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Injured in a Bike Accident in Philadelphia? Who is Liable?

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Bike riding in Philadelphia has been up 260% in recent years. Yet, despite this recognition, bike accidents in Philadelphia persist, and residents continue to sustain injuries. As bike accident lawyers in Philadelphia, we are well aware that our city is known nationally as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the country. Since 2012, the League of American Bicyclists has been recognized as a Silver Status Bicycle Friendly Community, making it one of only three cities with a population of over 1 million to reach that status, according to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.  

Believe it or not, many of these bike accidents are caused by dangerous conditions that exist on public property, the most common being the road and sidewalks. Unfortunately, issues still exist while the city continues to clean up some of these hazardous conditions.

So that begs the question: Can I Sue if my Bike Accident was Caused by the unkept road? The answer is yes, but there needs to have been something called Notice and other rules in place that must be followed to recover from your bike accident injuries.

What is Notice?

To sue a public agency for a defect in the road that caused your bike accident, they needed to have something called Notice. Does that mean the mayor needed to have seen the giant pothole that has been in the middle of the road for three months for you to bring suit? 

No, the legal standard for Notice for this type of incident is Known or Should have Known. So if there is a dangerous condition that has been there a while, and perhaps citizens have called in about the state of the road, but no one got around to fixing it – well, that is adequate for Notice, and you can certainly sue for your bike accident injuries.

I Was in a Bike Accident, Who Pays My Medical Bills?

The answer to this question is complex, but the following information should provide some clarity:

  • A cyclist is considered a pedestrian in Pennsylvania.
  • When a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle, the pedestrian's car insurance will be responsible for the medical bills to whatever the medical limit on their policy.
  • Suppose the cyclist doesn't own a car but lives with a resident relative who owns a vehicle. In that case, the insurance policy on that car will provide medical coverage up to its medical limits.
  • Suppose the cyclist does not own a car or live with a family member who does, and thus he is not covered by an automobile insurance policy. In that case, the cyclist can get his bills paid under the insurance policy issued to any drivers involved in the accident.
  • Sometimes more than one vehicle is involved in a car accident. The insurance policy on these vehicles can be looked to for medical coverage, even if that vehicle never made contact with the cyclist. This becomes important because some of the cars on the road are uninsured. So, the cyclist can look to any vehicles involved in the accident to get the medicals paid.
  • The minimum coverage for medical in Pennsylvania is $5,000, and most of the policies in Pennsylvania are written with these limits in place.

The above answer seems counter-intuitive, but we are a no-fault state in Pennsylvania. This means that if you are in a bike accident, the above are the priorities set out by the legislature as to how your medical bills get paid. 

 What if the cyclist turned in front of the car and caused the accident that injured him? Again, the same applies, and the cyclist's auto policy and a resident relatives policy become the primary medical bills payment method.

These are the basics on who pays the medical bills when a cyclist is hit by a car, but remember every bike accident is different and presents a new set of complex issues. The medical bills from bike accidents are usually immense because of the severity of many bike accidents. 

That is why the most important call you can make if you are injured in a bike accident is to a Philadelphia Bike Accident Attorney to help sort out your rights.

Suing a Public Agency

Under a legal doctrine known as sovereign immunity, the government is immune from legal action, except to the extent to which it has consented to such action. In plain English, this means that you cannot sue the government unless it has authorized the lawsuit by law. 

Fortunately for the people of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth has just done this in the Sovereign Immunity Act and the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act, albeit with significant limitations on liability, procedural requirements, shortened time limits, and other differences from lawsuits against private parties. Because of these differences, it is essential for anyone injured on public property to retain an attorney familiar with these kinds of claims immediately.

Protect Your Rights After a Bike Accident, Call a Lawyer ASAP

While, yes, you can sue if the road caused your bike accident, it is essential to consult with a Pennsylvania bike accident lawyer to make sure you don't miss a timing deadline, understand the unique requirements to bring a lawsuit, and preserve your rights.

Bike accidents that occur on public roads can leave a person with significant injuries that can affect them for the rest of their lives. 

Fortunately, Pennsylvania law often entitles people injured in these accidents to substantial compensation. Call KaplunMarx today at 215-939-4895 or email us through our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a Philadelphia Bike Accident Attorney.

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