Bicycle Accident Lawyer Serving the Philadelphia and Surrounding Area
Cyclists must follow the same rules of the road as cars and trucks. However, motor vehicles often don’t treat those on bikes with care and consideration. In fact, many drivers don’t know bicycle traffic laws and therefore, they unknowingly endanger cyclists each time they get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, a significant number of Pennsylvania bicycle accidents are caused by the carelessness and negligence of others, leaving injured cyclists with mountains of medical bills, serious injuries, and other considerable losses.
At the Law Offices of Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esquire, I have devoted my legal career to helping injury victims find justice and compensation in the case of a serious accident. This includes cyclists who have been struck by a vehicle or otherwise injured while riding their bikes.
You should know that cyclists have rights, too. Just because many drivers don’t understand the rules of the road when it comes to bicycles doesn’t mean that you should pay for their ignorance and carelessness. With an experienced Philadelphia bicycle accident attorney at your side, you can ensure that your claim is resolved quickly and correctly.
To schedule a free, private consultation with a Philadelphia injury attorney, please call 1-215-771-0430 (Cell) or 1-800-InjuryLaw (800-465-8795).
Common Types of Bicycle Accidents & Injuries
When a bicycle and a larger motorized vehicle collide, the motorized vehicle always wins. Because cyclists are not protected by the steel casing of a car or truck, and because they are often thrown from their bikes, the injuries associated with bike-car collisions are often extremely serious. These injuries could include traumatic head injuries, neck injuries, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, bone fractures, and blunt force trauma. Even bicycle accidents that do not involve a traffic collision can result in serious injury.
How do these bicycle accidents happen? While there are thousands of ways that a cyclist may become injured while riding, there are a few types of accidents that occur more often than others. Many of these accidents are caused by other drivers, poor road design, or poor road maintenance:
- A vehicle simply doesn’t see a cyclist in the road.
- A driver ignores a cyclist who is signaling a turn or stop.
- A vehicle turns left in front of an oncoming cyclist.
- A vehicle rear-ends a bicycle traveling in the same lane or in a biking lane.
- A vehicle veers into a bike lane or biker.
- A vehicle backs out of a driveway or parking space into a cyclist.
- A parked car or truck opens a door into the path of an oncoming cyclist.
- A cyclist crashes due to a pothole or other road maintenance problem.
- A cyclist crashes due to a defective, damaged, or incorrectly repaired bike.
- A cyclist crashes due to a poorly designed roadway or intersection.
Who Was At Fault For Your Philadelphia Bicycle Accident?
In order to understand your possible bicycle accident injury case, you must first understand how the accident took place and who was at fault for the incident. Gaining a full understanding of your PA bike accident requires carefully collecting and closely examining all of the evidence available in the case.
At-fault parties could include:
- The cyclist.
- The driver who collided with the cyclist.
- Another driver on the road.
- Another cyclist.
- The municipality responsible for maintaining the roadway.
- The municipality responsible for designing the road or bike lane.
- The bike’s manufacturer.
- The bike’s repair person.
- The bike’s owner (if the bike was rented or borrowed from a business).
It is important to understand that there may be more than one at-fault parties in your case, as well as the fact that you need convincing evidence in order to collect compensation from one or more at-fault parties.
Since 1930, over 50,000 bicyclists have been killed in the United States, and perhaps millions more have been seriously injured. Because of a bicycle’s lack of frame protection, you are among the most vulnerable riders on the road when you are riding one. You lack the maneuverability of a pedestrian, for example, yet you also lack the ability to accelerate yourself out of trouble as a motorcyclist can.
Combine this vulnerability with the facts that (i) bicycles are easy to miss, and (ii) most motorists are not looking out for bicycles, and you have a formula that all too frequently spells catastrophe. The chaos of a serious accident is multidimensional – you may be suffering severe physical pain and disability, as well as emotional shock, right around the time you start receiving medical bills that you can’t afford to pay.
You Are Going to Need Someone in Your Corner
Obviously, your interests will be best served by a generous out of court settlement, and that is precisely what I will be aiming for from the moment I take your case. The best way to encourage an insurance company to settle, however, is to make them understand that the alternative is defeat in court. After almost two decades of successful practice, insurance companies know exactly what I am capable of.
In addition to seeking compensation, I will do my best to see to it that you are relieved of financial pressures so that you can concentrate fully on recovering. Under my contingency fee arrangement, you won’t owe me any legal fees up front – and you will never owe me a dime in fees unless settle or win your case. I will also make sure your medical bills get paid.
My Medical Treatment Access Guarantee
“I will make sure you obtain the medical treatment you require for your injuries, without you being obligated to pay your medical bills until after your injury claim has been resolved.” – Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq.
Types of Personal Injury Cases I Handle
I handle the following types of personal injury cases, among others:
Car Accidents: Car accident claims are generally paid out by the at-fault driver’s liability insurance carrier. Obtaining an adequate settlement generally requires skilled negotiation, and if that doesn’t work, a lawsuit must be filed. Unless you have been trained in personal injury law, it is very likely that you don’t realize the full value of your claim.
Truck Accidents: Truck accidents often result in devastating long-term injuries, because of the ease with which a truck can crush an automobile or a motorcycle. In the case of commercial trucks, liability is often based on a regulatory violation by the truck driver. In some cases, it is possible to file a claim against the trucking company as well as the driver.
Medical Malpractice: Medical malpractice is one of the most frightening kinds of personal injury, because of the immense trust we are forced to place in doctors. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most common forms of personal injury. In some cases, you might even have trouble tracing your injury back to medical malpractice.
SEPTA Accidents: The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) operates bus, train, and trolley lines in Greater Philadelphia. Quite a number of bus and train accidents occur every year, and the number of people injured has been increasing annually. You will need an experienced SEPTA lawyer to help you file a claim against the government.
Slip and Fall Accidents: Slip and fall accidents are among the most common forms of personal injury, and they disproportionately affect the elderly. If your accident occurred on someone else’s property, including a business, you have the right to expect the owner or occupier to repair on-site dangers or warn visitors of them.
Dog Bites: In Pennsylvania, a dog owner is liable for injuries caused by a dog, even if the dog had never acted aggressively before. Dog bite claims are normally paid out by homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies. Sometimes, these damages are intangible – children can suffer lifelong psychological damage from a dog attack, and even adults might be left with a lifelong fear of dogs.
Wrongful Death: A wrongful death claim arises when the victim of a personal injury dies from those injuries. Normally, the personal representative of the victim’s estate files a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim’s estate beneficiaries and close relatives. After six months, it is also possible for estate beneficiaries to sue directly.
Other types of injury: There is no list that could possibly cover every conceivable type of personal injury you might suffer, and my practice is not limited to the areas listed above. If you have been injured by a defective prescription drug, for example, or if you have become the victim of a violent crime, you still have a personal injury claim that I might be able to help you with.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which insurance company is responsible for paying my bicycle accident claim?
If you own a motor vehicle and have auto insurance, your auto insurance company will be responsible for paying your medical bills. regardless of whose fault the accident was. Your insurance company cannot raise your rates over this. If this isn’t enough, you might also try your health insurance policy, or the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. Over and above medical bills is pain and suffering damages, as well as property damage reimbursement–these items of damages are paid for by the at-fault vehicle’s insurance company.
What are some of the Pennsylvania bicycle safety rules that could impact my claim?
Below are three of the most important rules:
- No more than two riders may ride abreast of each other.
- Your bicycle must have a front headlight and a rear reflector
- When riding on the sidewalk, you must yield to pedestrians.
A dog bit me while I was riding a bicycle. Can I file a claim against the dog owner?
Yes, and you don’t even have to prove that the owner was negligent to win your case. You can even win a dog bite claim if the dog, instead of biting you, chased you and caused you to collide with a car or fall off of your bike.
How do I determine the extent of my injuries?
Seek medical help immediately, especially if you weren’t wearing a helmet, regardless of whether you believe that you were seriously injured. Brain injuries are a common result of bicycle accidents, and they may not be immediately obvious without a medical examination.
I was injured by a drunk driver. Can I sue the establishment that sold him or her alcohol?
Under certain circumstances, you can. Under Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Act, a nightclub or a bar can be held liable for an accident caused by an intoxicated driver if:
- The driver was obviously intoxicated, but continued to be served anyway.
My loved one died in a bicycle accident. Can I file a lawsuit on his or her behalf?
Under the Pennsylvania wrongful death statute, only the personal representative of the victim’s estate (usually a close relative) can file a wrongful death lawsuit within 2 years of the victim’s death. If he or she does not do so, the beneficiaries of the victim’s estate can file the lawsuit. Proceeds go to the victim’s estate and close relatives.
Is there a time limit for filing a bicycle accident lawsuit?
Yes. With certain very narrow exceptions, you must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident or, if the victim died, two years of the victim’s date of death. Once you file the lawsuit, you have beaten the statute of limitations deadline.
Can I still win my claim if I was breaking the law at the time of the accident?
Yes, as long as you were no more than 50 percent at fault. Your compensation will be reduced in proportion to your fault, however. Breaking the law will not matter at all if it did not cause the accident.
My bicycle accident was caused by a pothole on a public road. Do I have a case?
You might. To win, you would need to prove that the responsible party (probably a government) knew or should have known about the pothole, and that it failed to repair or warn of the condition. If it is a state-owned roadway, you have to show that the state was given “actual, written notice” of the pothole in question.
Can I sue the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a bicycle accident?
Yes, in principle you can sue the state government. Since you are essentially suing Pennsylvania taxpayers, however, certain limitations apply, including a damages cap of $250,000 per plaintiff and $1,000,000 per accident. Furthermore, you cannot sue the state on certain grounds, such as a political decision not to widen a certain road.
Retaining a Bicycle Accident Attorney is Critical
Your bicycle accident claim may have already been rejected by the insurance company, or they may be trying to sucker you into accepting a quick but inadequate settlement check. They may be stalling, hoping that you will get careless and miss the statute of limitations deadline for filing a lawsuit. None of this is unexpected – almost all insurance companies act this way.
Since insurance companies profit by accepting premiums and lose money by paying claims, there is a built-in conflict of interest with personal injury claimants like you. With our “no win, no pay” arrangement, however, we will not suffer from such a conflict, because I only make money if you do. And that puts me squarely on your side.
Contact a Philadelphia Bike Accident Lawyer Today
Standing up to insurance companies and stubborn defendants, and fighting until you receive absolutely all of the compensation that you are entitled to, is my job. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in the Philadelphia area or even elsewhere in Pennsylvania, contact me online, or call me at 1-800-465-8795 or 215-771-0430 (cell) to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation.