California is a state of active citizens, and riding a bike is a great way to skip traffic, get some fresh air, stay healthy, and, most importantly, have fun while enjoying the sights and sounds of San Jose and the Bay Area. As of spring 2021, San Jose boasted roughly 400 miles of on-street bikeways and 62 miles of off-street trails to help keep riders safe. In December of 2022, San Jose was recognized as a Silver Level Bicycle-Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, an improvement from a previous Bronze Level designation.
Unfortunately, many drivers seem to forget that they share the road with these vulnerable riders, leading to many avoidable bike accidents between motor vehicles and bicyclists every year, many of which can result in severe injuries. Bicycle accident lawyers can help San Jose victims seek compensation through a personal injury claim.
Santa Clara County had a total of 504 reported victims either killed or injured while operating bikes, putting the county in the upper 50th percentile for the number of accidents in California, ranking 22/28 — a notable difference from the County ranking of 51/58 for overall injuries and fatalities. Part of these statistics can be explained by year-round seasonable weather, but regardless of why, the numbers clearly show that bicycle riders must be aware of how important it is to work with a bicycle accident lawyer in the event of a crash.
Contact Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP for a Free Consultation About Your San Jose Bicycle Accident
Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP offers a free consultation for bicycle accident victims and their families. It is a great opportunity to learn all about your legal options with zero obligation to work with our firm. We will go through the details of your situation, including the cause of your accident, the nature of any injuries you’ve suffered, and learn about any steps that you have already taken. Once we have a clear understanding, we will be able to answer any specific questions you have about your legal options, our process, and what you can expect as a client of our law firm.
Many people will go directly to filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer, believing that personal injury attorneys in San Jose are only for lawsuits, but this could not be further from the truth. From the moment you initiate your claim, the adjuster assigned to your case will look for every way to reduce your settlement amount, offset blame, and resolve your case as quickly as possible. By partnering with an attorney as quickly as possible, you can protect yourself from sneaky or intimidating tactics that the insurer will use to their advantage, and stay focused on your recovery.
Read more about bike accidents below and contact us right away to request your consultation.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in San Jose
When riding a bike, there are all sorts of risks and threats that you need to stay aware of; however, even the most vigilant and defensive cyclist is at the mercy of those around them. The following are just a few of the many different ways that a cyclist can be involved in an accident. Whether or not you see the cause of your accident below, contact our law firm as soon as possible to request a free consultation with a seasoned legal professional.
As a cyclist, it can be alarming to look around and notice how many people are driving their cars while staring at their phones, fiddling with their radio, reaching into the backseat, or engaging in behavior that draws their attention away from safe driving. Distracted driving is a major issue that puts cyclists and everyone else on the road at risk of an accident.
Failure to Yield
Drivers in California are required to maintain at least three feet distance from cyclists with whom they are sharing the road. Some drivers do not even know that cyclists operate under the same set of rules as motorized vehicles and are expressly permitted to share the road. Others may not consider cyclists part of the traffic flow and will ignore their right of way while passing through an intersection or turning. Many cyclists are familiar with being cut-off when a driver makes an unsafe turn in front of them, which is just one of the many different ways a driver’s failure to yield can lead to a serious accident.
When drivers or passengers get out of their vehicle without looking behind to make sure a cyclist isn’t oncoming, it can result in a collision known as “dooring.” When the rider crashes into the open door, they can suffer serious injuries, especially to the face and upper body.
Drivers who speed may not notice cyclists sharing the lane or riding in a bike lane. Speeding drivers have less time to react, and if they fail to react in time and hit someone, the extra speed can magnify the impact and the resulting injuries that cyclists may suffer. Commercial truck accidents involving bicycles may also be caused by speed.
Some drivers engage in aggressive behaviors toward cyclists, including cutting them off, honking, swerving, or trying to box them out to intimidate them. These people often fail to recognize that cyclists have the same rights as those in motor vehicles and become combative when they feel that a cyclist is taking up too much space on the road.
Common Injuries From Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can result in a variety of different injuries that can range from scrapes and bruises to serious, even fatal, injuries that can have long-term effects on a rider’s health. Here are a few of the most common injuries:
Brain injuries are some of the most common injuries that cyclists sustain in bicycle accidents. These can range from mild concussions to serious Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) that may result in lasting or permanent damage to the rider’s cognitive function.
This painful abrasion injury happens when a cyclist’s skin scrapes or drags along the pavement after being thrown from their bike. Road rash may just be a mild irritation but it could also be a severe injury with a high risk of infection and long-term scarring.
When a cyclist falls off their bike or collides with a vehicle, the impact may lead to broken or fractured bones. The location of the fracture(s) depends on the type of collision, the points of impact on the rider’s body, and several other factors. These injuries often need to be splinted or placed in a cast while the bone heals, and in some cases, may require surgery.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that allow the brain to send and receive signals from the rest of the body. Disruption to these processes, through spinal cord injuries like severing or breakage to the spinal cord, can result in paralysis and a number of other long-term disabilities and issues.
High-speed collisions can often lead to damage to organs like the liver, spleen, or lungs, as well as internal bleeding that can fill the body cavity. Suppose you experience discomfort in your body after a collision but do not see physical evidence of an injury. In that case, it is essential that you seek medical attention to ensure that any issues are mitigated before they become life-threatening.
Riders may suffer facial injuries if they are thrown forward over their handlebars during a collision, including a fractured jaw, broken teeth, lacerations, or even puncture wounds. Facial injuries may require medical intervention and could even require plastic surgery, depending on the nature of the injury.
San Jose is a city with over one-million residents and a large cycling community. Unfortunately, this means fatal accidents involving cyclists and cars can occur. When a person on a bicycle is hit by a car, several factors can contribute to the severity of injuries and, tragically, even result in death. Most often this involves the force of impact and whether head trauma is involved. The collision between a car and a cyclist can generate significant force, leading to severe injuries if a cyclist is wearing proper protection. The difference in mass and speed between a car and a bicycle often puts the cyclist at a deadly disadvantage.
The Importance of Working With an Attorney After a Bicycle Accident
After a bicycle accident, it can feel nearly impossible to make sense of your legal situation — especially while you are trying to get medical care, deal with missed time at work, and the other many impacts an accident will cause. Trying to navigate the complexities of an insurance claim is often too much for a victim to handle in this difficult time. Insurance companies use this fact to their advantage as they push for the lowest possible settlement.
When you have an attorney handling your case, you can focus on your own needs while an experienced professional handles the investigation, damage calculations, communications with the insurance company, and negotiations to reach a fair settlement.
Contact our firm today to connect with an attorney and learn more about the support we are here to provide you.