For the second time in recent history, the Tour de Palm Springs charity bike event has been overshadowed by tragedy. Earlier this month, one bicyclist was killed and another was seriously injured when they were struck by a car during the event. Reports indicate that the driver of the vehicle, who was also hurt in the accident, was speeding shortly before the crash.
Bicycle Accidents in Los Angeles
Bicycles are a popular way to get around Los Angeles. They are environmentally-friendly, a great form of exercise, and allow riders to avoid time-consuming traffic. However, bicyclists have little to protect themselves from the outside world and are at an increased risk of suffering injuries in an accident. In 2016, there were 4,289 motor vehicle accidents in Los Angeles County involving bicyclists. The bike accident victims who were not killed in their accidents likely suffered from a variety of injuries, ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to life-changing paralysis.
Recovering Damages After a Los Angeles Bike Accident
The bicyclist who was injured in the crash and airlifted to a local Los Angeles-area hospital will likely face significant financial costs as he recovers. The diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of bicycle accident-related injuries can cost a victim tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars. The emotional and psychological consequences of a bicycle accident can span decades. Since the bicycle accident was caused by another person’s negligent conduct, the victim may be able to recover compensation that driver.
In California, accident victims are generally entitled to receive economic and non-economic damages. Each type of award is intended to compensate the victim for a different type of injury.
Economic, or compensatory, damages help to put an accident victim back in the place they would have been in (financially-speaking) if an accident had never happened. These damages are limited to the financial losses and out-of-pocket expenses a victim experiences. Economic damages are frequently awarded to help bicycle accident victims with:
- Medical bills
- Lost income and wages
- Reduced earning capacity, and
- Property damage.
Non-economic damages help to compensate bicycle accident victims for injuries that do not necessarily have a direct financial cost. Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disfigurement are all incredibly personal and intimate injuries. There is no set or standard value for these harms. As a result, the value of an award of non-economic damages can vary significantly from one case to another.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits After a Fatal Bike Accident
The driver of the car responsible for the crash may also be on the hook for damages for causing a cyclist’s death. Wrongful death lawsuits allow family members of victims who were killed in accidents to recover compensation for the loss of their loved one. California provides the primary right to file a wrongful death claim with a victim’s spouse and/or children. If the victim doesn’t have a spouse or child, any family member who can prove that they financially relied on the victim has the right to pursue compensation.
The damages a family member can recover are somewhat different from those the victim would have been able to recover himself. Family members can recover damages to compensate for the following:
- Medical bills incurred before the death of their loved one,
- Loss of financial support,
- Loss of consortium, and
- Emotional distress.
Time Limits on Filing a Claim
Whether you’re a victim who has been injured in a Los Angeles bike accident or have recently lost a loved one in a fatal bicycle crash, you have a limited amount of time to file a claim. In California, personal injury and wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the injury-causing accident. If you do not file your claim within this period of time you will probably be barred from recovering the money you need and deserve.
There are certain times when the statute of limitations may be accelerated or extended. You can make sure that your claim is filed on time by contacting an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney to handle your case. Call the bicycle accident attorneys at Glotzer & Leib, LLP today to schedule a free consultation and to learn more.