Roanoke features some gorgeous countryside around Southwest Virginia, inspiring many residents and visitors to hop on a bicycle and enjoy the scenery. Unfortunately, the risk of bike accidents is still all around, and data reported by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles proves this point. In 2017, there were 670 bike collisions, in which 13 riders were killed, and another 623 were injured. The implications can be devastating if you or a loved one was a victim, so it?s critical to retain a bicycle accident lawyer to represent your interests.
At Lugar Law PC, our Roanoke bike accident lawyers understand how such an incident can turn your world around in an instant. We?re prepared to take on the legal burdens involved with filing a claim and going to court, so you can focus on recovery. Please contact us to schedule a free case consultation with a Roanoke bicycle accident attorney. Call us today at (540) 384-0348 to learn more.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
The causes of bike accidents are unique in every case, and they?re very distinct from incidents involving only motorized vehicles. Still, some trends are worth noting since awareness can often motivate cyclists to exercise extra caution while riding. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a report in May 2018 revealing some common bike accident factors. For one, the majority of fatal collisions occurred in urban areas, accounting for 71 percent of all bicycle crashes. Age, gender, time of day, and day of the week were also indicators.
As far as specific types of bike crashes, contributing factors include conduct by both the motorist and the rider. Crashes may be caused by either party, such as:
- Failure to yield
- Distracted riding or driving
- Improper lane changes
- Running a traffic signal or sign
However, other misconduct will usually be attributed to the operator of the motorized vehicle, including speeding, drunk driving, and following too closely.
Common Bike Accident Injuries
When considering the sheer size and weight of a passenger vehicle compared to a bicycle, it?s no surprise that the rider tends to sustain life-threatening injuries or severe bodily harm during a crash. The lower extremities are particularly vulnerable due to the design and stability of a two-wheeled vehicle, and because the impact point in a car-bike accident is lower on the body. Common injuries from bicycle accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion, and other head injuries
- Spinal cord trauma and back injuries
- Broken bones
- Trauma to internal organs
- Ligament sprains and tears
- Dislocated joints
- Muscle strains
- Whiplash and related soft tissue injuries
- Cuts, lacerations, and road rash, a type of friction abrasion that burns exposed skin
Bike Accident Statistics and Quick Facts
In addition to the figures noted above, the Virginia DMV had other disturbing statistics on bike accidents:
- 132 people who were hurt in collisions suffered serious injuries, which means that the victim suffered significant disfigurement, a bone fracture, loss of use of an organ or part of the body, or other extreme bodily harm.
- More than half the people who were killed in Virginia car-bike accidents were aged 51 years or older.
- The top two age groups for injured victims was 26-30 years old and 51-55 years old, with 71 and 66 incidents, respectively.
The Claims Process Following a Bike Accident
Virginia law requires motorists to carry auto insurance to cover the losses sustained by victims, and these policies apply to bicycle accidents. This means that you?ll seek compensation from a negligent driver in much the same way as with an auto accident – by filing a claim with the insurance company. The claims process can be complicated, which is why a bike accident attorney is a valuable asset.
These cases are based upon negligence, which means you need to prove that the driver was responsible for the incident. You must also show the details of your injuries and how they?ve adversely affected your life. Though an insurer typically has forms for you to complete, you?ll also need to attach a wealth of information and supporting documents when filing your claim. Your bicycle accident lawyer can assist with investigations, collecting paperwork, and submitting it to the insurance company.
?After the insurer reviews your claim, you will enter into settlement negotiations. An insurance company is very unlikely to accept your claim at face value and pay out right away. The employee assigned to your case may contest your version of fault and dispute the severity of your injuries. A bike accident attorney plays a critical role during bicycle accident settlement discussions because they know the laws that apply to your case.
Plus, bike injury lawyers have experience working with insurers. They know the tactics claims adjusters use to reject your claim or pay out a lower amount. In many situations, your attorney can overcome these tricks and will be able to negotiate a fair settlement.
When you cannot reach an agreement on your claim, it may be necessary to sue in court. Your bicycle accident attorney will prepare the necessary documents and represent your interests in court in an effort to fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve.
Compensation for Bike Accident Victims
The specifics will vary based upon your circumstances, but many of the same types of compensation will be available to injury-causing bicycle accidents. In your claim with the insurance company and in a lawsuit, your bike accident attorney will seek such damages as:
- The costs of medical care to treat your injuries
- Your lost wages, if you cannot work while you?re recovering
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
- Emotional suffering?
Discuss Your Claim with a Roanoke Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you have questions or would like more information on your rights as a bike collision victim, please contact Lugar Law PC. Our bicycle accident attorneys have extensive experience helping clients Roanoke County and other parts of southwestern Virginia, and we look forward to working with you on your claim. To schedule a free, initial evaluation of your case, contact us today at (540) 384-0348.