Monday, September 15, 2014

Hearing on the “Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Amendment Act of 2014”

Monday, September 29, 2014, Councilmember Tommy Wells, Chairperson of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, will hold a hearing on the "Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Amendment Act of 2014" (View Legislation).  The hearing will be held at 12:30 pm, the John A. Wilson Building, Room 500, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004

This proposed legislation, co-sponsored by Council members Cheh, Grosso, and Wells, would adopt a comparative negligence standard for damages recovery in bicycle and motor vehicles collisions. Comparative negligence is a rule of law applied in accident cases to determine responsibility and damages based on the negligence of every party directly involved in a crash.

Section 2 of the "Access to Justice for Bicyclists Act of 2012" would be amended to include the following:
"Any individual who, while riding a bicycle, is involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, shall have the total damages reduced in proportion to the relative degree if fault which is the proximate cause of the injury sustained in the collision".
The current District law, contributory negligence, states that if a person was injured in part due to any fraction negligence (his/her negligence "contributed" to the collision), the injured party would not be entitled to collect any damages from another party who supposedly caused the crash. Under this rule, a badly injured person who was only slightly negligent could not win in court against a very negligent defendant.

For those wishing to testify, please contact Nicole Goines at 724-7808. Include your name name, address, telephone number, and organizational affiliation, if any, by 5 pm Thursday, September 25, 2014. Witnesses should bring 15 copies of their testimony. Testimony may be limited to 3 minutes.

For those unable to testify at the hearing, written statements are encouraged and will be made part of the official record. Written statements should be submitted by 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 9, 2014 to Ms. Goines, Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, Room 109, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 20004, or via email.