Fatal Bike Accident – Bicycle Hit & Run
If Your Family Has Been Devastated by a Fatal Bicycle Accident, Our Agoura Hills Bike Accident Lawyers Are Ready to Help
California presents itself as bicycle-friendly, as do many cities within the state. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Thousands of cyclists are injured and hundreds killed every year across the State of California because of negligent, careless drivers. In many cases, those drivers refuse to even stop and help the cyclists they’ve injured. When a driver flees the scene of a crash, anyone they hit is that much more likely to suffer permanent or fatal damage as a result of their injuries.
If your loved one was killed in a bike accident by a driver who fled the scene, you deserve compensation, and you deserve justice. The bike accident lawyers at the Halpern Law Firm will fight to make sure you get both. We’ll help you track down the driver who caused your family such devastation, and we’ll make sure they are held accountable for the harm they caused.
California’s Hit and Run Law
California law requires drivers involved in an accident that caused damage to property or person to stop and, at the least, exchange contact information with any other parties involved. If a driver flees the scene of an accident involving property damage, that driver can be charged with a misdemeanor. If a driver flees the scene of a crash that involved serious injury or death to another person, the driver may be charged with a felony.
California’s hit and run law recognizes the danger of fleeing the scene after a crash. If someone is hurt in an accident, it’s vitally important to call 911 as soon as possible. When a driver flees the scene, they are delaying emergency services from helping the accident victim. An injury can become a serious injury, and a serious injury can become fatal, all because the victim’s emergency care was delayed by a cowardly driver fleeing the scene. If your loved one was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Southern California, the bike accident lawyers at the Halpern Law Firm can help you track down the culprit and hold them responsible for the devastation they caused your family.
The Alarming Fatal Bike Crash Numbers in California
According to statistics from the Federal Highway Administration, over 800 cyclists are killed in traffic accidents nationally every year. In 2019 alone, there were 855 bike rider fatalities across the country, a slight step down from the record-breaking 882 bike rider deaths in 2018.
California is particularly unsafe for riders: In 2019, 133 bicyclists were killed in accidents across the state. Between 2007 and 2019, nearly 1,700 cyclists were killed in fatal accidents in California. California’s bike fatalities are concerning both in terms of absolute numbers and measured proportionally: While the national average is 2.9 cyclist deaths per million people, California averages 3.9 cyclist deaths per million people. The majority of fatal accidents happen in Los Angeles County. In 2020, Los Angeles saw over 2,500 bike accidents leading to 23 deaths.
Punitive Damages After a Hit and Run
Typically, plaintiffs in a personal injury case are entitled to “compensatory” damages, meaning they can recover compensation for the harm they suffered. Compensatory damages include things like medical bills, lost income, and compensation for pain and suffering. If a defendant’s conduct was especially egregious, however, the plaintiff might be able to recover punitive damages.
Punitive damages are meant to punish very bad conduct rather than to compensate the victim. Punitive damages are awarded on top of compensatory damages, often acting as a multiplier to the rest of the damages (e.g., punitive damages equal to twice the compensatory damages). Deliberately fleeing the scene of an accident, and thus increasing the likelihood the victim would suffer catastrophic or fatal harm, could give rise to a punitive damages claim.
In a fatal bike accident case, surviving family members may be able to seek punitive damages through a “survivor action.” A survivor action is essentially a claim for the damages the accident victim would have been able to recover had they survived. Survivor actions are only available if the victim suffered some sort of economic harm before death, such as medical expenses or lost wages; if the victim was killed instantly, then typically no survivor action is possible. Talk to a knowledgeable bike accident lawyer at the Halpern Law Firm to find out if you and your family may be able to recover punitive damages.
Call Our California Bike Accident Lawyers Today for Dedicated Representation After a Fatal Bike Accident in California
If someone you love has been killed by a negligent or reckless driver in Southern California, the compassionate hit and run bike accident legal team at the Halpern Law Firm is here to help. We fight to get you the compensation you and your family deserve. Call us at (818) 785-5999 today for a Free No-Risk Confidential Consultation. These cases are handled on a contingency basis, meaning you won’t be charged any attorney’s fees unless we win.