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Personal Injury Blog

Bicycle Accidents: How to Make Sure You Get the Compensation You Deserve

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

COVID-19 has impacted almost every aspect of daily life. People need to get out, enjoy the fresh air, and exercise while remaining safe and practicing social distancing. Many still need to commute safely to their jobs. More people are choosing bicycles as their primary mode of transportation. Many factors have led to an increase in the number of bicycles on the road. And so are the number of bicycle accidents.

More people are working remotely from their homes; commuter bus and rail ridership are way down; people are driving more; medical care is transitioning to telehealth instead of visits to a doctor's office. What's more, gyms, movie theaters, sports arenas, restaurants, and bowling alleys are closed; online grocery shopping has become the norm; shopping at malls is a thing of the past. 

Unfortunately, with the dramatic increase in bicycle ridership, there has also been an increase in the number of bicycle accidents. California, Florida, as well as Texas, are the most dangerous states for cycling.

The statistics are alarming. Each year in California, over 100 bicyclists are killed and over 10,000 are injured in collisions.

What are the Rules of the Road for Bicyclists? 

All states require bicyclists on a road to follow the same rules as motor vehicle drivers. They must ride in the same direction as traffic flow, stop at red lights, obey all traffic signs and traffic signals, avoid making unsafe lane changes, stay off sidewalks, as well as yield to pedestrians.

Why Have Bicycle Accidents Increased?

  • More bicycles on the road
  • More people commuting to work by bicycle
  • Inexperienced bicyclists on the road
  • Distracted driving, in general, has increased
  • Motor vehicle operators do not follow or ride next to cyclists safely
  • Overwhelmed bicycle repair shops running out of spare parts
  • Cities have not made the necessary infrastructure overhauls to make cycling safer

Types of Injuries Suffered in Bicycle Accidents

In an accident involving a motor vehicle and a bicycle, it is the cyclist who is most likely to suffer severe injury.

Bicycle accidents can involve any part of the body and range from minor to catastrophic. Brain and spinal injuries are the most damaging injuries suffered. However, there can also be internal injuries, amputations, bruises, abrasions, as well as road rash.  

Who is the Responsible Party in Bicycle Accidents?

The short answer is: it depends. California uses the legal concept of comparative negligence in determining liability in any type of traffic accident. Either the motor vehicle driver, the bicyclist, both the driver and the cyclist, or neither can be attributed liability for the accident. As an example, if it is determined that the motor vehicle operator was 70% responsible for the accident and the bicyclist was 30% responsible, each can receive only a percentage of the damages for which they were not at fault. The driver could recover 30% of the full settlement in damages and the cyclist could recover 70% in damages.      

If you are involved in a bicycle accident and suffered an injury, it is very important that you contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Each case is unique. The skilled and caring attorneys at Freeman & Freeman will listen to the specifics of your case; determine the best strategy to optimize any compensation due to you for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, as well as pain and suffering; walk you through the complicated legal process; acquire the necessary medical documentation, and face off against the insurance company lawyers for you.

It is the insurance adjuster's job to offer you as little as possible for your injuries; you need an attorney on your side to preserve your rights as well as fight the legal battle for you. The experienced Freeman & Freeman litigation attorneys work on a contingency basis, so if they don't win your case, you owe them nothing!

Making the Roads Safer for Bicyclists

California initiated the Slow Streets program in early 2020. This was designed to limit motor vehicle traffic on designated residential streets and corridors. Unfortunately, the program quickly ran out of money in Los Angeles, and infrastructure work was halted. 

Other cities across the country have successfully undertaken major infrastructure changes to make the roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, such as:

  • Constructing bike lanes
  • Striping designated bike lanes
  • Buffering bike lanes that are next to busy roadways
  • Installing traffic-calming measures, such as making the road narrower, building speed bumps, and putting an officer on the road.

Being involved in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle is unnerving, traumatic, as well as potentially life-altering. Call the bicycle accident experts at Freeman & Freeman to ensure that you get the best representation possible and the compensation you deserve.

Seeking Compensation for Chemical Burns From a Restaurant

Thursday, June 07, 2018

The only burns you may worry about when walking into a restaurant or those coming from the liquid lava hot coffee or heated fajita skillet. Perhaps in the worst case you may worry in the back of your mind about a kitchen fire gone out of control. However, it is actually more common for burns that happen inside a restaurant to be of a chemical nature, and knowing how will make you second guess every restaurant you ever step into.

Consider this scenario: You walk into a restaurant and order a nice cold beer. While you look over the menu you have a few sips, but you start to feel strange. Your mouth starts to burn, then your throat, and soon you begin to vomit. After being rushed to the hospital, likely have your stomach pumped, you find out that you have a series of chemical burns in your throat and stomach.

Even if your beer tasted fine, it could have been deeply laced with caustic chemicals. Yet, to many, this horror story seems like something that happens rarely, but unfortunately for everyone, it happens in the United States several thousand times per year. For those who have worked in restaurant kitchens before, they likely already realize how it is possible.

Why Chemical Burns From Restaurants are So Common

For those who have gotten sick or internal burns from eating or drinking at a restaurant, it happened because of a general lack of care. Often during peak hours, those cleaning dishes in the back of the house are in a hurry due to general pressure to get those dishes back in serving shape in record time. This might mean that they skip steps that are done for safety.

Often plates are generally kept safe because they have good natural drainage. However, cups are at risk because obviously, they can hold liquid. This means they are at risk to become coated with the chemical cleaner used to sanitize the dishes between use. However, it is not always the dishwasher's fault. In the above scenario, that chemical-laced beer could have very well come from the tap lines. Some establishments clean their tap lines using chemicals, and when not properly flushed, you could find yourself drinking a chemical-laced brew.

What to Do About Chemical Burns

If you ate or drank at a restaurant and had to be rushed to the hospital for chemical burns, there is no denying that you should have a right to compensation to cover your medical bills. The key to any personal injury case is being able to prove liability. Due to the very nature of chemicals, you often will have a solid case. Most caustic chemicals do more harm over time, but they start doing harm almost immediately. This means if that restaurant full of witnesses can attest that you drank beer from the tap and started having a reaction, then it can be blamed on the restaurant.

While restaurants typically have good insurance to cover incidents like this, that doesn't mean they won't fight against your claim. The real issue is not that they don't want to pay for the injuries their negligence caused you, but rather that the lawsuit would affect their reputation. Issues like this can often close down a restaurant.

Alternatively, it may not always be the restaurant's fault. If they outsourced someone to clean their tap lines, for example, then the fault may actually lie with that third party. This means that it is actually that company you would need to pursue.

If you have suffered from chemical burns while eating at a restaurant and want to seek compensation for your injuries, contact us today. Chemical burns, particularly in your throat can be devastating and have lifelong consequences.



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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.