Many people in Philadelphia ride bicycles in the city, and the number is growing. In fact, the American Community Survey found that the number of bicycle commuters in the city grew from 14,397 in 2016 to 17,180 in 2017 – a 19.3 percent increase. Unfortunately, Philadelphia is also one of the most dangerous U.S. cities for bicyclists.
There are many causes of traffic collisions involving bicycles, most of which involve some sort of negligence. A person is negligent when they fail to act with the level of care that any ordinary, reasonable person would have used in the same situation. Negligence refers to actions as well as no action when there was a duty to act, such as failing to stop someone from becoming injured. Negligence can apply to individuals, organizations, and government entities.
If you sustained injuries in a bike accident that someone else caused, we can help. Contact Gay & Chacker at (215) 567-7955 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can answer questions you may have about your legal rights and obtaining compensation.
Common Causes of Bike Injury Accidents
More than 850 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2018 alone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 75% of all bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas like Philadelphia. The NHTSA’s National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior reports that the biggest threats bicyclists feel to their safety are as follows:
- Motorists (88%)
- Uneven walkways or roadways (37%)
- Dogs or other animals (24%)
- Potential for crime (17%)
Of the 2 million bicyclists who suffered injuries nationally over the survey’s two-year period, an estimated 457,000 were injured by a motor vehicle. Motorists most commonly cause bike accidents by doing one of the following:
Opening a vehicle door in the path of a bicyclist.
Coming into a bicyclist’s path at an intersection or when pulling into or out of a driveway, parking lot, or alley.
Rear-ending, sideswiping or causing a right-hook collision by failing to safely overtake a bike.
A bike rider is no match for a motorist in a collision. That’s why it’s especially important for drivers to share the road and always drive considerately and attentively.
Unsafe road conditions also cause some bicycle accidents. That’s why the City of Philadelphia is expected to maintain safe driving and riding conditions. A crash resulting from a road hazard has its own legal complexities. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible can help ensure you are still able to claim compensation for the harm you’ve suffered.
Philadelphia Bicycle Law
The Pennsylvania Vehicle Code outlines the rules regarding bicycle riding. The Code considers bikes to be vehicles, so riders have all the rights and responsibilities applicable to a vehicle driver. However, there are a few exceptions involving equipment, sidewalks, parking, helmets, and more. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation outlines each of these rules here.
Likewise, there are specific PA laws that apply to motorists traveling around bicycles. For example, Pennsylvania requires motorists to leave at least three feet between their vehicle and a bicycle when passing. These laws help bicyclists and motorists avoid traffic collisions.
What to Do if You’re a Bicyclist Hit by a Car
Step 1: Seek Professional Medical Attention
Get medical help right away, no matter the extent of the accident. At first, you may think your injuries from a bike accident are not bad enough to require a trip to the emergency room. However, some injuries do not show up immediately. Seeking medical help right after a collision can help diagnose serious problems as soon as possible. That way, you can start to receive treatment and help prevent the issue from worsening. In addition, records from a medical professional will help you receive the compensation you need from the insurance company.
Step 2: Get Help with Your Injury Claim
If you were injured in Pennsylvania, state law holds that the driver is responsible for your injuries, regardless of the insurance they have. You do not have to prove that you have a permanent injury or disability to recoup your financial losses. Compensation can cover many areas, including:
- Medical expenses, including medication, therapy, doctor’s office visits, hospitalization, assistive devices, and rehabilitation,
- Past, current, and future lost wages and benefits,
- Property loss or damage,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of participation in family life,
- End-of-life expenses (if applicable), and more.
It is possible to file an insurance claim on your own. However, you will face a company that is an expert at finding ways to pay you as little as possible. The strength of your claim does not matter to the insurance company. Without a lawyer present, they will not take you seriously. They will prolong the process and find loopholes to get out of paying you the money you have a right to receive. You could lose thousands of dollars you might have received if you had had a professional attorney guiding the process for you.
On the other hand, you have a far greater chance of receiving full and fair compensation for your losses if you are represented by an attorney. Our Philadelphia attorneys are experienced in dealing with insurance companies. We can use our proven skills and experience to get you the most compensation we can from all eligible policies.
Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations that limits your time to file a personal injury claim. If you miss the deadline for filing your case, you could forever lose your legal right to receive compensation for your injuries. That’s why it is vital that you contact us as soon as possible.
Gay & Chacker Can Help You After a Bicycle Accident
If you were hurt in a bicycle accident, we can help. Our Philadelphia lawyers reach substantial settlements as quickly as possible while treating clients with the respect they deserve. We are here to assist you and your family. The lawyers at Gay & Chacker are happy to speak with you and answer any questions you might have about your bicycle accident and what we can do to help. There is no obligation when you call our firm. We charge you no legal fees unless we recover financial compensation for you.
Gay & Chacker has decades of experience handling bicycle crash cases, even those involving uninsured and underinsured drivers, drunk driver accidents, limited tort insurance, and more. Our attorneys know how to face down arguments by the defense and maximize compensation.
After a bike crash, we can work with you to recover your losses, including medical bills, any future treatment or therapy you might need, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Call us at (215) 567-7955 for a free initial consultation. We are happy to answer any legal questions you may have and to let you know that we are a law firm you can trust.