Bicycle accidents are a persistent problem in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. In fact, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that although bike crashes make up just 1 percent of total reported traffic accidents, they result in more than 1,000 injuries and between 10 and 25 fatalities each year.
If you were seriously injured in a bike wreck caused by someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court to pursue compensation for injuries and other damages. Before you decide to take legal action, here's what you should know.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
The following types of bicycle accidents are common in Pennsylvania:
- Dooring accidents. This type of accident occurs when a driver or passenger opens a vehicle door into the path of an oncoming bicyclist.
- Side-swipe crashes. When a motorist fails to give a bicyclist sufficient room while passing, side-swipe accidents can result.
- Rear-end collisions. Drivers who follow bicyclists too closely or fail to pay attention at stop signs can hit the back of the bike, causing a critical or even deadly accident.
- Right cross and left cross accidents. These collisions often occur at intersections, or when bicyclists are exiting an alley or driveway, and a motorist crosses into their path.
- Right turn blind spot crashes. Drivers who fail to check their blind spots when making right-hand turns may hit bicyclists to the right of them at an intersection.
Common Bike Crash Causes
Pennsylvania bicycle accidents have numerous causes or contributing factors. However, some of the most common causes of bike crashes include:
- Speeding—whether driving faster than posted limits, or traveling too fast for current road or weather conditions
- Distracted driving—such as texting, talking on the phone, grooming, or eating or drinking behind the wheel
- Operating a vehicle while drunk or drugged—this includes impairment by over-the-counter or prescription medications
- Reckless or aggressive behavior—such as participating in illegal street racing or engaging in road rage
- Driving while fatigued—some studies show that a lack of sleep can be as impairing as drinking and driving
Injuries Associated With Bicycle Accidents
Because bikes lack any form of exterior protection, cyclists are particularly vulnerable to severe medical complications after a collision. These injuries vary widely, but often include:
- “Road rash” abrasion injuries
- Broken bones
- Dental and facial injuries
- Neck, shoulder, and back injuries
- Lost or amputated limbs
- Head and brain injuries, such as concussions or moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord damage, which can result in temporary or permanent paralysis of varying degrees
- Internal injuries, such as bleeding or organ damage
- Psychological injuries, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD
Potential Damages in Bicycle Accident Cases
Bicycle crash injuries and losses can be catastrophic. As a result, settlements and financial awards in serious bike accident cases are often substantial. Accident victims can seek compensation for a wide variety of economic and non-economic damages, such as:
- All reasonable and necessary accident-related medical expenses. This includes doctor's visits, hospitalizations, specialist care, assistive care or assistive devices, prescription medications, surgical procedures, and medical-related travel costs.
- Bicycle repair or replacement costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity, if applicable
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship and consortium
Consult an Experienced PA Attorney
If you were injured in a bicycle accident that wasn't your fault, don't let an insurance company or defense team give you the runaround.
The skilled attorneys with the Accident and Injury Law Group will investigate your case and help you fight for the compensation you need to regain your health and financial stability. Contact us today to request an appointment for a free initial case consultation.