Causation And Fault: Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you’re hesitant to speak with a lawyer about your legal options following a bike crash, you aren’t alone. Many bicycle accident victims shy away from speaking with a lawyer about their situation for a number of reasons. Sometimes, injury victims are convinced that they are at fault for what happened to them and, therefore, there is no point in speaking with an attorney about seeking compensation. Sometimes, injury victims are under the impression that there case isn’t worth much and it, therefore, isn’t worth their time and effort to connect with a lawyer.
In reality, California bicycle accident victims are often in a strong position to seek compensation, even if they’re partially to blame for what happened to them. While the value of each bicycle accident case is unique, it’s important for any bicycle accident victims who have suffered significant injuries to understand that their case may be worth far more than they’ve been led to believe.
Determining Causation and Fault
As an experienced bicycle accident lawyer – including those who practice at the Cohen Injury Law Group – can confirm, it’s usually very difficult to determine the exact cause(s) of a bicycle accident until after the circumstances of the crash have been thoroughly investigated. This is one of the primary reasons why it’s so important to avoid making assumptions about your own situation until a lawyer has evaluated it objectively.
You may, for example, be under the impression that you were wholly at fault for your crash because you rolled through a stop sign before you were struck. What you aren’t yet aware of in this scenario, is that the driver who hit you had been awake for 36 hours and was driving a vehicle outfitted with faulty breaks. Had the driver not been making unsafe choices and had the vehicle been safe, the driver should have been able to stop in advance of impact.
In this scenario, because California is a pure contributory negligence state, you’d be able to sue both the driver and the brakes manufacturer for their contributions to your harm. Say that the value of your harm is $500,000. The brakes manufacturer is assigned 20% of the blame (equivalent to $100,000) and the driver is assigned to 40% of the blame (equivalent to $200,000). Even though you were partially responsible for what happened to you, you’re still in a strong position to pursue $300,000 from other parties that were also partially responsible for what happened to you.
California’s status as a pure contributory negligence state means that, unlike many other states, it doesn’t bar accident injury victims from seeking compensation if they are more than 49% or 50% at fault for their own harm. While it is true that there are some cases that aren’t worth pursuing (if you were 95% at fault for your crash, for example, pursuing 5% in damages might not be worth your time), you won’t know the strength of your case for sure until you speak with an attorney.