Picture this: It’s a beautiful Sunday morning and before the Philadelphia Eagles play you want to get some exercise in as you know you will be vegging in front of the television all afternoon watching football. You hop on your bike and start wheeling around town when the unthinkable happens, a car comes up behind you and the driver is on her phone and you get clipped by the passenger side mirror and go flying into a parked car to your right, fracturing your wrist as you fall to the ground. First, I hope you had your helmet on, always a must even if you are only riding around the block. Second, in Pennsylvania, when a car passes a cyclist on the road, they must give the cyclist 4 feet of room, which obviously wasn’t done in this case. So now you are at the hospital with the arm getting set in a cast and you begin to wonder who pays my medical bills for my bike accident?
The answer to the question I was in a bike accident, who pays my medical bills? is complex, but hopefully the following information will provide some clarity:
- A cyclist is considered a pedestrian in Pennsylvania.
- When a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle, if that pedestrian owns a car, the insurance company for that vehicle will be responsible for the medical bills to whatever the medical limit that is on that policy.
- If the cyclist doesn’t own a car but lives with a resident relative who owns a vehicle, the insurance policy on that car will provide medical coverage up to its medical limits.
- If the cyclist does not own a car or live with a family member who does and thus he is not covered by an automobile insurance policy, the cyclist can get his bills paid under the policy of insurance issued to any of the drivers involved in the accident.
- Sometimes more than 1 vehicle is involved in a car accident and the policy of insurance on any of these vehicles can be looked to for medical coverage, even if that vehicle never made contact with the cyclist. This becomes important because some of the vehicles on the road are uninsured, so the cyclist can look to any of the cars involved in the accident to get the medicals paid.
- The minimum coverage for medical in Pennsylvania is $5,000.00 and most of the policies in PA are written with these limits in place.
The above answer seems counter-intuitive, but in Pennsylvania, we are a no fault state, meaning that if you are in a bike accident, (here you were hit by a car and hence in an accident) the above are the priorities set out by the legislature as to how your medical bills get paid. Although this answer angers a lot of people, slightly adjust the facts and it begins to make more sense. What if the cyclist turned in front of the car and caused the accident that injured him? Again, the same applies and the cyclist’s own auto policy and/or a resident relatives policy becomes primary for payment of medical bills.
These are the basics on who pays the medicals when a cyclist is hit by a car, but remember every bike accident is different and present a new set of complex issues. The medical bills from bike accidents are usually immense because of the severity of many bike accidents. That is why the most important call you can make if you are injured in a bike accident is to a personal injury lawyer to help sort out your rights.
Ride safe friends.