Transportation policy in Virginia and throughout the US supports safe accommodation of all road users, but many people assume this vision only applies to those in motorized vehicles. Pedestrians and bicycle riders are just as entitled to use the roadways as cars, but the risk of accidents is every bit as real. The National Safety Council reports that fatalities among these vulnerable road users are on the rise in recent years, increasing 40 percent since 2009. Thousands of other victims suffer serious and catastrophic injuries, especially considering their size in comparison to the motorized vehicle.
If you were hurt or lost a loved one who would be categorized as a vulnerable road user, you may have rights that are similar to other personal injury cases. You should trust a Virginia pedestrian and bicycle accidents attorney to assist with the legal process, since there are some unique factors that affect your remedies. Still, some general information may help you understand the risks and challenges.
Statistics on Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents: Data reported in the 2018 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts reveals some disturbing trends on the seriousness and frequency of collisions involving those on foot or bike. For instance:
- Pedestrian accidents increased in Virginia from 2017 to 2018 in three key areas. The total number of crashes rose 0.9 percent, fatalities went up 7.9 percent, and injures increased 0.8 percent. In all there were 123 killed and 1,584 victims hurt in pedestrian accidents in 2018.
- Statewide, there were 633 accidents involving bicycles, 13 of which were fatal. Plus, 593 victims suffered injuries, meaning that 93 percent of bicycle accidents cause some form of bodily harm. One in five victims suffered serious injuries, including head trauma, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and others.
- The statistics nationwide reveal that there are more than 5,300 pedestrian fatalities every year, accounting for 15 percent of all motor vehicle deaths. In addition, though they comprise a smaller proportion of fatalities, more than 800 bicycle riders die annually in crashes.
Challenges in Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident Claims: Though the victim may not be traveling in a vehicle, many of the same personal injury laws regarding car crashes apply to pedestrian and bicycle accident cases. They proceed according to the principles of negligence, in which you must prove that the responsible driver failed to exercise reasonable care and struck you. Virginia’s two-year statute of limitations also covers these claims.
However, there are some unique features in accidents involving vulnerable road users bear several characteristics that make their claims and losses unique:
- The size differential in a pedestrian or bicycle accident means victims could be tossed into the air, leading to a secondary impact when they hit the ground.
- People on foot or bike aren’t protected by a metal shell, so they’re more susceptible to a violent blow.
- Because the injuries tend to be serious, catastrophic, and even life-threatening, victims will incur astronomical bills for medical treatment. You could require surgery, a long period of hospitalization, physical therapy, and other care. Plus, you could be out of work for a considerable amount of time, losing wages with each passing day.
Consult with a Virginia Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents Lawyer Today
At Leary Law, P.C., our attorneys have in-depth knowledge and extensive experience advocating for victims of pedestrian and bicycle accidents. We’re prepared to handle the claims process and work to negotiate a settlement with the responsible driver’s insurance company. However, we’ll take your case to court if necessary to ensure you get the full range of compensation you deserve. For more information on our legal services, please contact our firm to set up a consultation at our offices in Manassas or Fairfax, VA.