Street or Sidewalk: Where Can I Ride My Bike in the Washington, DC Area?

By Cory Bilton

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Spring is slowly arriving to the Washington, DC area.  If you haven’t already, it’s time to dust off your bicycle, pump up the tires, and start riding again.  An issue that continually comes up is whether bicyclists can ride in the street, or on a sidewalk, or both.  The simple answer is yes to all three (though it might be impossible to do “both” at the same time).  There are a few caveats to this, but there is far more confusion among pedestrians, motorists, police officers, judges, and lawyers over this than there should be.  Since I like to dig down to the source, the following references provide the legal foundation for whether bicyclists can ride on streets or sidewalks around the DC metropolitan area.

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Will the ACA Make Liability Insurance Cheaper in the Washington, DC Area?

By Cory Bilton

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Open enrollment for health insurance offered by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) recently wrapped up.  Initial reports indicate 7.1 million people have signed up for health insurance through the exchanges since the ACA enrollment started.  Many personal injury lawyers, myself included, are curious to see what effect the ACA will have on our clients.  Back when open enrollment first started, I made a number of practical predictions about how the ACA will affect our clients and practice.  Last week, the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation issued a new report predicting the effect the ACA will have on different types of liability insurance, such as automobile insurance.  While some of the information in the report is insightful, much of the analysis has limited application to the DC metropolitan area.

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Maryland Legislature Says “No More Free Bites” to Dog Owners

By Cory Bilton

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Chuck Berry, one of the pioneers of rock-and-roll, used to say, “Don’t let the same dog bite you twice.”  Although he probably wasn’t referring to legal liability, the quote closely resembles the common law “One Bite Rule.”  The rule says that the owner of a dog isn’t liable for injuries caused when the dog bites someone, so long as the dog had never bitten anyone before.  Put another way, every dog gets one free bite.  Until a dog bites someone, so the logic goes, the dog’s owner has no reason to think the dog would bite someone.  Last week, the Maryland legislature passed a new law that makes it much harder for any Maryland dogs to get a free bite.

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The Growing Impact of Predictive Modeling on Personal Injury Law

By Cory Bilton

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Numerous factors go into determining the value of an injured client’s case.  Initial injuries, cost and duration of medical care, long-term injuries, and the limitation of a person’s activities are just a few of the factors to consider in determining the value of a personal injury claim.  How about the injured person’s FICO credit score?  It’s not a factor that we consider.  However, the insurance industry is adopting new methods to search for just this kind of unconventional connection.  They call it predictive modeling and it is Big Data’s latest promise to the insurance industry.  Since most personal injury cases involve insurance adjusters and defense attorneys hired by insurers, predictive modeling will have a significant impact on the future of personal injury law.

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