Philadelphia Bike Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured by a car while riding a bicycle, you have probably sustained some injuries and are looking for insurance coverage to help you to recover. Philadelphia Bike Accident Lawyers John and Laura Fox have some good news for you. In Pennsylvania, you will have full tort insurance coverage. If you were injured while in a car, you might only have limited tort insurance coverage, depending on the insurance you chose. Here's how Pennsylvania insurance coverage works in car accidents and bike accidents:
What does "Full Tort" Insurance Coverage Mean?
Full tort insurance coverage means that you have the right to sue for pain and suffering.
Full Tort vs. Limited Tort
Pennsylvania is a no-fault state which means that regardless of who is at-fault in a car accident, it is your insurance that will determine your rights to sue for compensation under Pennsylvania law.
Pennsylvania Car Insurance policies are written as either full tort or limited tort. Limited tort policies are less expensive, and with good reason. They do not allow the policy holder to sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering, with few exceptions. Full tort policies are more expensive, but give policy holders full rights to sue an at-fault driver for pain and suffering. Full tort policies allow you to recover economic damages, work loss, AND pain and suffering. It is important to retain your right to sue for pain and suffering because the monetary damages is a substantial portion of the overall monetary award to the victim.
The rationale for these two options is public policy. Pennsylvania wants its drivers to have car insurance to protect innocent drivers, but oftentimes the premiums are too high. As a result, Pennsylvania gives drivers an option called “Limited Tort,” which allows drivers to pay a smaller premium in exchange for only being able to recover for economic damages and work loss from an at-fault driver. If, however, you choose a limited tort policy, there will not be compensation for the pain and suffering, unless one of the exceptions set forth below applies.
Philadelphia Bike Accident Lawyers Explain Important Limited Tort Exceptions
There are exceptions to Limited Tort barring an innocent driver’s ability to recover pain and suffering from an at-fault driver. The first exception is if the innocent driver suffers a “serious impairment of bodily function.” This means that your injuries must be significant enough to impact your daily functioning. Cervical and lumbar sprains and strains will not do it. Broken bones and herniated discs probably will. The second exception is if the at-fault vehicle is an out-of-state vehicle. The third exception is if the driver was drunk or under the influence of drugs. Another exception to limited tort is if you are hit as a pedestrian or bicycle rider, outside of your vehicle.
What if the driver has inadequate insurance?
What happens, however, if the person driving the car that hit you does not have insurance, or has inadequate insurance to cover your injuries? In this case, insurance coverage gets more complicated. If you own a car, or someone you live with owns a car, you may be covered through an uninsured / underinsured auto insurance policy. However, some Pennsylvania car insurance policies require that you were injured while inside of a car for your uninsured / underinsured auto insurance to apply. If coverage excludes injury outside of a car, legal arguments may be made to get over this hurdle. Uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage for bike accident victims can be a complicated area of insurance coverage and a skilled Philadelphia bike accident lawyer can help you receive the maximum insurance coverage available to you.
Uninsured / Underinsured (UM/UIM) Coverage for Bicyclists
Bicyclists should not rely solely on the insurance carried by other drivers. Bicyclists should carry the maximum Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) motorists coverage available. UM/UIM insurance provides you with coverage in the case of collisions with uninsured and underinsured motorists, and your UM/UIM car insurance usually protects you even when you are riding a bike. This coverage is essential for bicyclists because most motorists do not carry adequate insurance coverage for the injuries sustained if they hit a bicyclist. Motorists are required to carry a minimum amount of insurance. And many motorists carry just that – a minimum amount of insurance. Some motorists illegally drive uninsured. If a minimally or uninsured motorists hit you, it is likely that your medical bills and work loss will quickly surpass the amount of insurance coverage, not to mention your pain and suffering in recovering from your injuries. A bicyclist needs additional insurance coverage protection.
Bike Accident Statistics
Bicycle riding is a popular form of recreation among persons of all ages. However, bicyclists are exposed to injuries that may cause significant morbidity and mortality. Most injuries occur in males and are associated with riding at high speed; most serious injuries and fatalities result from collisions with motor vehicles. Bicycle-related injuries account for approximately 900 deaths, 23,000 hospital admissions, 580,000 emergency department visits and more than 1.2 million physician visits per year in the United States. The peak incidence of bicycle-related injuries and fatalities is in the nine- to 15-year age group.
A bike accident can bring with it serious injury and skyrocketing medical bills. Head injuries occur in 22 to 47 percent of injured bicyclists, often as a result of collision with a motor vehicle, and are responsible for over 60 percent of all bicycle-related deaths and the majority of long-term disabilities.
Fox Law Philadelphia Bike Accident Lawyers welcome you to contact us for a prompt and free consultation regarding your bike accident case.
No case is too big or too small for an evaluation. Fox Law welcomes the opportunity to represent you. In your consultation, your case will be discussed and the facts will be reviewed and evaluated. If Fox Law accepts your case, it will be handled on a contingency basis, which means you pay nothing. We carry all of the costs and assume all of the risks when we accept your case.
FOX LAW is conveniently located at Two Logan Square in Center City Philadelphia. In addition to Philadelphia County, we serve Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Allentown, and Reading Pennsylvania. For your convenience, John Fox makes house calls, when necessary.