Time Limits for Filing a Bicycle Accident Claim
Maryland and D.C. laws impose a time limit on filing a lawsuit for damages arising from a bicycle accident. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations.
Under Maryland and D.C. laws, a lawsuit seeking compensation for personal injury or property damage suffered in a bicycle accident must be brought within three years of the date of the accident. A person who fails to file their lawsuit within the statute of limitations will be forever barred from bringing a court claim arising from their bicycle accident.
The statute of limitations is also different for claimants under the age of 18. Both Maryland and D.C. allow a minor to bring a legal claim within three years of turning 18.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Bicycle Accident
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, there are things you can do to protect your legal rights and make it easier for you to pursue a claim for compensation in the future.
You should also seek prompt medical attention – including emergency treatment – even if you do not at first think your injuries are very serious. Pain and other symptoms can take time to develop from an injury you’ve suffered in your accident. Prompt identification of your injuries can improve your physical recovery and make it hard for the other party to claim that your injuries were preexisting or caused after your accident.
If possible, you or someone you know should take photos of the accident scene, including the positions of your bicycle and the other vehicles in the accident, any damage to your bike or other vehicles involved, any skid marks on the road, the road conditions, the lighting and weather conditions, and any traffic controls at the scene. These photographs may be useful for reconstructing how the accident occurred.
As soon as you are able, you should contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney who can start the process of developing and pursuing a legal claim for compensation for your damages. An attorney will know what evidence to collect and can handle negotiations with the insurance companies to seek a settlement and fair and full compensation for your losses.
Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
Unlike occupants of motor vehicles, cyclists have little or no protection around them, other than maybe a helmet. Consequently, victims of bicycle accidents are often subject to severe, life-altering injuries.
Some of the most common injuries in bicycle accidents include:
- Road rash, also known as road burn, which occurs when a rider is thrown from the bicycle and contacts the pavement at speed
- Dislocated joints
- Soft-tissue injuries, including strains and tears of muscles, tendons, and ligaments
- Broken bones
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries such as concussions, brain bleeding, and coma
- Neck and back injuries, such as whiplash
- Spinal cord injuries, including temporary paralysis caused by swelling on the spinal cord or permanent paralysis caused by severed nerves
- Internal organ injuries, whether through blunt force trauma or perforation, leading to internal bleeding or tears to internal organs
If an accident is severe enough, it can inflict injuries that can lead to death.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can happen for any number of reasons. However, some causes of bicycle accidents are more common than others. Some of the most likely causes of bicycle accidents on Maryland and D.C. roads include:
- Distracted driving – Drivers may become distracted by cell phones, radios, or passengers in their vehicles, potentially missing the fact that they are about to have an unsafe encounter with a bicycle (such as passing a bicycle too closely).
- Speeding – Speeding gives drivers less time to react to sudden movements by other motorists or cyclists on the road, increasing the likelihood of an accident and the severity of injuries that result.
- Lane crowding – Some drivers attempt to pass cyclists without allowing them sufficient space in the lane or veer into designated bicycle lanes occupied by cyclists.
- Unsafe turns or lane changes – Drivers may turn and cross intersections or designated bicycle lanes without checking to see if there are oncoming bicycles or may turn or change lanes without signaling first.
The risks of bicycle accidents increase when bicycles are in more confined spaces with vehicles, such as parking lots, garages, and driveways.
Talk to Our Bicycle Accident Attorney Now
If you have been injured through no fault of your own while riding a bicycle on the roads of Maryland or D.C., you should seek compensation for your damages and injuries. Don’t wait another day to begin pursuing the financial recovery and justice you deserve.
Contact Trollinger Law LLC’s Charles County bicycle accident attorney today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options and learn more about how we can help pursue the compensation you deserve.