Torrance Bicycle Accident Lawyer
More and more people throughout the country are using bicycles as a primary means of transportation--this includes the commuters of California. With its warm weather and wide-open spaces, southern California is especially suited for bicyclists. Although the infrastructure of the state has not kept pace with this trend, more protected spaces have been created for bicyclists over the last decade and bicyclists have been granted the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers.
If you are like most bicyclists, you are keenly aware of your exposure and vulnerability on the road. To keep yourself and others safe, you remain vigilant and conscientious. Unfortunately, not all motorists are willing to reciprocate. Some motorists are aggressive toward bicyclists or indifferent about their safety. If you have been injured in an accident due to the negligence or recklessness of a driver, you do have legal options.
The First Steps
Your first move should be to contact a bicycle accident lawyer in Torrance. You need not file a lawsuit straightaway. If the insurance company of the driver who hit you is willing to offer fair and adequate compensation, then you may be able to avoid a lengthy process of negotiation. It is better to turn the matter over to a bicycle accident lawyer in Torrance. They will be able to tell you whether the compensation offered is sufficient.
If you need to file a lawsuit, a Torrance bicycle accident lawyer can help you do it. Before you make any such claim, you should have a legal strategy, or at least the beginnings of one, in place. A Torrance bicycle accident lawyer will be eager to hear your side of the story. They will ask you to recall the circumstances and events that preceded the accident and all that happened afterward. Your lawyer will take a keen interest in the particulars of the crash and how it has affected you and your family.
The Cost of a Bicycle Injury
Few bicyclists walk away unscathed from an accident. Even the most minor accident causes scrapes and bruises that must be cleaned, treated, and bandaged. If you took the full force of a motor vehicle in a collision, you could be in the hospital for weeks or months. You will be unable to earn an income and you will be faced with medical bills, including expenses for rehabilitative treatment and prescription drug medicine. When you are ready to go back to your job, you may have to reduce the number of hours you work or take a lower-paying position.
This can all lead to tremendous stress on you and your family. You should not have to bear the burden alone if you followed the rules and the person who hit you didn’t.
Rules for Bicyclists
To make your case against the person who hit you more compelling, you must ensure that you followed California bicycle roads to the letter. Your lawyer will go over them with you to make sure you were in full compliance. Here is an overview of the laws:
The law states that if you are moving slower than traffic, then you can take the lane—that is, ride in the road as though you were in a car. This is one of the least understood laws in the state. Both the person who hit you and the police officer who interviewed you after the crash may not be aware of your right to take the lane. You should inform your lawyer if this right was not acknowledged by police officers after the accident.
You must stay as close to the right side of the road as possible except when preparing for a left turn, avoiding hazards, or approaching where a right turn is authorized.
You should use a bicycle lane when one is available.
You should always use hand signals when you are turning or getting ready to pass in front of a car.
In most cases, you are not allowed to ride on freeways or expressways. Nor can you ride through toll bridges unless permitted to do so by the California Department of Transportation.
Your bicycle must be equipped with a brake that allows you to stop using a wheel skid on dry and level pavement. The handlebars on your brake must not be higher than your shoulders.
When it comes to lights, your bike must have one that is visible from the front. It must also have a red reflector that is visible from the back at night. You must also have white or yellow reflector on each pedal or on your shoes or ankles that is visible from the front and back.
You must wear an approved helmet when riding. You should never wear earplugs, headphones, or other devices that degrade your ability to hear or see. You should attempt to speak on the phone or send text messages while riding. And you should not ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
How a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Torrance Can Help
To work with a bicycle accident attorney in Torrance is to work with a professional with extensive experience and expertise in this field of torts. The first thing your attorney will do is review the police report on the accident. They will then engage the services of their own professional investigators to re-examine the scene and re-interview any witnesses. Your lawyer will also make inquiries into the background of the person who hit you and their state of mind and sobriety at the time of the accident. If they have a history of breaking traffic rules or were driving while drunk or distracted, your lawyer will find out about it.
Your bicycle accident attorney in Torrance will also employ an accident reconstruction expert to develop a simulation of how the accident unfolded based on the evidence. Your lawyer will also get statements from medical experts that explain the nature and severity of your injuries and why they could have only been caused by the accident.
In the end, your lawyer may be able to present enough evidence to the insurance company to compel them to offer you a settlement that is commensurate with all that you have endured.