While most bicyclists and pedestrians get around without a problem, occasionally, disaster strikes. As pedestrians and cyclists have little protection against a vehicle’s impact, these accidents are particularly dangerous and often result in serious injuries. In 2013, over 4700 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents, and over 150,000 victims were injured when struck by a vehicle. Bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents are dangerous.
When vehicles injure pedestrians and cyclists, it is often due to driver negligence. Pedestrians and cyclists are at a heightened risk of being hit by a car when drivers:
- Failure to stop at red lights
- Failure to slow or stop at crosswalks
- Taking turns too quickly
- Distracted by cell phones or other electronic devices
Common types of pedestrian/bicyclist injuries
Pedestrian and bicyclist injuries can be serious and fatal. Although every case is unique, the following are types of injuries that pedestrians involved in an accident incur on a regular basis:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Lacerations and bruising
- Internal injuries
Insurance companies defend these claims vigorously .
Because serious injuries frequently occur when a vehicle strikes a pedestrian or bicyclist, insurance companies defend these claims vigorously. Upon receiving the claim, the claims adjuster will first try to find a way to avoid paying your claim. Often, the defense will be that the victim was outside of a crosswalk. If you are involved in a car accident as a pedestrian or bicyclist, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney prior to speaking with the insurance company.
In certain circumstances, pedestrians and bicyclists are entitled to “no fault” benefits under the motor vehicles insurance policy.
If you have been injured as a pedestrian, through no fault of your own, you are entitled to recover for the following:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Future medical expenses if there is a permanent injury
- Future lost income or diminished earning capacity of there is a permanent injury
- Loss of consortium (if you are married and the injury affects your relationship with your spouse)
- Pain, suffering and inconvenience
In addition, regardless of fault, injured pedestrians and bicyclists may be entitled to “PIP” or “med pay” benefits, regardless of fault. Whether you are entitled to recover these benefits depends on several factors, such as where the accident occurred, where you reside and the terms of your own motor vehicle insurance policy. To ensure your benefits are maximized, it is important to consult with an experienced pedestrian/bicyclist attorney.
The laws surrounding pedestrian and bicyclist accidents are frequently changing.
Due to heavy traffic congestion in the MD/VA/DC area, our communities are constantly working on creative solutions to traffic congestion. These solutions often involve encouraging alternative transportation options, such as bicycle lanes. To accommodate more pedestrian and bicyclist friendly roadways, some jurisdictions, such as the District of Columbia, have recently passed laws to give special protections to bicyclists injured by a motor vehicle. When deciding on an attorney, it is important to ask the attorney if they are familiar with new and emerging laws in this subject matter.
If you have been injured as a pedestrian or bicyclist, contact the attorneys at Dross Berman LLC for a free consultation.