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San Francisco Bicycle Accident Lawyer

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The Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan represent the victims of bicycle accidents in San Francisco and across the Bay Area. Our skilled San Francisco bicycle accident lawyers are advocates for safe rides for all cyclists. We take immediate action to secure the financial compensation injured bicyclists need to pay for the best medical care available and return to their bikes again.

We also help families who have lost a loved one in a tragic San Francisco bicycle accident seek wrongful death support from an at-fault driver’s car insurance company to protect their futures.

Contact us for a free, no-obligation bicycle accident case consultation. This is a no-risk way to find out what your case may be worth. It’s vital information that you’ll need as car insurance companies work to downplay your cycling injuries and rob you of the full support you require to recover.

Exactly what we do for our clients in a short, animated video:

Bicycle Accident Dangers in San Francisco

Cyclists have protected and unprotected bike lanes in many parts of San Francisco now. Those include stretches along Market Street and Cabrillo Street. Cyclists also have every right to travel in the street, just like a motor vehicle, in places without these bike lanes. Sadly, these lanes and protective vehicle codes aren’t enough to prevent all cycling collisions.

City transportation experts with TransBASE track the bicycle accident dangers in the Bay Area each year. In San Francisco, at least 316 bicycle accidents involving vehicles occurred in 2021. That’s up slightly from the 311 bicycle accidents recorded in 2020. Tragically, the lives of at least four cyclists were claimed over the same two-year span.

For a more detailed look at San Francisco’s Bicycle Accident statistics over the past few years, check out  the 2022 MJQ Law Bicycle Accident Study.

The figures will tell you that there are still too many bicycle accidents on San Francisco streets. There are also too many victims who end up paying for their hospital bills of pocket, while a careless driver gets away without paying any consequences.

Our skilled San Francisco Bicycle Accident Lawyers are working to change this. We want the opportunity to inform every bicycle accident victim of the benefits available. We offer every victim a free case review before an auto insurance company tries to get them to accept far less than they need in recovery.

What to Do After a San Francisco Bicycle Accident

After a bicycle accident on a San Francisco boulevard, you may be able to stand immediately, or you might be unconscious and injured. The first thing to do, if you are able to move, is to get out of harm’s way. If the accident left you in the path of other cars, try to get to a sidewalk.

Once the scene is secure, you may have the opportunity to collect evidence on the scene. If you are feeling up to it, you should try to collect details that probably won’t be there once the accident scene is cleared.

Try to secure this proof to use to back up any injury claim you file:

  • Dial 911. Give a full report to dispatchers and the San Francisco police. Allow ambulance medics to check out every injury you have, no matter how minor they seem.
  • Take pictures. Document the damage to your bike and the visible injuries you have. Take photos of the bike path or street area. Show yourself with your bicycle helmet if you were wearing one.
  • Check for security cameras. Get locations on any home or business that might have had security monitoring as your bicycle accident unfolded.
  • Chat with witnesses. Write down contact information so your San Francisco bicycle accident lawyer can contact them for testimony.
  • Exchange information. Get the driver’s insurance and driver’s license information, but avoid talking about what happened. Don’t speculate on how badly you are hurt. Insurance companies can twist your statements later to make it sound like you admitted fault or that you said you weren’t hurt.
  • Visit your own doctor the next day if possible. Get any pain you didn’t notice right after your accident checked out. Follow your physician’s orders about seeing specialists and completing physical therapy.
  • Don’t throw out your bike or damaged and bloody clothing. These items will serve as evidence of the seriousness of your accident.

What are the most common types of cycling injuries treated in San Francisco Emergency Rooms?

When a bicycle accident occurs, bicyclists are particularly vulnerable to serious injuries due to their lack of protection. Although there is no predictability when it comes to types of injuries that occur, the injuries we see our bike accident clients suffer from most frequently are:

(1) Broken bones

(2) Facial cuts/scars

(3) Spinal Injury

(4) Head Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

(5) Paralysis

(6) Road Rash

(7) Neck and Back Injuries

How Much is My San Francisco Bicycle Accident Injury Claim Worth?

This is understandably the single most asked question we get when meeting people who have been injured in a bike accident. San Francisco injury victims may be facing a financial disaster as medical bills pile up. They may also be losing paychecks at work and be unable to keep up with rent and car payments.

The factors of each case are different and it’s hard to put a value on your bicycle injury case before sitting down with you to discuss what happened. It is possible to get an idea of what you’d earn by going over the details that most affect your bike accident injury settlement amount.

Generally speaking, here are the types of things you would receive compensation for as the victim of a bike accident in the Bay Area:

  • Past “Paid” Medical Bills
  • Cost of Future Medical Treatment.
  • Lifelong medical costs for victims who suffer physical disabilities and may never be able to ride a bike again.
  • Past Lost Wages.
  • Future Lost Wages.
  • Loss of Earning Capacity.
  • The physical pain victims suffer.
  • The emotional trauma victims suffer.
  • The expense of a new bicycle and replacement of any personal property damaged.

Bicycle Accident Case Success for our San Francisco Clients

We handle a lot of bike accident, injury cases. It is one of the most common types of case in our office. We have seen it all and understand how motorists regularly ignore the rights of bicyclists. Here are three bicycle cases we recently resolved for our clients:

$300,000 settlement: Our client, J.G., a bicyclist, suffered severe injuries to his knee after a truck being driven by a City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) employee allegedly ran a stop sign in the Sunset District en route to a Muni delay that the employee intended to alleviate. We sued CCSF and through discovery we located and obtained GPS data that was being transmitted from the CCSF truck that tended to show that the truck did not stop at the stop sign as the driver testified in deposition, but rather only after striking Client.  The case settled at mediation.

$45,000 settlement: Our client, M.D., a bicyclist was riding home at night from the Outside Lands Festival in Golden Gate Park when a car that had turned into a driveway in front her ~100ft away unexpectedly reversed and reappeared in front of her.  According to the driver’s testimony, he was readjusting to enter his narrow garage and he never saw our client until after the collision. Our client did not have a light on her bike, was not wearing a helmet, and may or may not have had a beer or two at the concert.  The collision caused a 2.5 inch cut on her chin.  The wound resulted in a subtle scar.

Confidential Policy Limits settlement: our client, T.D., a bicyclist was riding his bike home from work in Golden Gate Park when he was hit by a car in the middle of an intersection controlled by 4 stop signs.  The collision caused our client’s jaw to be broken, which required his jaw to be wired shut for 2 months.  There was a dispute about who had the right away and why the collision happened.  The police determined that our client was at fault for failing to yield to the car.  We disagreed, conducted our own investigation, and ultimately obtained the full auto policy from the driver.

I was injured in a bicycle accident. Do I need a San Francisco injury lawyer?

We’re sorry to learn that you were injured in a bicycle accident, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to hire a San Francisco bicycle accident lawyer. For example, if you suffered only minor injuries (scrapes and/or soft tissue injuries) and it is clear that the other party was at fault, you may be able to handle your accident claim yourself.

That said, for obvious reasons most bicycle collisions involving cars, SUVs, or Trucks result in serious injuries to bicyclists. If that’s the case, victims will benefit from having a great bike accident attorney. Contact us online to set up a free consultation to discuss whether you need a lawyer. If we can’t help you improve your potential settlement amount, we’ll tell you that and help you determine how to best proceed without a lawyer.

If you did suffer something more than a minor injury, you can likely benefit from having a legal representative. Furthermore, insurance companies love blaming the bicyclist in an accident as a way of not compensating you fairly, so you should be on high alert when you aren’t represented by a lawyer.

We also negotiate and reduce your health insurance claims, which nets you more in a bicycle accident settlement check.

Can I Earn Compensation If My Bicycle Accident Was Caused by a Hit-And-Run Driver?

Sadly, being hit by a motorist is only the beginning of a difficult period for many injured cyclists. In too many cases, the guilty driver decides to flee the scene to make it a hit-and-run crime.

Cyclists left on the roadway can wait even longer for emergency care. They can also have recovery bills left in their laps when there’s no insurance company to file a claim with.

The good news is that San Francisco cyclists can earn injury compensation even when a hit-and-run driver escapes justice. The victim or the victim’s family may file a claim with the victim’s own car accident policy. The claim would be filed on the victim’s uninsured motorist coverage. If the bicyclist didn’t have insurance, it’s possible the victim was covered by a family member’s policy.

When hit-and-run drivers are caught, they will likely be facing criminal charges. This will not delay the victim’s right to file a claim with the suspect’s car insurance provider. The civil claim is filed separately and an injury claim settlement can be reached even if a criminal trial hasn’t been decided.

No matter whose policy the claim is filed under, it’s safe to assume that any insurance company, even your own, will be trying to limit the support you receive. Having a San Francisco personal injury lawyer watching out for your interests is the best way to ensure you get the funds you need to cover every recovery bill and hardship.

What are the most common types of bicycle accidents you see?

Although based on our experience there are never ending fact patterns that give rise to injured bicyclists, the ones we see most often are “Dooring” Accidents, Driveway & Side Street Pull-Out Accidents, Side-swipe/Cut-off and Failure to Yield to Your Right of Way.

(1) Dooring Accidents

“Doorings” occur when a cyclist is riding in the bicycle lane or to the right of a road way when suddenly a car parked along the right curb swings out into the path of the cyclist. Unable to swerve to avoid the door, the cyclist slams into the open door. This type of accident occurs frequently in San Francisco and the Bay Area and typically causes severe injuries to the cyclist.  Fault for this type of accident is squarely on whoever opened the door. CVC 22517 clearly states that no person shall open a vehicle’s door on the side of moving traffic until it is safe to do so. Despite this law, people in cars regularly swing open their doors without checking their mirror or generally being aware that a bicycle may be passing by. A good rule of thumb to avoid doorings is to ride at least 4 feet from cars parked on the street, even if that requires you to ride slightly outside a bicycle lane that may be painted on the roadway.

(2) Driveway & Side Street Pull-Out Accidents

The busy streets of the Bay Area and San Francisco make every driveway and side street a hazard for unsuspecting bicyclists, as cars regularly “appear” from out of nowhere and into the path of moving bicycles.  In situation like this, cars are responsible for entering roadways in a safe manner and that includes being alert to the potential presence of bicyclists.  These types of sudden collisions typically cause severe injuries to the bicyclists and are one of the most common types of bicycle accidents we handle.  To protect yourself, always slow as you approach streets and driveways and attempt to make eye contact with drivers.  At night, be sure to use a front head light.  Lastly, make sure you travel with the flow of traffic, as cars exiting driveways and turning onto streets, typically only look to their left.

(3) Sideswipe/Cut-Off Accidents

Common sense and the law have bicyclists riding on the right side of the road, but being on the right of cars that may not see you is exactly how a lot of bike vs. car accidents happen.  Specifically, we see a lot of accidents where a car will turn right with no signal or a late signal and turn directly into a bicyclist proceeding straight.  The same type of accident can occur when a car passes a bicyclists and then quickly turns right, causing the bicyclist to crash into the back of the car.  Both of these types of accidents are likely the fault of the driver for making an unsafe turn.  To avoid these types of accidents, it is critical to slow down and be extra-alert as you near intersections, side streets, or commercial driveways.

(4) Failure to Yield Accidents

Since most drivers aren’t conditioned to be alert for bicyclists, it is common for drivers to turn in front of bicyclists that have the right of way at intersections.  Remember that bicyclists have an obligation to stop at stop signs and stop lights just like cars do, but even when you do, don’t’ assume that the drivers will yield to your right of way the same way you might if you were driving a car.

What are the Rules of the Road for San Francisco Bicyclists?

With the exception of highways, bicycles are as entitled to the Bay Area’s roadways as are cars, trucks and motorcycles, but drivers of motorized vehicles don’t always acknowledge that fact when traveling around our cities.  This mentality often leads to a heightened risk of injury for bicyclists.  Cities and towns across the Bay Area have become sensitive of this fact and many have taken up measures to limit and prevent bicycle vs. auto accidents.

For example, San Francisco has recently adopted the “Vision Zero” campaign which aims to eliminate traffic deaths (including bicycle involved accidents) by 2024.  Despite these efforts, every year a handful of bicyclists die on the streets of San Francisco, while hundreds are injured.  According to data gathered by the City of San Francisco, the most dangerous intersections in San Francisco for bicyclists are: 14th Street & Folsom Street, 30th Street & San Jose Ave., 3rd Street & Marin Street, and Columbus Ave. & North Point Street.

All that said, bicycles also must follow the rules of the road to improve the likelihood of their safe travel on Bay Area streets.  We see a lot of accidents where the bicyclist is blamed, in whole or in part for failing to adhere to the “Rules of The Road.”  Here are some of the most important rules of the road for bicyclists to follow:

  • Bicyclists must stop at red lights and stops signs. (CVC 21200)
  • Bicyclists must ride on the street in San Francisco; not sidewalks. (SF Transportation Code Sec. 7.2.12)
  • Bicyclists must ride the same direction as traffic. (CVC 21650)
  • Bicyclists must have front light and reflectors when riding at night. (CVC 21201)
  • Bicyclists must always have one ear free when using headphones. (CVC 27400)
  • Bicyclists may ride in any lane of traffic if they are traveling the speed of traffic, otherwise they must ride as close as possible to the right side of the road unless passing or turning left. (CVC 21202)

*Keep in mind that we regularly see instances where bicyclists are accused of violating the laws above and we are still able to obtain a favorable settlement, so don’t let a violation (or accused violation) of one or more of the laws above deter you from seeking fair resolution of your bike accident injury with a San Francisco bike accident lawyer.  Even if you weren’t wearing a bicycle helmet when you were hit, you can still seek injury compensation. Contact us today to find out what’s possible.

Contact a San Francisco Bicycle Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a bicycle crash caused by a negligent driver, don’t trust your recovery to an insurance company. Allow The Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan to deal with the most frustrating parts of injury claims and insurance hassles so you can focus on getting better.

Contact our offices for a free case consultation that comes with no obligation to you or your family. Let us work to get the most out of your San Francisco bicycle accident settlement. We want to see you return to the streets again on your bike.

And if you decide to hire us to maximize the compensation you receive, you won’t have to worry about payment right now. MJQ Law doesn’t get paid unless we win your case for you. Then we are paid out of the settlement money you receive.

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    Did You Know?

    The last day there WAS NOT a fatal car accident in California was August 19, 2013. (source: SWITRS)
    Every two minutes and 21 seconds a person is injured in a car accident in California. (source: SWITRS)
    For every 72 people injured in a car accident in California, one dies. (source: SWITRS)
    Speeding is the primary cause of 30.3% of all car accidents in California. (source: SWITRS)
    On average, 200,000-300,000 Californians are injured every year on California’s streets and highways. (source: CHP)
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