No contact? No problem. Even if a vehicle doesn’t hit you, it’s still possible to recover high-value accident compensation. Here’s why.
It’s a myth that there must be physical contact for a compensable road accident. No actual contact is required for an accident claim in California, whether the situation involves two vehicles, a vehicle and a pedestrian, a vehicle and a bicyclist, or another combination.
This means if someone does something on the road to make you swerve into a crash, they can be held liable. For bicyclists hurt in road accidents, this comes as a huge relief.
Bicyclists often have to avoid crashes caused by careless motorists. California’s bicycle-friendly laws protect vulnerable bicyclists trying to travel safely as others put them in danger.
Consider the example below. It’s a real-world case we handled at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. It highlights the no-contact aspect of securing significant compensation.
San Francisco Cyclist Suffers No-Contact Head Injury
A San Francisco cyclist was traveling along 16th Avenue between Geary Boulevard and Clement Street in the Richmond District of San Francisco. Suddenly, a vehicle’s driver opened their door and caused the cyclist to swerve out of the way.
The cyclist crashed and suffered an instant traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is a type of severe and life-threatening closed head injury that requires emergency medical attention.
Although our client luckily survived the accident and began to heal from their TBI, they still had a long road to recovery from their injuries. In addition to the hospital stay, there were plenty of additional medical bills piling up quickly.
Plus, they were unable to work while they tried to recover from the accident. Their workplace PTO was running out, and they faced an extended home recovery period with no income.
The paperwork and processes involved with the fallout from the accident were becoming overwhelming. At this point, the injured cyclist contacted the team at Sally Morin Personal Injury lawyers and explained their worries.
Our team examined the circumstances of the accident, including the no-contact actions of the other party that led to our client’s injuries. Although the other party disputed liability, we strengthened our client’s case and placed the responsibility where it belonged: on the vehicle driver who opened their door in front of the cyclist and caused the crash.
Working on our client’s behalf, we secured $75,000, including compensation for our client’s future loss of earnings while coping with ongoing concussion symptoms. This allowed them to cover their medical bills even as they lost paychecks from being unable to work.
Our client said the best thing we did for them was alleviating their stress and allowing them to focus on the healing process. We maximized their total accident case value, increased their settlement money, and put their mind at ease.
Things You Should Know About No-Contact Compensation
As you can see, someone doesn’t have to make physical contact to be held responsible for an accident. Also, bicyclists aren’t automatically held liable for bike vs. vehicle accidents.
California Vehicle Code 22517 makes it clear that motorists are responsible for avoiding harm to cyclists. It states:
No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
Here in California, we live in a very bicycle-friendly area. The League of American Bicyclists recently ranked California 4th in the U.S. for bicycle-friendliness.
Still, not everyone cares about bicyclists and their safety. A horrific accident can happen anywhere and anytime. Your injuries are not necessarily your fault!
Don’t let anyone try to brush off your claims by saying “you should have used a bike lane” or “it’s your fault for not wearing a helmet.” Under California law, bicycle helmets are no longer required, and cyclists are not required to use bike lanes in all situations.
Even if you are somewhat at fault for the accident, you might still be eligible for considerable compensation. Under California’s comparative negligence rule, a partially at-fault injured bicyclist is often eligible to recover partial compensation from the other party.
Hurt in a Bicycle Dooring Accident? We Can Help!
Being hit by a car door is one of the most terrifying things that can ever happen to a cyclist. If someone hurts you in a California road accident, turn to the attorney team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers.
We have extensive experience with bicycle dooring accidents and have helped our clients claim millions in combined compensation. We help because we care! We’re avid cyclists ourselves and we know what it’s like to face scary situations while riding.
You should be able to focus on recovering from your bike accident while we handle the legal details. Call 877-380-8852 today for a free case evaluation.