Bicycles are healthy alternative transportation – they save gas (and money) and are a great way to stay in shape. But because cyclists also have to share the road (which is often not very bike-friendly) with automobiles, SUVs, motorcycles and even semi-trucks, they can also be a dangerous alternative.
Drivers are not necessarily looking out for bikers and some can be quite aggressive toward them. According to six years of crash data gathered by the Post-Gazette, about half of all bicycle accidents are NOT the cyclist’s fault.
Unfortunately, as more people are using bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation, car drivers are becoming less patient and more reckless. PennDOT’s Crash Facts and Statistics Report shows that in 2013 there were 1,383 bicycle crashes in Pennsylvania, most of which occurred at intersections. When bicycle accidents occur, you may need the help of bicycle accident lawyers to help navigate you through the legal system.
Bicycle Accidents and Insurance: Who Pays?
If you have motor vehicle insurance your injuries from the bike accident will be handled by your car insurance company. The types of coverage you have will determine what expenses your auto insurance will cover.
If you do not have auto insurance, the insurance of the driver of the automobile may cover your expenses if they are found at fault, however their insurance may not cover all of your medical expenses or lost wages.
If you do not have insurance and were not at fault for the accident, call our office for a free legal case evaluation so we can better advise you on your options.
When to Contact an Attorney
If you are involved in a bicycle accident in which another vehicle was at fault or if there were unsafe road conditions where you crashed, you have every right to seek compensation for your injuries. However, you must do so within a certain time frame, typically within two years. However, the sooner you contact an attorney, the better your chance will be of building a strong case.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 800 bicyclists die in the United States each year, while the average age of cyclists killed in motor vehicle accidents is 47.
Statistics provided by BikePGH show that pedestrians and bicyclists in Pittsburgh are killed “at a higher rate than auto drivers.” The report also reveals that aggressive driving is a factor in about a third (32 percent) of all motor vehicle crashes involving a bicyclist.
Although Pennsylvania’s bicycle safety laws are quite straightforward, many motorists fail to abide by the state rules and end up causing injuries and deaths on the roads and highways of Pittsburgh and elsewhere in our state.
The process of recovering damages as a victim of a bicycle accident differs from the process of seeking compensation as a driver or passenger of a car or even a motorcycle. That’s why we decided to ask our Pittsburgh bicycle accident attorney from SMT Legal to answer your most common questions about bicycle crashes.
Should You Hire a Pittsburgh Bicycle Accident Attorney?
Can you recover damages after a bicycle crash without being legally represented? That’s a tricky question to answer, but if you look at the statistics, you will notice that those who choose to be represented by a lawyer receive larger payouts. According to Martindale-Nolo research, people who hired an attorney received settlements or awards that were $60,000 higher than those who didn’t.
Hiring a bicycle accident attorney in Pittsburgh is not about getting maximum compensation for your losses and damages. It is also about reducing the stress associated with complicated and exhausting legal processes, as well as letting a professional do everything that is required from you while allowing yourself to focus on your recovery after the injury.
Here at SMT Legal, our best bicycle accident lawyers in Pittsburgh are cyclists ourselves. We know bicycle-related laws by heart, and we understand the situations in which a bicyclist can and cannot be negligent, careless, or reckless. By hiring one of our lawyers, you get all of the following benefits:
- Free consultations about your case
- Strong legal strategy
- Full and thorough calculation of your damages and losses
- No upfront costs
- Effective negotiations with insurance companies and other parties on your behalf
- Guidance through medical treatment and billing
- Cooperation with the police, accident reconstruction experts, and a variety of other specialists
- Preparation of a lawsuit to go to trial, if necessary
What Types of Damages Can You Recover After a Bicycle Accident?
The types of damages that you can recover after your bicycle crash depend on a variety of factors in your particular case, including but not limited to:
- The severity of your injury
- The estimated amount of time to fully recover
- Whether or not you are expected to recover fully
- The extent to which your injury affects your personal and work life, etc.
The following types of damages may be recovered:
- Property damage
- Loss of income
- Loss of work opportunities and earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Pain and sufferingLoss of companionship
- Mental anguish
How To Maximize Your Compensation After a Bicycle Accident
When you call our Pittsburgh bicycle accident lawyer to get a free consultation about your case, you will be advised of the options on pursuing maximum compensation for your damages and losses. Our attorney will have to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into the details of your case, in the course of which multiple liable parties may be discovered.
The more parties you can hold accountable for your injury, the bigger the amount of money you can recover. Some of the parties that may be held liable for your injury include:
- The other motorist for breaching his or her duty of reasonable care
- The bicycle manufacturer for manufacturing and selling defective bikes
- Public entities for failing to provide a safe environment such as the design of intersections, maintenance of roadways, bike lanes, lighting, and other elements
- Safety gear manufacturers for failure to produce safe helmets and other protective equipment
- Manufacturers of tires, wheels, pedals, and other bicycle parts and components for selling defective, faulty, or malfunctioning parts
If you are the victim of a bicycle accident, our personal injury lawyers can help answer your questions and provide details about the best way to collect compensation.
A bicycle accident can be catastrophic with most victims suffering severe physical injuries – broken bones, fractures and head injuries and even death. If you or your loved one was involved in a biking accident, you may have the right to seek compensation for injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages or lost future wages as well as property damage.
Pittsburgh Bicycle Accident Attorneys
The Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers at SMT Legal will do everything possible to get you the money you deserve and recover what you are owed for your injuries
Our motor vehicle accident attorneys will conduct an extensive investigation into your accident, collecting evidence and talking to witnesses and law enforcement officers as needed to present a strong case.
We will fight the insurance companies aggressively in order to get you the best possible result. We are successful because our attorneys have had the experience of working on both sides of personal injury cases for plaintiffs as well as defendants. This has given us an advantage in representing our clients against the insurance companies that are part of these claims and actions. We know when to negotiate, when to go to court and how to get you money for your injuries. We will try to get the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact us for more information.