Commonly Asked Questions About Bike Accident Claims in California
Does California Law Require Me to Wear a Helmet When Bicycling?
Bicycle helmet laws vary from state to state — and sometimes even from one county to the next.
In California, children age 17 and younger are required to wear an approved helmet at all times while on a bicycle. This applies regardless of whether the child is the sole occupant of the bicycle or is riding as a passenger. The same rule applies to motorized scooters, roller skates, and skateboards.
While California state law does not require adult cyclists (ages 18 and up) to wear a helmet while bicycling, some local communities do have such a requirement.
In fact, several California communities actively issue tickets to adults who bike without a helmet — even to nonresidents who are simply visiting or passing through.
Whether the law requires it or not, you should always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are among the most common bicycle injuries, and studies have consistently shown that wearing an approved helmet can significantly reduce the risks of catastrophic injury and death.
While it is illegal to sell unapproved or noncompliant helmets in California, some older or deficient helmets do make their way into the second-hand market. Always confirm that your helmet meets state-issued safety standards and fits securely on the cyclist’s head.
Can I Still Recover Compensation with a Bike Accident Claim If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?
Failure to wear a helmet — even by children (or by adults in areas where helmets are required) — will not necessarily prevent you from recovering financial compensation for your injuries in California.
Talk to a Bakersfield bicycle accident lawyer at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine to learn more about your rights and options under the law.
The Police Report States That Someone Else Was at Fault for My Bicycle Accident. Why Do I Need an Attorney?
In any accident claim, the police report is only part of the story. While these reports provide important and persuasive evidence, they are not necessarily determinative, and they can be challenged. Indeed, insurance companies will sometimes deny liability even in the face of a police officer’s finding to the contrary.
But even if the police report is accepted without challenge and the issue of fault is clear, the insurance company is unlikely to offer you full and fair compensation without a fight. Remember: the insurance adjuster’s job is to pay you as little money as he or she can get away with.
An experienced Bakersfield bicycle accident lawyer can fight for your financial rights at every turn.
The right attorney will work to defend the police report, establish the insurance company’s liability, demonstrate the financial value of your damages, and persuade the insurance company that giving you the compensation you deserve is the best way for the insurer to avoid a risky, costly trial. And if a settlement still isn’t possible, your lawyer can represent your best interests in court.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Adjuster Before Consulting an Attorney?
No. The insurance adjuster is not on your side. He or she will make every effort to use your statements and actions against you. Adjusters are carefully trained to sound friendly while asking leading questions, attempting to “trap” you into a statement against your own interest or an admission of fault.
Adjusters are also known to pressure bicycle accident victims into hasty settlement offers, which may represent far less than the dollar amount you’re truly owed.
The less you say to the insurance company, the better. Instead, tell them to talk to your lawyer. A Bakersfield bicycle accident lawyer in our office can help.
Never accept an offer or sign any paperwork from the insurance company without consulting a Bakersfield bicycle accident lawyer first.
What Should I Do If I Was Struck by a Hit-and-Run Driver?
Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents involving cyclists are not at all uncommon in California. Hitting and running is a crime in our state, and it can leave victims with limited recourse. However, there is hope. You may have more options than you realize. Begin by taking these steps:
- Call law enforcement. Report the hit-and-run. Stay put until an officer arrives. If anyone needs emergency medical attention, call 911.
- Get as much evidence as possible. Photographs, video surveillance, written observations, and eyewitness contact information can all be useful. Be sure you know where and when the accident happened. It may be possible to identify the hit-and-run driver after the fact. If you aren’t able to gather evidence yourself, ask a friend or someone else at the scene to help.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you aren’t critically injured, see a doctor (M.D.) as soon as possible. It’s important for your health and for your personal injury claim.
- Talk to a Bakersfield bicycle accident lawyer ASAP. You may have a number of options for recovering compensation after a hit-and-run bicycle accident. We’re here to help.
How Soon Should I Contact an Experienced Bicycle Lawyer in Bakersfield, CA?
The sooner you talk to an attorney, the better. Personal injury claims take time to prepare. By talking to a lawyer soon after the accident, you are putting time on your side.
A Bakersfield bicycle accident lawyer can work to guard your interests throughout the entire claims process.
Is There a Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Injury Claims in California?
The statute of limitations for bicycle injury claims in California is two years from the date of the accident. Generally speaking, victims must file a claim within this time period or will forever lose the right to do so. However, a number of exceptions apply. Calculating the statute of limitations is not always as simple as it might seem.
Please don’t assume that you do (or do not) have ample time left for filing a claim. The timeline for your particular claim may be different than you expect. To find out how much time you have, contact our office and set up a free consultation with a Bakersfield bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.