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D.C. Council Delays Voting on Bill to Protect Pedestrians and Bicyclists in Civil Suits

By: Allan M. Siegel

In motor vehicle collision and other personal injury lawsuits, the District of Columbia abides by the rule of contributory negligence. Under this rule, if the victim of an accident bears some responsibility for being injured – even much less responsibility than the person who actually hurt the victim – then the victim cannot recover any money at all in a lawsuit. At this point, only D.C. and three states in the United States still use the rule of contributory negligence.

DC Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident LawyerHowever, the D.C. Council is considering passing a law that would partially modify the rule of contributory negligence. Under the proposed law, a pedestrian or bicyclist will be able to recover money after being injured by another person’s negligence, as long as the victim was not mostly at fault for his or her own injury. (However, at least one Council member wishes to modify the proposed law so that if the victim bears some responsibility for his or her injuries, then the monetary award would be reduced to an extent).

At the end of June, the Council was presented with an opportunity to vote on the proposed law, which has been under consideration for years. Unfortunately, the Council chose to kick the can down the road, and delayed a vote on the proposed law. As a result, under Council procedures, the Council will not have another opportunity to vote on the proposal until the Fall of 2016.

In the meantime, pedestrians and bicyclists seeking compensation for their injuries will face a more challenging legal landscape, and need effective legal representation that much more. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision, then you should contact the personal injury lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., for a free consultation.