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Many college students ride bicycles to get to and from class, as transportation to other places, and for pleasure. The areas around Palo Alto and Mountain View are especially popular for cycling because the weather is relatively mild all year round. Bicycles are usually less expensive, more environmentally friendly, more convenient, and more fun than driving, which makes them popular with college students. While colleges have started to educate their students about bicycle safety, sometimes college student bicycle accidents caused by careless drivers still happen. If you are a student at Stanford University, San Jose State University, Santa Clara University, or another college in the area, you should contact the Palo Alto bicycle accident lawyers at Ziff & Cohn to discuss your legal options in terms of pursuing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
If you are in a bicycle accident, the first thing to do is to move somewhere safe from oncoming traffic and to get any emergency medical attention that you need. If you are on campus, you should call campus security, or the police if you are off campus. As soon as the immediate emergency has passed, you should contact a knowledgeable bike accident attorney who can walk you through evidence gathering and the other steps to help build your case. You should also let your professors know if you are unable to make it to class due to your accident.
In order to be entitled to recover damages following a college student bicycle accident, you will need to prove that the other person involved in the accident was negligent. Negligence is a legal term that essentially means that someone was acting in a way that reasonable people would not behave. However, in practice, it is not always straightforward to determine the sequence of events leading to an accident, and evaluating negligence is extremely fact-specific. If the accident occurred on a college campus and was caused at least in part by a defect or hazard that should have been removed, the college also may be liable for some of your damages. That is just one reason why it is important to work with a skilled bicycle injury attorney to help you identify all of the potentially liable parties.
In some cases, a bicyclist may bear some fault for the accident in addition to a driver, a property owner, or other defendants. The good news is that this does not mean that you cannot recover damages. The California comparative fault rule means that the amount that you recover will be discounted by the percentage of your fault. In other words, if you are 30% at fault for an accident that caused $150,000 worth of damage, the defendant will be responsible for 70% of the damages, or $105,000.
As a college student, you are probably just beginning your career, and an accident can be devastating. Thankfully, you may be able to get damages not only for any wages that you actually lose from the accident, but also for future earnings of which the accident has deprived you, such as if it causes a permanent disability that affects your career options. If you need to leave college to recover from your injuries and lose tuition money, you may be able to recover that money as well. You also may be able to recover other economic damages like medical bills and the cost of replacing your bicycle. Essentially, any additional money that you need to expend or financial benefits that you lost due to the accident can be recovered. You also may be able to get non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, which is often severe in bicycle accident cases because of the lack of protection for riders against vehicles.
Every aspect of fault and recovery after a bicycle accident needs to be carefully investigated. Thus, it is important to contact an experienced bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. We can help you gather evidence and present your case in a way that maximizes your chance of recovery. Ziff & Cohn represents bicycle accident victims ranging from college students to commuters throughout the Bay Area, including in Palo Alto, Los Altos, Mountain View, Stanford, Portola Valley, Woodside, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, San Jose, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Redwood City, Burlingame, San Mateo, San Bruno, Daly City, San Francisco, Alameda, Berkeley, Castro Valley, Fremont, Hayward, Oakland, Pleasanton, San Leandro, and Union City. Call (650) 329-0851 or use the contact form on this website to schedule your free consultation today.