Who Pays for Injuries in a Bicycle Accident?

November 25, 2023 Posted In Bicycle Accidents

Responsibility for bicycle accident injuries depends on the specific circumstances of the incident. The party determined to be at fault for the collision will be liable for damages. 

Who Pays for Injuries in a Bicycle Accident

Drivers’ Responsibility

In many bicycle accidents, the driver of the vehicle is responsible for the resulting injuries. Drivers are expected to exercise reasonable care and adhere to traffic laws, including yielding the right of way to cyclists and maintaining a safe distance. If the driver’s negligence, such as distracted driving, speeding, or running a red light, contributes to the accident, they may be deemed liable. Establishing negligence is often a key element in pursuing compensation through a personal injury claim.

Bicycle Rider’s Responsibility

Cyclists also have a responsibility to adhere to traffic laws and exercise caution on the road. If a cyclist’s actions contribute to the accident, they may be partially or fully responsible for their injuries. In California, the legal principle of pure comparative negligence is applied, which means each party is assigned a percentage of fault based on their contribution to the crash. However, even if the injured party is found partially at fault, they can still seek compensation for their injuries, but the total damages awarded will just be reduced. For example, if a cyclist is 10% at fault for an accident and is awarded $100,000 in damages, they would receive 90% of their award or $90,000. 

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

In cases where the at-fault driver lacks insurance or has insufficient coverage, the injured cyclist may turn to their own insurance policy for compensation if they carry uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. UM/UIM is designed to provide financial protection in situations where the at-fault party is unable to cover the full extent of the damages.

Third-Party Liability

In certain situations, a third party other than the cyclist or motorist may be liable for the accident and injuries. For example, if a road defect, inadequate signage, or faulty traffic signals contributed to the collision, the government agency responsible for road maintenance or construction may be held accountable. 

Bicycle accidents can also result from defects in a vehicle or the bicycle itself or its components. In such cases, the manufacturer or distributor may be held responsible through a product liability claim

Proving Liability For Bicycle Accident Injuries

Establishing liability for bicycle accident injuries based on negligence requires demonstrating the following four key elements:

Duty of Care

Firstly, the plaintiff (injury victim) must show that the defendant (at-fault party) owed them a duty of care, which is generally applicable in traffic situations where drivers owe a duty to exercise reasonable care toward cyclists. 

Breach of Duty

Secondly, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached this duty by engaging in negligent conduct, such as speeding, distracted driving, or failure to yield. 


Thirdly, there must be a direct link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the injuries suffered by the cyclist, establishing causation. 


Lastly, the plaintiff needs to demonstrate actual damages resulting from the accident, which can include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage, etc. 

Determining liability in a bicycle accident can be complex, requiring a thorough investigation and understanding of traffic laws. A trusted San Bernardino bicycle accident lawyer can provide valuable guidance by assessing the circumstances of the accident, gathering evidence, and navigating the legal process to pursue fair compensation on your behalf. 

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