After an accident with a car, truck or other vehicle, bicyclists have many important questions when it comes to who is at fault. In an effort to minimize any uncertainty or confusion, we have answered some of these questions below.
Is California a “fault” state or a “no fault” state when it comes to accidents?
California, along with 38 other states, is a “fault” state for auto and traffic accidents of all kinds – including those that involve bicycles. Twelve states, plus the territory of Puerto Rico, use some variation of “no fault” accident rules.
How do “no fault” states differ from “fault” states?
In a “no fault” accident, insurers will pay for valid claims made in relation to the accident no matter who was responsible for it. By contrast, “fault” states require that the blame for an accident be established and clearly assigned. This typically requires the victim to bring the responsible party to court.
What if my bicycle accident happened with an 18-wheeler?
No matter what the other type of vehicle was, the process of establishing the facts remains the same. If the other driver was in a commercial vehicle such as an 18-wheeler, courts will typically hold them to a high standard of driving conduct. That said, courts can also be wary of bicyclists – so working with the right lawyer is essential.
What if I ran a stop sign or did something else that contributed to an accident?
Even if you believe you did something that contributed to an accident, you should speak to an attorney. Don’t apologize for an accident or make any statements that accept blame. California recognizes “comparative fault,” so even if you were 99 percent responsible, you might receive compensation. You may not be as responsible as you suspect.
What if I don’t have insurance?
In many collisions involving bicycles, the motorist is ultimately at fault. Regardless of whether you have Personal Injury Protection insurance that applies to your bicycling, you can typically still file a third-party claim with that person’s insurance. You also can file a claim with your own health insurance company, which will usually then seek restitution from the driver’s.
What should you do immediately after an accident?
Call a bicycle accident lawyer in Los Angeles. California can be one of the most complex and unforgiving states for accident victims. Contacting a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles will help you protect your rights. Once you have an experienced lawyer on your side, you will increase your chances of winning your case.
If you want to get the best compensation possible for your case, be sure to call a lawyer who has a proven track record of success. Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney Joshua Cohen can point to number of specific cases he has won for clients, many of whom were bicyclists just like you. If you are interested in working with The Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney or want to learn more, contact us today.