Bicycling can be such a joyful and vital part of someone’s lifestyle that it can be hard to accept that such an activity can lead to a tragedy.
Cyclists can take every precaution, but it may not be enough to avoid the many careless drivers who travel the streets of Santa Cruz each day. Motorists who fail to check their mirrors or blind spots before a turn or lane change can cause an unavoidable accident. The mistake can lead to a terrible injury or even the loss of life.
Santa Cruz Bicycle Accident Dangers
Santa Cruz is such a beautiful place and it’s hard to believe it could be especially dangerous for bicyclists. Yet, in a study compiled by the California Department of Health, Santa Cruz was ranked near the top of counties in the state for the threat of bicycle accidents. Over a five year span, Santa Cruz reported over 1,200 bicycle accidents with injuries. When adjusted for population, that gave Santa Cruz the second most hazardous roadways in California.
The shocking numbers only underline the need for more bike lanes and increased attention from everyone on the road to keep cyclists safe.
At Bay Area Bicycle Law we advocate for the bicycling community and want safe rides for every cyclist. In the event of a tragedy that claims a life, we want to protect the family members left behind. The at-fault driver who caused the accident should be held accountable. The family deserves compensation for their financial and emotional losses and our attorneys can begin the process of securing that support.
Wrongful Death Claims After Bicycle Accidents
Families in the wake of a tragedy may wonder how to get by without the loved one that has been taken away. The deceased victim’s salary he or she earned at work is no longer available to help support the family. Children left behind will have to face the immediate psychological pain and also a future without the financial and emotional support of a parent.
A lost family member can never be replaced, but the family of the victim can seek to secure their financial future. A wrongful death claim can be filed for up to two years after the death of the victim. This civil lawsuit would attempt to force the responsible driver and his or her insurance company to pay for certain hardships placed on the family.
Compensation can be won for things like medical bills, funeral costs, and lost paychecks from the victim’s workplace. Emotional and financial losses expected in the future can also be awarded to the spouse, children, and dependant parents of the victim.
A wrongful death claim can be filed by someone representing the entire family. A spouse or domestic partner may move the lawsuit forward. Adult children of the deceased and in some cases a dependent parent can file the claim. A wrongful death attorney can also act on behalf of the family.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if the bicyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet?
If the victim wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, the family can still move forward with a wrongful death claim.
The victim may be assigned a percentage of the blame in the accident for not using safety equipment but the driver involved can still be assigned a large portion of the blame and have to compensate the family. The family’s award would be determined and then the bicyclist’s percentage of the blame would be deducted.
Can my wrongful death case move forward if the at-fault driver is facing criminal charges?
In some cases, the at-fault driver may face criminal charges in a bicycle accident. The motorist may have been driving under the influence or may have been apprehended later after leaving the scene of the accident.
In this case, he or she may be involved in a criminal trial. This does not affect your civil lawsuit. Your claim can move forward even if the criminal proceedings haven’t gotten underway or haven’t been completed yet.
Should my family talk with insurance representatives?
No one in the family should be giving statements to the at-fault driver’s insurance representatives. Insurance agents and adjusters use these statements to weaken your claim against them in a wrongful death lawsuit. They also hope that family members will accept a low settlement offer to wrap up the case and avoid paying out the amount the family is actually entitled to.
Contact a Santa Cruz Bicycle Accident Attorney
During the difficult time after losing a loved one in a bicycle accident, a family should be allowed time to grieve. Unfortunately, the duty to protect the family’s future after this tragic loss may need attention sooner rather than later. A local attorney can work for the family to secure the compensation they’ll need now and in the future.
Bay Area Bicycle Law is the only personal injury law firm in Northern California to specialize exclusively in representing cyclists and their families. Years of advocacy for bicycle victims have seasoned our attorneys with the necessary skills, knowledge base, and familiarity to handle bicycle accident cases with the utmost level of professional expertise.
Contact us today for a free consultation. California cyclists who are injured by negligent drivers are entitled to a wide array of compensation. We will always offer you legal advice which is in your best interest.