Cities continue to invest in bicycle infrastructure to protect their bikers and offer them a safe alternative to the heavily congested city streets. However, despite these precautions, and stiff penalties for failure to yield to bicyclists, bicycle accidents continue to be an ongoing problem.
Getting into a bicycle accident can result in severe injuries. If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident in central Virginia, you should consult an experienced Richmond bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. We’re here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact our Richmond personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation.
Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident
There are several steps to take after a cyclist accident that can strengthen your case upon you seeking compensation. These can be done in no particular order as all are crucial to recouping the settlement you deserve. Follow these steps after a bicycle accident:
1. Schedule a Doctor’s Visit
Even if you appear fine, you must seek medical attention post-accident. Keep up with all invoices, medical records, photos, and x-rays, as these will factor into your settlement amount.
2. Take Photos of the Bicycle Accident
Taking photos after a crash is important. Capture various angles that show the extent of all damage. Include photos of your helmet and bike. This will serve as proof of damage reimbursement. Your property will become evident upon filing for a settlement.
3. Record Names and Phone Numbers of Those at the Scene
If a motorist hits you, obtain the names and phone numbers of all parties as well as eyewitnesses. If you are hurt and unable to, ask someone to do this for you.
4. File a Police Report
Ensure to give a detailed account of what happened. This information will be part of the official record of the bicycle accident or crash. It will be used as evidence when the insurance investigates who was at fault.
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What Type of Compensation Would I Receive From a Bicycle Accident?
Unfortunately, bicycle accidents often lead to devastating injuries. While helmets offer some protection to cyclists to reduce the chance of the worst accidents, they do not protect the rest of the body from extreme injuries. You may bring a claim for your injuries that includes::
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
An experienced Richmond attorney will be able to assist you in calculating the total amount of damages you are entitled to claim as a result of your bicycle accident injuries. We have seen firsthand the injuries that can result from bicycle accidents involving speeding cars.
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Which Laws Protect Cyclists in Virginia?
In 2015, the city of Richmond announced plans to create bike lanes that would span 15 downtown blocks, a popular idea that many major urban centers throughout the country have been proposing.
The biker-friendly spot of downtown Richmond would protect cyclists while at the same time allowing motor vehicle drivers to continue along their commute without interruption. The introduction of these lanes served the purpose of helping to curb bicycle accidents.
Virginia continues to pass laws to protect bicyclists. Richmond motorists and bicyclists have similar rights and responsibilities to each other to prevent accidents from occurring. If a collision does occur, legal representation can use such regulation to get you monetary compensation.
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Who Is at Fault in a Bicycle Accident?
Like any personal injury case, the crucial question is discovering who was negligent in a crash. Evidence in a bicycle accident case versus a car accident case is quite similar, and we know what we need to get to prove your case.
For instance, if the driver was ticketed in the crash, that’s possible proof backed up by the word of an officer of the driver’s negligence. If we can also prove you were riding safely at the time of the crash, that could be enough.
In other cases, it’s not so simple. If both of you were turning at the same time, and there was a crash, it can be hard to determine who was at fault. But proving that it was the other party’s fault is the job of your bicycling accident lawyer in Richmond.
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Do Cyclists Have Rights in Virginia?
In Richmond, Virginia all cyclists have the right to protect themselves while on the road. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, an attorney will fight to protect those rights to the fullest extent. A summary of Virginia biker’s rights includes:
- Cyclists can ride on the right side of the road and are not required to just use the bike lane.
- If a lane is too narrow to share, cyclists can occupy the full lane.
- Cyclists can pass on the left or the right side.
- Cyclists can ride in two abreast formations on state and local roads.
- Cyclists must not impede traffic but rise with the flow of traffic instead.
- Cyclists may ride on the shoulder of the highway when a barrier is present.
The state of Virginia does not require cyclists to wear helmets, except for certain places like Fairfax, Falls Church, Alexandria, and Vienna. This rule only applies to children up to 14 years of age. It is wise, however, to always wear a helmet regardless of state law.
What Are the Bicycle Accident Rates in Virginia?
In 2014, there were 12 bicycle accident fatalities. In 2017, there were 677 bicycle-vehicle accidents in Virginia. 286 of these collisions involved no improper action on the cyclist’s part. These numbers represent a very real danger to bicycle riders.
One main cause of bicycle accidents involves the failure of a car driver to yield to the bicyclist. Cyclists are constantly on the lookout for distracted drivers or those failing to notice them on the roads. This stressful situation is enough to make many people opt out of bicycling entirely unless it is on a trail.
Another common bike injury is “dooring.” This is when a parked car suddenly opens their door in the path of a bicyclist they didn’t see. This can push the cyclist into the path of another vehicle. If you live in a bike-heavy area, look twice before opening your door!
The Dangers of Cycling
Cyclist collisions, while often predictable, can be severe or fatal. There has been a rise in bicyclist fatalities in Virginia, causing the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to warn all drivers to be aware and drive safely.
Across Virginia, fatalities have spiked to more than 75%, with the city of Richmond having the second-highest number of bicycle accidents. Bikes may be environmentally friendly and a great way to stay fit, but there is minimal protection between a cyclist and the pavement.
In a Bicycle Accident and Need a Lawyer?
If a vehicle driver failed to respect your rights as a cyclist and caused injury to you, you have the right to take legal action against them and seek full compensation for all the harm you’ve suffered.
Contact Christina Pendleton & Associates for a free initial consultation with a bicycle accident lawyer serving Richmond and the surrounding areas. We are here to serve you while you focus on recovery.
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