No More Rules of the Road for California Bicyclists?

California lawmakers are considering a new law that would amend bicyclists’ obligations and duties while traveling along California roadways. Presently, bicyclists are subject to the same “rules of the road” that govern motorists and their operation of motor vehicles. This means that a bicyclist must stop for red traffic lights and stop signs. A new bill, however, would permit bicyclists to disregard signs and signals that would otherwise require them to stop their bicycles and (essentially) allow bicyclists to proceed through the intersections governed by these signs and signals without stopping.

A Bicyclist’s Duty to Yield to Other Traffic

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In the event of a bicycle accident occurring at an intersection controlled by a stop light or stop sign, a judge or jury will need to determine which parties involved – the bicyclist and/or the motorist – acted in a careless or negligent manner. Where both the motorist and the bicyclist may bear some blame for the bicyclist’s injuries (for example, where neither the motorist nor the bicyclist were paying attention to the movement of cross traffic before proceeding through the intersection), a judge or jury will need to assign a “percentage of fault” to each party whose carelessness contributed to the crash. The size of the bicyclist’s monetary recovery would depend on how great the bicyclist’s percentage of fault is determined to be.

How Does a Judge or Jury Determine a Percentage of Fault?

Unfortunately, there is no way to predict who a judge or jury will assign percentages of fault. Instead, determining a percentage of fault is quite subjective and depends on the strength of the bicyclist’s case and the motorist’s defense. As one might expect, having legal counsel familiar with presenting bicyclist accident claims and/or defenses can help the party maximize the percentage of fault attributable to the other party while minimizing the percentage of fault attributable to him- or herself.

Trust your Costa Mesa personal injury attorneys at Case Barnett Law to help you recover compensation if you are a bicyclist and are injured by a careless motorist who is not paying attention to your movements on the road. The sooner you contact our office, the quicker we may be able to help you and your family during this difficult time. Call Case Barnett Law’s offices at (949) 861-2990; alternatively, you can reach our firm quickly by using our online contact form.

Multimillion Dollar Verdicts are Not Common in Personal Injury Lawsuits

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Headlines are littered with news reports and press releases of personal injury lawsuits and other similar cases in which the injured victims obtain millions of dollars in monetary damages. With the large number of such cases that are reported on by the media, one might be forgiven for assuming that the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits end with such large sums of money being awarded to the victim. This, in turn, can lead a person to seek out an attorney who claims to have a record of obtaining these types of judgments to handle his or her own personal injury lawsuit.

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The Truth Behind Multimillion Dollar Awards

In truth, only a small percentage of personal injury lawsuits end with the injury victim receiving millions – or even hundreds of thousands – of dollars in compensation. Those that do typically have several of the following factors in common:

  •      The victim was of a young age with few or no preexisting conditions that limited his or her life;
  •      The victim suffered a considerable amount of pain in the aftermath of the incident;
  •      The victim will be left permanently disabled in some way as a result of his or her injuries;
  •      The victim will require continuing medical treatment or medical assistance for a considerable length of time;
  •      The victim had children and/or a spouse who depended on the victim for love, companionship, and support;
  •      The victim was active in one or more activities prior to the incident, and as a result the victim may not be able to fully participate in these activities.

In addition, evidence that the at-fault party acted with extreme indifference, gross negligence, or deliberately caused the victim’s injuries can lead a court to impose punitive damages in addition to other economic and noneconomic damages.

What the Headlines Don’t Emphasize

Even where a victim obtains a multimillion dollar compensation award, this award may be reviewed by the trial court or one or more appellate courts. Any one of these courts may lower or throw out a judgment award they believe to be grossly unfair or disproportionate to the harm suffered by the victim. In other words, just because a victim was awarded a large sum of damages after a trial does not mean that he or she will actually get such an award, especially where the case was tried to a jury.

Can the Right Attorney Help Me Obtain More Compensation

To be sure, however, having the assistance of an experienced and skilled California personal injury attorney like a member of Case Barnett Law’s legal team can help increase the likelihood that you will receive a compensation award that fully and fairly compensates you for your injuries.  At Case Barnett Law, we carefully help our personal injury clients evaluate the losses they experienced as a result of their injury incident and then aggressively fight to help our clients obtain this compensation.  Contact us at (949) 861-2990, or complete our online form, and discuss your personal injury case with us today.