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Child Bicycle Accidents: Are The Parents to Blame?

Friday, June 08, 2018

Children on bicycles - it is not a case of if they will get into an accident, but rather when it will happen. Any parent who learned to ride a bike as a child knows that most of these accidents will be them falling off and scraping a knee. However, there is always a chance that the naturally reckless behavior that comes with youth will result in something more serious. However, the question is, if your child gets into an accident on their bicycle with a pedestrian or even a car, do the parents shoulder the legal blame for any damages?

The Driver's Duty of Care

For drivers involved in accidents with children who were out riding their bikes, the law tends to be deeply more sympathetic to the child, more so if they were injured. However, the law goes above simple sympathy in these cases as it is expected that adults exercise a certain duty of care in the presence of children. If it can be proved that the driver saw the child, knew they were traveling through areas where children frequent or passed any sort of cautionary sign that children may be about, it can be argued that they needed to exercise more caution than usual.

In these cases, it needs to be proved that the adult driver had no way of preventing the accident in order to not be negligent.

Who is at Fault When the Child is to Blame?

If it can be proven that the adult driver was in no way negligent, then there is only one other side that will be to blame. However, a child can't pay for damages. When a child is found negligent, their caretaker is the one whole will bear the punishment.

Under the law, a child cannot be negligent under the tender years doctrine. This means children under three are incapable of the thought required to cause a negligent accident. However, most children do not ride their first bicycle until after that age. Any child that is older than three can be considered negligent, and until the age of majority - 18 years old - their parent will still be held responsible for their actions.

What to Do in Cases That Involve Children

When there is a bicycle accident that involves a child, essentially it becomes a defense case for both sides until it can be decided where negligence lands. The adult will be out to prove that they fulfilled their duty of care while the child's parent will seek to prove that their child was not negligent. After the courts make the decision on where negligence lies, that is where your standard accident suit begins. The driver may press for damages from the parents, while the parents may press for damages from the driver. If the latter is true, the adult driver should expect court sympathy to come into play. The younger the child was, the more sympathetic they will be. Alternatively, if the child was a teenager, the courts will be less sympathetic. The adult driver's legal counsel may even be able to prove a pattern of reckless behavior when it comes to placing negligence on them if the child has been in an incident before.

Have You Been in a Bicycle Accident?

Have you been in an accident with a cyclist? Bicycles on streets are becoming more common with each passing day. It is not only an environmentally friendly travel option, but it is affordable and great for the body as well. However, until drivers are properly educated on how to share the road with bicycles, accidents will continue to happen. If you have been in a bicycle accident and need representation to help you get the compensation that you deserve, then contact us today.


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.

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.

Bicycle Accidents on the Rise in Boston as Motorist Hog Bicycle Lanes

Thursday, December 01, 2016

In the wake of a series of near misses and serious bicycle accidents, Boston cycling advocates are now pushing back hard for city officials to prevent cars and particularly commercial truck drivers from veering into bicycle lanes. This has been a particular problem ever since university classes started up again and students are choosing to take bicycles back from classes or to part-time jobs. Now that more cyclists are on the road in the city, the flagrant abuse of bicycle lanes by motorists have become dangerous.

Boston is already a city that is known for its narrow streets and rampant double parking. As such, it is not uncommon for cyclists to have to veer into regular traffic and vice versa. It creates a perilous situation at best.

To prevent this deadly situation, cycling advocates are asking three things of city officials:

  • They want additional bike lanes with physical barriers in high traffic areas to protect them

  • Do more to better educate drivers

  • Bolster more enforcement of the cycling laws and have violators face more strict charges

While Boston already imposes $100 fines on driver that are caught breaking bicycle lane laws, law enforcement officials tend to be more lenient with bicycle law breakers as opposed to other motor laws. It is a frustrating situation for cyclists since Boston police often fine them for breaking laws while motorist go free.

Are you the victim of a cycling accident after a driver invaded your bicycle lane in the Los Angeles area? Then you might have some legal action available to you. Contact us today to find out what options are available.

Legal Protection for Bicycle Accidents

Thursday, May 12, 2016

An increasing number of people are commuting to work on bicycles in order to save fuel, as well as to get exercise en route. The number of leisure bicyclists is also increasing substantially. While biking is an admirable and beneficial activity, the unfortunate reality is that bicycle accidents are occurring at an alarming rate. In fact, bicyclists and pedestrians are hit by motor vehicles throughout the greater Los Angeles area on a near-daily basis.

The city has more than 1,200 miles of pathways that are specifically dedicated to bicyclists. However, many of these routes run along busy roadways where motor vehicles and bikes vie for space. In a statistical report that was compiled by the California Highway Patrol motor vehicle drivers were shown to be at fault approximately forty percent of the time where the bicyclist was seriously injured or sustained fatal injuries.

If you are injured in a bicycle accident in the Los Angeles metro area, your health and well-being are the first concern. It is advisable to seek medical attention immediately, even if you do not think you have been seriously injured. A trained professional physician can let you know the extent of the injury and advise you about the best ways in which to take care of yourself.

Here are some other things to do after a bike accident:

Documentation

As soon as possible after the accident, jot down when and where it happened. If possible, gather any names of people who were involved in or who witnessed what happened. If you have your cell phone or camera with you, it can help to take photos of the site where the accident occurred. Include pictures that show any damage to your body or property, and that, if possible, can be used to illustrate exactly how the accident occurred.

It is a good idea to call the police after a notable accident. They may be able to offer quick medical attention on the spot, if necessary, as well as to obtain any emergency services needed to treat any injuries. It is also important to file a police report at this time and to request a copy of the report to give to your attorney.

Any clothing worn at the time of the accident, the helmet or other related items should be kept so they can be used as evidence, if necessary. The same is true for receipts for bicycle repairs, replacements for protective equipment or accessories.

If the driver of the motor vehicle has insurance, chances are, you will receive a call from his or her insurance adjuster. At this time, one should obtain the name, address and contact information for the insurance carrier, as well as the claim number for the accident and any pertinent information. However, do not discuss any of the following or do the following when dealing with the insurance agent:

  • Do not discuss whose fault the accident was
  • Do not issue any general statements about the accident
  • Do not discuss settlements
  • Do not sign any forms

Instead, immediately call a qualified attorney who specializes in protecting those who have sustained personal injuries. If you are injured in a bicycle accident or would like to have more information, please contact us. We are a personal injury law firm serving Los Angeles and the surrounding metro areas, including the San Fernando Valley, Woodland Hills, Van Nuys, Encino, Thousand Oaks and North Hollywood.



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