Bicycle riding is a healthy and enjoyable way to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Riding a bike around a city like Pittsburgh can help you avoid parking hassles and traffic jams while getting some exercise, though cycling is not without its own risks.
If you have been hit by a car on a bike, you may be facing grave injuries and have potentially sustained crippling financial damages as well. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed because of a car hitting your bike, there is legal recourse. Outlined below are the legal options you may take after a Pittsburgh bicycle accident injury.
Typical Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can happen for a number of reasons. However, they commonly occur when a motor vehicle is involved. While cyclists have to take precautions and be aware of what is happening around them, motorists often do not practice appropriate roadway safety precautions when it comes to looking out for and staying safe around pedestrians, including cyclists.
Common causes of motor vehicle-related bicycle accidents include:
- Intersections can be dangerous for cyclists, as cars turning left often ignore bicycles with the right of way driving forward through the intersection.
- Cyclists are hit because drivers sometimes fail to yield the right of way when entering traffic.
- Failure to stop at lights and signs can mean a bike rider can be hit.
- Drivers who do not look over their shoulders to double-check that no one is in their blind spots can cause accidents.
- Distracted drivers sometimes hit bicycles before they even realize they are nearby.
- Cars backing out of driveways, often while fiddling with the radio, putting on their seatbelts, or arranging their coffee cups, hit bicycles that are being peddled on the road behind them.
- Parking lots can be problematic for cyclists too, as drivers sometimes fail to follow traffic laws there.
Determining the Responsible Party in a Bike Accident
Pennsylvania is an at-fault state, meaning the party who caused the accident is held accountable. A Pennsylvania bicycle accident lawyer will evaluate your case and the injuries and damages you suffered to determine who is responsible and how to hold them accountable. The circumstances of an accident can make the liable party unclear at times, so accepting the guidance of your personal injury attorney is especially helpful.
Everyone who shares the road has a standard of care that they are supposed to meet. This standard of care definitely includes following traffic laws and paying attention to one’s surroundings. If one party fails to meet this standard of care, they could be considered liable for the resulting accident and injuries.
If both parties failed to practice an appropriate standard of care, then they could share responsibility for the accident. A qualified attorney with experience successfully resolving bicycle accident claims can review your situation and determine whether you have the evidence needed to pursue a claim against the motorist’s insurance company and/or file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
To recover the financial compensation you are entitled to receive, it is likely that you will need to pursue a personal injury claim. This is best done with the guidance of a personal injury attorney, so that no detail is left out. Their ability to navigate the legal system can be invaluable when dealing with insurance adjusters and defense attorneys seeking to minimize the damages of the injured party and/or blame the cyclist for the accident even occurring.
Steps to Take When Filing a Bicycle Accident Injury Claim
You must take some key steps to ensure your bicycle accident injury claim is appropriately and effectively filed. Listed below are some of these essential steps:
- Evidence must be gathered to present a strong case. The evidence necessary may include photographs from the accident and hospital, medical expenses and reports, police reports, hospital records, surveillance videos or dashcam videos, witness statements, and the contact information of involved motorists or other cyclists.
- Trusted legal counsel is imperative when pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. They will ensure you understand your legal rights and that they are protected while ensuring that you understand all of the options available to you during this challenging time.
- Filing the documentation for your claim can be an arduous step, since much paperwork, doctors’ notes, estimates for property damage, and treatment plans must be included, among other such items.
Having a skilled personal injury attorney to guide you through the legal process can help you achieve the maximum possible compensation package.
Promptly File a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
When determining whether to file a lawsuit, keep in mind the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania. In most circumstances, you have two years from the day that accident happened to file a lawsuit. Speak to a bicycle accident attorney in Pennsylvania during a free consultation about any legal questions you may have.
In certain circumstances, allowances could be available to extend the statute of limitations on filing a claim, such as if the injured party is a minor or if they were incapacitated for a large portion of the two years following the accident. This could move the timeline forward in favor of the victim so they have time to get a personal injury lawsuit filed.
Damages You Might Be Eligible to Collect After Being Hit by a Car on Your Bike
Being hit by a car while having only the protective gear a bicycle helmet provides can leave you in a challenging position. If you have been hurt or have experienced financial damages due to an accident, you may be able to pursue the following compensatory damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of reputation
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Psychological therapy
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Anxiety and depression
- Home alterations and accommodations
- Property damage
- Transportation costs
There are other damages that your personal injury attorney may suggest that you pursue when filing a claim or a lawsuit. The goal of compensation is to return you to “whole” or as you were before the accident occurred. It is important to consider and record all of the damages you incur from the time of the accident until a settlement or verdict is reached.
Reach Out Today to Take Measures to Collect the Damages You Are Owed
If you or someone you care about has been injured on a bicycle by a motor vehicle, we can help. We aim to help our clients achieve the maximum compensation possible for their specific circumstances. Contact a bicycle accident attorney at SMT Legal today so that we can review your case during a free initial consultation and then begin preparing a strategy to ensure your issue is resolved in the most positive way available.