Over $150 Million Recovered For Our Clients “Roger K. Gelb is one of the area’s most respected and sought-after legal minds” – Washingtonian Magazine
Washington DC Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bicycles offer many residents of DC a practical and economical mode of transportation. Despite their advantages, bikes also carry serious safety risks. Our Washington, DC, bicycle accident lawyers have practiced personal injury law in the District for 70 years. When a cyclist collides with a car or truck, the bike rider typically gets the worst. In many cases, these accidents have long-term or even fatal consequences.
You might be entitled to monetary compensation if you sustained severe injuries in a bicycle accident. By allowing a Washington, DC, bicycle accident lawyer to review your claim, you could get the guidance you need to move your injury claim forward. Assistance from Roger Gelb, a dedicated personal injury attorney, could make the difference in getting the compensation you need.
Common Factors in DC Bicycle Accidents
There are many different ways a bicycle accident can occur. Many of these accidents share similarities with collisions between two motor vehicles. A local attorney can advise a cyclist injured in an accident whether the specifics of their collision can lead to a personal injury claim.
Some of the most common bicycle accidents our Washington DC bicycle accident lawyers see involve a motor vehicle colliding with the front or rear of the bike. This can happen when the cyclist is in motion or stopped at an intersection.
Other accidents are unique to cycling. For example, a driver who shares a lane with a cyclist could cause an accident by making a right turn in their path. Another common cause of bicycle accidents on busy city streets is “dooring.” Dooring involves a motorist opening the door of their vehicle directly in the path of an oncoming bike. These unexpected accidents often result in severe injuries. Dooring can be particularly debilitating to a cyclist, particularly with e-bikes or electronic bikes such as Lime, where high speeds exist.
Accident on a Lime Bike, Capital Bikeshare, or Bird Scooter in Washington, D.C.
As these become more and more common, the number of accidents on bikes and scooters increases. This is likely due to several factors. First is the number of cyclists and scooter riders who need more experience or knowledge of the roads in the District. Often, it is people who are unfamiliar with Washington, D.C., who are choosing to take a tour of the city. While it is a great way to get a view of the city relatively fast, it can be dangerous. Accidents frequently occur whether these riders are doing a tour or just exploring with family or friends. While bikers are permitted on the sidewalks in D.C. and the roads, both require that the rider be diligent to watch out for unpredictable obstacles.
A second unfortunate yet common reason for accidents on Lime bikes, Capital Bikeshare, and Bird scooters is due to alcohol or other drugs. Unfortunately, people who cannot safely operate a car think driving a motorcycle or scooter is okay. This is not the case. In addition to criminal penalties, there is also the exposure of civil liability. These accidents occur when people leave a bar or club and wish to avoid paying for the more expensive taxi or Uber. Or, it may happen when someone is exploring the city during the daytime. Please consult a D.C. personal injury lawyer to discuss your options regardless of the circumstances.
Who is Liable
When operating a Lime bike, Capital Bikeshare, or Bird scooter, the negligence rules are the same as those for any other bike or scooter. Under § 50-2201.28(b-1), a person on a bicycle or electric mobility device such as a Lime bike riding on or along a sidewalk has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian. Of course, it is generally far more difficult to control your bicycle on the sidewalk than how pedestrians control their bodies. So, while the duty is the same, not breaching that duty remains more difficult for riders. Of course, this also means these e-bike and scooter riders have just as much right to be on the sidewalk in D.C. as a pedestrian. This includes riding in a crosswalk, as is the title of the section of the D.C. Code.
The section, under § 50-2201.28(b-1)(1) does add an additional duty. In addition to the rights and duties from above, riders must still yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk or in a crosswalk. While this may appear contradictory, it is not. A big takeaway from this section of the D.C. code is that riding an e-bike, bicycle, or scooter on the sidewalk is permissible in Washington, D.C. In addition to the liability a defendant faces from a plaintiff, they also face civil fines, penalties, and fees from the Department of Motor Vehicles as alternative sanctions. However, this will pale in monetary value compared to a civil lawsuit from an injured plaintiff.
Whose Insurance Covers the Loss
Lime, as a subsidiary company, offers its users insurance policies. However, those policies are not active in the District of Columbia. They are only involved in California and Ohio. This is very likely because state laws require it in those places. Beyond that, insurance coverage for riding a bicycle or scooter operates as if it does not have electricity. This depends on a variety of factors. Without going into each possible scenario, of which there is a nearly infinite number, it is best to consult a D.C. bicycle accident lawyer for the most up-to-date laws in the District.
Compensation in a DC Bicycle Accident Claim
The monetary compensation of a successful bicycle accident claim can be significant. Generally, this compensation falls into two broad categories, including economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are distinct because we measure them precisely. This compensation can help an injured cyclist recover their out-of-pocket medical bills or other injury-related expenses. At trial, our Washington, DC, bicycle accident lawyers may establish the amount of economic damages owed through receipts, bills, and invoices.
Non-economic damages present a challenge when establishing their value at trial. These damages are subjective, meaning no receipts or other documentary evidence can be used at trial. Demonstrating the value of this type of bike accident compensation typically requires witness testimony.
Serious injuries routinely require cyclists in in vehicle accidents to miss work. When this happens, the cyclist can pursue compensation for their lost wages. This can include missed paychecks during their recovery and compensation for any future diminished earning power. The ability to recover from this harm recaptures some power you lose when in an accident. It is not a way meant to empower a victim, however. Instead, it is a form of compensating you or bringing you back to even. You can consult a Washington, DC, bicycle accident lawyer for more help recovering your lost wages.
When you are in a bicycle accident, your whole world stops. In addition to receiving injuries and damage to your bike, you lose your sense of reality. When you can no longer work, while some may appreciate the time off, many want to return to their daily routine. If this is the case, then this is another compensable injury.
Medical bills are the most prominent form of economic damages in most bicycle accident lawsuits. The cost of emergency room treatment, follow-up care, hospitalization, and necessary medications can be extensive. An injured cyclist has the right to recover these losses if you can establish that the defendant was negligent. If a tortfeasor causes your injuries, there is no reason why you should be left with the expenses. Notably, the defendant is liable for your injuries, whether the extent of your injuries is foreseeable or not. Foreseeability in tort law is a term of art. It is vitally important in some cases, such as the causation of your injury. However, for the extent of your injuries, foreseeability is irrelevant.
For example, if you are driving your bicycle and collide with the defendant, and the defendant hits you going only three miles per hour, but he is 100% at fault, he is responsible for your injuries. It may not be foreseeable that you would fall and suffer brain hemorrhaging, but it is possible. If it does happen, the defendant is responsible. Keep in mind that it is foreseeable that his carelessly driving three miles per hour can cause you some harm. Thus, if you need medical treatment for your head injuries due to the accident and that treatment is reasonable, you may collect compensation for that in your case.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are typical examples of non-economic damages in a bicycle accident claim. The physical pain that results from a severe injury can be significant, and it can last throughout the recovery process. Physical injuries from a bike accident can be excruciatingly painful. And sometimes, the medical expenses in your case do not represent that pain. Rightfully, the law allows for recovery of noneconomic or general damages. A plaintiff can seek monetary compensation for this physical suffering with help from a Washington, DC, bicycle accident lawyer.
Pain and suffering are more fact-dependent than medical expenses or lost wages, which are quantifiable. Building a solid case for recovering adequate pain and suffering takes an excellent legal argument. Your suffering may be the worst, most painful injury of all time. But, it takes a good lawyer to sell it and a jury to believe it for you to get compensation. It can be the difference of thousands of dollars in your recovery. This is why choosing proper legal representation is so important, along with many other reasons.
Why Choose Gelb & Gelb, P.C.?
Our attorneys have been practicing personal injury law in Washington, D.C., for more than a century. Accordingly, through mentorship and intra-firm leadership, our attorneys have amassed nearly 70 years of experience. We have relationships with other firms and have implemented systems to ensure maximum client compensation. Whether you have minor scratches or catastrophic injuries from your bicycle accident, we have experience handling hundreds of similar cases. While every case is unique, our experience gives us a lot of knowledge about when and how to act to maximize financial recovery in your case.
Also, we believe in leaving no stone behind in investigating and evaluating your case. As stated above, each case is unique. While your case may appear to be an ordinary bicycle accident case, we will carefully peel back each layer to find damages you have suffered, for which you may receive compensation. Pain and suffering, for example, are broad topics that are compensable under the law. There is a multitude of experiences you may have that entitle you to compensation under this category. Through our careful investigation, we will collect all the necessary evidence to build up your case.
This is a critical aspect of any legal representation. While there are many great attorneys in Washington, D.C., few will take the time to answer any questions you have in a patient and comfortable manner. You get to work one-on-one with your attorney when we take your case. Legal assistants or paralegals answer your questions at many personal injury law firms. While we have excellent paralegals who work behind the scenes, your lawyer answers your legal questions.
Call a Washington DC Bicycle Accident Attorney As Soon As Possible
You might be entitled to monetary compensation if you have sustained injuries in a DC bike crash. However, pursuing this compensation on your own can lower your chances of success.
By working with a Washington, DC, bicycle accident lawyer, you can give yourself the best chance to obtain a favorable outcome in your bike accident claim. Call Gelb & Gelb, P.C., immediately to learn how an attorney could help your case.
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