With over 18,000 Washington DC residents biking to work daily, Washington is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the United States. With its extensive network of bike lanes and trails, as well as its flat terrain, it’s easy to see why cycling is so popular in the district. Unfortunately, this also means there are more opportunities for bicycle accidents to happen.
If you are injured in a bicycle accident, contact an accident lawyer. At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., we have years of experience helping cyclists get the compensation they need and deserve. We understand the complex laws that apply to bicycle accidents, and we are here to help you get the justice you deserve.
Bicycle Crash Statistics in Washington DC
According to the District Department of Transportation, between 2005 and 2010, there was an average of 653 crashes involving pedestrians and 334 accidents involving bicyclists each year. Almost a decade later, this number has significantly increased. In 6 months, between March and August of 2019, 404 bicycle crashes occurred in Washington.
COVID-19 and Bicycle Accidents in D.C.
Due to the pandemic shutdown, bicycle crashes dipped to 163 in 2020, an almost 60% year-over-year change. However, even as vehicle traffic reduced, fatal bike accidents remained steady. According to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, nearly one-third of the people killed in traffic crashes in the D.C. area in 2020 were pedestrians or bicyclists.
Bicycle Accidents Across the United States
Bicycle accidents are a nationwide problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration compiled a fact sheet for accidents involving bicyclists and other cyclists in 2019. They found:
- There were 846 fatal bicycle accidents in the United States, which accounted for 2.3 percent of all traffic fatalities during the year.
- Forty-nine thousand pedal cyclists were injured.
- The pedal cyclist fatality rate per 100,000 people was six times higher for males than females.
- 78% of bicyclist fatalities in motor vehicle crashes were in urban areas.
- From 2009 to 2018, the average age of bicyclists killed in accidents involving motor vehicles increased from 41 to 47.
- Among cyclist deaths, 34% involved alcohol either for the motor vehicle driver or bicycle rider.
- The states with the most bicycle fatalities are California, Florida, and Texas.
Common Causes of Bicycle Injuries and Deaths
Many different factors can contribute to bicycle-related injuries. In some cases, it may result from poor road conditions, such as potholes or debris. Other times, it may be due to the negligence of a driver or rider. Here are some of the most common causes of bicycle deaths and injuries:
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Making illegal turns
- Opening car doors into the path of a cyclist, also known as “dooring.”
Ways to Practice Bicycle Safety in D.C.
Even if you are the most cautious cyclist, there is always the potential for an accident. However, there are some steps you can take to help reduce your risk of being involved in a crash.
Here are some safety tips for cyclists in Washington D.C.:
- Wear bright and reflective clothing
- Use front and rear lights when biking at night or in low-light conditions
- Ride in the direction of traffic
- Use marked bike lanes when available
- Obey all traffic laws, including stop signs and red lights
- Signal your turns
- Yield to pedestrians
- Wear a helmet
- Avoid riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Comparative Fault in Washington DC for bicyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable users
In most comparative fault systems, each driver is assigned a percentage of fault for the accident. For example, in a pure comparative negligence jurisdiction, this means that if one driver is considered 80% at fault and another 20%, then each party will pay their proportional share of damages based on those percentages (e.g., $100,000 total in losses equals an award worth $80,000 from Driver A to B since they caused more harm than anyone else). Washington, DC, has a comparative negligence statute that only applies to bicycles, pedestrians, and other vulnerable users. Washington, DC’s law is one of the best laws in the country. If you were a bicyclist, pedestrian, or other vulnerable user, and you were 50% negligent or less, you can recover 100% of your damages.
What We Can Do For You After a Bicycle Accident
The Washington, D.C. bicycle accident lawyers with Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have a proven track record of success helping clients obtain the maximum compensation possible for injuries they have suffered due to the negligence of others. Our firm has consistently demonstrated we have the expertise needed to help our clients see that justice is served. We have the resources needed to conduct thorough investigations of all the circumstances contributing to a bicycle accident, gathering the evidence needed to establish liability and negligence.
Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has achieved more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements, and our attorneys have more than a century of combined legal experience. Two of our partners are certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our firm has also earned the highest AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, one of the most respected attorney-ranking service organizations in the United States. Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. attorneys work passionately on behalf of our clients to help them secure fair compensation – there is no type of case that is too complex for us to litigate.
Recovering Damages in a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
Many factors go into determining the value of your bike accident claim. These include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our attorneys have experience evaluating cases just like yours to determine what they may be worth and will work hard to get you fair compensation for your injuries.
We Get You Results
For more than 50 years, the Washington DC lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have successfully represented individuals and families who have been injured or lost loved ones as the result of someone else’s negligence. Here is a small sample of some of our successful verdicts and settlements:
- $3.5 million for a bicyclist who suffered a brain injury when a District of Columbia police officer opened his door into traffic and “doored” him.
- $6 million on behalf of a man who suffered a brain injury as a result of a rear-end collision.
- $5 million medical malpractice settlement on behalf of a 14-year-old client who suffered a severe brain injury as a result of a doctor’s inappropriate use of a chemical product.
- $4.8 million on behalf of a severely injured man when his motorcycle struck a trailer being pulled by a minivan.
- $4.5 million for a woman who was seriously injured in a pedestrian accident after being struck from behind by a transit bus in a crosswalk.
See additional examples of our case victories and settlements on our “Case Results” page.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you are looking for the highest level of representation available for your bicycle accident claim, turn to Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Our firm has helped clients recover more than $500 million in compensation, and we have more than 100 years of combined experience. All of our partners are recognized by Washington, D.C Super Lawyers®, and our firm includes three past presidents of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
We work to help our clients obtain fair settlement offers to compensate them for the injuries they’ve suffered, but our attorneys are extremely well-equipped to go to trial if needed. Call (202) 659-8600 or contact us online to get the proven legal representation you deserve.