A bicycle ride offers a cost-effective and healthy alternative to motor driving transportation. As much as cycling is a sustainable choice for your health and the environment, bicycle accidents are still rampant. An estimated 1,000 cyclists die, while approximately 130,000 sustain injuries in bike crashes in a year.
In 2021, a report released by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and the state’s Highway Safety Office revealed 544 bicycle crashes broken down into 500 injuries, 16 fatalities and 28 property damages.
If you’re an injured cyclist in Virginia, who can you sue?
Establishing bike accident liability
Capturing the circumstances of your bike accident is crucial to determine liability. Knowing who’s at fault identifies which insurance policy will cover your injuries and how much monetary compensation you can seek. You must prove the following:
- A negligence claim: The driver who hit you failed to exercise reasonable care because of speeding, distractions like texting or the influence of drugs and alcohol. Due to such negligent actions, you ended up in harm’s way.
- A product liability claim: The manufacturer sold you a bike with defective mechanical parts or other components, such as a faulty helmet, causing injuries.
- A premises liability claim: The property owner did not ensure their premises’ safe conditions, contributing to your injuries.
But there are times when you’re partly to blame for the bike accident. Under Virginia’s pure contributory negligence rule, you cannot recover compensation if it’s proven that you are responsible for the accident in any way.
Although bike accidents are deadly, they are preventable. For improved visibility and to reduce the risk of injuries and deaths altogether, always follow these safety measures:
- Wear properly fitted helmets.
- Watch out for blind spots.
- Do not park near car doors.
- Respect pedestrians’ right of way.
- Wear fluorescent-colored clothing by day and retro-reflective clothing by night.
- Have the required gear, such as a red reflector, a red taillight and a white headlamp.
Ultimately, you are making Virginia’s roads safer when you obediently follow the traffic laws while cycling around the state.
Safe cycling for safer roads
Between the size of your bike and a car, your cyclist’s injuries will most likely be more severe than the driver’s. As soon as you have received urgent medical attention, reach out to a legal representative for proper consultation on how to fight for your rights and seek compensation from all liable parties.