Virginia Beach is known as a bicycle-friendly community with paved trails and boardwalks that promote cycle safety. Despite the safe roads and improved bicycle laws, the city is experiencing an increase in bicycle-car accidents, deterring cyclists from coming back to the trails.
Bicycle laws can encourage safety. But if you become injured in a crash, a bicycle accident lawyer in Virginia Beach can protect you against insurance companies. We can hold the liable party accountable for negligence and collect the compensation you deserve.
Did you know that Virginia Beach has laws that jeopardize a cyclist’s ability to file a claim? Pendleton Law can explain and help you collect your damages.
How to Maximize Your Settlement After a Bicycle Accident
Once you file a claim for your personal injury, insurance companies use invasive tactics to challenge the validity of your claim. Immediately after the accident, it is important that you take the following steps to get the compensation that you deserve:
Visit the Doctor Immediately
Cyclists are more likely to be severely injured after an accident from lack of protection. In the event that you feel well enough to ride away from the crash, visit a doctor immediately. A medical professional will document all apparent and underlying injuries that may not be visible.
Record Video and Take Photos of the Accident Scene
Taking photos after a crash is a solid way to strengthen the validity of your claim. If there are hidden signs, speed postings or unsafe road conditions, record a video of the scene for your legal team to investigate. Capturing damage and conditions can maximize your settlement.
Gather the Names and Phone Numbers of All Parties Involved
If you are physically able, collect the personal information of those involved in the accident and any witnesses. The testimonies of others will reveal missing components needed to confirm the at-fault party’s negligence.
File an Accident Report With the Police
When speaking to the police, don’t exaggerate the circumstances but give a detailed account of what the driver was doing, what you were doing and any helpful information that pertains to the scene.
Stay Off of Social Media
Do not discuss the claim, your injuries, or post anything unless approved by your legal team or until the claim is settled. Investigators commonly monitor the victim’s social media page for proof that their claimed injuries are less severe than reported, so be careful what you post.
Depending on the extent of your injuries or the requested settlement amount, the claim may take more time to investigate. Insurance companies fight to invalidate your claims by using surveillance, recorded statements and vague questioning.
It is the responsibility of your lawyer to help you navigate throughout this process with clarity and a strong defense strategy. Keep record of all medical bills, don’t discuss the case with anyone but your lawyer and allow them to defend you while you recover.
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How Much Is a Bicycle Accident Claim Worth?
A bicycle accident that leads to severe injuries will be worth more than one that results in sprains and whiplash. Since not every bicycle accident is the same, settlement amounts for a bicycle accident can vary. A bicycle accident attorney in Virginia Beach can share an estimate with you after evaluating your case and injuries.
The following factors will be considered when determining how much compensation your accident is worth:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Wages lost due to injury
- Future earnings lost due to injury
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
Remember that compensation can be limited according to the insurance policies in place. Your lawyer will discuss exact settlement amounts as well as insurance limits and offers before going to trial.
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Improved Laws to Protect Cyclists in Virginia
The cities of Virginia constantly work to fortify rules set to protect its residents. In March 2021, Gov. Ralph Northam signed the Bicyclist Safety Act into effect. This improved regulation allows:
- Cars to switch lanes when passing cyclists (the lane has to be too narrow to pass the cyclist and allow at least three feet of space in between)
- Cyclists to ride in two abreast form at all times
- A work group to examine conflicts or concerns related to allowing bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs
- All roadway safety issues can be reported to the chairmen of the House and Senate Committees on Transportation
An uptick in bicycle accident fatalities can cause legislation change, making personal injury law a complex place for victims. It is important to seek legal counsel that stays current on changing laws and has success with similar cases.
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Determining Fault in a Bicycle Accident
In a place ranked as a bike-friendly state, one would think that determining fault in a bicycle accident is clear cut for Virginia Beach. Despite this, the state considers contributory negligence as a factor when assigning fault in an accident resulting in injury.
Both the cyclist and the motorist share a reasonable degree of care when operating their form of transportation. For this reason, if a cyclist is injured due to defective equipment or by personal violation of traffic laws or local ordinances, they are unable to file a claim against the motorist.
If you were involved in a bike accident in which there is a chance that you contributed to the crash, a Virginia Beach bicycle accident attorney can evaluate your case and advise you of your legal options.
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Where Can Cyclists Ride in Virginia?
People riding on a bicycle have similar rights as those driving a car unless there are provisions that state differently. While using sidewalks, they must share with pedestrians and uphold traffic laws. Bike laws in Virginia permit bicyclists to ride under the following conditions:
- Electric powered bikes can be ridden in sidewalks unless prohibited
- Cyclists must ride with the flow of traffic, staying in the right side of the highway
- If riding under the speed limit, cyclists must ride close to the right curb
- Cyclists can’t ride between two lanes going in the same direction unless one lane is a mandatory turn lane
The laws for bicycling are intended to assist motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists on the road to have a safe experience. The operation of bicycles in Virginia continues to shape how laws are enforced, especially in traffic heavy areas.
Is It Safe to Cycle in Virginia Beach?
Since 2021, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reported an increase of bicycle fatalities. Although the increase is small when compared to the annual loss of motorists, NBC 29 noted that 454 bicycle crashes happened in Virginia alone.
Other safety considerations should be helmets, which are not required by all Virginia jurisdictions. With bicycles having drastically less protection than cars, wearing protective gear such as a helmet, is highly encouraged to prevent a fatal incident.
Do You Need a Lawyer for a Bicycle Accident?
Bike accidents are increasing due to distracted driving and an increase in speeding cases. They happen in an instant but lives are changed forever. If you or a loved one has experienced a cycling accident and are suffering from injuries, contact Christina Pendleton & Associates.
Our team of bicycle accident lawyers in Virginia Beach help injured victims get the compensation needed to fully recover from a bicycle accident. Our initial case evaluation is free, so take legal action today.
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