Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Each time you get on your bike for the purpose of exercise, commuting, or just for a breath of fresh air, you’re probably not thinking about the dangers. The truth, however, is that a bicycle accident can happen in a second, especially when negligent drivers are on the road. To be sure, in a single year in Virginia, there were 670 bicycle accidents reported in the state. Of those, 619 resulted in injuries and over a dozen were fatal.
When a bicycle accident happens, the data shows that it is rare for a bicyclist to walk away from the accident unscathed. At the law offices of Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd., our bicycle accident attorneys are here to help you to understand your legal options in the event that you are injured because of someone else’s negligence. Please call our law firm today for a free consultation and to find out how we can help.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents are almost always caused by the negligence of the driver or the cyclist who is involved. Some of the most common acts of driver error that can lead to crashes include speeding, failing to provide a cyclist with enough room, following a cyclist too closely, driving while impaired or fatigued, driving while distracted, violating traffic safety laws, and otherwise driving aggressively or carelessly.
Of course, sometimes, bicycle crashes are caused by things outside of a driver’s control, such as cyclist negligence (swerving in front of a car or failing to follow posted traffic signs, for example), road conditions, or other factors. Determining the root cause of a bicycle crash is a key part of ensuring that an injured party recovers the compensation they deserve.
Injuries from Bicycle Accidents
In the best-case scenario, a cyclist walks away from a crash with nothing more than a few scrapes and bruises, but no serious injuries. In a more likely scenario, however, a cyclist will be seriously injured. Examples of cyclist injuries that can be life-changing include:
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Internal injuries;
- External injuries;
- Bone fractures;
- Facial injuries; and
- Soft tissue injuries.
Of the above, spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries are especially traumatizing, often leaving the affected cyclist with permanent and irreversible harm. Brain injuries are more common in the event that a cyclist is un-helmeted at the time of a crash.
Filing a Claim After a Bicycle Accident in Virginia – Who Pays?
After a bicycle accident, the cyclist will have numerous expenses. Typically, these expenses come in the form of medical bills, property damage costs, and lost wages. Noneconomic expenses, such as pain and suffering, are incurred as well. Determining who pays for these expenses is critical.
If the cyclist is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, and the driver of the motor vehicle is found to be at fault, the cyclist may file a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance, which is required in the state of Virginia.
If the motorist is not at fault, or if the motorist does not have insurance, the cyclist’s own motor vehicle insurance (if they carry such insurance) may kick in. At the very least, the cyclist’s health insurance should help to pay for costs.
Elements of a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
There are some situations where a cyclist cannot reach a settlement with the liability insurance company of the at-fault driver. For example, the insurance company may claim that the cyclist was to blame for the crash, not its policyholder (the driver). Or, the company could claim that the cyclist’s injuries aren’t related to the crash, or that they’re not serious enough to justify the settlement amount that the cyclist is demanding.
Whenever a situation like this exists and a settlement cannot be reached, the cyclist maintains the right to file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault party for compensation. In order for this lawsuit to be successful, however, the cyclist must prove that the party against whom they are filing a lawsuit (driver) owed them a duty of care; the driver breached this duty of care; the breach of the duty of care was the proximate cause of the accident; and that the cyclist suffered actual damages, economic or noneconomic or both, as a direct result.
Proving these elements can be difficult and may require calling in experts and submitting various forms of evidence.
How Our Virginia Bicycle Accident Lawyers Can Help
Our lawyers understand how serious bicycle accidents are, and that if you have been in a crash, you are facing huge bills and life disruptions for which you deserve to be compensated. When you hire our lawyers, we can help by gathering evidence to determine fault, identifying the cause of your accident and the liable party, handling all claim paperwork on your behalf, calculating your damages, issuing a demand letter, and negotiating your settlement. Our lawyers also have trial experience and will be prepared to litigate for you.
Statute of Limitations on Bike Accident Suits in Virginia
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, you do not have an unlimited amount of time to take action. In fact, in most cases, you only have two years from the date of your accident to bring forth a personal injury lawsuit. If you wait longer than two years, then you can be permanently barred from recovery. Because building a case often requires many weeks or months, we strongly recommend initiating the claims process as soon as possible. Failure to act quickly could prevent you from recovering the compensation that you need and deserve after a bike accident.
Call Our Bicycle Accident Lawyers Today
There are few things more terrifying than seeing 4,000+ pounds of steel heading your way while you’re on a bike. If you are involved in a bike crash, you can count on our lawyers for strong representation. For your free consultation with our legal team, please call us at (434) 977-7977 or send us a message using the intake form on our website. You can also visit our Charlottesville office in person at your convenience.