Torrance Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Many people in Torrance regularly ride bicycles for recreation or as a means of transportation to work or school. Riding bicycles can help to reduce your environmental impact, improve your health, and save you money. However, cyclists are much likelier to be seriously injured or killed when they are involved in collisions. If you have been seriously injured in a cycling crash that was caused by someone else, you may be entitled to recover compensation from the responsible person or entity. The attorneys at the office of Steven M. Sweat Personal Injury Lawyers APC work hard to help the injured victims of cycling accidents to recover the compensation that they deserve for their losses.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 783 bicyclists were killed in the U.S. in 2017 in collisions with motor vehicles. In Southern California during 2017, 62 cyclists were killed, and 26 of those who died were in Los Angeles County. The NHTSA reports that California had the highest number of cyclist fatalities in 2016 with 147, followed by Florida with 138 and Texas with 65.
There are several reasons why bike accident injuries and fatalities are so prevalent in Southern California. Because of the year-round warmth, more people may head outside to ride their bikes. Southern California is very populous, and cyclists may be forced to share the roads with much larger vehicles in congested traffic conditions. Los Angeles also does not have enough bicycle lanes to accommodate all of the cyclists, which means that they may be forced to share traffic lanes with larger vehicles that are traveling at higher rates of speed. Other motorists may fail to notice bicyclists or to understand their rights to cycle on the roads. Finally, cyclists may not understand their own rights and responsibilities when they are riding their bikes and place themselves at a greater risk of being involved in a serious or fatal accident.
Cycle accidents may be caused by many different things. Some of the most common causes of these types of accidents include the following:
- Cyclist negligence
- Driver negligence
- Driver inattentiveness
- Driver distraction
- Failing to obey traffic control devices
- Failing to wear reflective clothing in low-light conditions
- Driving or riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Debris in the roadway
- Road damage such as potholes or broken asphalt
- Aggressive driving
- Following cyclists too closely
The Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat has identified a number of common scenarios involving collisions with cars vs. bicycles, including the following:
- Left-turn accidents
- Collisions with open car doors
- Unexpected reversing of vehicles
- Lane changes and merging of vehicles
- Passing cyclists without giving them proper distance
- Collisions at intersections
- Crashes caused by unsafe road conditions
Motorists who are turning left are supposed to yield to all oncoming traffic, including bicyclists. Many accidents happen when motorists fail to see oncoming cyclists or fail to yield to them when they are turning left.
Some motorists who park alongside the streets may open their car doors without checking to see if a cyclist may be approaching. This may cause a cyclist in a bicycle lane to collide into the open car door, which can result in serious injuries.
Some drivers back out of their driveways into the street without checking for cyclists. This can result in the drivers backing into or over someone who is riding on a bike, including children.
Vehicles may hit bicyclists when they merge or change lanes because they might not see them. They might also give the cyclists no warning of their intention to change lanes by failing to use their turn signals.
Some motorists grow annoyed or angry by cyclists who are in front of them and may aggressively pass them. When they do, they might not give the cyclists enough room when they merge back into the lanes and cause serious accidents.
Collisions at intersections occur frequently. Bicyclists may attempt to proceed through the intersections in the crosswalks, and motorists may strike them because they disobey traffic control devices, look at their smartphones, or fail to look for cyclists when they are turning right.
Finally, cyclists are especially at risk when the roadway conditions are poor. A pothole or crumbling pavement may cause the cyclist to lose control and to have a serious crash. Debris in the roadway can also cause a crash that seriously injures or kills a cyclist.Common Injuries and Potential Damages in Cycling Accidents
Cycle accidents can cause numerous injuries, and the injuries that people might suffer may be more serious. This is because bicyclists have little to protect them from the forces of a collision and from the environment that surrounds them. Even if you use the proper gear, you may still be seriously injured in a collision. Some of the common types of injuries that might happen in cycling accidents include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Crushing injuries
- Dragging injuries
- Multiple fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Road rash
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
These types of injuries may leave the victims with permanent disabilities and altered lives. When cyclists are killed, their families may face a combination of income losses, grief, and mounting expenses.
A personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit may allow victims of cycling collisions to recover economic and non-economic damages for their losses. Economic damages are all of the pecuniary losses that the victims have suffered and are expected to suffer as a result of their accidents. These damages might include the following types:
- Past, current, and future expected medical costs
- Income losses
- Future expected losses of incomes or reductions in earning capacity
- Rehabilitation and other related costs for ongoing care
- Property losses
- Funeral and burial costs in wrongful death cases
- Lost inheritance rights in wrongful death cases
Non-economic damages are losses for things that are more difficult to value and include the following types:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and trauma
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium for spouses
In addition to these types of damages, punitive damages may be available in some cases. These are damages that are not designed to compensate the victims but to instead deter people from engaging in similar conduct. Punitive damages are only awarded in cases in which the at-fault person engaged in especially egregious conduct. Some examples of egregious behavior that might lead to punitive damages include driving drunk or purposely running over a cyclist.Why it is Important to get Legal Help
If you have suffered a serious injury or have lost a loved one in a cycling collision, getting legal help is important. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat are dedicated to helping the victims of these and other types of accidents to recover compensation for all of their losses. Getting experienced legal help might help you to improve your chances of prevailing in your claim. Contact us today at 866.966.5240 to schedule a free consultation.