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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sources of Insurance/Coverage for Bicycle Accident Victims

I see it far too often. A bicyclist is hit by a car and rushed to the hospital. After x-rays, and maybe even surgery, the hospital issues a bill for thousands of dollars. The bicyclist, not having his or her own insurance, files a claim against the driver's car insurance. Then the bad news comes- the driver's insurance lapsed and there's no coverage. Now what?

There's something inherently wrong with the notion that an accident victim will incur medical bills, and perhaps be forced into bankruptcy, because of someone else's negligence. These sorts of scenarios are commonplace with bicycle accidents because there's seemingly only one source of coverage- the driver's car insurance. That's why the best bicycle accident attorneys are skilled at finding insurance.

If you are the victim of a bicycle accident, and there's no insurance, then give Philly Bike Lawyer a call.

Here's a non-exclusive list of where you might find coverage:

  1. Your own car insurance. If you own a car, and it's insured, you are eligible to collect from your policy if you were struck by a motor vehicle while riding your bike. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, then you'll have coverage in the event your injured by an uninsured driver. You should also check if your parents or loved ones have you as a "name insured" on their auto policies.
  2. A relative's car insurance. If you were living with a relative at the time of the accident, and that relative has car insurance, then you are eligible to collect from the relative's car insurance under Pennsylvania's "resident-relative rule."
  3. The driver's car insurance. This should be obvious. If you do not have your own car insurance, but were struck by a motor vehicle, you should be able to collect from the driver's car insurance. You may also qualify for medical benefits even if you caused the accident under Pennsylvania's No-Fault law.
  4. A municipality. If your injuries were caused by a pothole or a defective road design, you may have a claim against the municipality.
  5. A bar, restaurant or liquor store. Injured by a drunk driver? Then you may have a claim against the bar, restaurant or liquor store that excessively served the driver under Pennsylvania's Dram Shop Act.
  6. Your health insurance. Your health insurance should pick up any bills not paid by car insurance.
  7. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Assigned Claims Plan (the Plan), 75 Pa.C.S. §§ 1751-1757, provides uninsured motorist benefits to residents of the Commonwealth who meet the eligibility requirements of Section 1752. The Plan will pay eligible bicyclists up to $15,000 if they were hit by an uninsured vehicle.
  8. Injured by another bicyclist? You may be eligible to file a claim against the other bicyclist's homeowner's insurance policy.
  9. The leasing or rental company who owns the uninsured car. This is a tricky area of law, but every car is required to have the minimum coverage in Pennsylvania. Arguably, if a leasing or rental company provides a car to an uninsured driver, that may qualify as "negligent entrustment." As a result, the leasing or rental company may be on the hook for the driver's negligence.
  10. The owner of the car. People lend cars to friends and family. Sometimes the driver is uninsured, but is driving a car owned by someone who does have insurance. The owner's auto policy is obligated to provide coverage.
Every accident and case is different, and insurance coverage is complex. You should contact an attorney at Philly Bike Lawyer if you have any legal questions.