What If a San Francisco Driver Hits My Bicycle From Behind?

Do I Have a Case?

The dangers that come from bicycle accidents in San Francisco are well-documented. Per data from the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Record System (SWITRS),  there has been an average of 385 bicycle accidents that caused either a fatality or some level of injury in San Francisco over the last three years.

Moreso than other accidents, a bicycle accident has a high likelihood of injuries. And of these bicycle accidents, one of the most devastating is when a vehicle hits you from behind. This type of accident, when coupled with the difference in speed and lack of protection, can leave you with severe injuries and a major question: what do you do?

Guidance You Need From San Francisco Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Getting into a bike accident under these circumstances may be likely, but it’s crucial to keep in mind that you do have choices. Our skilled San Francisco bike accident lawyers at the Law Office of Matthew J. Quinlan are available to offer guidance and support when you need it most. We’ll be there to help you navigate the necessary processes to ensure you receive the assistance you’re entitled to.

To get started, contact us today for a free consultation.

Rear-End Bicycle Accidents in San Francisco

San Francisco is a popular spot for many bicycle riders, especially in the more crowded areas of the city. This mode of transportation offers an economical, environmentally friendly option for getting around the city. However, like a similar type of accident involving two vehicles, a rear-end bicycle accident carries heavy consequences for the bike rider. Moreover, there are numerous causes of these types of accidents, including:

  • Distracted driving – Drivers not paying proper attention to the road can easily collide with cyclists in front of them.
  • Following too closely – Drivers who don’t maintain a safe following distance may not have enough time to react if a cyclist suddenly stops or slows down.
  • Speeding – Speeding vehicles might find it difficult to slow down in time to avoid a collision with a cyclist.
  • Sudden stops – Cyclists can abruptly stop or swerve to avoid obstacles, catching drivers off guard.
  • Driver inexperience – Drivers unfamiliar with sharing the road with cyclists may not understand their behavior or anticipate their movements.
  • Unsafe lane changes – If a driver changes lanes without adequately checking for cyclists, they can collide with a cyclist in their blind spot from behind.
  • Poor visibility – Low light conditions, bad weather, or inadequate reflective gear can make cyclists less visible to drivers.
  • Aggressive driving – Aggressive drivers may try to squeeze past cyclists without allowing enough space, leading to accidents.


Obviously, it’s not surprising that rear-end collisions in San Francisco often result in similar types of injuries for you or other bicyclists. Due to the nature of such accidents, your neck and back become particularly vulnerable to harm. This is even more vulnerable because you don’t have the added protection of being in a vehicle. However, because each accident is unique, here are some of the more prevalent injuries you might encounter:

  • Whiplash
  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions

Right after a rear-end bicycle accident, your first priority should be seeking medical attention. A medical professional will conduct tests to determine the extent of your injuries. Once you’ve received the necessary medical care, you can then shift your focus to other aspects of the claims process.

Do You Need a Lawyer in a San Francisco Rear-End Bicycle Accident Claim?

There’s no requirement in California that says you need to have a lawyer represent you in a claim after a San Francisco bicycle accident. However, the claims process is how you’ll go about being compensated for your injuries and other damages, which are likely to be serious if you’re involved in a rear-end bicycle accident.

As a result, you’ll need to make sure you have all the help you need when you go through the claims process. It’s here that our team can be invaluable to your claim. With our experience and knowledge, we can guide you through the process from start to finish. Our system, which has helped numerous clients in similar situations, includes:

  • Collecting and examining evidence such as medical records, reports, and photographs/videos.
  • Determining all responsible parties and initiating insurance claims against them.
  • Engaging in negotiations with insurance companies to secure a just settlement.
  • Submitting a civil complaint and, if needed, pursuing litigation in court.

The primary objective of a claim is to obtain compensation for the harm and injuries you’ve suffered. In legal terms, these are called “damages”. In a standard California personal injury claim, you have the potential to recover damages from every party that’s responsible for your accident, from the other driver to the city itself. This depends on who was negligent, which is anyone that:

  • Had a duty to drive safely and avoid harming you.
  • Failed to fulfill this duty.
  • Their carelessness directly caused the accident.
  • There is a “causal link” between your injuries and the accident.

Navigating the Claims Process Following a San Francisco Rear-End Car Bicycle Accident

Once we help you establish liability, which is a process that can be complex, the next step involves initiating a claim for damages against the party responsible for the accident. Typically, this begins by submitting an insurance claim. At this juncture, an insurance adjuster will handle your claim and eventually propose a settlement amount following an investigation. This approach offers certain advantages:

  • Potential savings on costs and reduced attorney fees.
  • The possibility of obtaining compensation more swiftly.
  • A streamlined process with less paperwork and fewer time-consuming procedures.

However, opting for an out-of-court settlement also presents drawbacks:

  • The insurance company might prolong the process, causing financial strain.
  • The settlement offer might not sufficiently cover all incurred damages.
  • The insurance company holds the authority to determine the value of your claim.

Lawsuit and Recoverable Damages

It’s important to note that receiving an offer from the insurance company does not necessitate acceptance. Often, insurance companies attempt to provide low settlements in hopes of acceptance. Nevertheless, our dedicated San Francisco bicycle accident lawyers can assist you in seeking financial support for your damages by filing a lawsuit. Here, you can potentially recover:

  • Medical treatment costs resulting from the accident.
  • Lost income due to work absence.
  • Potential future income loss in cases of permanent disability preventing work.
  • Reimbursement for property repair expenses, including your vehicle.
  • Expenses linked to pain and suffering arising from the accident.
  • Support for emotional distress caused by the incident.
  • Consideration of the impact of the accident on your overall quality of life.

Remember that these damages are general in nature, and the specific amount recoverable depends on your case’s unique facts and circumstances.

Another crucial aspect is California’s “comparative negligence” rule. This means your potential financial recovery is adjusted based on your percentage of fault in the accident.

Guidance From San Francisco Lawyers After Rear-End Bicycle Accidents

If you have been injured in a rear-end collision with a car or other vehicle while you were riding your bike, you deserve exceptional legal support and guidance. Here at MJQ Law, we possess extensive expertise in handling such cases and have successfully secured significant settlements and jury verdicts for our clients throughout the San Francisco area.

Don’t hesitate to get the help you need. Contact us today for a free consultation.