Gorgeous scenery, challenging terrain, and a tight-knit, adventurous community make West Virginia a destination for mountain bikers worldwide. Although 24-hour races like the Tour of Canaan established its international reputation, the state has many beautiful trails for enthusiasts of all skill levels. The 78-mile Greenbriar River Trail winds along reclaimed railroad tracks and showcases 35 bridges, two tunnels, and many charming small towns.
In addition to riding on dedicated bicycle trails, many cyclists use the West Virginia roads for pleasure, fitness, and commuting. Collisions involving bicycles and motor vehicles are unfortunately common. Sadly, West Virginia has been listed as one of the top ten most dangerous states for cyclists.
Bike Accidents Often Lead to Severe, Debilitating Injuries
Collisions between cars or trucks and bikes often cause serious or fatal injuries. Although prevention is everyone’s primary goal, cyclists need experienced counsel to recover what they deserve when accidents occur.
Even in low-speed collisions, riders are often thrown from their bicycles. They suffer serious injuries, like broken bones, lacerations, muscle or ligament tears, severe bruising, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and hemorrhaging. Recovering from these injuries can take weeks or months — even years. Some accidents leave riders permanently disfigured or debilitated. Without an attorney, many injured cyclists considerably underestimate the value of their losses.
Liability for Bicycle Accidents
The same traffic laws for cars and other motor vehicles apply to bicycles traveling on West Virginia roads. Cyclists must abide by the rules of the road (including stopping and yielding the right of way). As long as they do so, they are legally entitled to use the roadways in the same manner as motor vehicles.
Drivers have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care toward other users of the roadways, including bicyclists. Many accidents between bicycles and motor vehicles occur due to a motorist violating traffic laws or being otherwise negligent or reckless. When this is the case, the driver may be held liable for a cyclist’s damages.
An injured bicyclist may recover compensation for economic damages related to an accident, including expenses like medical bills, lost wages, and repair or replacement of their bicycle. They may also recover compensation for pain and suffering, wrongful death, and other losses. If a driver’s behavior is especially egregious or negligent, including in cases of intentional injury or drunk driving, a cyclist may be able to recover punitive damages.
In certain situations, a cyclist might also be able to recover compensation from someone other than a driver. If hazardous roadways contribute to the occurrence, a cyclist may be able to file suit against a municipal agency or company responsible for maintaining the roads. If the driver was engaged in commercial activity (for example, a delivery van driver), an injured biker might be able to recover from the driver’s employer. In rare cases, a defective bicycle or bike part may cause an accident, leading to a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer or distributor.
What to Do if You Are Injured in a West Virginia Bike Accident
If you are injured in a bicycle accident in West Virginia, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. It’s beneficial to collect information at the scene or have someone do so on your behalf. Take photographs and videos of the roadway, vehicles, and weather conditions. Collect contact information from the driver and any witnesses. Record as much information about the occurrence as soon as possible, including your recollections of what happened.
You must file suit against a driver or other private entity within two years of an accident. However, shorter time limits may apply if you have claims against a municipal agency or manufacturer. An attorney can help you understand your possible options for recovery and the time limits that apply.
Recovering everything you deserve for bicycle injuries can be an uphill climb. If you, a loved one, or a child has been hurt in a bicycle accident, you need to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Our experienced bicycle injury attorneys can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Call or text us today at 304-245-6613 to schedule your complimentary case evaluation.