Tort laws and Bike Accidents

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netviln
Participant
#

Can anyone offer me some insight on how PA tort laws apply to cycling accidents.

From my understanding, if you are involved in an accident with a car, whether you are in a car, bike or pedestrian, it is considered a claim for your vehicle insurance and there for subject to that process. What about people that dont own a car and therefore dont have automotive insurance? Could they sue for pain and suffering? And can cyclist, including those with automotive policies with limited tort sue for pain and suffering since it wasnt really an automotive accident.


erok
Keymaster
#

i don’t know, but there’s this: http://www.bicyclelaw.com/p.cfm/legal-issues-for-cyclists/about-insurance

i don’t know if it answers your question or not. i’m sure his book goes into further detail


netviln
Participant
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I just found this:

http://www.carcrashinfo.com/PracticeAreas/Bicycle-Accidents.asp

“….Like pedestrians or passengers of cars hit by out-of-state drivers, bicyclists are deemed full-tort, regardless of whether they carry full-tort coverage on their own auto insurance or not.”

This all came about when my wife was struck last week on liberty ave around 18th st. We have only had one call with our lawyer friend and didn’t ask at that time.

Definitely something good to know tho. Maybe she will get a nicer bike after all.


erok
Keymaster
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when i was going through this stuff, i found that laws change depending on the state, so be aware of that


steevo
Participant
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I remember stewy not being able to get more than

medical bills and damage when he got doored and

broke his wrist. No painand suffering cause he had

just bought his first car with limited tort.


Lyle
Participant
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What happens when the other party is not a motorist, and/or you’re offroad, eg, you’re riding along the jail trail, call “on your left” to a pedestrian walking on the right hand side of the trail, who turns, looks over her left shoulder and steps directly in front of you? My best guess is that there is really no effective law, so it just depends on whether she’s young, white and pretty or not.


netviln
Participant
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Bitter Lyle? I understand tho. It does seem that the public opinion is that its always the cyclists fault.

I did find this thread: http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-109568.html

Seems that in 2005 the PA supreme court ruled that limited tort only applied to drivers and passengers in motor vehicles, NOT to pedestrians and otherwise who are granted FULL tort by default.


Lyle
Participant
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No, I’m not bitter, I’d just really like to have some idea what laws apply under those circumstances. This never happened to me, but I can imagine it could. I don’t think my auto insurance would cover me. Maybe I should pay “the bike lawyer” for an hour consult…


mark
Participant
#

both my brother and i were hit, got pain and suffering… call pgh bike lawyer marc reisman, his number is on an ad on the front page, he will give you a quick briefing based on your situation even if you dont take him…super nice and helpful.


ctwillia
Participant
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If you get hit and have an auto, then you file with your auto insurance…if you have a limited tort policy, then you can not sue for pain and suffering unless the injuries are permanent or disfiguring. It is worth the extra 15% premium to buy the full tort insurance…the is a lot of pain and suffering that comes with a bike / car accident, and it’s not the car driver suffering. I was hit last week, and found out the hard way


rsprake
Participant
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netviln, what happened with your wife?


netviln
Participant
#

Waiting on the offer from the insurance company.


dmtroyer
Participant
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I just found this:

http://www.carcrashinfo.com/PracticeAreas/Bicycle-Accidents.asp

“….Like pedestrians or passengers of cars hit by out-of-state drivers, bicyclists are deemed full-tort, regardless of whether they carry full-tort coverage on their own auto insurance or not.”

Note the cars hit by out-of-state drivers. I didn’t realize my tort option of my auto insurance defined my tort option on the bike. I drive so infrequently that I went with limited but now I am going to switch to full as I feel it is just a matter of time before I or my spouse have a no-fault bike/car accident.


Lyle
Participant
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I think you’re misreading that.


dmtroyer
Participant
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Misreading what? I’m going by the website and what ctwillia had to say:

If you get hit and have an auto, then you file with your auto insurance…if you have a limited tort policy, then you can not sue for pain and suffering unless the injuries are permanent or disfiguring.


nicholas
Participant
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I think it means: like passengers of cars hit by out-of-state drivers, and like any pedestrian hit by any car, bicyclists who are hit by any car are deemed full-tort, regardless of whether they carry full-tort coverage on their own auto insurance or not.

That is to say that “… hit by out-of-state drivers…” pertains only to “…passengers of cars…”

that’s what I am reading anyway.


netviln
Participant
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correct. there are two points in that one sentence:

A) if you are in a motor vehicle and hit by an out of state driver, you have full tort

B) if you are a cyclist or pedestrian and are hit by any motor vehicle you have full tort


dmtroyer
Participant
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ahh, interesting… I should call this marc reisman dude


netviln
Participant
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yeah. we are going to call him after the insurance company comes back with the first offer. Also of note, Document document document! Write everything down, every person you talk to, every email, IM, PM, etc. Take lots of pictures.


erok
Keymaster
#

^^ I wish i knew how important that was when i was hit 5 years ago ^^

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