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The Bay Area is a hub of California bicycle culture, but that also means that we have a greater amount of serious bicycle accidents and bicycle fatalities each year.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), fatal bicycle accidents and injuries are trending up, rather than down. In addition to bicycle riding being a way of life for many Bay Area residents, offensive drivers and cell phone distractions are making that way of life increasingly more dangerous. According to the California Vehicle Code (CVC 21200), “A person operating a bicycle...has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle.”
As evidenced by your personal experience during daily commutes and recreational rides, as well as updated bicycle accident statistics, drivers are less conscientious about the rights of cyclists and are largely at fault in accidents involving bicycles. Therefore, cyclists must look after themselves and their rights to protect their way of being - especially in the event of a Bay Area biking accident.
If you or someone you love is involved in a bicycle vs. automobile accident, we highly recommend contacting an Oakland bicycle accident lawyer within the first 24-hours or within the first week at the latest. The sooner you have someone representing your interests, the less time the other side has to create their case against you.
Burneikis Law provides completely free, no-obligation case assessments. Even if you opt to forgo representation, we are happy to provide key information and recommendations that can help you move forward in your insurance/legal process with greater awareness.
You are not alone; and it is essential that you ask for the support available to you.
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Get Legal Support From an Oakland Bicycle Accident Lawyer
There are multiple reasons why victims of a bicycle accident or surviving loved ones of an accident-related fatality should immediately contact an Oakland attorney with experience settling and litigating a bicycle accident claim. The sooner the contact is made, the better and more likely it is you will avoid making common mistakes that negatively impact your claim later on.
Without your own legal team working on your behalf, you will never receive fair compensation for your experience and the long-term consequences of the accident. Bicycle accidents often lead to life altering injuries and lasting effects than any other type of accident. The implications of a bicycle accident range from fatalities, at the worst, to chronic pain and fear associated with what used to be the victim’s most enjoyable hobby.
The “Other Side” Uses Numerous Legal Professionals
The driver’s insurance company has an experienced, aggressive and completely subjective team of legal professionals working on their behalf. These lawyers have one goal - to create a case that takes fault away from the driver and/or vehicle that hit you and to minimize the financial damages spent on the case. They want to settle as swiftly and as conservatively as possible. Your best interest is the least of their concern.
In many ways, the same can be said about your own insurance company. That is where we, your team of legal professionals at Burneikis Law, take up the mantle and move forward professionally and with integrity. We keep you and your loved one’s best interests at the forefront of everything we do.
The other side will intentionally ask questions to urge you into specific answers that they can quote, paraphrase and turn around to suit their best interests. Even the most benign and well-meaning phrases, such as a simple apology or a sense of confusion, or statements such as, “I’m well, thank you…,” can be twisted to serve the other side’s goal to mitigate their client’s fault and minimize any amount paid to you.
This is not acceptable and without an insider’s perspective on how the insurance/legal process works, victims often wind up with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars less than they would have if they had trusted an experienced Bay Area bicycle accident lawyer to assist them with the claims process.
Bicycle Accident Attorneys Educate & Advocate
Even the toughest among us are taken down low after a biking accident. Our culture is one that promotes platitudes of “chin up,” and “get well soon,” or that puts pressure on victims to get back to work and perform as usual because “...the disability check runs out in XX days.” Because of this, most bicycle accident victims forget that they need medical attention and time to heal.
It is easy to repress what is really happening for you physically and emotionally, which causes many victims to focus on accelerating healing (something that is not humanly possible, let alone recommended) and attempt to return back to life as they know it, regardless of their actual, day-to-day experience. Do not let that happen to you.
You are absolutely entitled to take the time you need to heal, regroup, absorb the reality of what happened to you and to get the professional support you need to:
● Compensate you for time off work now and in the future
● Pay for all of the medical costs associated with your accident, post-accident treatment, and any longer-term treatment or therapies
● Allow extra time for occupational therapy
● Provide payment to cover a spouse’s or loved one’s lost wages
● Compensate caregivers
● Cover the costs for any durable medical equipment required at home
● Pay for the expenses to accommodate any and all accessibility modifications necessary for your home, outdoor spaces, automobiles, work space(s), etc., including equipment that may be necessary later on or when you are older
● Provide the education or training required if your injuries are such that you need to find a new line of work or a means of providing income
● Recoup lost retirement wages or other benefits that were associated with your job
● Pay for any other accident or recovery related injuries
The list of potential bicycle accident-related costs is extensive and without experience in this niche, you may not factor in all of the immediate, short-term,and lifetime ways the accident will affect you and your household’s bottom line.
We make sure you understand what’s going on
Our job, as your accident and personal injury attorneys, is to do two things: educate and advocate.
First, we educate you about everything there is to know about the first days, weeks and months after your injury. We work closely with you to understand that everything you are experiencing is normal and that you have every right to pursue all of the treatment options, rest, time off and rehabilitation required before you take a step back into “normal life.”
Secondly, we handle and facilitate the insurance claims process with you and for you, letting you know what you can expect, what to say and what not to say, and we do all we can to prevent your claim from turning into a legally filed claim that plays out in a courtroom.
Injuries may reveal - and heal - over a long period of time
Initially, there are a myriad of physical injuries to contend with:
● Bone breaks
● Severe sprains and drains
● Internal organ and tissue damage
● Loss of limb(s)
● Facial reconstruction
● Road rash
● Traumatic brain injury
● Joint and connective tissue injuries
● Neck, shoulder and spinal injuries
● Healing from resulting surgeries
Some of these injuries take days or even weeks to fully emerge themselves in the wake of the post-trauma adrenaline rush. After that initial phase resides, the majority of bike accident injuries can take months and even years to heal, while some injuries plague cyclists for the rest of their lives. Physical and emotional injuries can mean it is no longer possible to ride a bike the way you used to, which is heartbreaking for avid cyclists and exponentially affects their quality of life.
The mental/emotional damage can outweigh the physical injuries
Often, our clients’ mental and emotional trauma present far more challenges than the physical ones.
You are not alone and we can assure you that everything you experience is completely normal. Sadly, often times, the mental and emotional side of healing takes far longer than the physical aspects of healing, which can lead to depression, anxiety and a diminished quality of life.
According to helpguide.org, some of the most common mental and emotional side effects experienced after a traumatic accident include:
● Shock, denial or disbelief
● Confusion and difficulty concentrating
● Anger, irritability and mood swings
● Anxiety and fear
● Guilt, shame and self-blame
● Withdrawing from others
● Feeling sad or hopeless
● Feeling disconnected or numb
Psychological effects of trauma can also affect you physically, showing up as:
● Insomnia or nightmares
● Being startled easily
● Difficulty concentrating
● Racing heartbeat
● Edginess and agitation
● Aches and pains
● Muscle tension
Without regular intervention and support from a licensed practitioner, these effects can take over your life, negatively impacting relationships, work performance and the joys of daily living.
Without full-spectrum awareness of both the short and long term effects of your bicycle accident on your physical and emotional wellbeing, it is almost impossible for victims and their families to advocate for themselves in a sustainable way.
Accident attorneys advocate for your best interests
Your Oakland bicycle accident lawyer acts as a personal advocate. We keep you informed, educate you about the claims and settlement processes, and make your rights our first priority.
At Burneikis Law, our goal is to work with the other side’s legal teams to establish a settlement that takes all of the above into account. Whenever possible, we keep your claim out of the courtroom, so you never have to endure more stress or trauma than you already have. The good news is that only about 5% or less of all automobile/bicycle accidents are settled in the courtroom, so the odds are in your favor for a successful settlement within a reasonable period of time.
If your claim does need to be resolved in court, it is only because the other side is being stubborn, in which case we will do all of the heavy lifting for you. We will keep you out of the day-to-day legal proceedings as much as possible and will stand by you every step of the way so you understand what is going on and where we plan to go next to obtain the compensation you so rightfully deserve.
Contact Burneikis Law to schedule your 100% no-cost, no obligation case assessment. I am always honest with my clients. If I do not feel you have a case, I will still make sure you have the tips necessary to move forward with your insurance claim in an informed way that respects your rights as the bicycle accident victim.