Helping You Heal After A Bicycle Accident
Bicycling on public roads is one of the most dangerous forms of transportation. As a bicyclist, you lack both the frame protection of an automobile and the ability to accelerate out of trouble that a motorcyclist enjoys. Unfortunately, the number of preventable bicycle accident deaths increased by 37% from 2009 to 2019. Although injuries have declined significantly, they still add up to hundreds of thousands of injury accidents per year.
Bicycle accidents are often the fault of motorists who simply aren’t looking out for bicyclists the way that they look out for automobiles. Because you enjoy almost no protection, your injuries are likely to be more serious than those suffered by people injured in auto accidents. You are almost certainly going to need a Pennsylvania bicycle accident lawyer.
Insurance Claims For Bicycle Accidents
If the driver of a motor vehicle injures you while you are riding a bicycle, who do you look to for payment of your claim? If you own a car and carry automobile accident insurance, your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance should pay your claim under most circumstances, since Pennsylvania is a “no-fault” auto insurance state. This applies even if you were at fault for the accident.
If you carry only the mandatory minimum of PIP insurance, however, it will pay only the first $5,000 of your claim. If your claim exceeds that amount, you can look to your own health insurance for coverage. These sources will not cover certain damages such as pain and suffering.
Third-Party Claim Lawsuits
Whether you can sue an at-fault driver in Pennsylvania depends on whether you have full tort or limited tort insurance. Vehicle accident victims with limited tort insurance cannot sue a negligent driver for pain and suffering unless their injuries were “serious” as defined by Pennsylvania law. As a bicycle accident victim, however, you are not subject to this restriction. You can sue the other driver for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Other out-of-pocket expenses such as child care
Remember, however, that no matter how many sources pay you money, your cumulative compensation cannot exceed your actual damages.
Wrongful Death Claims
The death rate for bicycle accidents is high, for obvious reasons. Although no one can file a lawsuit in the name of a deceased victim, the personal representative of the victim’s probate estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the personal representative delays more than six months, the victim’s beneficiaries can file the lawsuit. You win a wrongful death lawsuit by proving that the defendant was negligent and that they caused the death of the victim.
The defendant can reduce or even eliminate their own liability by proving that you were partly at fault for your own injuries. The court will assign each party a percentage of fault for the accident. If your percentage of fault is less than 51%, whatever your percentage of fault is will come out of your recovery. If your damages were $50,000 and your percentage of fault was 10%, for example, you will lose 10% ($5,000), leaving you with $45,000.
Here are some of the ways that the defendant might try to blame you for a bicycle accident:
- You failed to wear a helmet (this can reduce your damages even without a law requiring you to wear a helmet).
- Your bicycle lacked a front headlight and a rear reflector.
- You pulled out in front of the defendant.
The assistance of a skilled bicycle accident attorney is crucial because there are 100 other ways that the defendant might seek to blame you for the accident. You are unlikely, however, to run into one that I haven’t dealt with successfully before.
How My Firm Can Help You
Don’t try to handle a bicycle accident claim on your own, with a substandard lawyer, or with a lawyer who lacks experience in personal injury cases. Following is a description of some of the ways Mansour Law, LLC, can help you.
Reconstructing The Accident
My team can reconstruct the accident based on available evidence, taking into account the unique features of bicycle accidents. Reconstructing an accident makes it easier to assign fault.
Gathering Admissible Evidence
In law, nothing is true unless you can prove it with admissible evidence. The key here is the word “admissible,” because it takes considerable familiarity with the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence to determine what is and is not admissible. Admissible evidence is just as valuable at the negotiating table as it is in court.
Determining The True Value Of Your Claim
The total value of your claim might be worth more than you think it is. Have you considered, for example, that the value of your pain and suffering might be worth more than half the total amount of your claim?
Negotiating With The Opposing Party
In all likelihood, any negotiation will take place against an insurance company executive. These people are professionals at the art of negotiating, and you could lose your shirt without a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf. I know all their negotiating tricks, and I am not going to fall for any of them. In all likelihood, your claim will be settled with no trial necessary.
File A Formal Lawsuit If Necessary
You might need to file a lawsuit even if you ultimately intend to settle your claim. Filing a lawsuit proves you mean business. It also gives you access to evidence gathering processes that a court will enforce. You must draft a complaint with great care, because every word matters. Fortunately, I have drafted hundreds of lawsuit complaints before.
The Mansour Law Difference
Ultimately, retaining a lawyer offers you the likelihood of better compensation, even after you pay your attorney. Since mine is a small law firm, I am able to provide more personalized service to my clients. When you call or email, someone will ALWAYS answer – and quickly. I will even provide you with my personal cell phone number.
I will provide you with individualized, compassionate, and fearless representation. Contact my bike accident law firm, Mansour Law, LLC, by calling 610-936-6863 or by contacting me online. Remember, you only pay me if you win!