Many obstacles on the road that are mere inconveniences for vehicles can cause serious injury to bicyclists. While most people think of collisions with vehicles as the primary cause of accidents with cyclists, defects on the roadways such as potholes or other uneven surfaces are particularly dangerous for people riding on two wheels.
States and Municipalities have a duty to maintain safe streets. If you or a loved one are injured on a bicycle due to road defects it is important to consult an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Emroch & Kilduff are skilled in this area of the law and can help you determine if your accident is a valid claim. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.
Common Road Defects Dangerous for Bicyclists
It is important to be alert when riding a bicycle on the roadway. Understanding what obstacles are dangerous may help you avoid serious injury. Some common road defects are:
- Broken traffic lights
- Unsafe construction sites
- Improper placement or overall design of median
- Improper traffic signs
- Landscaping obstructing view
- Narrow lane width
- Narrow shoulder
- Poor drainage
- Poorly designed intersections
If you are injured by one of these road defects, it is important to fully document the scene of the accident. If you can, take pictures of the affected areas and get contact information from any people who witnessed the accident. In addition, go see your doctor even if you do not think you are seriously injured, as a medical record is critical to recovering compensation. The damage to you and your property may be serious, and an experienced lawyer can help you assess the circumstances and discuss your options.
Virginia Tort Claims Act
A claim for damage to property due to the negligence of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is administered through the VDOT Tort Claims Section in amounts up to $5000. A claim for property damage greater than $5000 falls under the Virginia Tort Claims Act, along with claims for bodily injury. Claims against other entities, such as the United States government, another state, county, city, contractor or private citizen are handled separately from the VDOT.
A bicyclist can bring a road defect claim for bodily injury against the State under the Virginia Tort Claims Act. The following must be established in order to do so:
- Specific notice of a personal injury claim must be served within one year of the accident.
- The damage must be caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee while acting within the scope of their employment.
- Damages are capped at $100,000
A failure to timely file a claim and serve notice can cause your case to be dismissed. Other factors may come into play such as gross negligence or intentional tort situations that could allow for greater recovery in a separate suit. It’s important to contact a lawyer right away to be sure you are within the time frame to recover the most damages possible.
Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
If you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by a road defect, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as you can. An attorney will evaluate your case and help you recover any possible monetary damages owed to you. Contact Emroch & Kilduff at (804) 358-1568 or online for a free case evaluation.