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08/29/22   |   By

Truck and Bike Accident Fatalities on the Rise

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Two cyclists were killed within a week of each other in July prompting Washington, DC community members to call for action for safer roadways. Community advocates explain that since January, 21 people have been killed by drivers, including three bicyclists, 11 pedestrians, three drivers, two passengers, and two motorcyclists.

Two of those fatalities were due to collisions with large trucks including one cyclist who was struck and killed by a dump truck and another who was killed by a Mack truck.

With these truck and bike fatalities on the rise, cyclists and truck drivers in Washington, DC need to know what their rights are when tragedy strikes.

How Do Truck and Bike Accidents Happen?

A bike crash can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, when it’s a bike versus a large truck, the results can be fatal. In the cases of cyclists killed in a truck crash, there are a few potential causes of how these catastrophic bike wrecks can occur.

According to reports, Michael Gordon, 65, was riding his bike on the sidewalk traveling northbound on the 1500 block of 7th Street Northwest around 2:30 a.m. at the same time the driver of a dump truck was also traveling in the same direction.

At the intersection of 7th Street and Rhode Island Avenue, the dump truck made a right turn on a green light at the same time that Gordon entered the crosswalk from the sidewalk. Unfortunately, he suffered severe injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A bike crash like this is all too common for a variety of reasons. Common reasons a cyclist may be killed in a truck crash include:

  • Failing to yield
  • Low visibility
  • Blind spots
  • Lane changes

According to The U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center side-impact crashes also result in cyclists’ death in roughly half of all bike and truck accidents. Of course, these are common car accident claims as well too, as well as impaired or reckless driving. But because of the sheer size of a truck compared to a bike, the results are often more fatal.

It is important for truck drivers and cyclists alike to understand the dangers on the roadway and what happens when bike and truck accidents occur.

Infrastructure Challenges to Blame for Bike and Truck Fatalities

While bike and truck crashes are not unique to Washington, DC alone, community advocates have called for a change to their infrastructure to better serve the public and keep cyclists and pedestrians safe.

The District Department of Transportation has begun to make changes through the Vision Zero initiative which aims to reach zero fatalities on roadways by 2024.

However, despite these efforts, one in three roadway fatalities in the District are bike accidents or pedestrian collisions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that each year, approximately 1,000 bicyclists die and over 130,000 are injured in crashes that occur on roads in the United States.

And with pandemic lows in travel subsiding and more people returning to the workplace in person, we may see even more cyclist and pedestrian fatalities.

What Do I Do If I’m Hit By a Truck While Riding My Bike?

Unfortunately, so many collisions involving bikes and trucks end in fatality because of the size difference between the two. bicycle accident on road damagesHowever, it doesn’t mean there are not things you can do if you or a loved one are struck by a truck while riding a bike.

  • Call 911 and seek immediate medical attention. If you are unable to call for help yourself, ask someone nearby to call for you.
  • Do not attempt to leave the scene or move, especially if you do not know the severity of your injuries. If you can move, get out of the roadway and to safer ground.
  • Get the name and insurance information of the truck driver involved.
  • Collect witness names and contact information.
  • Be sure to take photos of the scene if you can, as well as damage to your bike, the truck, and your injuries.
  • File a formal police report. This will be important when making a personal injury claim or filing a lawsuit.
  • Do not speak with the insurance companies without meeting with a bike accident attorney first.

We know that depending on the severity of the collision, cyclists may not be able to complete any of these tasks. However, if your loved one was involved in a bike accident and now faces life-threatening injuries, or has died, the family can make a claim on the victim’s behalf. In that case, it will also be critically important to meet with a bike accident or truck accident lawyer who can guide you through the legal process.

What Does the Family of a Cyclist Killed in Truck Crash Need to Know?

personal injury lawyer Victor E. Long at workIf you have lost a loved one as a result of a bike and truck accident in Washington, DC, you have the right to file a case of wrongful death. Under the Washington DC statute of limitations (D.C. Code § 16-2702 (2021), a wrongful death case must be filed within two years from the date of the victim’s death.

Not all bike and truck accidents will result in immediate death as the long-term injuries can be fatal over time. Because of this, there are things the family of a cyclist killed in a truck crash needs to know when filing a claim.

Have Medical Documentation Ready

We know that the last thing you’ll want to do after losing a loved one is to rehash the event. Unfortunately, without thorough medical documentation, it can be difficult to recover the maximum compensation for your loved one’s injuries and death.

Be sure to have copies of official medical reports and exams, along with any and all treatment related to the accident. You’ll also want to secure a copy of the police report that was filed at the time of the collision.

Make Sure the Proper Party Is Filing the Lawsuit

In some districts, the deceased person’s family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Washington, DC, however, the personal representative or “executor” of the deceased’s estate must file the wrongful death claim. If there was not a formally named personal representative via an estate plan, the court may appoint one.

From there, it is likely to be a close family member including a spouse, child, parent, sibling, or grandparent.

Meet with a Bike or Truck Accident Attorney to Determine the Damages to Be Awarded

When you lost your loved one, the medical expenses didn’t go away. Now you are grieving and struggling to meet the financial needs of your family. A bike accident lawyer or truck accident attorney can help you calculate the total damages you may be entitled to for your loved one’s death including:

  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Medical bills (emergency care, procedures, medications, rehabilitation, etc.)
  • Lost wages and benefits the deceased would have earned had they lived
  • Loss of care, education, training, advice, companionship, and other services the deceased would have provided otherwise

Not all personal injury attorneys are equipped to handle wrongful death claims, but Regan Zambri Long can.

How Can a Bike Accident Attorney Help Me After a Bike Crash?

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bike accident involving a truck, a bike accident attorney from Regan Zambri Long can help.

While you are never required to hire an attorney, there are multiple benefits to doing so. A bike accident attorney can help you when:

  • You have sustained major injuries from the bike crash. Be it a concussion, traumatic brain injury, broken bones, internal bleeding, etc. the medical costs associated with these and other bike injuries can be huge. A bike accident attorney can help you calculate the total compensation needed to recover from these losses.
  • The insurance companies will not give you the full compensation needed. You may have insurance to help you if you get hurt or get sick, but when it comes to an accident, your insurance company, or that of the liable party, is not likely to willingly hand over a large settlement. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer will be able to negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf to ensure you get the money needed to move forward.
  • Your insurance company denies your claim. If your insurance company is having questions about liability and on the severity of your injuries, they may deny your claim outright. This is when a bike accident lawyer can provide the documentation needed to ensure your appeal is granted.
  • You need to determine fault for your accident. In some cases, fault may rest in more than one party, which means you can have a hard time determining who is responsible for the accident. A bike accident attorney can help establish negligence for your case.
  • You don’t know if you have a case. If you have concerns about whether or not you can file a bike accident claim against a truck driver, an attorney can help you determine what happened at the accident, and who is responsible.

How Does Liability and Negligence Law Impact My Claim?

Washington, DC has recently enacted a new negligence law that makes it easier for accident victims to secure compensation for their losses.

The Vulnerable User Collision Recovery Amendment Act has put a limit on contributory negligence restrictions in accidents involving motor vehicles and electric mobility devices. The Act defines a vulnerable user as someone using “all-terrain vehicle, bicycle, dirt bike, electric mobility device, motorcycle, motorized bicycle, motor-driven cycle, non-motorized scooter, personal mobility device, skateboard or other similar devices.”

While previously, if the vulnerable user was involved in an accident they were even one percent at fault for, they could not recover damages. Now, bicyclists and other vulnerable road users will have the opportunity to recover damages even if they had some responsibility for the accident.

Injured Cyclist Hit by a Truck Driver?

personal injury lawyers chris regan and pat reganTruck drivers are held to a higher standard for roadway safety to ensure their own protection and for those they share the roadway with. Unfortunately, when they do not drive in an appropriate manner, the results for cyclists can be fatal.

If you were injured by a truck driver or motorist while riding your bike, a leading DC bicycle accident lawyer at Regan Zambri Long can help you get the compensation you deserve. Further, we work on a contingency basis which means you pay nothing upfront, and we only collect a fee if we have won an award for your settlement or verdict.

Our compassionate attorneys help victims of bicycle accidents claim a wide range of damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. If you have lost a loved one as a result of a truck accident, we can also help you file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for funeral and burial expenses as well.

Despite road sharing laws in and around Washington, DC, cyclists continue to be one of the most vulnerable groups on our roadways. Let us help you recover and move forward from the accident by taking the burden off your shoulders.

For a no-obligation, free consultation, contact the bike accident lawyers of Regan Zambri Long at 202-960-4596 or connect with us online. We have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients, let us help you do the same today.

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