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Progress for Legal Protections of DC Pedestrians and Cyclists

By: Allan M. Siegel

Mayor Bowser recently signed into law the much-anticipated Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2016. The act will provide additional protections to the legal claims of pedestrians, cyclists and other ‘non-motorized users’ injured in a collision with a motor vehicle. ‘Non-motorized users’ include people on skateboards, non-motorized scooters, Segways, tricycles, and other similar ‘non-powered transportation devices.’

DC Bicycle and Pedestrian Accident AttorneyThe act will limit the application of contributory negligence law to non-motorized DC resident and visitors’ claims. Contributory negligence is an old law that significantly limits a crash victim’s ability to seek compensation. For example, under contributory negligence law, if a person were on foot, hit by a truck, and found to be just 1% at fault for the collision-that individual would not be eligible for compensation. Once officially enacted, the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act will change this outdated law. For example, under the new law, if a pedestrian or cyclist is found to be less than 50% liable for the collision, they may seek compensation for their injuries.

It is of note that this law does not affect the legal application of the ‘Last Chance Doctrine’ on these cases.

On October 13, 2016 the Act was sent to Congress for review, and the projected law date is now in mid-December of 2016. The attorneys of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel are always closely monitoring the law and how any changes may affect those injured in a vehicular collision. Please call today for a free consultation.