Injured California cyclists can sue motorists who hurt them in left-hook crashes.
Imagine that you’re a cyclist in a left hook accident. You’re just rolling along like anyone else on the road and suddenly a car makes a fast turn in front of you. You fly off your bike and into the roadway.
This is a left-hook accident and it can be a deadly situation for a cyclist. If you find yourself in an accident like this, you’ll be lucky to survive and may have extensive bruising, cuts, broken bones, or even something more serious like organ damage or a brain injury.
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we see bicycle vs. car accidents all too frequently. You should know that we’re cyclists ourselves, so our hearts really go out to people injured in left hook accidents.
Here in California, injured cyclists have the right to pursue compensation from motorists who hurt them. You can get your bills paid, get your bike fixed, and move forward from the crash if you start with a free bicycle accident case evaluation now.
What’s a California Left Hook Accident?
A left hook accident happens when a vehicle turns left into the path of a cyclist and the cyclist can’t possibly avoid the crash. It often happens so fast, the cyclist doesn’t even see the turning cars until they “get hooked” and go sprawling onto the pavement.
Anyone can cause one of these crashes – a motorist, an Uber driver, a truck driver, a scooter rider, or even another cyclist. When someone is making a left turn across traffic, it’s their responsibility to ensure their path is clear first. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.
What Causes Left Hook Accidents?
Left hook accidents usually happen due to bad assumptions and the failure to pay attention. A motorist might be on the lookout for cars but fail to see an oncoming cyclist. Or they might assume they have plenty of space to turn but don’t realize the cyclist is moving so fast toward them.
Common factors in these crashes include distracted driving, inattentiveness, misunderstanding the law, making assumptions about things like speed and direction, and a lack of courtesy toward cyclists. Drivers sometimes assume their right to use the road outweighs cyclists’ rights, which isn’t true.
Aggressive driving can also be a factor. Some motorists exhibit dangerous driving behavior like riding too close to cyclists, trying to outrun them, or menacing them by making dangerous and sudden movements. Any of these behaviors can lead to a left-hook accident.
It’s sad to say that drunk driving can also be an issue in left-turn accidents because drunk drivers kill more than 1,000 people in California every year. Some of these victims are cyclists who certainly don’t expect an inebriated motorist to threaten their life and health on the road.
Bicyclists can help avoid left hook accidents by riding defensively and keeping their heads up looking for turning cars. Stay alert and avoid wearing headphones, abiding by the rules of the road.
As a cyclist, don’t worry too much if you’re partially at fault for a left hook accident. In California, you can start a bike accident claim even if you are partially at fault. Below, we’ll explain more about shared liability and still receiving compensation.
What You Should Know About Left Hooks and Bike Lanes
Did you know cyclists aren’t required to use bike lanes at all times in California? Cyclists can ride in bike lanes, along the right side of the road, or even in the middle of the lane of travel if it’s safest for them to do so.
That’s why the presence of a bike lane is practically irrelevant in a left hook crash. Whether a bike lane is present or not isn’t the deciding factor in a civil bike accident case or insurance claim.
Plus, many laws protect cyclists’ rights to share the roads. As much as a motorist might prefer to put all the blame on a cyclist, that’s not how it works. No motorist, cyclist, or any other driver is permitted to turn directly into the path of someone who has the right of way.
Common Injuries in Left Hook Accidents
Certain minor and severe injuries are common in left hook accidents. Here are some of the most common we see at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers:
- Soft tissue injuries like bumps and bruises
- Knee injuries
- Wrist injuries
- Road rash
- Torn muscles and ligaments
- Back and spinal injuries
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Chest and ribcage impact injuries
- Broken bones
- Loss of feeling in the limbs
- Limited range of motion
- Problems with balance
- Nerve damage
- Chronic pain
Also, don’t discount your mental and emotional pain. You could have long-lasting psychological injuries that need treatment. You may recover compensation for treatment related to depression, anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other conditions.
Can I Make a Left-Hook Accident Claim if I Share the Blame?
Our clients are sometimes worried about starting an accident claim because they might be partially at fault. Don’t worry! Here in California, each person’s level of fault for an accident is assigned as a percentage using the comparative negligence rule.
After a left hook accident, one person could be 100% responsible and the other zero percent, or there could be 50/50 shared fault, or anywhere in-between. You can successfully recover compensation as long as your percentage of fault is below 100%.
Each person’s amount of fault is established through evidence like the police report, witness testimony, expert analysis, skid mark evidence, video footage, and more. Working with your lawyer, you’ll present all of this evidence to the court or insurance company.
To win your case, you’ll need to provide overwhelming evidence of the other person’s level of fault plus documentation that shows your costs. Compensable costs typically include car repairs, medical bills, lost days of work, and pain and suffering.
What Factors Will Be Weighed in a Left Hook Accident?
Many factors play a role in a court case or insurance claim regarding a left hook accident. Lawyers, insurance companies, judges, and juries typically look at the following factors to decide who’s at fault.
- Relevant California bicycle laws
- Where and when the crash occurred
- The weather and road conditions
- Witness accounts
- Expert witness testimony
- How each person was positioned in the crash
- Damage to vehicles and bicycles
- Drunk, drugged, or distracted driving
- Video footage
- Police reports
Gather as much evidence as possible! The more evidence you can gather to support your side, the stronger your case will be.
What to Do Immediately After Your Left Hook Crash
Get medical attention immediately after the crash, then carefully consider your next steps. We strongly advise you to work with a bicycle accident lawyer to ensure you don’t make any missteps that could harm your case.
As quickly as possible, preserve any evidence you may have, like debris from the accident and your demolished bike. In particular, focus on collecting evidence that matches the details listed in the police report because this will strengthen your case significantly.
Take photos and videos of your injuries, including any cuts, bruises, deformities, or scarring. Continue to document these injuries as you receive treatment and begin to heal. Also, photograph your medical gear like crutches, casts, slings, and canes.
Paperwork must be preserved and presented during your case. Save all of your relevant medical records and keep track of your medical costs. This is a huge part of determining the value of your claim, even if most of your costs are covered by your health insurance.
Track out-of-pocket costs too, like bus fares, Uber rides, and copays. These costs can really add up, so it’s worth adding all costs to your case and seeking reimbursement.
Next, open a claim with the motorist’s insurance company working closely with your lawyer. Don’t share your personal information, like your social security number, or provide a recorded statement until you speak to your lawyer first.
Also, this is important: Don’t talk about your accident on social media. In fact, you may want to disable your social media accounts for a while to prevent the other side from gathering information they can twist and use against you.
The Legal Deadline for Left Hook Accident Claims
The state of California assigns a time limit for accident claims. This is known as the statute of limitations. It’s usually within two years of the date of the accident, but sometimes this period shortens if you’re dealing with a government entity, for example.
Time isn’t on your side, so don’t wait too long. Valuable evidence could soon be lost and peoples’ memories fade fast after the trauma of an accident. Talk to an accident lawyer as soon as possible to start building a strong case for compensation.
You Need a Bicycle Left Hook Accident Lawyer ASAP!
We don’t advise taking on a case like this by yourself. Handling it alone can be extremely stressful and takes your focus away from your health and healing from the trauma of the accident. Now’s your time to rest and recover.
Plus insurance companies tend to toss out lowball offers to people who don’t have lawyers. They’ll assume they can bully you into taking a basic payout, plus they’ll know you’re spending zero dollars on legal representation and will think you’ll accept a fast, small payment.
Also, there’s so much more you’ve lost than the cost of your medical bills. What about your mental health counseling? Your lost days of work? The value of your beloved bike?
Don’t make the mistake of undervaluing your pain and suffering either. Your suffering should never be undervalued by an insurance company that’s pressing you for a quick settlement. Place the proper value on your pain and suffering with help from your lawyer.
As you decide what to do next, remember that at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we don’t take our fee until the conclusion of your case. Our goal is to help you cover the costs of your left hook accident and still have money in your pocket.
Contact us now for a free and confidential consultation that’s also compassionate for your position as an injured cyclist. You have rights and we’ll help you protect yourself!
We Handle Your Accident Claim so You Can Focus on Your Life
After an accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including left hook bike accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about California’s injured people. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation or call 877-380-8852.