UVA Student Bicyclist Struck by Car, Suffered Serious Injuries - Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

RESULTS: $450,000 Personal Injury Insurance Settlement

COURT: Charlottesville Circuit Court, Virginia

DATE: February 2024


ATTORNEY: Richard N. Shapiro

STAFF: Paula S., Paralegal



Our client was a 19-year-old UVA student who had just left her on-campus job and was riding her bicycle along a busy two-lane road in the designated bike lane in daylight conditions. As she approached the area near the UVA bookstore entrance road and was crossing that street, a car being operated by the defendant attempted a left turn. The car driver failed to keep a proper lookout and did not yield to our client, who was ejected off her bicycle in the collision. She was launched onto and over the front hood of the car and landed on the driver’s side on the hard roadway pavement.

There was significant bumper-to-bumper traffic at the time and the driver was attempting the left turn through a gap in the traffic immediately before the bike-car collision. Our client suffered a nasty fracture in her foot and various traumatic injuries which were treated by the rescue squad at the scene.  She complained of back injuries, contusions, and a significant foot injury. She ended up being seen at the Student Health Department and later was referred to various UVA orthopedic surgeons for several different traumatic injuries.


Attorney Rick Shapiro traveled to the Charlottesville scene of the incident and took video and pictures, studied the area via Google Maps as well, and then consulted and reviewed Virginia statutes.  The following Virginia Code statutes were deemed relevant:

Virginia Code § 46.2-904.  Use of roller skates and skateboards on sidewalks and shared-use paths;


A person riding a bicycle. . . across a roadway on a crosswalk shall have all the rights and duties of a pedestrian under the same circumstances. . .

Virginia Code § 46.2-924.  Drivers to stop for pedestrians; installation of certain signs; penalty.

          A. The driver of any vehicle on a highway shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian crossing such   highway by stopping and remaining stopped until such pedestrian has passed the lane in which the vehicle is stopped:

  1. At any clearly marked crosswalk. . .

Virginia Code § 46.2-825.  Left turn traffic to yield right-of-way.

The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction if it is so close as to constitute a hazard.

The Virginia statutes involved grant the same rights and duties to a bicyclist that a pedestrian would have, and accordingly, we forcefully argued to the insurance company that his failure to yield the right-of-way was determinative and the cause of the collision.

Unfortunately, the insurance carrier for the driver refused to settle the case, and our firm was required to file a lawsuit. In Virginia lawsuits, there is normally a requirement to have a judicial settlement conference, which is similar to mediation in that it is a voluntary process that the parties do not have to settle. It is a good requirement as it requires the parties to consider the opposing party’s position and to decide whether the case can and should be settled without a trial.

In the meantime, our client underwent surgery to embed a piece of hardware to help fixate the foot fracture.  She also was suffering from low back pain and had undergone physical therapy.

At the judicial settlement conference, a retired circuit court judge received information from both parties and presided over the conference. Although the parties were unable to settle, the retired judge’s opinion was that the car driver was plainly responsible for causing the bicycle and car collision, and he imparted this information to the attorney and adjuster for the insurance company.

The case still didn’t settle at the conference, and we continued to organize the case for trial by deposing the key medical providers to present their testimony for trial. But several weeks before the jury trial was scheduled in Charlottesville Circuit Court, the parties came together and arrived at the settlement. Our client had graduated from UVA and was working in the Charlottesville area, we assisted her in obtaining the final settlement and were pleased to have represented her in this difficult case.



$450,000 personal injury insurance settlement.