After being hit by a suddenly opened car door while biking in Venice Beach, what are my rights for claiming damages?
I was biking down Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice Beach last Saturday, around 2 pm. The weather was clear, and there wasn't much traffic. As I was passing a row of parked cars, the front passenger door of a blue sedan swung open without warning. I tried to swerve, but it was too late. I crashed into the door, fell off my bike, and landed hard on the pavement.
I now have multiple bruises, a sprained wrist, and my bike's front wheel is bent. I took photos of my injuries, the car (with its license plate), and the spot where the incident took place. A nearby cafe's security camera may also have caught the event on tape. The driver apologized but said he didn't see me coming. He gave me his insurance information, but I am unsure how to proceed. Which type of lawyer should I seek for this? How do I determine the quality of a lawyer and estimate the legal fees involved?
Your Bicycle Accident in Venice Beach
It's unfortunate you experienced such an incident, but it's crucial to understand your rights. In California, if a motorist negligently opens a car door and causes a bicyclist to crash, the motorist can be held liable for the biker's injuries. Given that you have photographs and potential video evidence, your case seems to be in a favorable position.
Relevant Laws and Resources
- California Vehicle Code Section 22517: Prohibits motorists from opening the door of a vehicle on the side of moving traffic unless it is safe to do so.
- For more comprehensive information regarding the local laws and regulations, consider checking the official California DMV website.
First, consider consulting with a personal injury lawyer as they specialize in accidents like the one you experienced. They will guide you through the process, help you claim damages not only for your physical injuries but also for your damaged bike. Moreover, if the cafe's security camera recorded the incident, it would further bolster your claim.
Price Estimation for Legal Services
|Service||Average Price in Venice Beach|
|Filing a Claim||$1,200|
|Negotiating with Insurance||$2,800|
|Taking Matter to Court (if needed)||$6,000|
Please note that these prices can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the lawyer's experience. In Venice Beach, there might be lawyers who work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if you win the case.
Further Details Required
To assist you better, it would be helpful to know more about your situation. Were there any witnesses? Did you receive any medical treatment?
Questions for You
- Did you get any immediate medical attention, and do you have the medical records?
- Were there any eyewitnesses who can vouch for the series of events?
- Is this the first time you're seeking legal action or have you been involved in similar legal situations before?
Q1: What if the driver doesn't have insurance?
Even if the driver doesn't have insurance, you can still file a claim against the driver personally. Your lawyer can guide you on how to proceed in such cases.
Q2: How long do I have to file a claim?
In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident. It's essential to act promptly.
Q3: Can I get compensation for emotional distress?
Yes, apart from physical injuries, you can also claim compensation for emotional distress or any psychological trauma caused due to the accident.
Q4: What if my bike was very expensive or had sentimental value?
You can claim the actual value of the bike and not just its current market value. If it had unique or sentimental value, make sure to mention this to your lawyer.
Q5: What if the motorist claims it was my fault?
If the motorist claims it's your fault, your evidence (photos, videos, witnesses) will play a crucial role. This is why gathering evidence is vital.