According to a report from ABC 10, a bicyclist was killed in a tragic collision in Stockton. The fatal automobile crash—which occurred on the evening of Sunday, November 26th—is still under a more comprehensive investigation. Within this blog post, our Stockton car crash lawyer explains what we know about this accident, highlights the continued risks that cyclists face from traffic, and explains the key things to know about the legal claims process in California.
What We Know: Bicyclist Struck By Car On Highway 4 in Stockton
Tragically, a bicyclist was fatally struck by a Nissan on eastbound Highway 4 near Wilson Way in Stockton, California. The deadly crash happened on the evening of November 26th. The accident occurred around 5:30 p.m., shortly after sunset. According to a preliminary report, the cyclist was in the third lane of the road and did not have reflective gear. The driver remained at the scene, and neither alcohol nor drugs are suspected factors. The catastrophic bicycle accident is still under a comprehensive investigation by state and local law enforcement.
Cyclists Face a Major Risk from Traffic in California
A bicycle is a healthy, cost effective form of recreation and transportation. That being said, unfortunately, our roads in California are not as safe as they should be for cyclists. Alarmingly, the number of serious bike accidents in our state is on the rise. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), “there has been a greater than 60% increase in bicyclists killed per year since 2010.” U.S. News and World Report found that bike accident fatalities recently hit a 25-year high in California. For reference, an average of 9 bicyclists are killed in accidents in San Joaquin County alone each year. Many hundreds more cyclists are seriously hurt in crashes in our region each year.
Understanding Legal Claims: Bicyclist/Car Collisions
Bicyclists are exposed to serious safety threats from motor vehicles. Even when a cyclist does everything right—from wearing a properly fitting safety helmet and reflective clothing to riding in the proper lane and following all traffic regulations—they could still end up the victim of a devastating crash. Bike accident injury cases are generally governed by state law. It is imperative that you know your rights and options under California law. Here are key points to understand about the claims process if you are hit by a car while riding a bike in Stockton:
- Injured Cyclists Should Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Hurt in a bicycle crash in Stockton? It is crucial that you seek prompt medical care for a licensed doctor. Safety and health are paramount following a bicycle/car collision. Injured cyclists must prioritize seeking immediate medical attention. Not only is this crucial for their well-being, but it also serves a legal purpose. Medical records provide concrete evidence of the injuries sustained, which is vital in any legal claim. Delaying medical treatment can not only worsen the injuries but also impact the credibility of a claim.
- All Bike/Car Collisions Should Be Reported to the Police: If you were hit by a car while riding a bike, you should report the crash to state or local law enforcement as soon as possible, such as the Stockton Police Department. In California, all motor vehicle crashes that result in physical injuries should be reported—and bicycle accidents are certainly no exception to the rule. A police report serves as an official record of the incident, detailing the circumstances, involved parties, and potential witnesses. This report is a critical piece of evidence in legal claims. It offers an unbiased account of the event, which can be crucial in determining liability.
- Liability for a Bicycle Accident Claim is Based on Fault: Determining liability in bicycle/car collisions hinges on establishing fault. Notably, California is a fault-based bicycle accident jurisdiction. As a general rule, fault is assessed based on negligence. The party—whether a driver, a cyclist, or anyone else—who contributed to the crash can be held legally accountable for the resulting damages. Various forms of evidence are reviewed when evaluating liability—from photographs to police reports to witness statements. In some cases, both parties may share fault under the principle of comparative negligence. For example, if a bicyclist is liable for 20 percent of their own crash they will bear liability for 20 percent of their own damages. Every bicycle accident in the region should be thoroughly investigated by a reliable Stockton bicycle accident attorney.
- Injured Bicyclists Can Seek Compensation for Damages: Injured cyclists have the right to seek compensation for damages incurred due to the accident. In California, a bicyclist who was struck by a negligent driver can seek compensation for the full extent of their damages, including for their economic losses and their non-economic damages. Among other things, these damages include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other types of costs. Unfortunately, insurers do not make the claims process easy on people. They put their own financial interests first—meaning they fight to settle cases for less.
Bicycle accident injury claims are time-sensitive. You do not want to fall behind the legal claims process. While there is a two-year statute of limitation for bike/vehicle collision injury cases in California, the big insurance companies waste no time building their defense. Be proactive: Consult with an experienced Stockton, CA bicycle accident lawyer right away after a serious crash.
Set Up a Free Case Evaluation With a Top-Tier Stockton Auto Accident Attorney
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton car accident attorneys have the professional expertise to take on all types of bicycle-related traffic accident claims. If you or your loved one was struck by a car while riding a bike, we are here to protect your rights and interests. Contact us now to arrange a free, no commitment initial case review. From our legal office in Stockton, we are well-situated to handle the full range of auto accident claims in San Joaquin County and throughout California.