How many bikes does your family have? How often do you take the time to get out and ride? Whether you are a regular rider or an occasional cyclist, you know that there are risks when you hit the road. Negligent drivers can cause serious injuries to bicyclists.
At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., we are here to help when you need a Philadelphia bicycle accident attorney. We will work diligently to investigate your case so we can move to secure compensation for all of your crash-related expenses.
Remember the rules you learned when you first started riding a bicycle. Stop at stop signs, look both ways, use all proper riding surfaces. Unfortunately, we know that bicyclists are much more vulnerable to major injuries when they are involved in a crash.
Data available from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation shows us that bicycle accident are not uncommon in and around the Commonwealth. During the latest full year of reporting in PA, we can see that there were:
- 1,020 total bicycle crashes
- 16 bicyclist fatalities
- 1,003 bicyclist injuries
Please know that nearly every bicycle crash resulted in an injury or a fatality. Bicyclists have virtually no protection against the force of a vehicle slamming into them. Even if a cyclist is wearing a helmet, we commonly see the following injuries in the aftermath of a bike crash:
- Spinal cord injuries (with possible paralysis)
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal organ damage/internal bleeding
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Severe lacerations or amputations
These injuries can become incredibly costly. Aside from the emergency medical treatment, in many cases life-saving surgery and follow-up surgeries are necessary. If long-term rehabilitation is needed, a victim could be out of work for extended periods of time, further compounding the financial stresses. The hidden costs of accidents can send individuals and families into financial ruin.
- A bicycle crash victim and their family should not have to suffer financially if another person caused the crash.
We know that bicyclists are vulnerable to much of the same negligent driving behavior as anyone else on the roadway:
- Speeding and reckless drivers
- Impaired drivers
- Distracted drivers
We also know that many drivers simply ignore bicyclists around them. They often do not give them the space they need to ride on the roadway. In many cases, a cyclist is struck by impatient drivers in areas where they have the right-of-way like crosswalks, intersections, and bike paths.
Steps to Take After a Bicycle Crash in Philadelphia
There are various steps that bicycle accident victims need to take in the aftermath of a collision in order to ensure that they receive the compensation they are entitled to. Our Pennsylvania bicycle accident lawyers recommend that bicyclists take the following steps:
- Seek immediate medical care: If you have sustained an injury, seek medical care as soon as possible. This will ensure that the bicyclist receives the treatment that they need while also establishing a link between the incident and the injuries.
- Gather evidence if possible: If it is safe to do so at the scene of the crash, and if the injuries are not too severe, the evidence-gathering process can begin. This can include using a cell phone to take photographs of everything at the scene, including damage to vehicles and the bicycle, injuries, skid marks, debris, traffic and weather conditions, and more.
- Report the incident to insurance carriers: In many cases, auto insurance will help pay for bicycle accident injuries and losses. These incidents need to be reported to the insurance carrier as soon as possible but do not go into much detail with the initial report. All the carrier needs to know is that the crash occurred and who was involved.
- Work with a skilled bicycle accident lawyer: A skilled bicycle accident lawyer in Pennsylvania needs to be involved in the case early so that they can obtain and preserve evidence, determine liability, and handle all communication and negotiations with other parties.
What if There was Shared Liability?
We are often asked what happens if a bicyclist is partially to blame for the accident that caused the bicyclist’s injuries. This can become complicated, but we need to point out that Pennsylvania operates under a “modified comparative negligence” rule. This means that even a person partially involved for their own injuries can still recover compensation, so long as they are not 51% or more responsible for the incident. Any person 51% or more at fault for a collision will not be able to recover compensation for their losses.
If a person is 50% or less responsible for a bicycle crash, they will still be able to recover compensation for their losses. However, the total amount of compensation they receive will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.
Can I Recover Damages if I Have ‘Limited Tort’ On My Auto Insurance Policy?
Yes, you absolutely can recover compensation if you have been injured in a bicycle accident caused by the negligent actions of someone else in Philadelphia. In PA, bicyclists are considered pedestrians for the purposes of these incidents and pedestrian accidents in Pennsylvania are always handled as “full tort” claims, regardless of whether you actually chose limited tort or full tort on your auto policy.
Additionally, if you do not own a car (and have no insurance), and if you are not covered under the auto insurance policy of anyone in your household, then you can still recover medical expense damages from the at-fault party in the bicycle accident.
If You Have Been In A Crash
Even if you take steps to ride safely, you cannot control the actions and behaviors of the drivers around you. If you have been injured in a bicycle crash, Soloff & Zervanos, P.C. is ready to step in. Our knowledgeable and experienced team will work diligently to investigate the crash so we can secure compensation for all of your incident-related expenses, including:
- Coverage of medical costs
- Recovery of lost wages if you are unable to work
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
Although riding a bicycle is considered to be a fairly safe activity, any bicyclist in Philadelphia or elsewhere in Pennsylvania knows that there is always a risk of getting into an accident when sharing the road with other vehicles.
It is a fact that it can be challenging to obtain compensation as an injured bicyclist in Pennsylvania due to the widespread bias against cyclists in our state and treacherous insurance companies who make a living at the expense of innocent people.
Our Philadelphia bicycle accident attorney from Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., will make sure that you (a) get fair compensation for your injury and (b) do not fall prey to dishonest and fraudulent tactics used by Pennsylvanian insurers.
What to Do if I Believe That My Bicycle Was Not Properly Repaired Before the Accident?
One of our clients has recently asked our Philadelphia bicycle accident attorney here at Soloff & Zervanos, P.C. “I brought my bicycle in for repairs before the crash, and I have reason to believe that my bike was not properly repaired, which caused me to lose control while riding. Can the mechanic or repair shop be held liable?”
Absolutely yes. You do not necessarily have to prove another motorist’s fault to obtain compensation for damages and losses suffered in a bicycle accident. If you can prove that the repair shop or mechanic negligently repaired your bike and that a malfunction or defect contributed to your accident, then you may have a right to recover damages.
What to Do if My Bicycle Accident Was Caused by Riding Over a Pothole?
Many bicycle accidents occur when cyclists ride over a pothole, which can throw them off their bikes and cause severe injuries. Potholes or other poor road conditions are not acceptable in the state of Pennsylvania.
Depending on the type of property where your accident took place, you may be able to bring a claim against a private property owner or a government agency if you can prove that the defendant knew about the hazard or it existed for such an unreasonably long period of time that the defendant could have repaired the condition.
Should I Give a Recorded Statement to the Insurer?
Shortly after your bicycle crash, you will get a phone call from an insurance company adjuster asking you to give a recorded statement. While talking to insurance companies may not seem harmful, our Philadelphia bicycle accident attorney advises you against giving recorded statements to insurers because insurance companies use these statements as the basis to deny claims.