A bicycle accident can uproot your life in a mere second. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, you may be wondering where to go from here. Although recovering from this traumatic event is always the first priority, you likely have questions about how to pay for this recovery and any other losses you suffered.
In Manassas and throughout Virginia, bicyclists may use the public streets just as cars do, as long as they obey the rules of the road. Unfortunately, having the legal right to be on the road doesn’t always mean having the respect of others who use the same space. Motorists often fail to spot bicyclists on the road because they aren’t paying attention. In some cases, motorists display a clear indifference toward the right of bicyclists to share the road.
When a bicyclist suffers extremely serious injuries in a crash with a motor vehicle, insurance companies will work quickly to try to resolve the case by paying as little as possible. At Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, our experienced legal team is very familiar with insurance company tactics because Manassas bike accident attorney James R. Parrish began his legal career working for these large insurers. This experience opened his eyes to how bicycle accident victims are shortchanged when they lack adequate representation, thus leading him to switch sides and represent injured people instead of the big companies.
If you’ve been injured in one of these accidents, you know how they can turn your life upside-down in an instant. Who was at fault? Could you have prevented the crash? How will your family make ends meet? What if you don’t recover from your injuries? If these worries sound familiar, there is hope. The dedicated legal team at Parrish Law Firm, PLLC can help you pursue the compensation you need after a Northern Virginia bicycle accident.
Attorney Jim Parrish of the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC has extensive experience in helping bicycle accident victims recover compensation. If you would like to discuss your options with a bicycle accident lawyer in Manassas Park, call 571-229-1800.
Common Types of Bicycle Accident Injuries and Their Causes
Many of the bicycle-car accidents on Virginia roads every year occur because a driver of a motor vehicle isn’t paying attention — and does not see the bicyclist until it is too late. Here are the most common types of bicycle accidents and their most common causes, according to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.
- Left-turn collisions: A car makes a left turn at an intersection into the path of a bicyclist who was trying to go straight through the intersection from the opposite direction. The bicyclist has the right of way but pays the price for the driver’s inattention, which is the most common cause of these accidents.
- Right-turn collisions: A bicyclist is trying to go straight through an intersection when a car going the same direction turns right into the bicyclist. This accident commonly occurs when the driver doesn’t think of the bicycle as another vehicle with the right of way, but as a pedestrian who will yield to cars.
- Door collisions: These happen when a bicycle is passing a line of parked cars on the side of the road, and one car’s occupant opens a door directly into the bicyclist’s path. Drivers and passengers can easily avoid this mistake by checking the car’s side mirror before they open the door — but they must be paying sufficient attention to spot a bicyclist, as well as other cars.
- Driveway collisions: The bicyclist is passing a driveway when a car pulls out and hits the bicyclist. These are almost always caused by the driver failing to pay proper attention, often due to distraction.
- Rear-end crashes: A bicyclist is rear-ended by a car. Although these accidents are less common than people suppose, they are more likely to cause serious injury or death when they do occur. Often, the driver responsible for the crash is either distracted, intoxicated, or both.
- “Wipeouts”: A bicyclist takes a blind curve or approaches the bottom of an incline, only to find a pothole, oil spill, puddle, or pile of gravel or leaves. The bicyclist hits the debris and wipes out. Unlike the other most common accidents, when wipeouts are due to negligence, it is often the negligence of the agency or person responsible for maintaining the roadway.
Many of these types of accidents can also be caused, or made worse, by a hidden defect in any of the bicycle’s parts which can lead to major bicycle accident injuries. Hidden defects pose a special danger because bicyclists may not realize they are present until it is too late to prevent an accident.
What Types of Compensation Are Available After a Bicycle Crash?
Bicycle accidents can cause severe injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, “road rash,” and psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress. Bicycle operators are entitled to occupy the same road space as motor vehicles, but they lack the protections of bumpers, airbags, and 4,000 pounds of metal. This often leads to catastrophic injuries that require prolonged medical care and create a list of extensive damages. Common types of compensation that a Manassas bicycle accident attorney may pursue for you after a crash include:
- Medical bills, including past and future coverage for medical, hospital, surgical, and therapy bills, as well as bills for medications or medical devices such as crutches, wheelchairs, or braces.
- Lost wages, including coverage for some or all of the wages the injured bicyclist would have earned if the injury had not forced him or her to take time off work. If the injury is so severe that the bicyclist cannot go back to work, compensation for lost future wages may also be sought.
- Value of lost household services, for example, if the injured person had to hire someone else to take on chores that he or she would ordinarily have done, such as cleaning, childcare, or yard work.
- Pain and suffering, which sometimes seems immeasurable, but an experienced attorney can help you document this type of compensation.
- Punitive damages, which can be awarded in cases where the at-fault party was particularly reckless.
- Travel expenses, such as transportation costs to receive treatment.
- Household or vehicle adaptations, if your bicycle accident injury caused your home or vehicle to require adaptations to accommodate a disability.
- Pension or retirement income, if your bicycle injury caused you to lose retirement or pension in come opportunities.
When a bicyclist is injured due to the negligence of a driver or another party, he or she may be able to seek compensation from that person or their applicable insurance policies. Bicyclists may also be able to file claims with their own auto insurance or homeowner’s insurance for coverage if they are injured. Because filing an insurance claim can be complex, it is important to notify insurance companies promptly after an injury and seek advice from an experienced Manassas bicycle injury lawyer.
A plaintiff might be entitled to punitive damages if the motor vehicle operator’s actions were especially reckless or under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. It is not easy to measure noneconomic damages (such as “pain and suffering”). We work with experts to determine both the mental and physical effects of your injuries.
A claimant or plaintiff has the right to seek future damages as well as damages from the time of the accident to the present. A vocational evaluation can help an insurance company or court determine what, if any, effects the accident will have on future earnings. Likewise, medical evaluations can establish the impact of the accident on future health needs.
Manassas Bicycle Accident Lawyer Near Me 571-229-1800
Who Might Be Liable for My Injuries?
The most common liable party in a bicycle accident is usually a driver and/or the driver’s employer if he is on the job. Drivers can cause bicycle accidents by:
- Refusing to yield the right-of-way to bicyclists
- Entering a bicycle lane
- Parking in a bicycle lane
- Opening doors without checking for cyclists (also called “dooring”)
However, this is not the only liable party. You might be able to hold a government entity liable if any of the following caused your accident:
- Road hazards such as potholes or broken asphalt
- Faulty traffic signals
- Dangerously designed roadways
What Do I Need to Prove to Recover Compensation?
You carry the burden of proof when you file a claim. What this means is that you must be able to prove the other side caused your bicycle accident and injuries. When it comes to liability, the insurance company’s go-to argument is contributory negligence. Virginia has a strict contributory negligence statute, which can make recovering compensation very difficult if you contributed in any way to the accident. Your best bet is to deflect any accusations of fault and strengthen your case against the at-fault party.
This is almost impossible for the average citizen to do; it is especially difficult when you are recovering from serious injuries. That is why the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC handles it for you. When it comes to dealing with insurance companies, having knowledgeable counsel on your side is critical. There are many loopholes and tactics that the insurance company uses to reduce or deny your settlement.
Attorney Jim Parrish, of the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, is a former insurance defense agent, which means he knows these tactics. Several years ago, he switched gears to right the wrongs insurance companies tend to inflict on victims to protect the company’s profit margins.
Jim has knowledge from the inside on how insurance companies work, which he uses to his clients’ advantage. He can use this information to poke holes in the insurance company’s attack or build his own attack against the other side.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
What Can I Expect From the Claims Process?
Rather than denying the bicycle accident claim right away an insurance company for the other party may operate quickly to settle it by paying a low amount, before you fully understand the extent of your injuries and whether they are likely to have permanent effects. It may also try to settle before you talk to an attorney, or attempt to persuade you against hiring one. In most cases, an adjuster will also attempt to trick you into admitting fault for the accident.
- Do not accept the first settlement from an insurance company.
- Do not speak with the insurance adjuster.
We will look over the settlement, determine what it is missing and negotiate until your settlement covers everything it should. We will also handle all communication with the insurer to ensure you do not say anything that could jeopardize your claim.
In some cases, the insurer will refuse to offer you a fair settlement. If this is the case, we can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. While this might prompt the insurer to offer you a fair settlement, we will ensure your case is ready for court, if need be.
Start Your Bicycle Accident Claim Today.
Attorney Jim Parrish spent many years working for insurance companies, learning the ways in which insurers fight to deny claims to injured bicyclists who need compensation after a serious accident. Today, Jim Parrish and the team at Parrish Law Firm, PLLC put that knowledge to work on behalf of injured bicyclists and their families. If you have been contemplating a claim to recover compensation for your injuries, you are a phone call away from getting started.
The Parrish Law Firm, PLLC fights for maximum compensation in bicycle accident cases and looks forward to your call. Contact us today at 571-229-1800.