Bicycle Accidents in Western PA
Pittsburgh injury law firm
- Bike vs. Automobile or Truck
- Insurance Claims
- Bicycle Laws
- Bicycle vs. Ground or Unsafe Condition
- Statute of Limitations
- Additional Information
In the current times of rising gasoline prices, more and more people are opting to commute to work on bicycles. When added to the already large contingent of recreational cyclists, there are thousands of people in our region who are forced to share the road with motorists. Defined bike lanes on roads in the area are a rarity, thus narrowing the space between car and bicyclist even further.
Injuries suffered due to bicycle accidents are often severe because of minimal body protection, awkward falls, and the speeds involved. Some of the potential injuries include severe head and skull fractures, a myriad of broken limbs, and life-threatening spinal cord injuries stemming from trauma to the neck and back. The risk of serious injury is increased for bike accidents because many victims of cycling accidents are children.
The majority of bike accidents involve a cyclist and a motor vehicle. Some cyclists assume that if they were not actually hit by a car then they have no claim; this is incorrect. Cyclists can recover for any auto accident that was caused by the negligence of a driver. This includes scenarios such as crashing due to taking evasive action to avoid a vehicle or being run off of the road by a driver who is not paying attention to his or her surroundings.
When you are involved in a bicycle accident caused by a car or truck, it is generally treated as a motor vehicle accident. Regardless of the fact that you were on a bike, the accident will be handled through the driver’s and your own car insurance policies. In these situations, it is important to note what coverage you have chosen on your car insurance policy:
- Uninsured motorist coverage (UM)
- Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM)
- Full tort liability
- Limited tort liability
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM): This option is extremely beneficial when the at-fault driver has no car insurance to pay for your injuries. In Pennsylvania, drivers are required to have car insurance, but many cannot afford it. Under these circumstances, your auto accident insurance policy will act in place of the at-fault driver’s, and pay out to you for your injuries.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM): If you chose this option, it assists you in recovering the full amount needed for your injuries. In Pennsylvania, drivers are required to have auto insurance, so this leads many to simply purchase the cheapest legal policy available. Most of these only pay $15,000.00 toward injuries to another. In this situation, where the at-fault driver is under-insured, your car insurance policy will make up the monetary difference between what the at-fault driver’s policy paid and what was actually needed for your injuries.
Full Tort / Limited Tort Liability: This option makes a world of difference in a motor vehicle accident as far as determining damages for which you can sue. However, in a vehicle/bicycle accident where you are the victim, this option is moot. All bicycle claims are allowed to be full tort, regardless of what your car insurance might reflect. This means that you can sue for all damages including medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering, loss of future earnings, emotional distress and disfigurement, to name a few. If you were stuck with limited tort liability then you could only sue for medical bills and wage loss. The full tort status for bicycle claims allows for greater settlement potential.
These insurance claims can become extremely complicated and it is in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident so that we may assist you. In the situation where the driver has no insurance and you do not have car insurance, there are resources in Pennsylvania designed to assist you in paying for your medical bills. Please contact our firm so that we can help you get these important benefits.
Simply being in a bicycle accident does not absolve you from all responsibility. Just as a driver has a duty of reasonable care to all bicyclists and pedestrians, bicyclists also have a duty to follow the Pennsylvania bicycle laws. Click here to learn about the regulations set by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. It is important that you adhere to the laws when you are riding, as failure to do so may hurt your potential claim.
Cyclists could also sue for any other negligence that caused them to crash, resulting in injuries. The poor design or deteriorating condition of roadways, parking lots, or sidewalks, which caused your accident, would be prime examples of other potential negligence claims.
If you or a family member is a victim of a bike accident due to a vehicle or an unsafe condition, please call Rudberg Law Offices, LLC for a free consultation.
Please remember that adults only have two (2) years from the date of the accident in which to file a claim and children have two (2) years from their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit for their injuries. It is always best to pursue a claim as soon as possible, as it can become difficult as time passes. It always helps to gather as much information as possible about the accident, including insurance information, the description of the vehicle, license plate number, and pictures of the scene.
For additional information, you may find the following links useful:
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bicycle Safety
Contact a skilled accident lawyer in Pittsburgh
If you have been injured in any type of accident caused by the careless or wrongful actions of others, call the Pittsburgh accident attorneys of Rudberg Law Offices, LLC for assistance at (412) 488-6000, (866) 306-2667, or complete our quick contact web form.