Electric Bike (E-bike) Accident Lawsuit Lawyer
An electric bike accident injury lawsuit in the state of California is a claim for damages against a person or the company that is responsible for the injuries sustained by the rider of an e-bike.
These types of personal injury lawsuits are normally filed against a motorist or pedestrian who caused the collision, but they are sometimes filed against the electric bike manufacturer based on defective products liability.
As Americans seek fun, useful ways to engage their cardiovascular systems in the great outdoors, electric bikes (E-bikes) have emerged as a versatile mode of travel.
Practical and exciting, E-bikes are surging in popularity. As you may know from experience, though, E-bikes pose a greater injury risk than traditional bikes.
Clearly, with the huge increase in the use of electric bikes, there are more accidents and related injuries.
If you are the victim in an e-bike accident, you could be entitled to compensation for medical bills and expenses, lost wages and earning capacity, pain and suffering, along other damages.
Put simply, you may receive compensation for an E-bike accident. Liable parties may have to pay for all your accident-related losses.
Our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers will review more closely below.
How California Law Defines Electric Bikes
Assembly Bill 1096, which California has adopted as law, defines three types of legally recognized E-bikes.
The three categories of E-bike permitted for use throughout California's transportation infrastructure are:
- Low-speed pedal-assisted electric bicycles with a motor that functions only when the rider pedals. Defined as “class 1 electric bicycles”, these E-bikes cease providing motor assistance once the bike reaches 20 mph;
- Low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycles with a motor that functions independent of the rider's pedaling. Like the first category of E-bike, the motor on throttle-assisted “class 2 electric bicycles” cannot operate once the bike reaches 20 mph;
- Low-speed pedal-assisted electric bicycles with a motor that functions only when the rider is pedaling, but may reach 28 mph before the motor ceases to operate. These are “class 3 electric bicycles” which must be equipped with a speedometer.
California's Department of Motor Vehicles explains that E-bike operators must be at least 16 years old, ride their E-bike in the appropriate lane (typically the bike lane), wear a bike helmet, and not transport passengers.
Per CVC § 24016, you do not need a driver's license, license plate, or insurance to operate an E-bike in California.
Common Electric Bike Injuries
In most cases, electric bicycle accidents involve a collision with a vehicle, pedestrian, or even another bicycle.
Often, the injuries sustained are serious and could even kill the victim. Since e-bikes are heavier and faster than a traditional bicycle, the chances of injury in an accident are increased, including:
- traumatic brain injury,
- spinal cord injury,
- back injury,
- neck injury,
- scarring and disfigurement,
- soft tissue injury,
- broken bones,
- severe bruising,
Who Is Liable for Your E-Bike Accident?
E-bike operators often share close quarters with cars, 18-wheelers, motorized scooters, motorcyclists, pedestrians, animals, and traditional bicyclists.
Data suggests a particularly high rate of accidents between pedestrians and E-bike operators, but E-bike accidents happen under a wide variety of circumstances.
The facts of each E-bike collision determine liability for the accident. Multiple parties may be liable for your E-bike accident, possibly including:
- An E-bike manufacturer or seller,
- A pedestrian,
- The driver of a motor vehicle,
- A motor vehicle manufacturer,
- Another E-bike rider,
- A motorcyclist,
- A pet owner.
Defendant(s) named in your case may be liable based on their negligence.
The American Bar Association (ABA) explains that negligence occurs when someone acts unreasonably based on specific circumstances, causing harm to others as a consequence.
In the context of an E-bike accident, negligence may include:
- Driving a motor vehicle too closely to the bicycle lane, or "dooring,"
- Failing to recognize an E-bike rider's right of way,
- Allowing pets to enter the bike lane,
- Walking in or otherwise obstructing the bike lane.
E-bike manufacturers and sellers may be liable for any defect that caused your accident.
Under the legal principle of strict liability, a manufacturer, seller, or E-bike owner who rents you the bike may be financially responsible for any harm that their defective product causes.
If the accident happened due to a malfunction with the e-bike, you could pursue a claim against the manufacturer in a product liability lawsuit.
This type of claim involves a flaw or defect in the e-bikes design, defective manufacturing in the production process making it unsafe, or failure to provide proper labeling or warning to consumers about potential dangers of using the electric bicycle.
What Damages May Entitle You to Compensation?
Studies have found E-bike accidents to cause spinal fractures, lower extremity fractures, facial injuries, neck injuries, and other significant ailments.
Injuries from an E-bike accident may entitle you to financial coverage for:
- Lost income and productivity caused by your inability to work while injured,
- Decreased earning power caused by long-term injury,
- Pain and suffering, which may result from the accident itself or the effects of your injuries,
- All medical expenses resulting from your E-bike accident,
- The cost to repair or replace your E-bike or other personal property,
- The loss of a loved one in an E-bike accident, which may cause funeral, expenses, lost financial support, and other significant damages.
Each E-bike accident produces unique damages. The financial cost of each E-bike accident, therefore, is unique to each victim.
How Do You Pursue Compensation After an E-Bike Accident?
To file a lawsuit for an electric bike accident in California, you will first need to contact a personal injury attorney who will need to review all the details of the accident and the evidence to determine whether you have a valid case.
A lawyer can pursue compensation following an E-bike accident. Your attorney and their team will investigate your accident, determining who is liable for the collision.
Next, your law firm of choice will identify each of your losses, calculating the total financial cost of your accident.
Victims of E-bike accidents may generally file a lawsuit. A lawyer will also handle this process for you.
Those liable for your collision may agree to settle by providing the compensation that you deserve. If they do not, subsequent legal steps—possibly including a trial—may ensue.
You may choose to hire a lawyer for your E-bike accident claim because:
- California law can be complex,
- You want a lawyer with experience handling E-bike cases to represent you,
- You are occupied with medical treatment and other responsibilities,
- You simply do not want to deal with the legal process, whether due to potential stress or other deterrents.
The defendant in the case will have the chance to challenge the lawsuit unless a settlement is reached where they agree to pay you a specific amount of compensation.
Whatever your motivation for hiring a lawyer is, the decision to get legal help could prove beneficial in numerous ways.
If you or a family member has sustained an injury in an electric bile accident, you could be entitled to receive compensation.