cycling accidents

West Virginia Cycling Accidents: Injuries, Causes & Compensation

Cycling has become an increasingly popular pastime and mode of transportation in West Virginia, with many residents taking advantage of the state’s beautiful landscapes and scenic routes. However, as the number of bicyclists sharing the roads with motor vehicles continues to grow, so does the risk of accidents and serious injuries.

Cycling accidents can have devastating consequences, ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to life-altering injuries and even fatalities.

Let’s look at the common causes of these accidents, the types of injuries sustained, and the options available for cyclists seeking legal remedies in our state.

Typical Cycling Accidents in West Virginia

Driver negligence causes the most cycling accidents in West Virginia.

  • Distracted Driving – texting or using a cell phone while behind the wheel significantly increases the risk of a collision with a cyclist.
  • Speeding and Failure to Yield – negligent driving behavior provoking bicycle accidents at intersections or when sharing roadways.
  • Dangerous Road Conditions – potholes, uneven pavement, and inadequate or non-existent bike lanes create hazardous situations. Poorly maintained shoulders and debris on the road can also pose significant risks.
  • Cyclist Errors – occur when bikers ride against traffic, fail to obey traffic signals, and ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Injuries Sustained in Cycling Accidents

Injury type and severity in cycling crashes vary and depend on vehicle speed, point of impact, and whether the cyclist wore protective gear.

Head and Brain Injuries

Head and brain injuries from direct impact on the ground, a vehicle, or other objects pose severe consequences in bike accidents. Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) have a range of symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and cognitive impairment. In severe cases, TBIs have long-lasting or permanent effects on a cyclist’s quality of life.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are another devastating type of injury that can occur in cycling accidents. Harm includes partial or complete paralysis, drastically altering the victim’s mobility and independence. Recovery and rehabilitation from spinal cord injuries is also an extensive and emotionally challenging process, requiring ongoing medical care and support.

Broken Bones and Fractures

Fractures commonly happen in cycling accidents, with the collarbone, wrist, and arm being among the most frequently affected areas. The severity of these fractures can range from simple breaks that heal relatively quickly to complex fractures requiring surgical intervention and lengthy rehabilitation periods.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries, such as road rash, lacerations, muscle strains, and sprains, are also typical. While these injuries may not be as immediately life-threatening as head or spinal cord injuries, they can still cause significant pain, discomfort, and temporary disability, affecting a cyclist’s ability to work or engage in daily activities.

Legal Considerations for West Virginia Cycling Accident Victims

Individuals with serious cycling accident injuries should understand their legal rights and how to seek compensation from responsible parties.

Causation Requirement

The first step in pursuing a personal injury claim is establishing that another party’s negligence caused the accident. This process involves gathering evidence from the accident scene, such as photos of the damage to your bicycle and any visible injuries, as well as obtaining witness statements and police reports.

Filing Limitations

You should also be aware of West Virginia’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims – two years from the accident date. This limitation means you have a short time to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Some exceptions exist to this rule, such as cases involving minors or those in which the injuries were not immediately apparent. So, it’s always best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to understand which statute applies in your case.

Fault Sharing Mitigation

West Virginia follows a modified comparative fault rule when allocating liability in personal injury cases. Under this system, if the fact finders hold you to be partially responsible for the accident, they may reduce your compensation by your percentage of fault.

Fighting for the Compensation You Deserve After a Cycling Accident

The law entitles West Virginia cycling accident victims to several forms of compensation to redress their losses.

Economic Damages

Economic damages compensate you for the quantifiable financial losses you’ve incurred due to the accident.

These expenses may include medical bills, such as hospital care, doctor’s visits, medication, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages. In cases of permanent disability or diminished earning capacity, you may also be able to recover compensation for your lost future income.

Non-Economic Damages

The law intends these general damages to compensate you for the intangible losses you’ve suffered, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify than economic damages, but they are no less important when ensuring you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

Punitive Damages

In rare cases involving particularly gross negligence or intentional harm, a court may award you punitive damages to punish the at-fault party and deter similar future behavior. However, it’s important to note that West Virginia has caps on punitive damages, which limit the amount the courts can award in most cases.

Whose Insurance Pays for a Bicycle Accident Injury Claim?

Insurance coverage plays a significant role in your cycling accident claim, both in terms of your coverage and that of the at-fault party.

Personal Coverage

Your health insurance may help cover your medical expenses. Similarly, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can provide additional protection if the at-fault driver lacks sufficient insurance to compensate you for your losses.

Third-Party Coverage

The at-fault driver’s liability coverage may also come into play, offering compensation for your injuries and damages. However, you must remember that insurance companies are ultimately big businesses to minimize payouts (and increase profits) whenever possible.

So, be cautious when dealing with insurance adjusters and avoid accepting bicycle settlement offers without first consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you understand the real value of your claim.

Get Justice After a Bike Accident – Contact Miley Legal Today

Were you injured in a bicycle accident in West Virginia? Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Miley Legal can help you take on the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Our personal injury law firm offers free consultations and case evaluations where you can learn more about your legal options. We’ll investigate your accident, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, ensuring your rights are protected at every step.

Contact us today and take the first step towards holding negligent drivers responsible for their actions.

Author Bio

Tim Miley is the Founder of Miley Legal Accident Injury Lawyers, a West Virginia personal injury law firm he formed in 2006. With more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, brain injuries, wrongful death, and other personal injury matters.

Tim received his Juris Doctor from Duquesne University and is a member of the West Virginia State Bar and the Harrison County Bar Association. He has helped his clients win more than $10 million in personal injury verdicts and settlements and has further served the people of West Virginia by filling legislative roles in the state’s government since 2004.

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