With increased congestion in and around the DC Metro area and an expansion in accessible bike lanes, more and more people are cycling instead of driving. While this is great for your health, the environment, and roadways, it also means an increased risk of cyclists getting struck by negligent drivers.
At Johnnie Bond Law, we understand how devastating a bicycle accident can be both physically and emotionally. We are ready to represent your interests and build the strongest case to help you recover full and fair compensation. Although each case is unique, we offer some basic information about the most common causes of cycling accidents, injuries that cyclists report, and the kinds of compensation you might receive as a victim.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
A bicycle accident can happen at any time for any reason. With that said, a few of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in DC and Maryland include:
- Speeding: When motorists speed, the time they have to react to any changes on the road drops sharply as speed increases. Speeding also multiplies the chance of catastrophic injuries for a cyclist.
- Distracted driving: While smartphones have revolutionized the way we communicate and do business, they are also a major cause of bicycle accidents as motorists’ attention is focused on their devices rather than their driving obligations.
- Unsafe lane changes or turns: When a driver changes lanes or turns without first checking for bicycles, they run the risk of running cyclists off the road, colliding with them, or even running them over.
- Lane crowding: Drivers who don’t give cyclists enough space on the roadway aren’t just being reckless. Their actions can and often do lead to collisions, injuries, and death.
While you might think roadways are the most dangerous place for a cyclist, risks actually increase in confined areas like driveways, garages, and parking lots.
What Are Some Common Bicycle Accident Injuries?
What might be a minor accident for someone in a car could easily turn catastrophic for a cyclist. Without the protection and safety measures of a car, and often with only a helmet for protection, riders can suffer:
- Road rash
- Injured joints
- Muscle, tendon, and ligament tears
- Broken bones
- TBI, or traumatic brain injuries
- Temporary or permanent paralysis
- Internal injuries, including damaged organs and internal bleeding
In some unfortunate cases, injuries can even be severe enough to cause death.
What Kinds of Compensation Could I Be Entitled To?
If you’ve suffered an injury in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. In order to recover damages, however, you first must establish responsibility for the accident.
Maryland has laws that allow injured cyclists to seek compensatory damages. Such damages help restore the injured party to their prior state before the injury occurred, or as close to it as possible. These damages may include:
Was your bicycle or property damaged in the accident? If so, you could secure compensation to recover those costs.
An injured party can receive compensation for both lost wages and lost earning capacity. If you’ve had to miss work because of injuries sustained during a bicycle accident, this type of compensation could apply to you.
Injured cyclists can secure compensation for medical expenses in the immediate aftermath of the accident and future expenses related to the accident, such as surgeries or physical therapy.
Along with these economic damages, you could also receive compensation for non-economic damages such as emotional distress, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.
Do I Need a Bicycle Accident Attorney?
It’s unfortunately common to see an insurance company try to fight or delay payment to injured cyclists. They usually offer to pay far less than a claim is worth. If you’ve been the victim of a bicycle accident, it’s essential that you seek out the services of a qualified attorney.
The right lawyer will work hard to build your case, hold the insurance companies accountable, and recover full and fair compensation for you.
Johnnie Bond Law Can Help if You’ve Been in a Bicycle Accident in the DMV
Whether you’re dealing with a minor injury or severe complications and steep medical bills resulting from a cycling accident, our skilled and dedicated team is here for you. If you need a DC area bicycle accident law firm that can help, contact us at Johnnie Bond Law at 202-683-6803 to get your free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Accidents Involving Bicycles
Do you have to report an accident with a cyclist?
It is never a bad idea to report an accident to police because it provides evidence of an incident. If anyone is injured, first responders can assist with treatment and encourage a more thorough exam which can detect hidden injuries.
If an accident in DC causes injuries or at least $250 in damage, the accident must be reported to the police immediately. Those involved must wait for the police to respond and prepare a report. Maryland law requires any accident with injuries to be reported to the police or the Motor Vehicle Administration within 15 days. If crash with injuries occurs in Virginia, the law also requires it to be reported. If the police do not come to the scene, you must file an accident report and an information request with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
It is also wise for the drivers of any motor vehicles involved to report the accident to their insurance companies as soon as possible. If a claim results and the driver has not reported the accident, the insurance company could refuse to pay for any injuries or damage, potentially leaving the driver liable.
Does car insurance cover bicycle accidents?
If the party at fault was driving a motor vehicle covered by insurance, that insurance company should pay for injuries and damage resulting from the accident. If a cyclist suffers injuries when someone in a parked vehicle opens a door into the path of the cyclist, insurance should also cover the injuries. However, if a bicycle rider is injured in a collision which was clearly the fault of the cyclist, such as if they were riding under the influence of alcohol and hit an unoccupied vehicle, then the insurance company may not cover the accident.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
If you are injured in a collision involving a bicycle or motor vehicle, you must prepare and file your claim within three years of the accident if it occurred in Maryland or DC. If the accident happened in Virginia, you must file within two years. However, it is in your best interests to start working with an attorney as soon as possible, long before the deadline for filing a claim. The sooner you consult an attorney, the more assistance they can provide. Your lawyer can help ensure you get the right medical care, handle questions from insurance companies, and collect and preserve evidence to support your claim. The best evidence is only available right after the accident, so sooner is better when it comes to contacting a lawyer.
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