When the Law Offices of Richard J. Staskus in San Jose opened its doors in 1977, we rarely spotted cyclists on the highway and there were only a fraction of the bike lanes we have now. The Bay Area has since grown into a vibrant cycling community. Locals from San Jose, Santa Clara, Sausalito, San Francisco and Marin County rely upon bikes as a green method of commuting. Tourists enjoy biking along the many scenic bike paths and roadways in the city and along the outskirts. CalBike has made access to bike travel easier than ever. But the growth of bicycling in the Bay Area has led to an increase in bike accidents. In fact, across California, bike collisions have increased by 18 percent.
If you’re a cyclist, you have probably experienced more than one terrifying moment when a driver passed too close, cut you off, or seemed not to have even seen you. If you were lucky, you were merely shaken up. But many cyclists are not as lucky and have suffered serious injuries in collisions with cars. If you’ve suffered such injuries, we can help. You have the right to be on the road, and we seek appropriate relief when drivers fail to respect your rights and you’re harmed as a result.
California law requires all cyclists under the age of 18 to wear a bicycle helmet that meets certain standards. But people over 18 do not have to wear a helmet when biking in the state, despite the legislature’s attempts to mandate their use. Those attempts have been thwarted by the cycling community itself, who claim that a law mandating adult helmet use would make biking appear to be dangerous and thus encourage more commuters to drive instead of bike.
That means if you suffer a head injury while bicycling without a helmet, the defendant can attempt to shift blame for your injury to your failure to wear protective headgear. However, we will work to prove that your injury would have occurred even if you had been wearing a helmet.
California follows a comparative negligence theory, which allows you to recover for the portion of damages that the defendant caused even if you are partially at fault. Therefore, even if you contributed to the collision, you may still collect damages in the amount attributed to the defendant. For example, if you sustained $50,000 in damages, and you were found to be 10 percent at fault, you could recover $45,000 from the defendant.
Furthermore, because California is an at-fault state, you can file a claim with the defendant’s insurance company first if the driver is to blame. However, your insurer may also cover your damages, particularly if an uninsured or hit-and-run driver ran into you.
Every case is different, and your damages depend upon the facts in your particular case. Our personal injury attorney may pursue compensation for lost wages, diminished earning capacity, medical bills, disability, scarring, and pain and suffering. But whatever your injuries, you can trust we will seek the maximum possible compensation.
If you’ve been injured in a bicycling accident in the Bay Area, the Law Offices of Richard J. Staskus in San Jose will fight for full and fair compensation. Call us at 408-606-9150 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. You owe us no fees unless we recover damages for you.