“Loss of Enjoyment of Life” After a Cycling Accident

Cycling Accident

Cycling accidents are incredibly common despite a number of measures taken to ensure our safety. Drivers still have very little idea on how they are supposed to share the road. When a car and cyclist collide, it’s hard to imagine anyone walking away unscathed. What happens when you are in a cycling accident?

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

While you can pursue compensation for medical expenses and financial matters like loss of income, you may also be able to ask for compensation for “loss of enjoyment of life” after your cycling accident. What does this mean? Well, typically it means you can no longer do something you enjoy. If you liked cycling for fun, not just as transportation, not being able to do it anymore can be considered a loss. It could be a permanent injury that prevents you from cycling again, or it could be the psychological impact of the accident. Getting hit by a car on a bicycle is nothing short of terrifying, after all.

Does This Effect You?

Unfortunately, asking for compensation for this can make a case more difficult and isn’t always a sure thing. You will have to provide witnesses who state how much you loved to ride your bike and can cite examples of times you did it for fun. For example, if you just rode to work, that may not qualify. However, if you were a frequent long rider who spent your weekends out on your bike, then this will make for a better case. It is also important to be realistic with how much you ask of this as well. It really will depend on how big cycling was in your life and whether the impact of the accident will permanently keep you away.

If you have been in a cycling accident and need compensation to cover your injuries, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Gary Brustin can do for you.

Crucial Evidence to Gather For You Bicycle Accident Case

Bicycle Accident Case

No matter what your case is, it is the evidence that will make it or break it. That is how the rule of law works. If you have the valid evidence to prove your side of the story, then you are likely to win your case. If you have been in a cycling accident, you will need evidence to prove your damages and the fault of the accident as well. As such, consider gathering this important evidence.

Key Pieces of Evidence

  • Witness Statements – If anyone saw the accident happen, this can be important. They will be able to objectively detail how the accident went down. Be sure to get names and phone numbers at the scene for further use.
  • Photos of the Scene – This is not always possible as you may need medical attention. However, you should take photos of the scene of the accident if possible. They can hold a number of clues as well as show the sheer devastation.
  • Police Report – The police should be called to the scene of even minor accidents so they can create a police report. In essence, the police report is an official document showing pieces of evidence you wouldn’t even think of gathering. It describes the accident, makes note of key features like skid marks on the road, and can even make a recreation of what happened via diagrams.
  • Document of Injuries – Be sure to keep all medical records of your treatment for potential compensation. Furthermore, as injuries have a tendency to heal before court dates, be sure to take pictures of each injury to give the court something visual to see.

Unfortunately, much of this evidence can be difficult to gather on your own. This is why every injured cyclist needs the help of an experienced lawyer to help them get the best start and finish your case. If you were in a bicycle accident and need help, contact us today.

Drinking and Cycling

Drinking and Cycling

By this point, everyone should know better than to drink and drive. A car can cause a lot of damage even at a low speed, and thus, should only be driven when in a sober state of mind. However, the law in most states is a touch fuzzier when it comes to the issue of bicycling while drunk. The good news is that in many states, you might be arrested for drinking and cycling if acting obviously intoxicated, but you may not face punishments.

The key issue in drunk driving law is that many still use the term “motor” vehicles. This means cars, boats, and even your lawnmower shouldn’t be used while intoxicated. Yet, a bicycle doesn’t have a motor. In states where the statutes still specify motor vehicles, it makes it easy for the right defense attorney to argue that you weren’t driving a motor vehicle. Furthermore, as bicycles often do minimal damage to others, though can do much damage to your own person, courts will generally look more favorably on a drunk cyclist as opposed to a drunk motorist.

State to State

However, if you live in a state the specifically specifies “vehicles” instead of “motor vehicles” then they have probably already taken into consideration the event of drunk cyclists. However, since you do not need to hold a license in order to cycle, the punishments will be less severe in nature. If you hold a driver’s license, unfortunately, there may be punishments against that, but the courts can’t technically stop you from cycling.

While cycling under the influence charges usually come with the minimal punishments, you still don’t want to face them or have them on your record. If you have been arrested for biking under the influence and need help, contact us today to see what we can do to help you out.

Is a Cyclist Considered a Driver or a Pedestrian?

Driver or Pedestrian?

This is a common question and one that doesn’t always have a clear answer – is a cyclist a driver or pedestrian? Unfortunately, the classification can differ from state to state and even from city to city. As to why this question is important, the classification states if the cyclist has to ride on the road or if they can ride on the sidewalk.

In cities where cycling law prohibits riding on a sidewalk, then the cyclist, who has to ride on the road, would be considered a driver by the law. However, in most states, the cyclist has the right to ride across a crosswalk and drivers would have to yield to them as if they were pedestrian traffic.

This is often where the confusion between drivers and cyclists begins and where the potential for accidents start. If they are on the road, many drivers often see cyclists as other drivers and hold them to the same rules, which is why so many accidents happen when a cyclist is going straight and another driver is turning right. The drivers don’t realize that the cyclist has the right of way like a pedestrian then and the cyclists believe that they do.

The unfortunate reality is that we need to stop asking whether a cyclist is a driver or a pedestrian and need to just start acknowledging them as a third option that has a hybrid of both rules. However, even if we start acknowledging this, without the proper roadway education, accidents will still happen.

We Can Help

If you have been in a cycling accident because of the negligence of another, then you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. If you have been hurt while riding on the roadways, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Gary Brustin can do for you.

Seven Things to Do if You are Involved in a Bicycle Accident

Bicycle riders are particularly vulnerable when they are riding in areas with automobiles.  While automobile drivers are protected by a metal cage wrapped in steel, bicyclists are completely vulnerable should they collide with a car or truck.  Most riders are careful and watchful around motor vehicles, but bicycle/automobile accidents are still too common.

In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 800 bicyclists died in a motor vehicle crash in 2015, a 12% increase over the previous year, and 45,000 received injuries in a motor vehicle crash.

With numbers like these, it is important to know what to do if you become involved in a car or truck accident when on your bicycle. Here are seven steps to keep in mind.

1. Get Out of the Street

If you are not too badly injured, get out of the street as fast as you can.  Accidents happen quickly, and oncoming traffic might not see you on the ground. You do not want another vehicle to strike you.  Check your body to for cuts and lacerations, even broken bones.

2. Call 911

Call the police and tell them that you are a bicyclist and have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. Request medical attention.

3. Get the Driver’s Information

Ask the motor vehicle driver for his name, address, and insurance information. Do not discuss the accident.  Do not admit any kind of quilt.  Do not minimize your injuries. This can work against you if you should end up in court.

4. Gather Witness Information

Get the name, phone number and address of witnesses. If you are not feeling well enough to do this, then ask someone nearby to do it for you. Do not, however, discuss the accident with witnesses.

5. Take Accident Photos

Use your smartphone to document the accident. These pictures will come in handy if you go to court.

6. Talk to the Police

When the police arrive, tell them what happened. Be honest. Most states have laws regulating the right of way, distances between bicyclists and motor vehicles and more. Explain to the police why you are not at fault and request that the car or truck driver receive a ticket.

7. Talk to a Lawyer

You might decide to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. Before doing so, talk to a skilled bicycle accident attorney.  The insurance company is not your friend and will do what it can to mitigate your claim.

If you are a bicyclist who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, then please contact us. Our team is standing by ready to assist.


Parent’s Liability for Children’s Bicycle Accidents

Kids will be kids, as they say. No matter how old you are, accidents can and will happen, but if your child has gotten into an accident on their bicycle, damaging another’s property, can the parent’s be held liable for damages in California?

The answer is yes and no, depending on the circumstances. If your child is riding their bike and willfully swerves out in front of another cyclist causing an accident and injury, then in this case, yes, the parents can be held liable for damages. California law states that if a child willfully causes harm to another person or property, their parents will be on the line to pay for it or be subject to legal action.

However, this only covers intentional acts on the part of your child. If your child is riding their bike, loses control for one reason or another, and crashes into a parked car, then the parent is not held liable for the damages that were caused by carelessness or negligence. While parents may choose to cover the damages as an act of good faith for the accident, they will not be liable in any lawsuits.

Typically if the parents are being held liable, there is a limit to their liability. At maximum, they will only be responsible for up to $25,000 per intentional act that the child caused. When injuries are involved, parents cannot be held on the line for damages like pain and suffering, but rather are restricted to only paying for medical expenses.

If you or your child has been in a bicycle accident in the greater Los Angeles area and you are being held responsible, contact us today. While you may be liable, that doesn’t mean you should be stuck paying the maximum expenses because you did not have a lawyer on your side.

Seeking Justice from Bicycle Accidents Due to Road Hazards

When cyclists think of accidents, primarily they think of accidents involving other motorists. While this is the most common type of cycling accident, motorists that do not know how to share the road with cyclists aren’t the only cause. Often there can be not another car in sight, but an accident can still happen. In these cases, often it is road hazards that are to blame.

A “road hazard” is a broad term that can cover a lot of different incidents. However, most commonly a road hazard accident is typically caused by:

  • Potholes – Potholes are dangerous to all those on the road, but particularly so to the cyclist that is unaware of them. Holes caused by construction should be clearly labeled and marked off while potholes caused by long-term wear to a road can mean that those in charge of maintaining roadways are negligent.
  • Sewer Grates – In many cases, sewer grates are safe to ride over thanks to efforts to make them so. However, older sewer grates lack the crosshatch safety features, making it so the grates run in the direction of travel. This, as you can imagine, is an easy trap for cycling tires.
  • Rail Tracks – Rail tracks can be rough on motor vehicles and dangerous to cyclists as well. As rail tracks create uneven pavement, it can dramatically affect the balance of a cyclist or even trap the relatively thin tires of a bicycle. This danger becomes even worse if the tracks are poorly maintained.

Who is Responsible for Road Hazard Accidents?

When it comes to cycling accidents that were the fault of road hazards, often liability can be placed on many different parties depending on the unique facts of the case. Liable parties can include the state, county, city, or any public agency therein that is responsible for maintaining the roadways.

Unfortunately, unlike an accident with a motorist, liability can be difficult to assign in these cases. This is why it is crucial that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Cycling advocates like Gary Brustin will go over the unique factors of your case to make sure you get the justice that you deserve.

Had A Near-Miss With a Car? Study Shows You Are Not The Only One

Even if you are just a casual road cyclist, everyone has one of those stories about how they almost go completely wrecked by a car. We like to call them “near-miss” accidents because they almost happened but didn’t. However, if you only know a limited number of cyclists, then you don’t know how common near-misses are. However, a new study out of the UK shows just how much danger cyclists are in.

The study, run by a group aptly called the Near Miss Project, was lead by Dr. Rachel Aldred of Westminster University. Here colleagues rounded up 1,532 participants and asked them to keep a diary of their cycling on a preselected date. On average, the cyclists had three near-misses that day. This included being passed too closely, blocked by a vehicle, vehicles pulling out into a cyclist’s path, being driven at, and almost getting the dreaded right hook by turning vehicles.

Why is it so rampant? The study theorizes that the cause is relatively simple. Unlike cyclists, drivers perceive near-misses differently. Since they are protected by a thick shell of metal, they may not even realize the danger they are putting those who they share the road with in. When you don’t realize what you are doing is dangerous, it makes it pretty hard to learn a lesson from it, right?

If you are lucky, your cycling career will be filled with only a near-miss or two and never an actual accident. However, we are not all so lucky. If you have been in a cycling accident and need representation to cover your medical bills, contact us today.

What To Do When You Were in a Bicycle Accident With No Crash Report

In many cases, those in bicycle accidents suffer only relatively minor injuries, a broken hand here, a few scrapes there. However, there are occasions where a bicycle accident is significantly more serious. Accidents that result in loss of consciousness or have the need for an EMT response can be dangerous not only to the cyclist that was injured but for seeking coverage for the crash as well.

There is a cautionary tale going around the cycling community about a cyclist in New Orleans that was whisked away by EMTs after a crash for medical attention, and the driver that hit her told the responding officers that they would settle things amicably. The officer let that driver drive right off without making a crash report or even getting their name. This left the cyclist stuck with a ruined bicycle, huge medical bills, and no way to seek compensation for them.

If this happens to you, what do you do? Your options seem pretty non-existent, right? In truth, without a name or contact information that would be gathered by a crash report, they are. However, while you can’t go after the driver, you can go after the police who failed to do their duty.

Regardless of if parties decide to handle things amicably, police officers are required by law to file a crash report if the damage exceeds $500, this includes if you were spirited away by what will be a very expensive ambulance ride.

If you have been in a cycling accident with no crash report to be found, your case against the police will be much more difficult, but it can at least result in the coverage of your medical bills and damages that the driver owed you. If you need legal representation for this or any other bicycle accident cases, contact us today.

Common Types of Bicycle Accidents and How to Avoid Them

While biking, it’s imperative that you not only pay attention to what you are doing, but that you pay especially close attention to what others are doing. When riding your bike on or near a roadway, it’s often easier to see other travelers than it is for them to see you, especially with the amount of distractions for motorists in this era of technology. With the prevalence of cell phones, radios, and navigation devices, you must be responsible for your own safety. The following are common types of accidents involving cyclists:

The Right Cross.

This occurs when vehicles are pulling out of a side street, parking lot, or a driveway on the right of the cyclist. You can be struck by the oncoming vehicle, or you could potentially crash into the side of the vehicle. In order to prevent this type of collision, make sure to use a front headlight if traveling at night. Try to make eye contact with the driver. If this doesn’t work, wave! Slowing down ensures that you have a better chance of coming to a complete stop if you have to. Ride further to the left of the lane when approaching an intersection. This increases the chance that an oncoming driver will be able to see you and gives you more maneuvering options in the event they don’t.

The Door Prize.

You are riding along beside parked vehicles when one of the drivers open his door, and you smack right into it! This is one of the most common types of collisions involving cyclists. Simply riding farther to the left will give you more room to avoid the unexpected car door opening.

The Rear End.

You simply swerve to the left a bit to go around a parked vehicle or some other obstruction in the roadway and get nailed by a car from behind. To avoid this scenario, ALWAYS look behind you before moving over. Secondly, don’t swerve in and out of a parking lane if it contains parked vehicles. Ride as steady as possible, even if there are empty spots. Use a mirror to help you monitor traffic behind you without constantly having to look over your shoulder, which can cause an involuntarily merge to the side you’re looking from. Finally, signal. Never move left without signaling. Holding your left arm straight out indicates that you will be turning in that direction. Just make sure to look behind you first, so that a passing car doesn’t take off your arm!

In the event of an accident, legal representation may be needed. Contact California bicycle accident lawyer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer all of your legal questions!

How to Deal with Fear After a Bicycling Accident

If you have never been in a bicycling accident, then you don’t understand that there are things that are much more jarring than the injuries suffered. Accidents of any kind can be traumatic incidents, and afterwards there is a certain amount of fear when returning to normal activities. While injuries can heal, the mental scars will still linger. So if you have been in an accident and are finding it hard to get back on a bike again, what can you do about it?

The first step is to remember how many times you have ridden a bike before without incident. Think about all the times you successfully got to your destination without getting hit by a car or having another accident. Once you have been in an accident, it tends to stick in your mind and prevents you from remembering all the good times.

Try remembering the reasons why you loved riding a bicycle in the past like the wind blowing over your face when riding down a big hill or the satisfaction of completing a tough route. This will help diffuse the toxicity that has accumulated with the thought of the activity in your brain.

Finally, instead of worrying about all the bad things that could happen, try instead focusing on all the ways you can stay safe. Focus on placing the weight on your bicycle, your feet on the pedals, and look forward to assess any dangers. However, don’t get caught up in just the dangers, remember to think positively and have fun.

If you have been in an accident, seeking out justice can also be a powerful way to put fears to rest. Contact us today to see what options you have available.