ClickCease How Contributory Negligence Affects Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents

How Does Contributory Negligence Affect Bicycle Accidents?

Were You Injured in an Accident on Your Bike?

Being involved in an accident on your bicycle is traumatic and stressful. Injuries can range from minor bumps and bruises to traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries. At Regan Zambri Long, our DC bicycle accident lawyers are here for you. We offer free consultations to talk through your legal options. We understand that insurance companies seem too big and too scary to take on, but we can help. If you were injured in a pedestrian or bicycle accident due to someone else’s negligence, reach out today.

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What Is Contributory Negligence?

Contributory negligence is a law that states the plaintiff (the person who initiates the personal injury claim) is not allowed to recover any compensation for their injuries if they were in any way negligent in causing the accident. It does not matter how little the injured party is at fault – even if they were only 5% responsible for the accident, they will not be allowed to pursue compensation for their injuries or property damage. There are only five states in the country that still recognize contributory negligence laws: Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

Many accidents involving cyclists result in such catastrophic injuries that we tend to disregard the notion that the injured party could have played a role. However, here are some examples of how cyclists may have contributed to the accident they were involved in, such as making a sudden, unexpected move or riding the bike while drunk or high.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

While those five jurisdictions still practice strict contributory negligence laws, most states in America scrapped the law in favor of comparative negligence laws. This law allows the distribution of damages to both the plaintiff and the defendant that is proportional to their share of the blame.

For example, under the comparative negligence rule, if a judge or jury finds a cyclist 25% responsible for his or her injuries, then the amount the cyclist would be able to recover from the other party would be reduced by 25%. It is important to note that there is still a chance the injured party will not be able to collect damages for the accident. If a judge or jury finds the injured party more than 50% responsible for the accident, they will be blocked from recovering any damages.

Bicycle Laws in Washington, DC

In November 2016, Washington, DC passed the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act, which put comparative negligence rules into place for bicyclists and pedestrians. It allows the injured party to collect compensation if they are less than 50% at fault for the accident.

While this is welcomed news to DC residents, who have long been vying to get rid of contributory negligence laws, it complicates pedestrian and bicycle accidents. Speak to a Regan Zambri Long personal injury attorney today to learn how the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act affects your case.

Other DC laws to keep in mind include:

  • Sidewalk riding is permissible, except in the Central Business District.
  • Cyclists must yield to pedestrians and give clear signals when they are making turns.
  • Bicyclists under the age of 16 must wear a properly fitted safety helmet.
  • The bicycle must be equipped with a bell or mechanical device that can make a warning noise.
  • Bicycles must have a front white light (steady or flashing) and a red rear reflector for nighttime riding.
  • At least one hand needs to be on the handlebars at all times.
  • Headsets and earphones are prohibited while riding.
  • The Washington, DC DUI statute applies to cyclists while riding.

How Do We Prove Negligence in a Bike Accident?

For the victims injured in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, financial distress will surely follow. Ambulance rides, hospital stays,Paul Cornoni scans, medications, rehabilitation, therapy, and ongoing treatment are extremely costly. Being hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian or cyclist can result in devastating injuries that can be permanently debilitating or even life-threatening. Your only focus should be on your recovery.

At Regan Zambri Long, we deeply understand what you are going through. Our mission is to secure the maximum amount of compensation possible so you and your family don’t have to face financial burdens on top of catastrophic injuries.

Our personal injury lawyers know that any good defense attorney will try to use contributory negligence to get his or her client out of paying what they owe you. To prove the other party was completely at fault for the accident, our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident scene. We will use police records, medical records, witness testimony, and other documentation. We work with medical consultants, as well as other legal experts to build a rock-solid case that will ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.

Our promise to our clients: we do not accept a fee unless a settlement or verdict is secured in your favor. Let our DC bicycle accident lawyers carry the weight of the claims process so you and your loved ones can heal and move forward with your lives.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

Call 202-960-4596

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