Drunken driving accidents are nearly 100 percent preventable. If people have been consuming alcoholic beverages, they just shouldn’t get behind the wheel. It’s that simple, but selfish and reckless drivers go on driving under the influence of alcohol without regard for the safety of others who are on or near the roadway. If that drunk driver hits a bicyclist, the consequences can be devastating.
Diminished driving abilities
Being a bicyclist and sharing the road with motorists who haven’t been drinking can be dangerous enough. We’ve found that in many crashes involving motor vehicles and bicycles, the driver of the motor vehicle will often say that he or she either didn’t see the bike, or they didn’t see it until it was too late. Alcohol consumption before getting behind the wheel leads to diminished cognitive abilities that increase the chances of a motorist not seeing a bicyclist. Those chances increase exponentially in the evening.
The two cases
Should a drunk driver cause a crash that you’re injured in as a bicyclist, any damages that you suffer won’t be addressed by the DUI courts. They simply don’t have jurisdiction to award damages. You’ll need to retain your own legal representation, and then you’ll need to seek compensation for your damages in the civil courts. Sure, certain evidence in the criminal drunk driving case can be used against the drunk driver in the civil personal injury case, but it’s still a separate case with different procedures and rules than the criminal DUI prosecution. Fortunately, California law allows you to proceed in the personal injury case at the same time that the DUI case is pending. That drunk driver who turned your life upside down need not be found guilty of DUI in order for you to prevail on your injury case either. That’s because there’s a different burden of proof in the civil case.
It’s not at all unusual for a drunk driver to leave the scene of an accident. They might not even realize that they hit somebody or something. The fact that a drunk driver left the scene of a bicycle crash and can’t be found doesn’t end the story if you have uninsured motorist insurance. Most insurers will cover you and your family members who live with you if any of you are injured in a hit-and-run accident that was caused by a drunk driver. You’re all likely covered as bicyclists too.
Because you’re a bicyclist, you can suffer severe injuries in the event of a crash with a car. They can require expensive medical care and extensive rehabilitation. Even with a helmet, those injuries can include:
- Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
- Multiple fractures
- Organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Severe dental injuries
- Severe skin scrapes, lacerations and punctures
Bicycle accidents caused by drunk drivers can happen in an instant without any warning whatsoever. Entire families can be left financially and emotionally flattened. Damages that the California courts allow an injured victim of a drunk driver to seek include:
- Past medical bills and medical bills reasonably expected to be incurred in the future
- Past lost earnings and earnings reasonably expected to be lost in the future
- Any permanent disfigurement
- Any permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a normal life
- Funeral and burial expenses in the event of a wrongful death
- Punitive damages
Bay Area Bicycle Law
We are the only injury law firm in Northern California specializing exclusively in representing cyclists. In many cases we can help injured cyclists obtain significantly more compensation for their injuries than they would receive without having an experienced bicycle accident lawyer represent them.
We work exclusively with injured cyclists in northern California. If you were injured in Davis, Sacramento, San Jose, San Francisco or anywhere in northern California and think Caltrans may be responsible for your injuries, contact us today.
After being seriously injured in a bicycle accident with a drunk driver, a bicyclist should focus on his or her recovery as opposed to where they’re going to get the money to pay for all of the medical bills and staying economically afloat. Our knowledgeable and aggressive California bicycle accident lawyers are extensively experienced in protecting the rights of injury victims. We’ll thoroughly investigate every detail of your case and leave no stone unturned. You don’t need to pay us a penny to retain us either. That’s because we take these cases on a contingency fee basis. If you were bicycling, and you were injured as a result of the recklessness of a drunk driver, your crash was probably perfectly preventable. Contact us by phone or email right away.