Frequently Asked Questions
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Will the insurance company make a payout on uninsured motorist and medpay claims?Yes but they will dig for evidence that the accident was the pedestrian's fault, such as you stepped in front of the biker. Working with a skilled personal injury attorney can make the claims process easier.
Can I sue a biker to recover my medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering?Yes, but you could find it easier to file a claim under the uninsured motorist and medpay parts of your own auto insurance policy. You must carry UIM coverage in Virginia.
Why should I wait to file until I am fully healed from my bike accident injuries?When you settle your claim, the case is over. You cannot go back and have a do-over if your injuries worsen. So you want to wait until you have fully healed so you can get the maximum amount of money, and be certain that your injuries do not worsen after settlement.
How long will it take to settle my bike accident claim?Generally, we find that settling a typical bicycle accident claim, such as a crosswalk accident where you were hit by a car, can take a year from start to finish. But the timeline will vary depending upon the extent of your injuries and accident details. Timelines can run from months to years.
How many biking injuries are there in auto crashes each year in Virginia?
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reports there were 712 biking injuries due to auto crashes in 2014, and 12 were killed.
When it comes to filing insurance claims, does it matter where a driver hit and injured me while I was riding my bike?
Yes. Virginia state law and various local ordinances make it illegal to ride your bicycle on an interstate or in other places where cars and trucks are allowed to operate. Violating a bike use law and then getting hit and injured by a driver constitutes contributory negligence.
Virginia courts consider any evidence of contributory negligence as an absolute bar to recovery for personal injuries. In plainer English, you cannot file an insurance claim if you got hurt while breaking the law.
What are the most common types of injuries when a driver hits a bike rider?
A review of tens of thousands emergency room and hospital records that was reported in a leading medical journal revealed that bicycle riders who get hit by cars and trucks are most likely to suffer the following types of physical injuries:
- Head -- Skull fracture, concussion, brain contusion, intracranial hemorrhage
- Face/Eye -- Contusions (i.e., bruises), facial fractures, dental fractures, corneal foreign bodies (e.g., gravel embedded in the outer layer of the eye)
- Musculoskeletal -- Fractures, dislocation, strains
- Chest -- Rib fractures, lung injury (e.g., puncture, collapse)
- Abdominal -- Splenic rupture, hepatic laceration, renal contusion, pancreatic trauma, vascular perforation, small or large bowel contusion, rupture, traumatic hernia
- Genitourinary -- Urethral and vulval trauma, rectal trauma, pelvic fractures
- Skin and soft tissue -- Abrasions (“road rash”), lacerations, contusions
When a driver is clearly at fault for causing a crash that inflicts any of the listed injuries on a bike rider, the bicyclist can partner with a Virginia personal injury lawyer to file insurance claims.
I was not wearing a bike helmet when a driver hit and injured me. Can I still file an insurance claim?
As long as the driver can clearly be show to have caused the crash, you should be able to file insurance claims for the payment of medical bills and other monetary damages.
Virginia does do not have a state law requiring bicycle helmet use. Several cities and counties do require helmets for bike riders younger than 14 years of age, but those ordinances pretty uniformly contain clauses stating that failure to comply cannot be cited as the sole reason for denying personal injury or wrongful death claims.