If you were recently involved in a bicycle accident, you probably sustained serious injuries. After all, bikes provide no protection whatsoever from forceful impacts.
While your top priority should certainly be your health, it is wise to discuss the situation with a personal injury attorney as soon as your condition stabilizes. If it turns out you have grounds for legal action against the motorist who struck you, there will be a strict deadline for filing the lawsuit.
In the state of California, the standard statute of limitations for bicycle accident lawsuits is two years. That means you probably have 24 months from the date on which the incident occurred to file suit. Should you attempt to bring the lawsuit after this deadline has passed, the judge will likely dismiss the case.
It is important to remember, however, that there are a number of exceptions to this deadline. If one of them happens to apply to your case, you may have considerably less time to take legal action.
For example, if you have grounds for a suit against a government entity—perhaps you were struck by a city bus driver—you may have just six months to file an administrative claim with the appropriate agency. The government will then have 45 days to respond.
Should they deny your claim, you will have six months from the date on which they mailed the rejection letter to file a formal suit. If you don’t receive such a letter, though, you will have two years from when the cause of action occurred to proceed to court.
It’s worth noting there are also a few exceptions that can extend the filing deadline. For example, if you happened to be a minor when you were hurt, the statute of limitations will not start until your 18th birthday. In other words, you may have until your 20th birthday to file a lawsuit against the liable party.
Exemptions also apply to victims who have been rendered incapable of taking action on their own. For example, those who have been deemed mentally incompetent may not be expected to sue the liable party within just two years.
How Soon After Getting Hurt in a Bicycle Accident Should I Call a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Two years may seem like a considerable amount of time, but it’s going to pass quickly, especially if you sustained serious injuries. What’s more, the clock doesn’t stop for settlement negotiations. That means if the opposing party proves uncooperative and stalls the proceedings for months, you could be left with mere weeks to put together a formal suit.
Of course, running out of time isn’t the only reason to start building your case immediately. Personal injury attorneys urge accident victims to call them as soon as possible because critical evidence may be time sensitive.
In order to build a winning bicycle accident claim, you must prove liability, causation, and damages. Depending on the circumstances, much of the proof you’ll need may not be available indefinitely. For example, if you were struck in a fairly developed area, there’s a good chance the incident was captured by a surveillance system; however, the owner of said footage does not have an obligation to retain it indefinitely. Dash cam footage is also vulnerable to being destroyed.
Eyewitness statements are another kind of evidence that should be gathered fairly soon in the aftermath. The more time that passes, the less reliable witness statements become. The sooner you enlist help from a reputable firm, the sooner your legal team can get in touch with those who saw the accident.
What If My Family Member Died in a Bicycle Accident?
If your loved one died from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident, your family will likely have two years from the date on which he or she passed to file a wrongful death suit; however, only certain parties can actually take the case to court.
In the state of California, the following individuals may take legal action on behalf of an accident victim:
- The deceased’s spouse or domestic partner;
- The deceased’s children or grandchildren;
- Minor children, including stepchildren, who were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their financial support;
- The deceased’s parents; and
- The deceased’s rightful heirs under the laws of intestate succession.
If the case proves successful, eligible beneficiaries may recover compensation for the following damages:
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses;
- Lost income and benefits;
- Loss of domestic help and household services;
- Loss of anticipated inheritances; and
- Loss of intangible support such as love, affection, encouragement, attention, and guidance.
If you were the one who was hurt, on the other hand, and you file a personal injury suit, you may seek compensation for:
- Property damage;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future earnings;
- Medical bills;
- Home and vehicle modifications necessary for accommodating any new limitations;
- Child care;
- Home care;
- Domestic help;
- Alternative transportation;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of enjoyment in life; and
- Pain and suffering.
Call (562) 206-1939 to Speak with a Bicycle Accident Attorney in Long Beach
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
If you were struck by a drunk, distracted, or otherwise reckless driver while riding your bike, contact the Law Office of Michael D. Waks. Our resourceful team has recovered numerous six- and seven-figure settlements and verdicts on behalf of our valued clients.
By letting us handle the logistics of your claim, you can focus on more important matters such as your health. To schedule a free consultation with a bicycle accident lawyer in Long Beach, send us an email or dial (562) 206-1939.
Download Our Car Accident Emergency Response .PDF
If you often ride your bike alongside moving traffic, there’s a chance a motorist will strike you someday. To ensure you’re prepared in such a scenario, save a copy of our Car Accident Emergency Response .pdf on your phone, or print it out and keep it in one of your panniers. That way, you’ll always have a handy guide to help you record the scene. Download it HERE for free.
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