When Can I File A Bicycle Accident Lawsuit?
In California, it is important to act quickly if you have been injured in an accident. While you have the right to take legal action, the state limits the amount of time you have to file a personal injury claim.
An invisible clock will begin to run the moment you are involved in an accident. In most cases, this clock will run for two years. If you do not file a personal injury claim for damages before this clock (the statute of limitations) expires, you will likely be prohibited from getting the money you really need to get better.
What Are The Exceptions To The Statute Of Limitations?
There are certain circumstances that will allow you to file a claim outside of the traditional timeframe set by the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations can be extended if:
- There is a reasonable delay in the discovery of an injury
- You are a minor at the time of your accident
- The defendant can’t be found or is in prison
What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Government Defendants?
If you believe that the government is responsible (or partly responsible) for your bicycle injury you cannot waste any time. In order to recover compensation from the government, a special administrative claim must be filed within six months of your accident. The government will review your claim and either approve or deny your request for compensation. If your request is denied, you will have an additional six months to file a formal civil claim against that government entity.
What Damages Are Available To Bicycle Accident Victims?
In California, personal injury victims are generally entitled to recover both economic and noneconomic damages. The specific amount and type of damages that can be awarded will vary from case to case.
Economic Damages For Bicycle Accident Victims
Economic damages allow a victim to recover the verifiable out-of-pocket expenses they incur because of an unexpected accident. This includes current costs and projected future costs. Examples of economic damages include:
- Medically-necessary devices
- Physical therapy
- Nursing care
- Lost wages
- Reduction in earning capacity
What Are Noneconomic Damages For Bicycle Accident Victims?
Some consequences of an accident may not have a direct financial cost. This doesn’t mean that these harms are any less serious or devastating. Noneconomic damages are awarded to compensate you for these personal and hard-to-value injuries. Examples of commonly awarded noneconomic damages include:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Who Is Responsible For My Bicycle Accident Injuries?
In California, you can recover compensation from anyone whose negligent or wrongful conduct contributed to your injuries. If more than one person is responsible, liability will be divided according to each person’s degree of fault. Under this theory of comparative fault, a victim can also be held financially responsible if they played a role in causing their own accident. If you are partially responsible for causing an accident, your ability to recover compensation will be limited.
There are quite a few potentially liable parties after an Orange County bicycle accident, including:
- Orange County drivers
- Other bicyclists
- Bicycle manufacturers
- Car manufacturers
- The government
What Should I Do After I’m Injured In A Bike Accident?
The decisions you make immediately following your bicycle accident will affect any future legal claims you decide to file. Keeping the following suggestions in mind after your accident will help to keep you safe and maximize any compensation you may recover.
- Report the incident. A police report may be admissible as evidence in court, but the information it contains will be invaluable to your attorney. These reports tend to document details and eyewitness accounts that are likely to get lost or forgotten over time. Your attorney will use these details as the basis for a thorough and in-depth investigation into your crash.
- Get medical help. Some bicycle accident injuries can pose a serious threat to your health if they are left untreated. Seeing a doctor will help to make sure that you are safe. The report that your doctor creates during your visit will help to prove that your injuries were caused by your bicycle accident.
- Don’t talk to insurance companies. Insurance companies may be quick to offer you an early settlement. When you are trying to make ends meet and cover your medical bills, this immediate offer may be attractive. It is important to resist the urge to accept these early offers. Insurance companies aren’t on your side and don’t have your best interest at heart. These early offers won’t be enough to cover the full extent and costs of your injury.
And most importantly:
Call A Lawyer
Your chances of recovering a meaningful settlement or award increase when you hire an attorney to handle your case. At the Law Offices of John Rapillo, our personal injury attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and passion necessary to get make sure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries.