Orange County Bicycle Accident Lawyer
With Offices in Huntington Beach
Do you need legal help?
Orange County Bicycle Accident Lawyer
With Offices in Huntington Beach
Do you need legal help?
- Georgia Cunradi
- D. Franklin Welch
- J. Weber
Download our free personal injury book.
Learn the things you should and shouldn't be doing during your personal injury case. Submit your information below to receive your free book.
Orange County Bicycle Accident Attorney
Being in an accident on your bicycle is a frightening experience. When that accident is caused by a careless motorist, the results are often catastrophic.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been seriously injured by an automobile while riding your bicycle. You may be in pain. You’ve probably lost income due to missing work. You’re probably concerned about paying the bills. And you’re most likely looking for someone to help you with a bicycle accident claim.
We are here to help. Our firm offers free legal consultations. Call our Orange County bicycle accident lawyer today.
Don’t let concern over money stop you from calling and getting the answers you need. Just reach out as soon as you can and schedule a free legal consultation.
The information on this page will give you a good idea of what’s involved in a bicycle accident claim. First, we’ll show you the many ways you can accidentally damage your claim. Then, we’ll tell a client story to further illustrate important points of which you should be aware. Be certain to read to the end to learn as much as you can.
Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident
These are some steps that need to be taken if you have been in a bicycle accident in Huntington Beach.
1) Call the Police
Whether you are suffering from severe injuries or not, a police officer must be called to the scene of the accident. When the officer writes a report, it will include who was involved in the bicycle accident, what happened to make the accident occur, witness testimonies, and the names of those involved.
2) Seek Medical Attention
You need to make sure that you seek medical attention at the accident scene. You may have clear injuries, but you also may have injuries that are not readily apparent. A professional EMT will recognize if something significant is wrong with you better than a self-diagnosis can. Along with seeking medical attention at the scene, you may want to see a doctor as soon as possible after the bicycle accident since some injuries may not be apparent when the accident first occurs, but appear later after the shock and adrenaline have worn off.
3) Collect Information
Collecting the driver’s information is an essential step when you have been in a bicycle accident. You will want to get their driver’s license information, insurance information, and license plate number. Getting the driver’s information will make it easier if you have to talk to their insurance or your insurance companies. Collecting information can be done while you are waiting to seek medical attention.
4) Gather Evidence
While you are waiting for the ambulance to get to the scene, you should start gathering evidence at the scene of the bicycle accident. Gathering evidence can include taking pictures of the driver’s car, your injuries, and pictures of your bicycle. They will be useful in your personal injury claim. Of course, a personal injury law firm can help gather all the evidence you have and talk to the insurance company for you, and relieve you from the stress of not knowing what to say or how to handle the claim.
5) Get Witness Testimonies
If there is anyone in Huntington Beach that stuck around after the accident and witnessed what happened, it is in your best interest to get their contact information. Collecting their contact information can be helpful in the future when you are talking to your bicycle accident lawyer because they can talk to the witness about your Huntington Beach bicycle accident. Witness testimony can help a personal injury lawyer represent bicycle accident victims due to having more evidence about what occurred during the accident.
6) Hire Professional Help
Dealing with an insurance company can be a time-consuming task, but getting the compensation you need is essential. Therefore, it is necessary to hire a Huntington Beach personal injury lawyer to talk to the insurance company for you and deal with negotiations. Professional and experienced help will ensure that you get the compensation you deserve and that the insurance company does not make a lowball offer. Plus, a skilled Huntington Beach personal injury lawyer knows what to say to the insurance company to help your case and not harm it.
A Huntington Beach personal injury lawyer has to prove that the driver was negligent. A negligent driver who causes a bicycle accident is not taking enough care when it comes to bicyclists on the road. Therefore, your Huntington Beach lawyer needs to prove a couple of things to prove that the driver was negligent.
- The driver was obligated to follow a duty of care towards others on the road. Duty of care means that the driver should follow the rules of the road towards bicyclists and other drivers.
- Next, it must be proven that the driver did not follow the duty of care while on the road with other bicyclists and cars. For example, the driver did not keep the right distance from the bicyclist on the road or made a right turn while the bicyclist was in the crosswalk.
- Your Huntington Beach lawyer must prove that since the driver did not follow the duty of care, it resulted in an accident.
- Lastly, the victim has sustained losses due to the accident, which include pain and suffering, loss of wages, and medical expenses.
Remember, for your Huntington Beach lawyer located in Orange County to prove that you are not at fault for this accident, you need to prove that you were following all rules and regulations for bicyclists in the Huntington Beach area.
Now that we know what negligence is, we can explain the process further.
Common Bicycle Accident Claim Mistakes
There are numerous ways you can damage your bicycle accident claim. Read through the list below to help prevent you from making the same errors.
Not Seeking Medical Care After the Accident
Sometimes when people get in an accident, the adrenaline rush that is triggered by the body’s natural response to trauma prevents them from realizing they’ve been badly hurt. If you experience this biological response, pain may be more difficult to register. You may experience a surge of energy and strength, too.
If you are unaware of this protective hormonal surge, it could take as long as 18 hours to feel the impact of how injured you are.
No matter how you feel after a bicycle accident, it’s important to get examined by a medical professional to make sure you don’t have internal injuries. Failing to do so can put your health and your bicycle accident claim at risk.
A medical exam is going to generate an official record of your injuries. The sooner you get examined after the accident, the more closely this record’s time and date stamp will correlate with the accident, giving you proof of injury for your claim.
If you fail to get this proof, the insurance company can challenge whether or not you were really injured in the accident, and if so, how serious the injury was.
Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you. Get to the doctor as soon as you can after a bicycle accident.
Ignoring Your Treatment Plan
Sometimes, people disregard the treatment plan they are given when they leave the emergency room or doctor’s office. Doing this also puts your health and your claim at risk.
Follow through with your treatment plan, whether or not you believe the activities your doctor prescribed for you will matter to your recovery. If you’re told to go to physical therapy, make those appointments and show up. Take all medications according to instruction. Antibiotics, for example, can be rendered ineffective if inconsistently administered.
There are many ways the doctor may suggest you support your recovery. These include things to avoid in addition to treatments to participate in. For example, you will likely be advised to avoid many activities until your recovery is complete. It is just as important to adhere to the ways you need to rest as it is to get treatments you need.
If you take on activities you’re not ready for and the insurance company finds out, they can try to blame you, if you have difficulty recovering. Don’t let the insurance company dodge responsibility for compensating you for your injuries. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan as closely as possible.
Agreeing to Give the Insurance Company a Recorded Statement
After you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, you can expect a call from the insurance company asking to record your statement about the accident. Doing so is a mistake.
No matter how helpful the insurance adjuster sounds, you must remember that this person works for the insurance company. Part of the adjuster’s job is to find grounds to lower the value of your claim. Anything you say on that recording will be scrutinized for this purpose.
Don’t let the insurance company victimize you all over again. Many people don’t realize they’re within their rights to refuse to speak to the insurance company. If you accidentally answer this call, it’s okay to politely decline to talk and hang up. Even better, refer that call to your Orange County bicycle accident lawyer.
Not Hiring an Attorney as Soon as You Can
If you’ve been putting off finding an attorney to handle your bicycle accident claim, you’re not alone. There are a number of reasons people do this.
You may simply be in too much pain or too traumatized to think about finding an attorney just yet. This is understandable, but if it applies to you, please at least put hiring a lawyer on your “to do as soon as possible” list. The sooner your attorney gets started building your bicycle accident claim, the stronger that claim will be.
You may be putting off hiring a lawyer in hopes you can save money by taking on your own claim. While it’s understandable to want to save money, know that people who don’t hire lawyers to handle personal injury claims statistically come out on the losing end of compensation, receiving many times less than those with a lawyer by their side.
In addition, the insurance company isn’t going to sit up and take notice of your demands the way they would if a demand letter were sent from a lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to help you accurately assess your damages, so that you receive all the compensation you are due. A lawyer will also know how to handle the insurance company’s tactics to avoid devaluing your claim. More importantly, a lawyer will be able to drag the insurance company to court if they refuse to settle.
All the way around, hiring the right personal injury lawyer to handle your bicycle accident claim is to your benefit.
Lastly, you may be procrastinating getting started on your bicycle accident claim because you think you’ve got a lot of time to file. If that is the case, remember that no matter how long the state gives you to get your paperwork submitted, evidence is not going to hang around. The site of your accident will get cleared away. Evidence from your accident may get lost, and witnesses are more likely to forget crucial details with the passage of time.
Give your claim the best chance for success by giving your personal injury lawyer as much time as possible to build you a strong claim.
Choosing an Attorney Who’s a Poor Fit for your Claim
Not every lawyer is going to be equally capable of bringing you success in your bicycle accident claim. Just as there are many different specializations a doctor can pursue within the medical profession, there are many practice areas a lawyer can focus on. You will not get the same results for your bicycle accident claim from your sister’s divorce lawyer as you will from an experienced personal injury trial attorney.
Your claim is too important to hand over to just any lawyer. Make sure you’re hiring an experienced personal injury trial lawyer with a successful record winning bicycle accident claims.
Orange County Bicycle Accident Case Steps
If you have suffered serious injuries or fatal injuries from a Huntington Beach bicycle accident in the Orange County area, then there are several steps that need to be taken to file your Huntington Beach bicycle accident claim. A professional Orange County personal injury lawyer can help you perform these steps. Remember, you do not have to go through the process alone.
1) Demand Letter
The first process in a personal injury case is to have the injured party write a demand letter to the insurance company. Your lawyer can help you draft a demand letter to the insurance company. The demand letter will explain why the insurance company should pay for the damages that have occurred due to the accident and explain why the driver is legally responsible for the accident. There are several damages that can be stated including,injuries, the cost of medical treatments and doctor visits, if you have lost income due to missing work, and any pain and suffering you experienced.
After the demand letter is sent, the insurance company will either approve or deny the settlement offer. For most cases, the insurance company may come back with a counteroffer, and the lawyer will negotiate back and forth until the victim receives the compensation they deserve. In other cases, the insurance company may deny the offer, which would bring you to the next step.
2) Filing a Complaint
Filing a complaint informs the insurance company and the courts that a lawsuit is being filed for compensation. The formal complaint will include all parties involved, the court’s jurisdiction over the case, evidence that supports the claim, the driver’s legal claims, and the amount the victim is seeking.
Once the formal complaint is drafted, the letter must be presented to the driver in person; this is usually done via a process server. The driver—aka the defendant— will have thirty days to respond to the letter; if they do not respond, then the claim is decided in the plaintiff’s favor. In most cases, the defendant replies, and it’s on to the next step.
In the discovery phase, both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s lawyers will gather evidence, investigate the claim, question both parties, and speak to witnesses. The discovery phase is where all the evidence you gathered, including police reports, witness testimony, contact information, photos, and the defendant’s contact information, will come in handy. Your lawyer will also gather any documentation, including medical bills, proof of lost wages, or therapy appointments you attended. The lawyers from each side of the argument can file motions while in this stage, as well, where they can get the case dismissed, delayed, or ask the courts to make a decision.
Most cases will not reach the trial phase because the lawyers go through mediation to reach a settlement that the plaintiff is happy with. But, in the rare case that they cannot come to an agreement, the next step in the process is a trial.
Again, in the rare case that both parties cannot come to an agreement, the two parties will go to trial. In the trial, the judge will hear both sides of the argument and decide whether the plaintiff is owed the compensation they are asking for.
It is essential to remember that going to trial can be costly, time-consuming, and take a lot of energy from you and your lawyer. The point in a personal injury claim due to a bicycle accident is not to go to court but to reach a settlement agreeable to both sides. And, most of the time, both parties can reach an agreement. But, that is why it is essential to hire an experienced lawyer who can help you achieve that settlement as fast as possible, without the headache of a trial. Thankfully, there are professional lawyers in Huntington Beach that can help you get to the decision you need to receive fair compensation.
Orange County Bicycle Accident Client Story
The story below is meant to give you a better overview of your bicycle accident claim. The names and specifics have been altered to protect the privacy of our client, but the value of the story remains. Be sure to read all the way through to learn as much as possible, then give us a call to schedule your free legal consultation.
On an overcast morning in June not too long ago, Haruto, “Harry” Satō hopped on his Cannondale and headed north on Beach Blvd. to Huntington Beach high school where he’d taught math and mechanical engineering for the past seven years.
Harry was jazzed. The proposal he’d been crafting for over a year had finally been approved by the school’s advisory board, and he was about to launch the school’s new robotics department.
He smiled as he negotiated early morning traffic, remembering his call the night before to his colleague and former grad school lab partner, Bob Westin. Would Bob join the team? The school was going to need to hire at least two more instructors to do this right. Harry told his friend about his vision to expand the program across Orange County.
“Get in on the ground floor, Bob. This is your chance,” he’d said, before excitedly rattling off the details of the new program.
“Congrats, Harry, I knew one day you’d accomplish something big. Getting a new program into a school—possibly multiple branches of the school— could change hundreds of lives in the years to come. Maybe thousands,” Bob said.
“Is that a ‘Yes’?” Harry asked, hopefully.
“It’s an ‘I’ll give it serious consideration.’ Who needs Silicon Valley, anyway?” Bob laughed.
Harry’s parents and his wife, Ami, had been almost as excited as he was. They’d watch him leave a lucrative corporate position to follow his passion of inspiring students to pursue careers in technology. Everyone was proud. More than that, they were happy for him. He’d truly found his calling.
Harry rode west along Adams Ave and turned right on Main St, heading north. He was approaching his turn when an impatient driver swerved around a lumbering food truck and struck Harry from behind.
He was launched fourteen feet across the intersection. When he hit the pavement, both of his wrists shattered. He also suffered compound fractures in his forearms and a concussion.
Harry underwent surgery on his arms and spent two days in the hospital to rule out a traumatic brain injury. When Harry was discharged, Ami sat beside him as the doctor discussed next steps.
“As you can tell from your casts, your arms need to be immobilized for several weeks. When you’ve gained enough strength in them, you’ll need to begin ‘full range-of-motion’ exercises in physical therapy. The majority of healing will happen in the six-to-twelve-week range, but it may take months of physical therapy to reach the maximum range of motion possible.
“It may take as many as 24 months to heal completely. We’ll have you back for additional x-rays over the next few weeks to make sure your arms are healing properly.
“Pulling, pushing, and lifting are off limits until you get stronger, Haruto. And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you to avoid sports, driving, and work that involves your arms until we’ve medically cleared you to do so.”
“Two years?” Harry said, stunned.
“This is definitely going to be a marathon rather than a sprint,” said the doctor. “But look on the bright side. You were wise to ride with a helmet; I can’t tell you how many people have come in to the emergency room after accidents like yours who weren’t wearing helmets. Their odds of survival are always low.”
The accident put the robotics launch on hold as Harry scrambled to find instructors to begin without him. In the end, the school’s advisory committee decided the program would have to wait. The charter school’s CEO called to give Harry the news.
“We definitely see merit in your concept, Harry. Let’s revisit it again in June of next year.”
Harry was devastated. He threw himself into his treatment plan, but x-rays ten days after the accident indicated he’d need at least one more surgery.
Unable to do anything with his arms, he began to self-isolate, turning down his wife’s suggestions to leave the house to visit friends, sit in a movie, or go for a walk. He slid into a depression. Growing desperate, Ami called Harry’s friend, Bob Westin, for advice.
“You’re a fellow techie,” she said to Bob. “Do you have any suggestions for getting him interested in anything?”
Bob understood what his friend was going through, though he hated even to imagine it. “I have two suggestions, Ami, but they don’t have anything to do with tech,” he said.
“The first is get him into counseling to try and improve the depression. He’s already on opioids for the pain, so I’m sure you’d rather avoid adding additional drugs to the mix. Counseling can be a useful tool.
“My second suggestion is to call a good personal injury lawyer. You’ve probably got a bicycle accident claim on your hands.”
“I wouldn’t even know where to start to know who to trust,” Ami said, anxious at just the idea of “interviewing” lawyers.
“I’ve got a suggestion,” Bob said, pointing Ami to our website, “His name is Timothy J. Ryan.”
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?
Attorney Ryan met Harry and Ami the next day. It was clear Harry was only “half” present, his mind churning on unfulfilled plans.
“Before we begin,” Ami asked, “can you tell us how much it would cost to retain you?”
Attorney Ryan explained that the firm operated on a contingency-fee model. “This means that we cover all of your case expenses: investigation, research, administration. We’ll also cover litigation, should it become necessary to take your claim to court.”
“So, when do you get paid,” Harry asked, finally meeting Ryan’s gaze.
“We only get paid when we bring your claim to a successful resolution,” Attorney Ryan answered.
“Really,” Harry said, a statement rather than a question.
“Really,” Ryan answered. Ami put her hand on her husband’s shoulder and smiled apologetically.
“I’m sorry, my husband is going through a lot…” she murmured, looking at Harry. His eyes slid away.
“It’s understandable,” said the attorney. “A serious injury can turn your life upside down. It almost always takes an incredible psychological and emotional toll, in addition to the physical damage.
“The legal system recognizes this. That’s why you are entitled to include non-economic damages as well as economic damages in your claim — things like emotional distress and pain and suffering.
“In addition to helping to financially support you during recovery, compensation can help you put your life back together. Even the act of bringing a claim against the responsible party can begin to restore a feeling of personal power.
“Mr. Satō, you have the right to seek compensation.”
How much is my claim worth?
“How much is a claim like mine worth?” Harry asked, beginning to take interest. “And please, call me ‘Harry.’”
Timothy Ryan explained that it isn’t possible to make a reliable case value estimate at the start of a claim, because specific information is needed.
“Even though other bicycle accident claims may be ‘like yours,’ each claim is unique in many ways, Harry. Each involves specific injuries, the specific health of the injured party before the injury, and the circumstances of the accident. Each accident impacts the injured party differently.
“We need to conduct a thorough investigation, gathering evidence and speaking to witnesses. This is something we can get started on right away, building up your case as if it’s going all the way to trial. That way, if we can’t achieve a fair settlement, we’ll be ready to turn your damages over to a jury to decide.
“The second half of your case value equation is determining what those damages are. We won’t know that information until you reach ‘maximum medical improvement.’ This means recovering back to your pre-accident level of health. It also means being done with surgeries and having a solid idea of what any future care of your injuries will look like,” said Attorney Ryan.
Harry sighed and looked at his casts. “And what if I can’t return to my previous level of health?”
“Then maximum medical improvement will be reached when the doctors determine you’ve reached the best new level of health possible in recovering from your accident injuries,” said Attorney Ryan.
“Getting there means your sole focus going forward needs to be on following doctors’ orders, rest, and recovery. Make every physical therapy appointment. Take medications correctly.
“And no matter how frustrated you are, Harry, absolutely no overdoing it. The last thing you want is a setback because you’ve taken on activities you aren’t ready for.
“I’m not just referring to physical setbacks, either,” Attorney Ryan said. “I’m talking about damaging the value of your claim. The insurance company is going to be looking for ways to save money. Don’t help them by disregarding your treatment plan.
“Once you reach maximum medical improvement, we’ll know the value of your claim. No matter who you decide to hire, Harry, I recommend you be very wary of any law firm that pulls a case value out of thin air before knowing what your damages are.”
Harry nodded that he understood the lawyer’s point.
How long will my claim take?
“How long do you think my claim will take?” He asked.
“This, too, will depend on a couple of factors,” Attorney Ryan said. “The first factor is how long it takes to arrive at your damages. As we’ve discussed, we won’t know those until you reach maximum medical improvement.”
“You’re saying my case can only go as fast as the speed of my recovery,” Harry said.
“That’s correct, Harry,” Attorney Ryan answered. “This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.”
Harry laughed around. “Where have we heard that before, Ami?” He turned back to Attorney Ryan. “What’s the second factor determining my claim’s timeline?”
“The insurance company,” said the attorney. “Once we know your damages, we’ll send them a demand letter. If they respond in a fair and reasonable manner, we’ll be able to iron out a settlement and wrap up your claim.
“If they refuse to be reasonable, we take them to court. But it won’t be a problem, should your claim come to that, Harry. I assure you, I’ve got a long and successful record of winning bicycle accident claims, in- and out of the courtroom.
“The insurance company is likely to have heard of my firm, and it’s possible they will be willing to settle to avoid a showdown in court. Either way, I’ll be ready to take them on. That’s why no matter whom you decide to retain for your claim, I urge you to hire a personal injury trial attorney.”
Harry and Ami were satisfied with the answers they got during their free legal consultation. They retained Timothy J. Ryan & Associates and today, we are happy to say that he got Harry over six times the amount initially offered by the insurance company.
Call Our Orange County Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
We hope this information has given you an overview of your bicycle accident claim. Of course, no two cases are identical, so please contact our Orange County bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to schedule a free legal consultation. Don’t try to manage your bicycle accident claim without the guidance of an attorney. Let us help you through.
Tim Ryan took my small personal injury case and turned it into a “win” for me. I appreciate his time, patience, and professional expertise in resolving this neighborhood dog injury issue for me. I feel safer because of Tim Ryan. Thank you!