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Who is Liable if a Bicyclist Gets Doored?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Riding your bicycle in a city is filled with many dangers. Many drivers do not yet know how to share the road with cyclists, meaning that the rider has more to worry about than your average motorist. However, while cyclists need to mind motorists and pedestrians, they also need to pay attention to the point where motorists are about to become a pedestrian – when they leave their car.

Riding along a line of parked cars is always a major worry. One car door opening immediately in front of a cyclist can make it dangerous to dodge and difficult to stop. However, for the cyclist that actually does get doored, who is at fault?

Traffic laws for cyclist require them to ride in the bike lane if available or to the right of traffic. Both circumstances will put them very close to parked cars, with bike lanes typically giving them a little more clearance. However, it is not so completely uncommon for drivers to park in a way that leaves their car in the bicycle lane as well. This makes things frustrating and dangerous. However, one thing is for certain, in most cases if a cyclist gets doored, the motorist is responsible.

Part of a driver's rules of the road states that before opening a car door, they need to check if it is safe to do so. While a driver can argue that a cyclist should have been able to dodge if there was no traffic, and thus contributed to the accident, that is not always valid. There is no denying the rules that state a driver needs to check their mirrors to make sure the door zone is clear before opening.

If you have been in a bicycle accident, regardless of if you are the driver or the cyclist, contact us today. By examining the details on a case-by-case basis, the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can help make sure that you aren't stuck with the bill.

Can the Pedestrian be at Fault in an Accident?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Typically when we think of pedestrian accidents, we somehow think that the car or other vehicle that was involved was strictly at fault and the pedestrian is the victim. This belief is typically because the pedestrian is often hurt much worse than the other party, but could they be to blame for their own accident?

Short answer? Yes, the pedestrian can be partly or wholly at fault for a pedestrian accident.

When determining the fault of a pedestrian accident, much of the proof will need to come from witnesses. Some circumstances, like where the pedestrian was clearly jaywalking, are pretty clear cut. However, if they were struck at a crosswalk, there will need to be someone who can attest that the pedestrian did or did not have the sign to cross. Pedestrians can even be at fault if they were intoxicated during the accident since that impairs their overall judgment.

However, in many cases, both parties share the blame. The driver may have been intoxicated and the pedestrian may have tried to chance it and cross the street on the do not cross sign. In most states, these cases are handled by comparative negligence, in which the injured person’s damages are reduced by a percentage equal to the share of their fault.

If you have been in a pedestrian accident, whether you are driver or pedestrian, and believe that the other party is at least partly to blame and you aren’t getting your justice, contact us today. The Law Office of Freeman & Freeman is ready to fight for your rights.

Cycling Accidents at Intersections: Who is at Fault?

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Accidents at intersections are the most common cycling accidents throughout the world. As many cars don’t know how to share the road with a cyclist, they often neglect to pay attention to them, leading to a number of tragic accidents. However, who is at fault? In most states, cyclists have to follow the same rules of the road as a car does. So if a cyclist doesn’t follow the rules, could they be at just as much fault as the car that wasn’t paying attention?

Right of Way When There Are No Traffic Signals

When two people approach an intersection and there are no traffic signals, the vehicle (including a bicycle) that arrives first has the right of way. If two vehicles somehow end up there at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right of way. This also counts for intersections with stop signs. So if you were riding your bicycle and were clearly the first to arrive, you still have the right of way, because you do count as a vehicle.

Right of Way When There Are Traffic Signals

Unlike other intersections, crossing an intersection with traffic lights safely can be pretty tricky. Sometimes a bicycle is not able to trigger the signal sensors so the light may effectively stay red until a car comes along. If you are trying to cross at one of these intersections, you are given two options: try to trigger the sensors or wait until it is safe to cross against a light. To be clear, if you are unable to set the sensors off and choose to cross, if you get hit, it will still be the fault of the cyclist in most common cases.

If you have been in a cycling accident and aren’t sure who was at fault for it, contact us today. We can help you sort out the legal details and make sure you get the justice that cyclists deserve.

Sources of Evidence to Gather After a Pedestrian Accident

Thursday, February 02, 2017

If you were a pedestrian outdoors and were involved in an accident that resulted in injury, you have the right to pursue legal action against those responsible to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. There are rules of the road for both pedestrians and those they share the world with to ensure pedestrian accidents are kept to a minimum, but when accidents do happen, the case is not always to straight forward. To ensure you win you claim, you need strong evidence. Don’t wait until months after the accident, either. Start gathering your evidence as soon as possible, even if you choose not to seek legal action later.

Photographs

Photographs of an accident are often taken for insurance purposes, but they can also help your legal case. Be sure to get copies so you can easily counter a motorist’s defense if they try to change what happened in the accident.

Medical Records

Medical records are important for any personal injury case. They don’t prove how the accident went down, but they do prove your injuries.

Your Clothing

Many people forget that clothing can be valuable evidence. Car paint and other debris can be lodged on your clothing that prove the force of impact was enough to damage the car and therefore damage you. It is important to ask emergency room personnel to keep your clothing if your accident was bad enough to merit them disposing of it.

Evidence is crucial in a solid personal injury case. If you were injured in the Los Angeles area as a pedestrian, contact us. We can help you gather evidence and build the strongest possible case to get the settlement you deserve.

Why Every Bicycle Accident Needs a Witness

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Being hit while riding your bicycle can be a pretty traumatic experience, and with any luck, it will never happen to you. However, if it does, there are a few crucial steps that you need to take. First, you should make sure you are relatively okay, check on the driver, and finally, you need to round up witnesses to the accident.

Typically, in a bicycle accident, it isn’t very hard to find witnesses. Many people who see the accident will either be stopped or will have come up to check on you. However, what then? Don’t ask them to stop and wait for the police with you. They have places to be. If they were gracious enough to agree to be your witness, be sure to ask them for their name and contact information as well as a written description of what they saw happen. This is often a step that slips most people’s minds after a cycling accident, but witnesses can make or break a case.

An unfortunate reality in our society is that the laws are skewed toward motor vehicles. Even if a car blatantly hit you on your bicycle, their lawyers may be able to nitpick every little thing that you were doing that day as a breach of road rules. By having a witness and multiple written statements, what happened that day is pretty clear cut, which is something that every injured person deserves.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a cycling accident in the Los Angeles area, contact us today. The lawyers of Freeman & Freeman specialize in personal injury cases and are dedicated to fighting for your justice.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.