Bakersfield Bicycle Accidents

If you’re on this site, you or a loved one has been in a bicycle accident – or bicycle collision. You have questions. One of those questions is: do you need a bicycle accident attorney?*.

To determine if you need a bicycle accident attorney, there are some questions you need to ask yourself.  Regardless of what you decide, remember, you always can contact us for a Free, No-obligation Consultation. We will listen to your situation and tell you your legal options.

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Police Reports

It is very likely that the police report says the cyclist is at fault. In the hundreds of bike accident cases I’ve handled, 7 out of 10 police reports claim the cyclist is at fault. Don’t panic, more often than not, the police report is wrong because police officers often don’t know the Vehicle Code as it applies to cyclists. 

It’s frustrating and annoying, but it isn’t necessarily true. If the officer is wrong, we will discover it when they testify under oath during their deposition.

Meanwhile, make sure you know and follow the Rules of the Road. For an easy guide, click here to get a copy of the Rules of the Road in English and Spanish.

Admissibility in Court:

Police reports are not admissible in court. They are considered hearsay because the officer did not (probably) see the bike collision or bike accident. They are merely reporting what witnesses and the involved parties told them.

The Value of a Report:

A police report’s value to our case is in the facts the officer collects. These are typically accurate. They’ll include such things as witnesses’ and the parties’ contact information, property damage, and where and when the accident happened.

There is No Police Report:

In many cities, including the City of Los Angeles, if no one is injured, the police do not come to the scene of the bike accident or bike collision. When we called the Bakersfield Police Department and asked them their policy towards non-injury bicycle accidents, they told us that if they have an officer available they will send them to the scene. If the BPD is busy though, you could be waiting for hours.

If it’s a non-inury collision, you can go to the nearest police station and make a report yourself. In this situation it is most important to make sure you get as much information and take as many photos as possible. Remember though, if there are injuries you MUST notify the police and wait for them to arrive.

Police Reports: FAQs

Question:   The police report says I’m at fault for the bicycle accident, but I wasn’t. What do I do?

Answer:   I often see police reports that claim the cyclist was at fault for their own bicycle accident. Don’t worry. When we take the officer’s deposition we usually are able to demonstrate that the officer is wrong.

Question:   Why is the police report not admissible as evidence in court?

Answer:   Often the officer who takes the police report did not see the bicycle collision. The officer interviews everyone at the scene and gets their stories. Since the officer is only being told what others saw, everything they are told is hearsay and not admissible in court.

Question:   I called the police when I had a bicycle collision and they said they’d send someone out but it could be a few hours. What am I going to do without a police report?

Answer:   Many cities don’t send officers to take a police report if there are no injuries. Other cities do, but on an availability basis. If you really want to file a police report, go to the police or sheriff station and they’ll take a report.

Question:   The insurance company is saying that the bicycle collision was my fault because the police report says the collision was my fault. What should I do?

Answer:   Insurance companies will use any excuse to not pay a claim or to pay you as little as possible. They often use the excuse of the police report saying the cyclist is at fault for the bike collision. Your bicycle accident lawyer should be able to get to the truth when the officer is called to give sworn testimony at a deposition.

More questions? Contact us for a FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION to discuss the specifics of your situation.

The Cost of a Bike Accident Attorney

Los Angeles Bike Accident Attorney Jim Pocrass at Pocrass & De Los Reyes takes cases on a contingency basis. You pay nothing until your case is resolved.

This means that Jim Pocrass only gets paid when he wins your case. Jim Pocrass is taking the same financial risk as you. You’re truly in this together.

Cost Of A Bicycle Accident Attorney: FAQs

Question:   How much does a bicycle accident lawyer cost?

Answer:   A bicycle accident lawyer should take your case on a contingency basis. This means you pay no retainer or upfront fees. All the costs – including the cost of the attorney – is covered by the bicycle accident attorney. When the case is resolved the costs and a pre-agreed percentage of the verdict or settlement is taken out of the compensation obtained.

Question:   If the bicycle accident lawyer loses my case, do I have to pay court costs and the attorney?

Answer:   In most situations, if the bicycle accident lawyer loses the case, you pay nothing to reimburse the lawyer for costs or for their time.

More questions? Contact us for a FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION to discuss the specifics of your situation.

Do You Have a Casela-bicycle-accident-lawyer

In order to have a case there must be significant damages: financial, physical, emotional or property. If you suffered scrapes and bruises, there probably is no lawsuit . . . even if the driver was a raging pig and deserves to be punished. There must be significant damages.

To bring a lawsuit, there must be somebody/something to hold accountable. In most cases this means insurance, in a few cases, it means an individual. Whether it is an insurance company or an individual, they need to have resources to compensate you. As the old saying goes, “You can’t get money from a turnip.”

The only way you will really know if you have a case is to talk to a bike accident attorney. Contact Jim Pocrass for a free, no-obligation consultation.

My Case is Worth How Much

Faced unexpectedly with the following, or any combination of the following, circumstances, such as a damaged or destroyed bicycle, medical bills, time lost from work, therapy, and a host of other expenses, it is no wonder that this question frequently comes up during free consultations.

How much your case is worth depends on a number of factors. These are the top three:

Damages:

What injuries did you suffer? What property damage did you suffer? Because of the bike accident what economic damages did you suffer? If you lost a loved one to a wrongful death, what does that loss mean to the survivors?

The only way a court can “make you whole” is with compensation. We all know that no amount of money can really make up for a loss of a loved one or the after-effects of a catastrophic injury that you will have to live with for the rest of your life. But, hopefully, compensation can make you as whole after the fact as is possible.

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How Much Is My Case Worth: FAQs

Question:   How do I know how much my bicycle accident case is worth?

Answer:   There are four major elements that determine how much your bicycle accident case is worth: 1.) What damages did you suffer; 2.) How much insurance is available; 3.) Who was liable for the collision; and 4.) Which bicycle accident lawyer you hire to represent you.

Question:   Do I have a case if I didn’t suffer serious damages in my bicycle accident case?

Answer:   You might. In California if your damages are $10,000 or less, you may be able to take your case to small claims court. But it’s always best to contact a bicycle accident attorney and get their perspective about your situation.

More questions? Contact us for a FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION to discuss the specifics of your situation.

Insurance:

No matter how extensive your injuries or damages are, typically the amount of compensation available depends on how much insurance the driver has.

California requires drivers to carry at least: Bodily Injury Liability, $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident; Property Damage Liability: $5,000.

If you are hit by a driver carrying the minimum amount of insurance required by California law, but your damages are more than that, you only get how much insurance the driver bought.

This is why I counsel everyone I meet who bikes and who has automobile insurance to increase their own uninsured – underinsured motorist insurance. It’s inexpensive and it covers you even if you are riding a bicycle when the collision happens.

Here’s how it works. Let’s pretend you had damages of $60,000. The driver of the car only has $30,000 in insurance so they pay you that but you still have $30,000 of unreimbursed damages. At that point, your uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist insurance kicks in for the remaining $30,000.

If you have to use your uninsured – underinsured car insurance, California law says your insurance company may not raise your premiums.

Uninsured motorist insurance also can help you if you are hit by someone with no insurance or if you are in a hit-and-run.

Insurance And Bicycle Accidents: FAQs

Question:   How do I get uninsured or under-insured motorist insurance?

Answer:   If you have car insurance, you probably have some amount of uninsured motorist insurance. Uninsured motorist insurance kicks in when you either don’t know who hit you – such as in a hit-and-run – or if your damages are more than the amount of insurance the other party carries. Uninsured motorist insurance is very inexpensive. It is wise to increase it to as much as the insurance company will allow.

Question:   Can my insurance company raise my premium if I put in a claim for uninsured motorist insurance?

Answer:   In California, it is illegal for insurance companies to raise your rates if you collect on your uninsured motorist insurance.

Question:   What is comparative negligence?

Answer:   Comparative negligence is when each participant in the bicycle collision is partially at fault. For example, if you are found 10% at fault for the bicycle accident, and if you get a verdict or settlement for $100,000, that means you will collect $90,000 instead of the full $100,000.

More questions? Contact us for a FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION to discuss the specifics of your situation.

Liability:

We need to determine who is liable – or responsible – for the bike accident. If there is no one to sue, such as in a hit-and-run, then we can’t bring a lawsuit.

Liability may seem clear, but it rarely is. On the surface it might look like the driver was at fault. But it is only by investigating the accident that we will be able to determine exactly who is at fault.

For instance, if you are hit by a motor vehicle, the driver could be responsible. But, let’s say, the driver had their brakes fixed and they were fixed incorrectly. In that situation the repair shop also might be at fault. Or, maybe the manufacturer of the brakes was at fault. It’s even possible that the city or county or state is at fault if the road design contributed to the bike accident.

All of these factors are significant in determining how much your case is worth. But after handling hundreds of bike accident lawsuits in my 30 year career, I truly believe that the bike accident attorney you pick is one of the most significant elements of how much compensation you will get.

Liability And Bicycle Accidents: FAQs

Question:   Who could be liable for my bicycle accident?

Answer:   You never really know who is liable for a bicycle accident until an investigation is done. It could be the driver of the motor vehicle, the repair shop of the motor vehicle or of the bicycle; the manufacturer of the motor vehicle or of the bicycle; or the government entity responsible for the road if there’s a dangerous road condition. Or, it could be any combination of the above.

Question:  What damages can I recover compensation for?

Answer:   You may be eligible to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, and property damage. If you lost a loved one in a wrongful death, you also may be eligible for funeral expenses and other compensation for your economic losses.

More questions? Contact us for a FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION to discuss the specifics of your situation.

NOW: Do You Need a Bike Accident Lawyer?

If you have suffered serious personal injuries, or if you lost a loved one in a wrongful death because of a bicycle collision, you absolutely need an experienced bicycle accident lawyer.

Don’t talk to the driver’s insurance company. Let your bicycle accident lawyer handle everything for you, because I can guarantee that everything you tell the insurance company will be used against you.

If you have had a minor bike accident – meaning few if any injuries and a bent up bicycle – you can probably handle it with the insurance company yourself.

Whether your bike accident is catastrophic or minor, take advantage of the free, no-obligation consultation Jim Pocrass offers.

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*We understand that many cyclists hate the word “accident.” They prefer the words “collision” or “crash.” We understand how you feel, and we want you to know that we thought hard about what terminology to use. We settled on “bike accident” because it is the most common search term used on Google. We want cyclists who need our services to find us. We hope you understand.