Hit on my bike by a company vehicle...

by Carlos
(Santa Ana, CA, USA)

I was riding my bike on the sidewalk going northbound on the left side, and I noticed a company owned vehicle coming out of its parking lot toward the street. I assumed it would stop, seeing as I had the right of way, and I kept going. I made eye contact with the driver and he saw me as well, but he kept going.

I had time to stop, but I decided I shouldn't since I had the right of way and the car was going slow enough that it could stop. The vehicle made contact with my left thigh and I was knocked off my bike and into the section where the curb meets the street. I tried to get up, but I felt heavy and my knees weak.

I got help by one of the passengers of the vehicle, but the driver kept his distance. The managers of said company came out and kept asking what was the matter and if I was hurt. I told them I was fine, just a few lacerations and scrapes.

They proceeded to take pictures of both me and their vehicle, which sustained no damage. My bike however, was busted from the gear shift and the right brake.

They called the police and he came to ask if I wanted the paramedics, which I obliged to take up on his offer, so they could check my palm and wrist, which took most of the impact of my fall. When they arrived, they informed me that it doesn't seem injured and that I should get medical care at a hospital to make sure.

I refused to go to the emergency room, not only because my palm and wrist didn't hurt at the time, but also because I was sympathizing with the driver. I claimed I was fine, that I was just exaggerating over the shock of being involved in a motor accident for the first time.

Later, after the officer had filed his report and most of the people involved left, both my upper left thigh and my wrist started to ache. And my bike, though able to ride well, had a bent front wheel, loose handlebar, and busted gearshift and right brake. The cost to repair my bike, a 21 speed Schwinn, would be around the same price as buying a new one!

What should I do? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Hit on my bike by a company vehicle...":

Carlos (Santa Ana, CA, USA):

You are in a precarious position. Before deciding which course of action to take, secure a copy of the police report. The report may indicate whether or not the driver was at fault, or if the police officer believes you were at fault. It's also possible the police report won't indicate fault from either of you.

If the police report indicates the driver of the truck was at fault, you have a relatively strong case to be compensated by the driver, and his employer, for your injuries and for the repair or replacement of your bicycle.

If the police report indicates you were at fault, then you will have a weak case against the driver and his employer.

If the police report doesn't indicate fault by either of you, then you still may have the basis of a personal injury and property damage claim.

Contact the driver and his employer. Ask for the name and contact information of their insurance company. From there, you can file a claim for your damages. Your damages may include compensation for your medical or chiropractic bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and damage to your bicycle.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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