Photographic evidence is very important. Now that everyone carries cell phones, we see photographs changing cases more and more.
The photographs at the scene are very helpful because they show the at-rest positions of the bikes. Sometimes they show skid marks, whether people are wearing helmets or not, the location of the car, and whether it’s a car or an auto.
Thusly, photos are very, very helpful. Oftentimes, they show the injury. They have great evidentiary way.
Occasionally, insurance companies have claimed that the photos prove that it’s a phony accident or a staged accident. We saw those cases years ago. Now that cell-phones are not the exception but instead the rule, I don’t see that argument anymore.
One of the reasons we want to get into a case early is to preserve evidence. Photographs taken at the scene preserve the evidence to that extent. They’re always good to have.
Do You Think that Drivers Have A Hard Time Responding To Bicycles?
The common feeling is that motorists do not like motorcycles. This is another topic.
The prevalent view is that automobiles do not like bicyclists. I don’t think they treat them with a great deal of respect. When you see a bike riding ahead of you, I don’t think most of the motoring public slows down or makes a conscious effort to give the bike room. When the roads are narrow, when there’s parked cars, things can get tight.
Another answer to that question is this: bicycles are hard for cars to see. Cars have blind spots. They glance over their shoulders to look for cars, and they make turns without noting any bicycles passing.
Thusly, I think the motoring public could do a much better job of paying attention to bicycles.
Have You Seen People Sustain Serious Head Injury or Trauma as a Result of a Bicycle Accident?
Yes. Unfortunately, people sustain road rash, soft-tissue injuries, fractures, many shoulder fractures, and hip fractures. We see many that go to surgery to have a hardware installed in the shoulder or hip. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a few who have been paralyzed with severe spinal cord injuries.
Have You Ever Seen A Bicycle Accident in which a Semi or an 18-Wheeler Was Involved?
Actually, I did see one. It was in the Modesto area, and it involved a big rig that was making a turn. The bike was crossing in the crosswalk, and the bike was nailed.
This is less frequent because we see fewer big rigs on our local streets. They typically stay on the highways. You don’t see bicycles often on the highway.
What Will The Other Party Try to Use Against Me in A Bicycle Accident Case?
First of all, they’ll argue with the analysis of fault. If possible, the other side will argue that it was your fault, you rode out in front of this truck, you didn’t signal, you weren’t wearing a helmet, you blew the red light, you’re riding at a crosswalk, you’re riding on a sidewalk, and it’s your fault. They’re going to try to do that. If you are at fault, this might be the end of the case.
If you’re not fully at fault, then the second question is, “Are you partly at fault?” This is called comparative fault. An analysis must be made if a car hits you. Which percentage are you at fault, and which percentage is the car at fault?
A jury can state that it’s 99 percent car, 1 percent you. A jury can do fifty-fifty or 75/25. They can come up with whatever they want for comparative fault.
Then, we evaluate of the value of the case. Insurance companies will look for previous injuries to the same body part. If you’re claiming a shoulder injury, and you’ve had three prior shoulder surgeries, they’ll state that this accident didn’t cause your shoulder injury.
If you’ve never had an insult to your shoulder, and you’re at the hospital for treatment right after the accident, it’s clear the accident caused you shoulder injury.
Oftentimes, with people who are over twenty-five, the x-rays and scans show degenerative changes in the shoulders. They’ll state this was preexisting. A battle occurs because a person can have degenerative preexisting changes in a body part, like the shoulder. He might not have any symptoms. After the accident, however, they’re symptomatic. We must argue that the accident caused it. Without the accident, you would have continued to be asymptomatic, pain-free. So, those are some of the issues that would come up with the insurance company.
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