While many people use bikes for a number of reasons, the ever-increasing traffic also increases the danger of biking in the area. Many motorists are either unaware of bicyclists on the roads, or they simply do not care.

Sadly, this creates dangerous conditions for bicyclists. A driver’s momentary lapse in concentration can lead to collisions that have long-term consequences and bring debilitating injuries. In other cases, motorists attempt to bully bike riders who have every right to share the roads with motor vehicles. These factors lead to a growing frequency of incidents between drivers and cyclists.

A Charlottesville bicycle accident lawyer could help protect your rights and fight to obtain fair compensation if you suffered injuries in a collision caused by the negligence or reckless conduct of another. It is a good idea to consult a personal injury attorney for advice before answering questions from insurance companies. Many times, adjusters for insurance companies will try to solicit an answer that they can use to deny liability.

Demonstrating Fault for a Bicycle Accident

Most bike crash claims center around the legal concept of negligence. Negligence is a legal cause of action that allows people who have suffered injuries in accidents to hold other parties liable for their losses.

Negligence applies to bike collisions because drivers assume a duty to protect others whenever they get behind the wheels of their vehicles. While operating on a public road, drivers must also take appropriate steps to protect the well-being of other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists. It is when they fail to provide this protection and an injury occurs that these drivers are negligent. A skilled attorney could provide more information about the essential concept of negligence in Charlottesville bike accident claims.

What are the Bicycle Passing Requirements in Charlottesville?

People who participate in VA cycling enjoy some special protections under state law. When sharing the road with motorists, bicyclists can expect that drivers will treat them with respect. At the same time, Commonwealth statutes dictate how drivers must properly pass people on bicycles.

Under Virginia Code Annotated §46.2-839, the driver of a vehicle passing a bicycle must operate at a reasonable speed. The law also requires that motorists allow at least three feet of clearance on the left of the cyclist and wait until safely clearing the bicycle before moving back to the right side of the road.

If a driver fails to follow these requirements, a Charlottesville attorney may be able to use this failure as evidence of negligent driving in a bicycle wreck claim. Someone is considered negligent when he or she owes a duty of care to others, he or she fails to fulfill that duty, and the failure causes harm. When an individual has been proven negligent, he or she may be held liable for the consequences including injuries.

Proving a Motorist Was Negligent

There are two main ways to prove that a driver was negligent in causing a collision. The first is to show that simple carelessness was the reason why a crash happened. Evidence that a driver was overly tired, was distracted by a phone call, or took his or her attention off the road to eat or drink may all help demonstrate this concept.

The second is to show that a driver’s violation of a traffic law contributed to an accident. General rules of the road such as speed limits, stopping for people in crosswalks, refraining from texting while driving, and prohibitions on driving while intoxicated are all prominent examples of violations of the law that may lead to bicycle crashes.

A dedicated lawyer in Charlottesville could take the lead in your bicycle wreck case by gathering the necessary evidence to show the driver’s negligence. This includes determining whether the defendant received a ticket for improper driving after the collision and whether that ticket resulted in a conviction in traffic court.

Contributory Negligence and Bike Crash Claims

It is easy to presume that a driver is to blame for a bike accident case. Afterall, these events are unlikely to result in injuries for the driver inside the motor vehicle. Unfortunately, however, the extent of a person’s injuries is never proof of fault for a crash. In fact, a defendant driver and his or her insurance company may allege that you share blame for the incident or that you are not entitled to any compensation under Commonwealth law.

According to the Virginia Civil Model Jury Instruction 6.000, injured plaintiffs who do not act reasonably to protect themselves cannot collect compensation for their losses. A defendant may allege that a cyclist strayed from a bike lane, ignored a stop sign, was tailgating, or any other collection of careless activities. If a court believes these allegations, the judge cannot award any payments for a person’s losses. A local lawyer could provide more information about this essential concept and dispute any contributory negligence allegations.

Bicycle Wreck Injuries are Often Severe

Cyclists have very little to protect their body against injuries in a collision. Cyclists can suffer severe injuries even in an accident caused by hazardous debris with no other vehicles involved. When a bike collides with a truck, van, or another motorized vehicle, the results can be shattering.

Bike accidents frequently cause injuries such as:

The outcome of a bicycle wreck can change the cyclist’s life for years to come. If a bicycle accident results in death, the family may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim.

Recoverable Losses after a Bike Accident

A bicycle accident victim who is able to prove that another person’s negligence caused his or her injuries may be entitled to recover damages to offset many different consequences. Amounts can cover hospital bills and medical expenses, both in the past and the future. An injured cyclist may also receive compensation to make up for lost wages in the past and future.

A lawyer in Charlottesville could calculate a reasonable value for damages to cover intangible losses from your bike accident. These factors do not have a direct monetary equivalent although they often have a tremendous impact on someone’s life. Examples of intangible losses include pain, suffering, and emotional anguish.

Providing Evidence of Losses

It is just as essential to prove how an accident impacted your life as it is to be able to prove fault for a collision. A legal representative could take the lead in gathering medical records, obtaining hospital bills, determining how the event impacted your ability to earn a living, and how the accident changed your quality of life. These steps combine to allow the legal advocate to formulate comprehensive demand packages that aim to recover every dollar of compensation that you need to set things right.

Commonwealth Law Provides a Limited Time After a Bike Accident to Demand Compensation

The Code of Virginia § 8.01-243 dictates that most injured parties have two years from the date of their injury to demand compensation in court. This is known as the statute of limitations. However, this time limit may change based on the facts that led to your injury.

Because many bicycle accident cases are more complex than they first appear, it is essential to get to work immediately to protect your legal rights. It can take significant time to gather evidence, determine the impact of the event on your life and future, and participate in settlement talks with insurance companies.

Speaking with an attorney as quickly as possible could boost your ability to collect total compensation for your losses. Insurance companies are aware of this rule and often delay a case in an attempt to run out the clock. In addition, they may refuse to participate in settlement talks if the statute of limitations has expired—The Warren Firm could fight these attempts on your behalf.

Consult a Knowledgeable Charlottesville Bicycle Accident Attorney

Bicycles share the roads with a variety of larger, heavier vehicles. Drivers who are not watching as they should may collide with a bicyclist and cause serious injuries.

These injuries have the potential to impact every part of your life. Of course, the event may result in physical injuries that require immediate emergency care and necessitate lengthy and painful rehabilitation. In addition, the crash may damage your bicycle beyond repair and limit your ability to return to work. Finally, the accident could impact your mental health, emotional well-being, and your overall quality of life.

When an accident could have been prevented if a driver had only exercised reasonable care, a Charlottesville bicycle accident lawyer may be able to help you recover compensation to cover your expenses, help meet future needs, and offset some of the suffering you have endured. It is wise to work with an attorney soon after the accident to allow for the most time to collect evidence and prepare a claim. For a free consultation to learn more about how a bicycle accident attorney could assist in your situation, call the Warren Law Firm today.