Bicyclists can take every precaution and observe every traffic law and still find themselves in a dangerous situation created by a driver who is either reckless or just isn’t paying attention to the road.
California and Santa Rosa laws give a rider the same rights to the lanes as any motorist has. Yet, every day, drivers ignorant of the law fail to use proper caution when they travel alongside cyclists. The consequences can be devastating and in the worse cases, a mistake by a motorist can cost a life.
Support for Bicycle Accident Victims and Their Families
At Bay Area Bicycle Law we want safe rides for all Santa Rosa cyclists and more laws protecting them. We exclusively represent injured cyclists in Northern California. In the event of a tragic accident that costs a rider his or her life, we also want to protect the family left behind. A driver’s error in judgment can rob loved ones of a father, mother, husband or wife, or a precious child.
During this difficult time, it’s important to secure the future of the family who will no longer have the financial and emotional support of the victim. These losses will be felt in the years and decades to come and the at-fault driver and his or her insurance should provide for the family’s every need in the coming years. Contact our attorneys to make sure your family doesn’t have to face the costs left behind by a deadly accident alone.
Bicycling Dangers in Santa Rosa and California
Cycling in such a beautiful place should go hand and hand with proper protective laws and driver education to keep every rider safe. Unfortunately, even with new laws prohibiting cell phone use and other distractions for drivers, cyclists still get knocked from their bikes at an alarming rate.
Over a five year span, California saw between 13,000 and 11,000 bicycle accidents with injuries each year. In 2017, 163 cyclists lost their lives in crashes across the state. That’s according to California Highway Patrol records compiled every year on the frightening hazards for anyone riding a bicycle on our roads.
Wrongful Death Claims After a Tragic Accident
A family getting the news of a loved one lost in a bicycling collision should be allowed time to grieve. Unfortunately, during this painful time, bills resulting from the accident will continue to show up. Close relatives might face medical and funeral expenses and think the at-fault driver will be allowed to escape blame.
In these situations, a family is allowed to file a wrongful death claim to try to get compensation from the driver and his or her insurance company. Wrongful death claims come into play when a person or entity causes the death of another person as the result of the wrongful act or negligence.
After a terrible accident, a family will be without the emotional and financial support of their lost loved one. A successful claim against the driver to blame won’t bring back the victim, but it can provide for the family left behind and protect them from financial harm now and in the future.
Whether a claim ends in an agreed upon settlement or in a positive court verdict, a family can expect compensation for certain hardships and debt they’ve endured. Awards can include:
- Medical bills before death: These costs can be recovered by the family and can include ambulance fees.
- Funeral and burial costs: Funeral expenses can cost $10,000 or more. The insurance company representing the at-fault driver should be responsible for these costs.
- Loss of income: This is based on the loss of paychecks the victims would have received from their jobs had they been able to continue working and supporting their loved ones.
- Psychological pain and suffering: The mental and emotional pain and suffering of the cyclist’s family can be compensated as well as the cost of grief counseling.
- Loss of companionship and guidance: This is typically claimed by the dependent spouse and children robbed of a parent or husband or wife.
- Loss of Consortium: Consortium deals with the loss of intimacy and companionship a spouse would have received.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can file a wrongful death claim after a bicycle accident?
A representative for the family can bring a wrongful death claim forward. This representative can be a close family member like a spouse or domestic partner. The representative can also be a child of the victim, or even the victim’s parents if they depended on their child for support. An attorney can also be selected by relatives to represent the family in a wrongful death case.
How much is my wrongful death claim worth?
Each wrongful death claim is different and the circumstances surrounding each tragedy greatly affect the amount of any award families would receive. Compensation paid to the family would first be used to cover expenses the estate of the victim owed. Things like medical bills, funeral costs, and other debt would be paid. Then the remaining award would be divided between family members who were supported by the victim and took part in the wrongful death claim.
Does a wrongful death case usually end up in court?
An estimated 10% to 15% of cases do require a civil trial to sort out. However, most accident cases end up resulting in a settlement agreement between the insurance companies and the family of the victim. No court proceedings are required if the family decides the settlement offer is fair and accepts it. A good attorney will evaluate all settlement offers with the family, but still collect evidence and build a strong argument in case a trial is necessary.
Santa Rosa Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Bay Area Bicycle Law works with clients in Santa Rosa and all over the state of California and is one of the state’s only personal injury law firms working exclusively with injured cyclists and their families.
We handle cases in your area, and there are many benefits to working with a specialist.
We support and protect the families of cyclists left behind after a tragic accident. We will always offer you legal advice which is in your best interest. Contact us today for a free consultation.