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Bicycle Accident Injury Liability in California: Who is At Fault if I Was Hit By a Car While Riding My Bike? 

Posted on in Personal Injury

Palo Alto Personal Injury AttorneyCalifornia's temperate weather and rich culture make it a perfect place to explore on bicycle. Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents involving bicyclists are not uncommon.  If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you may be wondering who is at fault and whether you can recover compensation for your injuries. The answer to these questions depends on the specific facts of your case. In general, California law follows the "fault" system when it comes to car accidents. This means that the person who caused the accident is typically responsible for paying for any damages that result. However, liability for bicycle accidents is rarely straightforward. 

Is a Motor Vehicle Driver Legally Responsible for a Bicycle Accident?

A motorist's liability for a car-on-bicycle crash depends on the circumstances of the accident. If the driver was speeding, texting, driving while intoxicated, failed to yield, or was otherwise driving in a negligent manner, and this led to the accident, then the driver may be held liable. The at-fault driver's auto insurance company may be required to pay for the bicyclist's medical bills, property damage, and other damages. 

Bicyclists are required to follow the same laws as the drivers of motor vehicles. They must stop at red lights, ride in the same direction as motor vehicles,  use bike lanes when available, and stay to the far right side of the road. If the bicyclist was in violation of these laws at the time of the accident, then the driver of the motor vehicle may not be legally responsible for the crash. For example, if the bicyclist was riding on the wrong side of the road or ran a red light, and this led to the accident, then the driver of the motor vehicle may not be required to pay for medical bills or other damages. 

Shared Fault for an Accident Involving a Car and Bicycle 

California car accidents and other personal injury cases are subject to a legal doctrine called "comparative fault."  This doctrine allows plaintiffs to recover damages even if they are partially at fault for an accident. However, the plaintiff's damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if a jury finds that a plaintiff is 20 percent at fault for an accident, then the plaintiff can only recover 80 percent of their total damages from the other parties involved in the accident. 

Contact a San Jose Bicycle Accident Injury Lawyer 

Santa Clara County personal injury attorney Cory Fuller understands that bicycle accidents can have a devastating impact on victims and their families. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact Fuller Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call 408-234-7563 today.




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