Fatal Bicycle Accident Lawyer Serving California
When a bicycle and a motor vehicle collide, it is the cyclist who will most likely sustain the most severe injuries. Regrettably, far too many of these accidents have fatal consequences for the cyclists. Studies indicate that while the overall amount of accidents is declining, the number of fatal accidents are on the rise. When a fatal accident happens, the cyclist’s family can seek to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can help to provide the bicyclist’s family with financial compensation. Moreover, winning a case can also help to hold the at-fault driver responsible for his or her careless actions. Attorney Scot Moga has over 20 years of experience as a fatal bike accident lawyer, helping the families of victims. He is also an avid cyclist who understands California biking laws and has been in a severe accident himself.
Defining a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
According to the State of California, wrongful death is caused by the negligent act of another. In California, wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits, and are therefore not used to criminally convict a defendant. It should be noted that wrongful death lawsuits filed in California could be filed concurrent to an ongoing criminal case.
Survivors of a victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit in effort of seeking monetary damages. In California, only certain people are able to file a claim. According to the most recent laws, the following parties can file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Surviving partner or spouse,
- Surviving children, or
- If no person is in line of descent, the claim can be filed by anyone who is entitled to the property.
For more information on who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, California’s Code of Civil Procedure provides a more exhaustive list, but an experienced attorney can speak to your specific situation and help victims understand their rights.
When a Negligent Driver Causes a Bicyclist’s Death
Urban areas historically have a higher rate for bike-auto accidents, since there are more cyclists and motor vehicle drivers sharing roads. According to a report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 70% of fatal accidents involving cyclists happen in urban areas. Regardless of where the accidents happen, however, it is usually the poor judgment and negligence of the driver that cause accidents. In many cases, motorists fail to yield to a cyclist or fail to see the cyclist, causing an accident to happen. Common scenarios that can lead to fatal bicycle accidents involve the following:
Drivers that are making a right turn – In the State of California, cyclists need to ride on the far right side of a street lane, California Vehicle Code §21202. Motor vehicle drivers, therefore, need to check for cyclists, including checking their blind spots before making a right turn. Many fatal accidents can happen because a driver makes a right turn without checking his or her blind spots.
Drivers that are making a left turn – At turn areas, including intersections where vehicles make a left turn, drivers can sometimes fail to look for cyclists on the road. This can result in a direct impact on the cyclist who is crossing an intersection. Direct impacts are some of the most deadly accidents, and can lead to a cyclist being thrown several feet in the air, ultimately causing severe bodily injury.
Door-related accidents (Dooring) – In urban and crowded areas, it is not uncommon to have parking lanes right next to bicycle lanes. This causes a serious danger to cyclists who are often traveling at high speeds down the lane. When a parked driver swings open a door obstructing the path of an oncoming cyclist, the cyclist can collide with the open door. In worse cases, the cyclist will swerve in attempt of avoiding an accident but will drive right into street traffic.
Clipping Incidents – One of the most dangerous forms of bike-auto accidents involves a vehicle that clips a bicyclist. “Clipping” occurs when a motorist drives too close to a cyclist, slightly striking him or her. While this is not a severe direct impact, the impact can cause the cyclist to steer off the street and crash. Because many of these cases involve motorists who did not see the bicyclist, they will often fail to stop for the injured cyclist. In some cases, drivers will leave the scene without ever knowing they have hit a person.
Establishing Legal Liability When a Driver Causes the Death of a Cyclist
Since most laws protect a cyclist’s right to use a road along with other vehicles, when a driver is found to have caused a fatal accident, the driver may be held accountable in a wrongful death claim. Although not all deadly accidents are considered to be wrongful deaths, those caused by negligence could be determined to be as such. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the victim’s family may be able to recover economic and noneconomic damages, including the following:
- Funeral expenses of the victim,
- Burial costs,
- Reasonable value of services the victim would have provided, and
- The loss of benefit the claimant would have expected to receive from the victim
After the Sudden Loss of a Loved One, File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Losing a person you care for to the reckless act of a motorist on the road can be a traumatic experience. Sadly, many fatal accidents occur to young children or adults who have their whole lives ahead of them. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit demands the support of an attorney who can understand how sensitive these types of cases can be. While filing a wrongful death lawsuit will not bring a loved one back, it will help to help the victim’s family pay for expenses associated with the sudden loss. Additionally, the lawsuit will also help bring some form of punishment to the perpetrator.
Attorney Scot Moga, has over 20 years experience in the field of bicycle collision and accidents involving wrongful death cases. Attorney Moga has dedicated his career to helping the families of victims that have lost their life as a result of another’s negligence. When a person loses his or her life as a result of negligence, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who will vigorously champion for the rights of those grieving family members. Wrongful death claims in California are subject to strict time limitations and as well as who has standing to file a claim. If you have lost a loved one because of a negligent accident, contact Scot Thomas Moga, Esq to protect your rights under the wrongful death laws in the State of California. We always offer a FREE CONSULTATION.