Santa Cruz provides one of the most colorful backdrops in the world for a ride. The scenery is stunning and the parks and boardwalks provide plenty of excitement. Unfortunately, people in cars, SUVs and big trucks are also drawn to these same local streets and highways.
A cyclist in Santa Cruz may love the sea air and the electric beach scene but Santa Cruz is also a hot spot for distraction. And distracted drivers often present hazards for anyone on a bike. They can swerve and turn without checking to see if a bicyclist is nearby. And in what may be a surprise, they can even be a threat to cyclists when parked.
Dooring Bicycle Accidents In Santa Cruz
Riders often try to stay to the very right when traveling in traffic. It brings them in close proximity to parked vehicles and puts them at risk for something called “dooring.”
Dooring occurs when occupants in a parked car want to exit the vehicle, but don’t see a bicyclist coming up from behind. They pop open the door and suddenly create a very solid obstacle for the biker. The cyclist risks severe injury by hitting the door and perhaps flying over it, or trying to avoid it and chancing a swerve out into traffic.
Dooring accidents aren’t tracked very well because accident reports don’t normally signify if an accident was the result of a dooring.
Santa Cruz is a place known for bicycle accidents, unfortunately. Over a seven-year period, Santa Cruz County reported 1,234 bicycle accidents with injuries. That number led to a non-fatal bicyclist injury rating of 222 injuries per 100,000 people. The adjusted rating means Santa Cruz County ranks as the second-highest county in all of California for injuries.
What to do if You’re a Victim in a Dooring Accident
These collisions can be especially brutal on cyclists. They essentially leave a solid metal and glass wall in their path. If you suffer a dooring collision and can get up, you should first assess if you’ve landed in spot where you can suffer another collision. Get yourself to safety.
If you are safe and can walk, you should begin to document what happened as best you can. You’ll need to collect evidence before the accident is cleared and the damage is repaired. This will be important when you file a claim for damages against the at-fault driver or occupant’s insurance policy.
Try to gather these crucial details if possible:
- Call 911. Give a full report to the police.
- Document the scene with photos. Take pictures of street signs and any road hazards. Determine if there was a reason you had to ride so close to parked cars, perhaps broken pavement or construction. Take photos of any injuries that are visible and any damage to clothing.
- Talk to witnesses and find out how to reach them later.
- Get checked out by ambulance crews and your doctor. Get all injuries documented. Return to the doctor if you have new injuries that appear in the coming days.
- Keep any damaged clothing and personal items. Hang on to your damaged bike. It is evidence.
How long do I have to file a Bicycle Accident Claim in Santa Cruz?
The State of California has a statute of limitations on injury claims that generally provides victims up to two years to file. Victims should file this civil lawsuit as soon as possible. Building a strong case will be easier if little time has passed since the accident. Evidence and reports will be harder to pull together if months or years have passed. Witnesses will be harder to locate.
An experienced bicycle accident attorney can help you construct a solid case against the insurance company you’ll be hoping to win compensation from.
Compensation for Santa Cruz Bicycle Accident Victims
When filing a claim, you can ask for compensation for many things you might not have thought of. You have been through a traumatic incident and your damages aren’t limited to financial and physical damages. Your life has been upended and your family has also suffered with you.
If your claim is successful you can be awarded money to cover many of these hardships:
- Medical Bills (also accounting for expected future treatment).
- Permanent Disability.
- Permanent Disfigurement.
- Lost Paychecks After Missing Time at Work (Any time expected to be missed in the future).
- Damage to Bicycle or Replacement.
- Travel Costs.
- Loss of Consortium (emotional and intimate support as a spouse).
- Pain and Suffering.
- Counseling and psychological services.
Contact a Santa Cruz Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you’ve been the victim in a bicycling accident caused by a careless driver contact Bay Area Bicycle Law. Our attorneys are cyclists themselves and understand the anguish you’ll feel when you can’t return to your bike right away. Let us fight for you to make sure all of the costs involved in your recovery are paid for so that you can focus on getting back on your bike for your next ride.
At Bay Area Bicycle Law, we concentrate our practice solely on bicyclists who have been injured as a result of the carelessness and negligence of others. We’re dedicated and effective Santa Cruz bicycle accident lawyers. If you were injured in a bicycle accident in or around Santa Cruz or anywhere else in Northern California, contact us right away for a confidential free consultation and case review.