.
|Squeeze your brake levers to determine if they are appropriately engaged and moving smoothly.
You may also test your front and rear brakes independently to ensure each is well-functioning.
Inspect your brake pads.
|Move your pedal back and forth to ensure the chain runs smoothly through the cassette and derailleur.
Lubricate the chain, if necessary.
Check the crank arms by giving them a wiggle. These shouldn’t be loose.
Can I File A Bike Accident Claim Without Hiring a Lawyer?
If the insurance provider discovers that you had bike defects during the collision, they may use this against you and blame you for the bicycle crash. Other challenges when dealing with a bicycle accident include:
- Difficulty in calculating the total damages,
- Having limited evidence to justify that your bike effects didn’t cause the accident, or
- Losing the case due to the limited timeframe and missed deadlines.
To prevent facing these hurdles in your case, a personal injury lawyer can help you claim maximum compensation and protect your rights by doing the following:
- Gather necessary documents and evidence to support your claim,
- Prove liability,
- Compute the total settlement amount,
- Defend your claim if the insurance company denies your case, and
- Proceed to court if necessary.
Jacoby & Meyers have competent personal injury lawyers with a winning track record in bike accident claims. We have been protecting the rights of bicycle crash victims in Del Mar and other areas in California. Contact us at 800-500-0000 for a free consultation. We will understand your situation and provide appropriate legal options to cater to your needs!