San Diego Union Tribune, Debbie Baker reported that an unnamed 46-year-old man riding a bicycle sustained a life-threatening head injury on April 25, 2011. The bicycle accident happened around 5 p.m. in North Park when the bicyclist, who was riding east on University Avenue near Arizona Street, was knocked to the ground. According to police, as he rode passed a parked vehicle the 22-year-old woman driver opened the car door striking the bicyclist, who suffered a life-threatening skull fracture when he fell and hit his head on the ground. Traffic division officers are still investigating the matter.
Applicable California law
The bicyclist will have claims for any damage to his personal property as well as his personal injuries due to the driver’s inattention when opening her car door. These damages include medical bills, lost earnings and earning capacity in addition to compensation for pain and suffering. However, it is not clear if the bicyclist was wearing a helmet since he sustained a skull fracture. Furthermore, he has the same obligations as other vehicles on the road to exercise due care. If he failed to do so and this contributed to the causing his own injuries, his claims would be reduced proportionately (see my prior Blog post on California Bike Law). Head injuries such as skull fractures can cause permanent consequences (see my prior Blog post on Brain Injuries and resources), which leads to the question as to whether the driver has adequate insurance coverage (see my prior Blog post on California Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Law). If the cyclist was wearing a helmet and it was defective, which contributed to his injuries, he could potentially pursue a products liability claim (see my prior Blog post on California Products Liability Law).
A routine bicycle ride results in a serious injury. Auto accidents, and bicycle accidents that cause serious brain damage can be catastrophic. The life-changing consequences can be helped by conferring with an experienced personal injury attorney.