Bicycling accidents are unfortunately common, with 26 cyclists losing their lives on Los Angeles County roadways in 2022 alone. Filing a bicycle accident lawsuit can help injured cyclists demand compensation for their injuries and hold negligent parties accountable. 

This blog provides an overview of the legal process, empowering you to protect yourself and seek justice in the event of a bicycle accident.

How to File A Lawsuit for A Bicycle Accident

Contact Skilled Bicycle Accident Lawyers

First, you must speak to a reputable bicycle accident lawyer. During the initial legal consultation, you can expect to discuss the following:

Detailed account of the incident

The attorney will encourage you to describe the accident in detail, including the events before, during, and after the collision. You will also discuss the nature and severity of your injuries. 

Moreover, you will provide information regarding the medical treatment you have received. It can help your lawyer evaluate the damages you must receive. Damages refer to the monetary award that a court gives to a claimant.

During the consultation, the attorney will explain your rights and the legal avenues you can pursue. You can negotiate with the insurance company or file a civil case against the offender. 

Your legal counsel will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each legal strategy. Hence, it is important to provide accurate information to them so they can evaluate your case properly.

Fee structure and agreement

You can also agree on the attorney’s fees during the initial consultation. The following are the common fee arrangements:

  • Fixed fee
  • Hourly fee
  • Retainer fee
  • Contingency fee

Gather Evidence

Your attorney can help you collect the required evidence to strengthen your case:

  • Photographs and videos – Photos and videos of the accident scene, injuries, and property damage can serve as valuable pieces of evidence.
  • Police report – This document contains accident details, environmental factors that contributed to the crash, the driver and/or cyclist’s condition which possibly caused the incident, and estimated damage to the vehicles. You can request the Traffic Collision Report by visiting the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) website.
  • Medical records – These records provide documentation of the injuries sustained and treatments received.
  • Witness statements – Your lawyer can talk to witnesses so they can give accounts of the incident from their perspectives.
  • Repair estimates Bring your bicycle to a trusted bike shop for a detailed estimate of repair costs.

Identify the Cause of Action

In a civil case, establishing a cause of action is essential for demanding a legal remedy. For example, if your lawyer determines that a distracted driver caused your bicycle accident, the cause of action would be negligence.

The elements of negligence are:

  • The offender has a legal duty to the victim.
  • The offender breached this duty.
  • The victim suffered harm.
  • The offender’s actions were the proximate cause of the injuries or property damage.

To apply this to the example:

  • The driver had a duty to remain attentive while driving.
  • The driver became distracted.
  • The cyclist sustained injuries.
  • The driver’s distraction was the proximate cause of the cyclist’s injuries.


“Alt text = Kid on the ground with a knee injury and bicycle wheel in the background”

Identify the Damages to Demand

In a bicycle accident case, it is crucial to identify all the damages you will demand to ensure you receive full compensation for your losses. The following types of damages are commonly sought in such cases:

  • Medical Expenses: This includes costs for current and future medical treatment, such as hospital bills, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and any necessary ongoing care.
  • Property Damage: Compensation for the costs to repair or replace your damaged bicycle and any other personal property that was affected in the accident.
  • Lost Wages: Reimbursement for the income you lost due to the accident, including any future earnings you may miss if your injuries prevent you from returning to work.
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress you endured as a result of the accident.
  • Punitive Damages: In cases where the offender’s actions were particularly reckless or intentional, the court may award punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.

File the Claim

The statute of limitations sets the time limit for filing a case. In California, victims of negligence have two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit. 

For example, if a cyclist was involved in an accident on June 19, 2024, due to another driver’s negligence, they must file their personal injury case by June 19, 2026. Filing after this period will likely result in the court dismissing the case.

Serve the Defendant

After filing the case, it is crucial to deliver a copy of the complaint to the defendant, a process known as “serving the defendant.” This must be done within 60 days of filing the case. 

Proper service officially notifies the defendant of the lawsuit and their obligation to respond. The defendant then has 30 days to file an answer, allowing them to present their evidence and ensuring due process.

Discovery Proceedings

Discovery proceedings involve exchanging information and evidence between the parties to prepare for trial. For instance, the injured cyclist might send written questions, known as interrogatories, to the defendant. 

Another discovery method is deposition, where witnesses provide sworn, out-of-court testimonies recorded by a court reporter. Lawyers from both sides ask questions to gather information, which can be used to support or challenge testimonies during the trial.


Most cases are resolved through settlement without going to trial. During settlement negotiations, lawyers for both parties work to agree on compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and emotional distress. 

Once an agreement is reached, a settlement agreement and release of liability are drafted and signed by both parties. The plaintiff then files a notice of settlement, prompting the court to dismiss the case.


If the parties cannot reach a settlement, the case proceeds to trial. In California, the trial begins with opening statements, followed by the presentation of evidence and closing arguments. 

The jury deliberates and delivers a verdict. Post-trial motions can be filed before the judge enters a final judgment. If either party believes the judgment is flawed due to legal errors, they can appeal the decision.


Navigating the legal process after a bicycle accident can be complex, but understanding each step can help you better prepare. 

Consulting with a skilled lawyer is crucial, as they can guide you through each phase, ensuring your rights are protected and maximizing your chances of securing fair compensation. Choosing the right legal counsel can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.