I was Hit by a Car While Riding My Bicycle: Who will Pay My Medical Bills?

If you have been struck and injured by a car while riding your bike, your priority is to seek medical attention as soon as possible.  Although some injuries may appear to be minor, symptoms of internal damage and traumatic brain injuries can sometimes appear hours or even days after an accident.  Visiting a doctor will create a record of your injuries, a critical step towards receiving compensation for your medical care. 

After you have seen a doctor, it is important to speak with a bicycle accident attorney who can guide you through the process of receiving monetary damages for your injuries.

Like most other US states, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania all have no-fault laws that require people injured in car accidents to file medical claims with their auto insurance companies, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.  “No-fault” policies are called “Personal Injury Protection” (PIP) plans, which drivers must purchase as part of their own auto insurance policies.  The extent to which PIP plans will cover your hospital and medical expenses varies by state, and may also depend upon the particular auto insurance policy you or the driver who hit you has purchased. 

In addition to filing for PIP coverage for your medical expenses, you may be entitled to file a claim for pain and suffering damages that will allow you to recover compensation for your injuries above the limits of your PIP medical benefits.

Here are some key facts to keep in mind about no-fault medical compensation in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania:

No-fault medical laws in New York

Under New York law, when a bicycle crash involves a car, bus or truck, the driver’s auto insurance company is responsible for all PIP claims, including that of the bicyclist. This applies regardless of who was at fault in the accident.

If the driver of the vehicle that struck your bike is uninsured, or in a hit-and-run situation, you should file your no-fault claim with your own auto insurance company.  If you do not have auto insurance, you may still be eligible for no-fault coverage through the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).

PIP plans in New York will pay up to $50,000 per person for medical expenses, lost earnings and other expenses related to the accident. However, PIP claims must be filed with the vehicle driver’s insurance company within 30 days of the accident, or the claim could be denied.  

New Jersey

Under New Jersey law, if a cyclist injured in a car accident owns an auto insurance policy, the cyclist must file all PIP claims with his or her own auto insurer. If you do not have your own auto insurance policy, you may be able to file for PIP coverage from an auto insurance policy of a close family member living in the same household.  If no one in your home has auto insurance, you should turn to your health insurance provider to cover the costs of medical treatment.  When none of these options are available, injured cyclists may be entitled to PIP coverage through the New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association

PIP plans in New Jersey may offer coverage as low as $15,000 or as high as $250,000 per person for medical expenses due to an accident. PIP claims must be filed within two years of the accident.

Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law, if a cyclist injured in a car accident owns an auto insurance policy, the cyclist must file all PIP claims with his or her own auto insurer. If you do not have your own auto insurance policy, you may be able to file for PIP coverage from an auto insurance policy of a close family member living in the same household.  If no one in your home has auto insurance, you may file your PIP claims with the driver’s auto insurance company. When none of these options are available to you, injured cyclists may be entitled to PIP coverage through the Pennsylvania Financial Responsibility Assigned Claims Plan (PFRACP).

The minimum amount of PIP coverage required in Pennsylvania is $5,000.  Although PIP claims may be filed for up to four years after the accident occurs, health insurance claims must be submitted within one year of the accident. For this reason, it is important to access and exhaust the PIP coverage available to you within the first year following the accident.

Navigating your PIP coverage after an accident can be confusing, and you should contact an experienced attorney to learn more about your rights. If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you need a lawyer to help you make sure your medical expenses are covered and help get you the pain and suffering compensation you deserve.

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