What insurance options do Pennsylvania cyclists have after a bicycle accident?
When a cyclist suffers injuries in a crash with a car in Pennsylvania, he has several options to cover necessary medical treatment, including filing a claim with his own car insurance company, filing a claim based on a family member’s policy, or filing a third-party claim with the driver’s insurer.
Using Your Own No-Fault Car Insurance PolicyPennsylvania is a "choice no-fault state" which means all drivers must carry medical benefits, or "no-fault," coverage, but they can also carry traditional coverage.
Your first-party benefits from your "no-fault" policy pay for any medical treatment and lost wages, up to the limits of the policy. This is true whether you were driving, biking, or walking when the accident occurred.
If you opted to include uninsured or underinsured motorist protection on your traditional policy, that policy will pay if the other driver was uninsured, carried insufficient coverage, or fled the scene.
Other Options if You Do Not Carry Car InsuranceIf you commute by bike and do not own a car, you may not carry any type of car insurance policy. This does not mean you do not have access to coverage, however. If you live with a family member who carries a no-fault policy, her coverage could extend to you and pay for your treatment.
While this is possible, ensuring you have your own policy is always the best option. If you do not own a car, you can invest in a policy, such as bicycle insurance, designed for those who do not drive.
Filing a Third-Party Insurance ClaimIf the driver was at fault for the accident, you may be eligible to file a claim against the driver's insurance company.
Under Pennsylvania law, all vehicle owners must carry at least $15,000 in medical coverage per person hurt in a wreck. While this is not a huge amount, it should cover some of your treatment costs if there is no other option for coverage.
To receive this coverage, you must draft a demand letter outlining your injuries and financial needs and submit it to the insurance company. A Pennsylvania bicycle accident lawyer can help with this process, and ensure you request an adequate amount to cover all of your past and future expenses.
The Role of Limited Tort PoliciesIn Pennsylvania, drivers who opt for a traditional policy have the option of getting either limited or full tort insurance policies. While limited tort policies are more cost-efficient, unless you sustain serious injuries, you are only eligible to recover economic damages. This means that unless your injury meets Pennsylvania's serious injury threshold, you would be unable to recover for your pain and suffering.
Fortunately, these limits do not apply after a car versus bicycle accident. This means you are still able to recover money for your pain and suffering in a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist, if necessary.