Why You Need a Lawyer for Your Bicycle Accident Claim

If the other driver was not sufficiently insured – or you need a significant amount of compensation to cover medical costs, lost wages, and assisted care – you may need to pursue a lawsuit. However, a good lawyer will help you review all available options and negotiate your case with insurers, as this may turn out to be your best path.

By performing a comprehensive investigation, gathering evidence from the scene, and speaking to any witnesses, your Washington, D.C. auto accident lawyer can give you a complete picture of your options. This is especially true if you are hospitalized after the crash. Your lawyer can also contact any experts, medical or otherwise, necessary to pursue your claim.

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents

According to recent survey data from the U.S. Census, approximately 13,000 D.C. residents currently bike to and from work, with an average of 1,200 new bicyclists joining the ranks every year. While the steady increase in two-wheeled commuters may be great for the environment, statistics suggest that bicycling may not be getting any safer.

Each of the following factors has contributed significantly to the occurrence of bicycle accidents in Washington, D.C.:

  • Impairment due to drugs, alcohol, or both
  • Distracted driving (texting, applying makeup, eating, etc.)
  • Poor visibility of traffic signals and signs
  • Broken, missing, or malfunctioning traffic signals
  • Improperly marked roads and bicycle lanes
  • Lack of appropriate roadway maintenance
  • Defective bicycle components

Damages to Be Recovered in a Bike Accident Claim

From permanent injuries to pain and suffering, there are many possible damages you can pursue if you have been hit by a careless driver. Our team at Simeone & Miller, LLP can help you understand what damages you may be entitled to, and then go after your case with relentless focus. It is our mission to help the injured in Washington, D.C.

You may be entitled to financial compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Surgery and rehabilitation
  • Chiropractic care
  • Assistive devices
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning potential

Bicycle Accidents Cause Devastating Injuries

According to a 2016 report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), cyclist fatalities make up approximately 4% of all deaths caused by traffic accidents in Washington, D.C.. Nationally, there were 840 reported cyclist deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents in 2016, and even more sustained serious injuries.

Because bikes are never going to be a match for other vehicles, bicycle accidents are more likely to result in serious injuries and fatalities for the cyclist than the car or truck driver. If you manage to survive a serious bicycle collision, you may still be left with life-altering and catastrophic injuries such as brain and spinal cord injuries.

Washington, D.C. Laws Pertaining to Bicyclists

Cyclists in Washington, D.C. are not restricted to bicycle lanes and do not have to ride in a certain area of the road. Bicycles also do not have to be registered, and cyclists may not be ticketed for riding an unregistered bike.

Washington, D.C. recently passed legislation making it easier for injured bicyclists and pedestrians to recover financial compensation after an accident. Unlike other accidents, bicyclists and pedestrians can now recover damages, even if they are partially at fault or responsible for the accident, as long as they are not more than 50% responsible.

Other important laws pertaining to bicyclists in D.C. include:

  • D.C.MR, Title 18, Section 1201.1: Every person riding a bicycle on a highway is subject to all of the same duties as drivers of motor vehicles (except those which have no reasonable application to riders).
  • D.C.MR, Title 18, Section 1201.11: Bicyclists using crosswalks bear the same responsibilities as pedestrians.
  • D.C.MR, Title 18, Section 1201.3(b): Cyclists can split lanes and pass or overtake other vehicles to either side.
  • D.C.MR, Title 18, Section 2405.1(g): It is illegal to park, stand, or stop in a bike lane.
  • D.C.MR, Title 18, Section 1201.7: Cyclists are permitted to ride no more than two abreast in travel lanes.
  • D.C.MR, Title 18, Section 2214.4: The owner or user of the car is always responsible when a cyclist has been hit with a car door, because it is the responsibility of the person inside the car to evaluate their surroundings.
  • D.C. Code, Title 50, Section 1731.04: It is legal for cyclists to utilize a hands-free device while riding.

Not sure of your rights after a bicycle accident? At Simeone & Miller, LLP, our D.C. bike accident lawyers can help you navigate the process of filing an injury claim and handle all of the details while you focus on your recovery.

What You Should Do After a Bicycle Accident

While your safety should be the first priority after a crash, it is also important to be ready for the legal process. You may need serious compensation to recover from your injuries, but unfortunately, many people don’t realize how to begin the claims process and get the compensation they deserve (and to which they are legally entitled).

Here are a few things you should do in the immediate aftermath of the crash:

Call the police and file a report. Not sure whether the police should get involved? Regardless of the nature of your injuries, it is extremely helpful to file a police report when you have been hurt in a bike crash. This will establish a clear record later on when you decide to file an injury claim.

Get contact information from all parties, including witnesses. Even if you’re not sure that you have been injured, or your injuries do not appear to be severe, it is always in your best interest to get as much information as possible from the person who caused your accident, as well as any witnesses.

Do not discuss the accident with the other party. You may think that you can negotiate with the driver, but the truth is that anything you say at the scene could be used against you later. Aside from collecting all necessary information, do not engage with them – even if they apologize for their actions.

Preserve as much evidence as possible. Take pictures of the accident as soon as you are able, and make sure to photograph any injuries, such as broken bones, torn skin, etc. You should also keep a log of all of your medical costs, treatments, out-of-pocket expenses, and missed time from work.

Check your helmet for damage. If you were not wearing a helmet, your risk of a head injury will be much higher. Even with a helmet, you can still sustain a brain injury when the force is great enough. Look for cracks or splits in your helmet casing, and be sure to document or photograph these details.

Seek medical attention as soon as possible. No matter how minor or insignificant your injuries may seem, it is important to seek prompt medical attention after a bike accident. Adrenaline is high in the moments after an accident, so you may not be aware of the full scope of your injuries until later.

Contact a bicycle accident lawyer in D.C. As soon as you are involved in a bicycle accident, everything you do or say could impact the outcome of your case. When you call Simeone & Miller, we can advise you every step of the way while we formulate a strong personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.

Discuss Your Options With a Washington, D.C. Bicycle Accident Lawyer in a Free Consultation

Most commonly, bicycle accidents are caused by negligent drivers who do not give enough room or attention to bicyclists who are sharing the road. Even though cyclists take up less space, they are entitled to the same basic rights as drivers. Any driver who fails to take that into consideration may be held liable for your losses. Contact us today.

Simeone & Miller, LLP, based in Washington, D.C., provides personal injury and medical malpractice legal services across Maryland and Virginia. In Maryland, our services extend to Baltimore City, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, and Frederick. In Virginia, we serve clients in Arlington County, Alexandria, Fairfax County, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park.