Bicycle accidents often result in devastating injuries for both children and adults in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These incidents occur in a wide variety of ways. In some cases, a bicycle crash is caused by the individual bicyclist’s negligent actions. However, there are times when the careless or negligent actions of other drivers will cause harm to a bicyclist. Here, we want to discuss who will pay for injuries that occur as a result of a bicycle accident.
If Another Driver is At Fault
Bicycle accidents are often caused by the careless or negligent actions of other drivers on the roadways of Pennsylvania. Anytime it can be proven that the actions of another driver caused a bicycle collision, then the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver should be responsible for paying compensation to the injured bicyclist.
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, drivers are required to carry insurance in order to remain legal on the roadway. Many of you may be familiar with the “no-fault” insurance system in the Commonwealth. Under no-fault insurance, those involved in an accident will typically turn to their own insurance carriers to cover compensation after an accident occurs. However, the no-fault rule does not apply to bicycle accidents in PA.
When a bicycle accident occurs in Pennsylvania, the incident will be handled like a traditional fault-based vehicle accident. What we mean by this is that the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will be responsible for paying the compensation of the injured bicyclist.
One of the benefits of the no-fault system not applying in these situations is that an injured bicyclist will typically be able to recover more compensation than is typically recoverable in a traditional vehicle accident. The injured bicyclist should be able to recover compensation for their medical expenses, property damage expenses, and even pain and suffering losses, something that is not available in a no-fault claim.
If a Bicyclist is At Fault
If a bicycle accident is caused by the bicyclist, then the injured bicyclist will not be able to recover compensation from the at-fault driver in Pennsylvania. In these situations, the injured bicyclist will be responsible for paying their own medical bills, property damage, and dealing with lost income if they cannot work. If an injured bicyclist has health insurance, they may be able to tap into this to recover compensation for their injuries.
What if There is Shared Liability?
It could certainly be the case that both a vehicle driver and a bicyclist share fault for an accident in Pennsylvania. In these situations, we will want to turn to Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence laws to examine how to proceed.
Under a modified comparative negligence system, individuals can recover compensation even if they are partially responsible for causing their own injuries. However, any person found to be more than 50% responsible for causing their injuries will be unable to recover any compensation at all.
In a partial fault system, the total amount of compensation recoverable will be reduced based on an individual’s percentage of fault. For example, if an individual sustained $10,000 worth of medical expenses due to a bicycle accident but is found to have been 20% responsible for the incident, then they would receive $8,000 instead of the full $10,000.