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CA Bicycle Litigation Tip: “Requests for Admission”

While there are many litigation devices in California that can facilitate the proving of a cyclist’s claim for damages in a bicycle/auto-accident lawsuit, one of the most powerful is the famed “Request for Admission” (“RFA”).   This important tool can expedite any bicycle accident lawsuit by eliminating the need to prove undisputed facts.

When one party sends an RFA (or multiple RFAs) to the other party, the other party is required to either “admit” or “deny” certain facts. These RFA fact-requests could include “Admit that you were not maintaining a proper lookout while you were operating your motor vehicle,” “Admit that your negligence caused your vehicle to collide with the bicycle,” and “Admit that as a result of your negligence, the cyclist with whom you collided incurred $7,206.93 in medical bills.”

If the adverse party admits the particular fact requested, that fact is no longer at issue, and the cyclist and her/his attorney are no longer required to prove that fact in order to win at trial.  In some cases, the proper use of RFA’s can eliminate the need for a trial.

One may wonder, what is stop the adverse party from simply denying every RFA received from the cyclist or the cyclist’s attorney.  The answer is that if an RFA is properly served, and  the adverse party unreasonably refuses to admit a requested fact that the party should have admitted, he or she may later be required to pay the cyclist’s litigation fees and costs incurred in proving the fact that was unreasonably denied.