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How Your Bike Accident Compensation Is Figured Out in a Legal Case


Have you been injured in a bike accident and are wondering how much compensation you could get if you pursue a case? Well, the short answer is that bike accident compensation is as different as every bike accident.

Any cyclist who is injured by a driver in California is entitled to compensation, so long as two requirements are met, showing the the driver was at fault. First, if the driver acted negligently by breaching the duty of care that reasonably prudent people are deemed to owe each other, or second, if the driver intentionally and recklessly caused harm to you.

The purpose of these laws is to make you — the injured party — whole again, after being injured by a driver who met the previous qualifications. You are entitled to compensation..

Determining what you will receive as compensation following a crash that is nearly impossible to predict without fully exploring your case. However, there are a number of factors that are considered in every bike crash when it comes to figuring out compensation.

Although every crash is different, there are usually a few things that they have in common.

In this post, we’ll talk about what goes into determining your bike accident compensation so that you can know what to expect if you are considering pursuing a case after a crash.

Here’s how bike accident compensation is figured out

While figuring out bike accident compensation is a complex process, it is based primarily on one thing: damages. However, the word “damages” actually encompasses a lot.

Damages are, essentially, the costs you have paid as a result of the crash. These can be financial, of course, which are the kind that most people think of first. Financial damages are things like medical bills or the cost to rent a car while your bike is out of commission. They’re the kinds of things you normally think of when you think of “compensation”.

However, there are also non-financial damages. These are things like pain and suffering that you’ve endured as a result of the crash, or a loss of enjoyment of life caused by your injuries.

Here is how your case is looked at in terms of damages, both financial and non-financial.

Economic damages

Financial damages are fairly straightforward to figure out, since they are related mostly to bills, wages, and other concrete financial costs.

These damages aren’t just limited to out-of-pocket costs you may have to pay as a result of the crash, like repair bills or co-pays at the doctor. Financial damages also include future losses you may incur as a result of your crash, like lost earning potential because of an injury that hinders your ability to do your job.

Here are the economic damages that you can be compensated for (of course, not all of these will apply in every case):

  • Medical expenses (past and future)
  • Lost wages (past and future)
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Loss of ability to provide household services;
  • Loss or destruction of personal property
  • Costs of repair or replacement of property
  • Expenses for things you can’t do as a result of the injury

These damages are usually calculated by simply looking at things like your pay stubs, your receipts, your medical bills, etc. Tracking the expenses you incur as a result of your crash is a really important job for you to do after an accident. The better documentation you have, the easier it will be to make a solid case for what you are owed.

Non-economic damages

People lose so much more than money when they are hit by a car while on their bike. Beyond medical bills and time off work, there are the many ways that your crash continues to negatively affect you every day after your crash.

Are you afraid to ride your bike? Are you physically unable to ride your bike? Can’t keep up with household chores due to chronic pain or disability? Can’t exercise or play with your kids like you used to?

Non-economic damages are a way of repaying the losses you experience that aren’t calculated on receipts. They are different for everyone, and can be as large or as small as an individual’s case demands.

Non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering;
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium

When you are working with a lawyer, they will help you understand where your non-economic damages fall within these categories.

“Pain and suffering” might sound really similar to “loss of enjoyment of life”, but these are actually two distinct categories when it comes to the law. Pain and suffering refers to pain, discomfort, or emotional trauma caused by the crash. Loss of enjoyment of life refers to negative changes to your lifestyle or an inability to participate in activities you once loved.

For example, if you have a shoulder injury from your crash that hurts every day (even after it has healed), then that would fall under pain and suffering. If that shoulder injury prevents you from going rock climbing, something you used to do every weekend, then that falls under loss of enjoyment of life.

Emotional distress claims stem from your experience of a traumatic event and how that trauma affected you. Even crash witnesses can be compensated for emotional distress caused by witnessing a dramatic crash.

Loss of consortium refers to a claim that your spouse or partner can claim, which would compensate them for the loss of their partner’s (you) companionship or services. That is, if you have a serious long-term injury that prevents you from providing care, assistance, protection, affection, sex, or the ability to have children to your partner, then they can request compensation for your loss of ability to share those things with them.

Call Bay Area Bicycle Law to learn about your bike accident compensation

You can only find out how much your case is worth by working with an attorney who understands how bike accident claims work. At Bay Area Bicycle Law, you can get a free, confidential, no obligation consultation with an attorney (not an assistant or paralegal) who is experienced in bicycle law and can tell you your options.

Call 415-466-8717 today!