The Pennsylvania Bicycle Accident Guide was created by our experienced attorneys to help injured residents obtain full compensation from the negligent party. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, you’re likely scared, in physical pain, and unsure of what to do. Our Pennsylvania bicycle accident lawyers can help protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Bicycle accidents are traumatic and painful events. Many victims suffer severe injuries with long-lasting pain and spend months recovering. After an accident, victims also have new-found financial stresses from mounting medical bills and lost wages. Our Pennsylvania bicycle accident lawyers can help. A qualified lawyer acts as your advocate, aggressively fighting on your behalf to protect your rights and get you rightful compensation.
Your lawyer manages the entire legal process, filing claims on your behalf and leading negotiations with insurers. If you’ve been involved in an accident, we want to help. Call today for a free case evaluation and to learn more about how we can protect your rights.
Should I Hire a Pennsylvania Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
Bicycle accidents have numerous consequences for victims. Those involved may be seriously injured, suffering from physical pain, and unable to return to work for many weeks or months. In addition to recovery and pain, victims also face financial, emotional, and legal pressures. In the weeks after an accident, your primary goal should be getting healthy – not fighting with insurers and filing claims.
When you hire a qualified lawyer, all of these pressures are taken off your shoulders. Your attorney manages all legal aspects of your case and fights to help you quickly receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. There are many tasks a lawyer helps with including:
- Filing claims and legal paperwork
- Investigating your accident and its causes
- Determining the at-fault party in your accident
- Collecting evidence and contacting witnesses
- Recreating the scene of your accident
- Meeting with lawyers of the at-fault party
- Negotiating with insurance companies
- Filing disability and insurance claims on your behalf
The legal process following a bicycle accident is overwhelming. You’re likely unsure of who you can trust. By hiring a lawyer, you protect yourself against insurance companies and attorneys who don’t have your best interests in mind.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Motorists have a responsibility to share the road, and when they fail to adhere to bicycle safety laws, they put people’s lives in danger. Unsafe, careless, and reckless driving are some of the top causes of bicycle-vehicle accidents. A few of the most common causes include:
- Unsafe or careless lane changes
- Opening car doors into bike lanes
- Impaired driving
- Reckless or distracted driving
- Excessive speed
- Following too closely
When another party is at fault, that driver may be liable for criminal or civil charges. After a hiring a lawyer, your attorney will work diligently to determine who is at fault in your case, and collect evidence and witness statements to build that case. Once this has been determined, your lawyer can begin to fight for compensation from the at-fault party.
Types of Compensation Available for Victims
Victims of accidents may be entitled to financial compensation, especially when negligence caused the accident. Compensation can be used for present and future medical expenses, property damage, emotional distress, and lost wages.
There are two types of compensation you may be able to pursue: Compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory. Compensatory damages cover any costs directly related to your accident, present, or future. Compensatory damages, for example, can pay for medical bills, as well as compensate you for lost wages or lost future earnings. Compensatory damages can help cover:
- Medical bills, treatment and rehabilitation costs
- Medical equipment
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Long-term disability or disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Loss of natural life
Punitive. Punitive damages refer to damages awarded in cases that involve gross negligence or malice. This type of damage is used as a financial punishment for the negligent party. Punitive damages are awarded by a jury, and therefore are available if your case goes to trial.
What to Do If You’ve Been Involved in an Accident
A bicycle accident is a terrifying experience, and in the immediate aftermath, you may not know what to do or who to turn to. There are steps victims can take to protect their rights and safety. If you’ve been involved in an accident, here are steps you can take:
- Seek Medical Help – Call 911 and receive medical attention for your injuries. Your safety should be your first concern. If you’re in on-coming traffic, move to a place near the scene of the accident out of harm’s way.
- Record Injuries and Damages – If you’re able to, make note of your injuries. Note and document with photos any places where you feel or see:
- Visual injuries
- Torn clothing
- Where you were struck by the vehicle
- Call Police – If you are uninjured and did not call 911, be sure to contact law enforcement. Police investigators will want to know what led up to your accident. Provide as many details as you can remember, but do not admit fault.
- Do Not Admit Fault – Bicycle laws are complex in Pennsylvania. You might not understand the nuances of the law, and therefore might inaccurately implicate yourself as the at-fault party. If police, witnesses, or a motorist ask you about fault, do not discuss it. Contact an attorney who can help protect your rights.
- Seek Legal Advice – As soon as possible, contact a qualified Pennsylvania bicycle accident lawyer. Your lawyer can help you file claims with your insurance company immediately. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the stronger the case he or she will be able to build.
Filing Insurance Claims After an Accident
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, you can file a claim with your auto insurance – if you have a current policy. Car insurance companies provide protection for their customers, even if the “vehicle” they were driving was a bicycle. Contacting your insurance early in the process can help you file post-accident claims more quickly.
We recommend contacting a lawyer prior to reaching out to your insurer. Insurance companies are businesses and they are concerned with the bottom line. Even as a customer, your insurer may not have your best interests in mind. They may make it difficult for you to file a claim or receive compensation. Additionally, the insurer of the at-fault party may bully you or use aggressive tactics to force you to accept an unfair or undervalued settlement.
A qualified lawyer protects you against aggressive behavior and leads all negotiations with insurance companies. After an accident, your focus should be on your recovery – not fighting with insurers. We help you file claims, defend you against unfair settlements, and fight insurers who refuse or delay payments.
Frequently Asked Bicycle Accident Questions
What Should I Do After I’m Hurt in a Bike Accident?
There are some differences between a car accident and an accident involving a bike rider. First of all, a bike doesn’t have all of the protections that a car offers its occupants, so a bicycle rider involved in an accident tends to suffer more serious and severe injuries. Also, there is a prejudice out there that the bicycle rider must somehow be to blame. Even in a city like Pennsylvania, where bike riding has become so prevalent and where the city is going out of its way to try to make bicycle riding safer, there’s this misunderstanding that bicycle riders don’t have the same rights to the road that a car driver does. For this reason, it’s important that, if you’re injured in a bicycle accident, you find a lawyer who understands those differences and who knows how to represent a bicycle rider who’s been injured. That lawyer will know how to gather the evidence and how to assist you in your claim so that you make the best recovery possible.
How Do I Get the Right Attorney?
A difficult decision for someone injured in a bike accident is choosing the right lawyer. The first thing that you want to do is make sure that the lawyer that you’re talking with has experience in bicycle accidents. Although many lawyers have represented people or claim to have represented people in personal injury cases, a bicycle accident has some unique factors, so it’s important to have a lawyer who understands that. It’s also important that the lawyer has trial experience. A trial lawyer knows how to build a case believing that they may someday have to prove your case at trial. They should be ready and willing to try your case. Finally, I think it’s also important when hiring a lawyer to establish a rapport with them. You want someone that you think is going to listen to you, is going to be in your corner, and is going to be ready to fight for you in trial.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid Making?
I think that people injured in bike accidents sometimes make mistakes. First, they think that they are to blame or partially to blame for the accident. I think they also minimize their injuries or don’t follow up and get the medical care that they need. If you’re injured in a bike accident, there are two things that you need to do. One, you need to seek medical care, follow up with the doctor, and do everything you can to recover from your injuries. Two, it’s also important that you contact an experienced trial lawyer who knows how to investigate your case and who would be willing to try your case if necessary.
Does it Matter If I Had a Part in the Cause of the Accident?
I was recently speaking with a bicycle rider who had been involved in an accident. They thought they were to blame, or at least partially to blame, and didn’t think they were going to be able to make a claim. In Pennsylvania, there is a concept called comparative negligence, which means that if you are partially to blame, you may still be able to recover. It may diminish your recovery, but you still have a claim. It’s important, even if you think you may have some fault in your accident, that you discuss the aspects and the circumstances of that accident with a lawyer who understands bicycle accidents and the comparative negligence law.
Should I Cooperate with the Other Insurance Company?
If you’re injured in a bicycle crash, the insurance company for the car driver will likely reach out to you. I caution you in those conversations to keep a couple things in mind. Number one, that person is working against you. No matter how friendly they may seem, their job is to find reasons to deny your claim, and when they can’t deny the claim, to minimize your claim and minimize your recovery. I think the best course you can take is to contact an experienced trial lawyer. When you get that call from the insurance adjuster, refer the call to your lawyer and let your lawyer answer any questions and provide information on your behalf.
What If a Pothole Caused My Accident?
A bicycle rider who’s injured not because of a collision with a vehicle, but because of some dangerous condition of the roadway, may also have a claim. In those cases, it’s important to contact a lawyer who understands those liability claims, and knows how to investigate the potential defect of the road or other condition that caused your accident.
How Long Will This Case Go On?
One thing clients often want to know is how long it will take to resolve their bicycle injury claim. There’s no set answer that I can give to that because each case is different. One of the most important things that a lawyer has to take into consideration in trying to resolve the case is the client’s recovery from their injuries. We have to understand your injuries, and we have to understand the affect that your injuries will have on the case before we can begin to consider settling the case. I understand that clients want to get back to their life and they want their case resolved, and we try our best to expedite the process, but at the same time, we have to be cautious and make sure that we properly handle your case. You only get one opportunity to settle or try a bicycle accident case. Taking that into consideration, we need to thoroughly evaluate and investigate the claim before we can think about resolving it.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
In Pennsylvania, you have two years from the date of a bicycle accident to file a lawsuit, but it’s important that you not wait and that you contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. A trial lawyer experienced in handling bicycle injury cases will begin investigating your claim immediately. They’ll examine the scene, they’ll contact witnesses, and they’ll begin gathering medical documentation to prove your injuries.
Call Today for a Free Case Evaluation
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, our Pennsylvania bicycle accident lawyers want to help. Contact us today for a no-obligation case evaluation. Our lawyers will help you determine if you have a case, and provide advice about legal steps you can take.
About the Author
Paul is a life-long resident of the Pittsburgh area. Giuffre attended Duquesne University on an academic scholarship and earned his law degree from the Duquesne University School of Law in 1991.
He began his career as a prosecutor with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office. Using the trial and courtroom experiences he gained there, Giuffre moved on to private practice and began representing clients in a wide variety of criminal and civil litigation matters. As a partner in a Downtown Pittsburgh firm that focused on medical malpractice and personal injury cases, Paul both settled and tried to verdict six and seven figure case.
Through his affiliation with the Accident & Injury Law Group, Paul continues to provide representation to victims of medical negligence and those who suffer serious, permanent or chronic injuries as a result of car accidents, construction site incidents, and premise liability matters.
Giuffre has been recognized as a Super Lawyer, a Top Attorney in Pittsburgh, and a Best Attorney in Pennsylvania. Paul is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates and is an invited member of the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County – an invitation based on an assessment of his skill, professional standards, and ethics.
Giuffre is also a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Allegheny County Bar Association, Pennsylvania Association for Justice, Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association and Duquesne University Law Alumni.