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“They sent somebody to visit me in the hospital and get my side of the story (totally free). I was assigned Mr. Crawford and told that we had a case. Fast forward about 9 months later and I received literally 14x what the insurance company had offered me. This is after the lawyer and medical fees as well. So basically this was totally free and I barely had to do anything I am so glad I called Marks and Harrison and I will be recommending them to all of my family and friends.”— Robert Smith
Bicycling is a popular activity in Richmond and many other areas of Virginia. Unfortunately, it can also be a dangerous activity.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reports that during one recent year:
- 689 bicycle-vehicle collisions occurred
- 661 bicycle riders suffered injuries in those accidents
- 15 bicycle riders lost their lives in crashes.
At Marks & Harrison, we know that many bicycle accidents occur because of the negligence of motor vehicle drivers who share the road with cyclists. Our goal is to protect the rights of injured cyclists and seek the compensation they are due.
As one of the oldest and largest personal injury law firms in Virginia, we have the experience and resources to help if you or a loved one has been injured through no fault of your own in a bicycle crash.
It starts with a free consultation. Our team can then get to work on your case right away. We serve clients in Richmond and from nine other offices located throughout Virginia. Simply call or reach us online today to learn more.
What Are Your Rights as a Bicycle Rider in Virginia?
As a cyclist in Virginia, you have rights that must be respected by others on the road. Those rights include:
- You have the right to ride on the right side of the road, follow the flow of traffic, and are not required to use a bike lane.
- You have the right to the full lane if it is too narrow of a road to share with others.
- You can pass on the left or right.
- You can ride two abreast as long as you are not impeding traffic.
- Any vehicle that passes must give you at least three feet of space.
If a vehicle driver failed to respect your rights as a cyclist and caused injury to you, you have the right to take legal action against that driver and seek a full recovery for all the harm you have suffered.
For your own safety, you should always wear a helmet. However, in most areas of Virginia, you are not required to wear one. Only Alexandria, Falls Church, Vienna,Arlington and Fairfax counties have mandatory bike helmet laws, and they apply only to riders ages 14 and younger.
Why Do Bicycle Accidents Happen in Virginia?
We realize that bicycle riders can cause collisions with cars, trucks and other motor vehicles. For instance, a bicyclist may ride on the wrong side of the road, cross a street without looking for traffic or fail to have proper reflective gear on the bicycle.
Still, in far too many cases, the careless or reckless conduct of motor vehicle drivers is the cause of a crash, including cases in which a driver:
- Drives above the speed limit or goes too fast for conditions, making it impossible to avoid hitting a cyclist
- Fails to keep a proper lookout, including checking mirrors and blind spots
- Fails to yield when the bicycle rider has the right of way
- Goes too fast through school zones or neighborhoods where children might be riding and playing
- Fails to leave a three-foot space between themselves and a bicycle when passing
- Follows a bicyclist too closely
- Turns ahead of a bicycle rider without using signals
- Opens the door of a parked vehicle without looking for an oncoming cyclist (Virginia recently enacted a law that makes “dooring” an infraction).
If you or a loved one has been injured by a motor vehicle driver who engaged in any of the above conduct, you may be entitled to recover compensation. Get in touch with Marks & Harrison immediately to get started on your case.
What Can You Recover in a Virginia Bicycle Accident?
We understand the severity of injuries that can occur when bicyclists and motor vehicle drivers collide. These injuries include:
- Head and brain injuries – A bicycle rider’s head can smash into a car or hit the ground, resulting in potentially fatal traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is why it is crucial for cyclists of all ages to wear helmets, especially when riding in urban areas, regardless of whether it is required by law.
- Spinal injury – The impact can cause a bicyclist to suffer a fractured vertebra or herniated disc or a more severe spinal injury which results in total or partial paralysis.
- Broken bones – Broken collarbones and hips are common injuries that cyclists suffer in crashes. A cyclist may also fracture a wrist, arm or leg in a fall from the bike.
- Soft tissue injuries – Damage to tendons, ligaments, and muscles can occur due to the force exerted on a cyclist’s body or from being knocked into an awkward position.
- Burns – Cyclists often suffer friction burns from contact with the road in a crash. Burns can lead to scarring and disfigurement.
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, you may be contacted by the motor vehicle driver’s insurance company while you are still dealing with the pain and shock of your injuries. Do not give a recorded statement or accept a settlement offer until you have spoken with Marks & Harrison first.
We can review your case and determine the amount you should pursue in damages to fully and fairly compensate you for the harm you have suffered. We can deal directly with the insurance company and seek a recovery of:
- Your past and future medical expenses
- All income you have lost or will lose in the future
- Compensation for all pain and suffering you sustained.
In some cases, punitive damages may also be sought to punish an at-fault driver for especially reckless conduct such as hitting a bicyclist while driving drunk.
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, our firm can help you with filing an uninsured motorist (UM) claim with your own insurance company.
Insurance companies often try to blame the bicyclist for a crash. This is because Virginia follows the pure contributory negligence doctrine. If you are deemed to be even one percent at fault for your crash, you could be barred from recovering anything. This is why it is important to have an aggressive advocate at your side that will stand up for your rights and challenge the claims made by an insurance company.
Contact a Richmond Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a bicycle accident in Richmond or elsewhere in Virginia, get in touch with Marks & Harrison without delay. We can provide a free consultation at any one of our ten offices or at a location that is most convenient for you. We will get to work immediately on pursuing just compensation for you and your family.
Call or connect with us online today.
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