Throughout much of the year, Virginia has great weather for biking. Whether you go for a ride along our coastline or our rolling hills, there are few things better than getting out on your bike to explore the natural beauty of our state. Yet biking does come with a certain amount of danger, whether it comes from cars, poor road conditions, or even faulty bike parts.
In 2020 alone, there were 560 bicycle crashes in Virginia – and 8 of those accidents resulted in fatalities. If you are hurt in a bicycle accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Through a personal injury claim, you could recover financial compensation for your property damage, medical bills, future medical treatment, pain and suffering, and more.
For more than 30 years, the legal team at Poole, Brooke, Plumlee has advocated for the rights of Virginians. Our personal injury lawyers work hard to help our clients get maximum compensation for their injuries. Reach out today to schedule a free initial consultation with a bike accident attorney.
When Can I File a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit in Virginia?
In Virginia, personal injury claims are typically based on a theory of negligence. This legal concept is essentially a type of carelessness. A person is considered negligent if they fail to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation.
Negligence can cause a bike accident in any number of ways. For example, if a driver makes a turn without checking to make sure that it is clear and strikes a bicyclist, they could be considered negligent. Similarly, if a manufacturer installs a defective part on a bike, it could be considered negligent.
However, Virginia is one of a handful of states where if you were at least partially at fault for the accident, you may not be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. This is known as the contributory negligence rule. If you were greater than 1% responsible for the bike accident – such as by using your phone while biking – then you could be barred from filing a lawsuit.
Insurers often try to use the contributory negligence rule to get out of paying compensation on a legitimate personal injury claim. The best way to fight back against insurance companies is by hiring an experienced Virginia Beach bicycle accident lawyer who can build a strong case for damages – and prove that you were not at fault for the crash.
Who Can I Sue for a Bike Accident?
Many bike accident cases involve motor vehicles. In these situations, the injury victim can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
However, there are many cases – including single bicycle accidents – that do not involve a car, truck, or SUV. In these situations, you may still be able to pursue a claim against a negligent party. This may include the manufacturer of the bike if a part was defective, a government agency that failed to properly maintain the road, or even the manufacturer of the bike helmet if it failed to protect you in the crash.
These cases are often more complicated and have slightly different rules. If you were hurt in a bicycle accident and are unsure of your rights, your best option is to consult with a bike lawyer as soon as possible. During a free consultation, they will listen to your story and advise you of your rights and options for pursuing a claim.
What Compensation Can I Recover for a Bicycle Crash?
In any personal injury claim, you may be entitled to three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic and non-economic damages are considered compensatory because they compensate an accident victim for their losses. Punitive damages are designed to punish a person who engaged in intentional or reckless conduct (such as drunk driving).
Economic damages compensate you for your direct financial losses. Medical bills, invoices, pay stubs, and other documentation can be used to prove your economic damages. Examples of this type of damage include lost wages, property damage, medical bills, future medical treatment, and reduced earning capacity.
Non-economic damages are meant to compensate you for your intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, and scarring and/or disfigurement. These damages can be harder to prove because you don’t get a bill for things like emotional distress. A skilled Virginia bike accident attorney will consult with experts and use their knowledge of similar cases to build a strong case for non-economic damages.
Finally, punitive damages are not usually awarded in personal injury cases because they are most often based on negligence, rather than intentional or reckless conduct. However, there may be situations where punitive damages may be awarded – such as if you are hit by a car that was being driven by someone who was under the influence.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
After a bike crash, you may be approached by an insurance adjuster. They may ask for a statement, tell you that they accept liability, or even offer you a settlement. While you may be tempted to give a statement and sign settlement papers, you should not talk to them before consulting with an attorney.
Insurance companies are in business to make money. One of the ways that they do this is by paying out as little as possible on legitimate claims. In Virginia, insurers often use the contributory negligence rule to deny claims outright.
The best way to protect yourself – and to get full compensation for your injuries – is by reaching out to a Virginia bike accident attorney immediately after your accident. They can protect you from unscrupulous insurance company tactics, handle communications on your behalf, and deal with the paperwork. Throughout the process, they will work to get you top dollar for your losses.
Studies show that people who are represented by counsel recover an average of 40% more in personal injury claims compared to people who represent themselves. If you want to get full compensation for your bike accident, don’t rely on the insurance company. Reach out to Poole, Brooke, Plumlee today to schedule a free consultation.
Hurt in a Bike Accident? Call Our Law Firm Today.
Bicycle accidents can lead to devastating injuries. Even if you only suffer minor cuts and bruises, being in a bike crash can be incredibly traumatic. In this situation, you need a fierce advocate who can fight for your right to maximum compensation.
At Poole, Brooke, Plumlee, we work hard to help our clients get the money that they deserve for their injuries. We represent injury victims who have been hurt in all types of accidents, including bike crashes. To learn more, give us a call at 757-499-1841 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a Virginia Beach bike accident attorney.