ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA BICYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYERS
Bicycle riding is one of the best ways to stay in shape, and also to explore the history rich community in Arlington County, as well as across the Key Bridge in Washington DC. However, traffic is heavy almost around the clock in the DMV area, making being a bicyclist extremely dangerous. Hundreds of people every year are sent to the hospital with serious injuries as the result of bicycle accidents. Some of these people have been killed.
Bicycle accidents have a much higher likelihood to result in serious or even catastrophic injuries than regular car accidents. Just like in pedestrian strike accidents, a bicyclist is generally unprotected in the event of a collision. Of course, a bicyclist has a helmet, but that is limited protection against the impact of a 2000 lb or more motor vehicle.
If you have been hurt while riding a bicycle in Arlington County, you may have a claim against the person who's negligence caused your accident, and your injuries. Call Attorney Joe Blaszkow today, who is a bike rider himself! He and his team will help get you the compensation that you deserve after a bicycle accident in Arlington, Virginia.
Common Causes of Arlington Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents often result when a motor vehicle driver fails to pay full time and attention to the roadway, and to other users of that roadway. This negligent, carelessness, or even reckless action among motor vehicle operators is often what gives rise to these serious injuries among bicycles.
Some other examples of common Arlington bicycle accidents include:
Failing to yield
Poor roadway conditions
Not every accident is the same. It is the burden of proof on the claimant, or person bringing the claim, to prove how the other driver was negligent. We can do that through a thorough and prompt evaluation and investigation, but it is important that you speak to an experienced bicycle lawyer immediately after your accident.
Arlington County Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycle injuries can be severe, catastrophic, and can even lead to death. The US government estimates that over a thousand bicyclists are killed every year. Bicyclists can be seriously hurt because they are being struck by such a large vehicle - the bicyclist himself will often themselves strike the pavement or ground.
Some of the common injuries that we see in bicycle accidents include:
Broken bones or fractures
Traumatic brain injuries
Road rash and severe burns
Cuts and scrapes
Neck and back injuries
Scarring from surgery and injuries
Internal organ damage
Infections following open wounds
Often, bicycle accident injuries are not confined to one part of the body. These mult-isystem injuries can be life-altering. Always speak to an experienced Arlington bicycle accident lawyer to help you file a claim for these injuries after you have been first due to someone else's negligence.
What You Should Do After an Arlington Bicycle Collision
After in Arlington County Bicycle accident, you can do certain things to protect and preserve your claim, and ensure that you can hold the negligent person responsible.
Take as many pictures as you can. Pictures are excellent evidence, and so are videos. You want to get pictures of everyone involved, all witnesses, the road condition, damage to property, including the other vehicle as well as your bicycle.
Identify the driver. It is not enough to get a copy of someone's insurance card, because that only reveals who is paying for the policy, and what the vehicle is. You always need to get a copy of the drivers state issued driver's license
Call the police. Never allow someone to tell you that you shouldn't call the police, or that they don't want the police involved. That should most definitely be a red flag. You need to call the police immediately, for your own safety, and to make sure that the scene and the incident is properly documented.
Get medical treatment. Get evaluated by a competent medical practitioner immediately. After a bicycle accident, we recommend that you go to an emergency room right away. Do not go to a provider who has a limited specialty, such as a physical therapist or chiropractor. While these are amazing people who will likely be part of your treatment team, your initial evaluation needs to be by a physician who can do a comprehensive, unlimited examination.
Do not talk to insurance companies! Anything that you say can and will be used against you by the insurance company. Because of Virginia's contributory negligence laws, the insurance company may use what you say to attack your claim, and ultimately to deny.
Call the experienced Arlington Bicycle Accidents Lawyers at Blaszkow Legal. We will be able to answer your questions about your claim, and explain the process of battling the insurance companies to get you the recovery that you deserve.
Virginia Bicycle Laws
Virginia law recognizes that bicycles are a great way to get around, but it also regulates what bicyclists must do in certain situations. Generally, bicyclists are treated the same as vehicle drivers, in that they must obey the rules of the road at all time. Some examples include:
Driving on the right. Bicyclists are required to drive their bike on the right most side of the road
Yield to pedestrians. Bicyclists are required to yield to pedestrians when those pedestrians are in a crosswalk
Obey traffic control devices. Bicycle Riders are required to stop at stop signs and stop lights, not proceed through them.
Contributory Negligence and Arlington Bicycle Accidents
Virginia practices a law known as contributory negligence, which is an extremely high bar to meet. This is sometimes called the 1% rule, in that if a claimant is found to be even 1% responsible for a accident, that person cannot recover in a claim for personal injuries. The insurance companies will utilize this argument in almost every case involving a bicycle, to allege that the bicyclist was violating the rules of the road, or was otherwise acting improperly.
In order to defeat these arguments, it is extremely important to contact an attorney right away, so that we can develop evidence to prove that you were not in the wrong.
Arlington County, VA Bicycle Helmet Laws
Arlington County has a specific ordinance that states that any bicyclist under the age of 15 must wear a helmet at all times. However, this is a county ordinance, and not a state law.
Just because something is not illegal, does not make it not a good idea, however. If you do not wear a helmet, in the event of an accident, you dramatically increase the possibility that you may suffer a serious head injury or traumatic injury. Helmets, while inconvenient to some, do save lives, and do reduce the seriousness of injuries in certain accidents.
E-bikes and Virginia Accidents
E-bikes, or electronic bicycles, are recognized in Virginia as vehicles. Generally, the law looks at them the same as regular bicycles, and requires that the riders must obey the rules of the road. If there is a stop sign or a stoplight, you must stop at it.
Certain electronic vehicles, classified as class 3 electric bikes require helmets during use, like motorcycles.
Damages You Can Claim After a Virginia Bicycle Accident
If you have been injured in an Arlington bicycle accident, you can file a claim for all of your losses, and the injuries that you sustained. All of the items that you can claim are collectively referred to as damages. Damages are divided into two separate categories, economic damages and non economic damages.
Economic damages are generally black and white, in that they are easily quantifiable through documented evidence such as medial expenses, and time low from work. Property damage and diminished value are also examples of economic damages.
Non-economic damages are less easily defined, and are not the same from case to case. Non-economic damages have to be proven generally through testimony or other evidence, because they represent an intangible element, such as pain and suffering. How the accident impaired your activities of daily living, how you were emotionally impacted by the accident, these are other intangible elements.
Additional items that fall into the consideration of your damages include:
Diminished earning capacity
Virginia Statute of Limitations on bicycle accidents
Virginia law treats bicycle accidents as personal injury claims, when computing the statute of limitations. All personal injury claims in Virginia must be filed within 2 years of the date of the accident.
However, if the bicycle accident results in a wrongful death claim, then the statute of limitations, this two-year period, does not begin to run until the date of the decedent's death.
The two-year statute of limitations applies to causes of action within the Commonwealth of Virginia, and against defendants located within Virginia. However, because Arlington is right next to Washington DC, there is the possibility that the defendant, or person who caused the accident, lives in the City. If the defendant lives in DC, your case may be filed the DC Superior Court. Washington DC has a 3-year statute of limitations.
Speak to an Experienced Arlington VA Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
If you have been hurt as a bicyclist through no fault of your own, then you may be entitled to file a claim for your damages and your injuries. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who is also a bicyclist, and knows full well the risks of writing on the roadways of Northern Virginia. Get Justice with Joe Blaszkow, and call us today for a free consultation!
Get Justice with Joe Blaszkow!
Call Blaszkow Legal today for a free consultation - 703-879-5910
We help injured clients throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC.