West Chester Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycle accidents can happen to anyone, regardless of age or experience level. Whether it’s a collision with a vehicle in downtown West Chester, a fall on an uneven surface, an accident at a crosswalk on High Street Corridor, or a mechanical failure, these accidents can result in severe injuries and even death.
Bike crashes are often more severe because you have less protection than a car or other motor vehicle. As a result, you are entirely exposed to any collision’s elements and impact on a bike. This means that even a minor accident can result in serious injuries, such as broken bones, head trauma, brain injuries, or spinal cord injuries. Additionally, bicycles are often difficult for drivers to see, especially in busy or poorly lit areas, which can lead to collisions.
If you or your loved one suffered a serious bicycle accident and are unsure of where to turn for help, contact our experienced West Chester bicycle accident lawyers online or call us at (855) 946-3678. We will listen to your case’s facts and advise you of any legal options available.
Our Chester County attorneys are:
- Successful in procuring compensation for our clients through both negotiations and litigation;
- Focused and driven to win; and
- Knowledgeable about all Pennsylvania bicycle rules and regulations.
Meet with us confidentially at your convenience. There is no charge for your initial consultation, and Wilk Law charges no upfront legal expenses or fees.
Increasing Risks of Bicycling
Research shows that bicycle accidents have increased by 44% in the past ten years, and most accidents happen in warmer months. For example, in 2020, there were 1,260 bicyclist deaths, with 454 dying in non-traffic accidents and 806 in motor-vehicle traffic collisions. Males were also eight times more likely to get into one of these accidents than female cyclists, and males accounted for 89% of bicyclist fatalities.
How Often Do Bicycle Accidents Occur in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, statistics show that bicycle accidents decreased in 2021 and have been on a downward trend for the past five years. However, cyclist fatalities fluctuated, and 2021 had the highest recorded fatality rate in five years, with 24 deaths.
Children aged 0 to 14 are more vulnerable to sustaining fatal injuries while riding bicycles. Roughly a fifth of the injuries involving cyclists fell into this age group, and 2 of the 24 recorded deaths were in this age group too. Cyclists aged 15 to 19 are also at a higher risk of being involved in a fatal accident, and this group had 14.2% of the total recorded injuries.
In Pennsylvania, the majority of cyclists sustained injuries in accidents at intersections. This makes sense as it’s a spot where you have more vehicles and cyclists in close quarters. Research on the casualty rate at different road sections shows the following:
- Non-intersection — 11 fatalities and 263 injuries
- Four-leg intersection — 8 fatalities and 332 injuries
- T-intersection — 4 fatalities and 140 injuries
According to the Department Of Transportation’s report, roughly 81% of all bicycle fatalities in Pennsylvania occurred on state highways, like Routh 309, Route 202, or Route 1. However, they also found that cyclist injuries happened in a fairly even split between smaller or more rural routes and the highways.
In Philadelphia, eight cyclists died in 2021, the highest figure since 1997. This city saw a 40% increase in cyclists killed in collisions from 2020 to 2021 and a 250% increase from 2019 to 2021.
At Wilk Law, we are proud to provide compassionate legal representation to bicycle accident victims. Our bicycle accident attorneys aggressively pursue negligent parties to hold them financially responsible for injuries they cause.
Why Are These Accidents Happening?
Negligence is the leading cause of bicycle accidents. Many drivers are simply distracted, not paying attention to bicyclists, or unaware bicyclists are on the roadway at all.
Negligent drivers may do any of the following:
- A driver cuts off a bicyclist upon entering the roadway;
- A driver makes a right turn in front of a bicyclist traveling straight in the bike lane;
- A driver rear-ends a bicyclist trying to avoid a car parked in the bike lane;
- A driver of a parked car opens their door into the bicyclist; and
- A driver runs a traffic light or stop sign.
What Are Some of The Injuries Associated With Bike Crashes?
Bicyclists have minimal safety gear protecting them from a personal injury. When a bicycle and a motor vehicle collide, the consequences may be catastrophic or even deadly to the cyclist. Bicycle accident injuries may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
- Head and brain injuries, including traumatic brain injury;
- Neck and back injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis;
- Broken bones and fractures;
- Amputations and disfigurement;
- Road rash; and
- Potentially, death.
What Are Pennsylvania’s Bike Riding Laws?
Pennsylvania has several laws related to bicycle riding that aim to ensure the safety of riders and other road users. Some of the key laws include:
- Where to ride — the right side of the road: Cyclists must ride on the right side in Pennsylvania, with traffic flow. However, cyclists can use the left lane when turning left or when the right lane is blocked or unsafe.
- AFRAP (As Far Right As Practicable): Bicyclists must ride as close to the right-hand curb or edge of the road as they safely can except when passing, making a left turn, or when it’s not safe to do so.
- Safe passing laws — 4-Feet Zone: Motorists must allow at least 4 feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist. If it is unsafe to pass, the driver must wait until it is safe.
- Turning vehicles: When turning right, drivers must yield to bicyclists and not turn in front of them. Cyclists are also allowed to make left turns from the left lane.
- Distracted driving laws: Drivers in Pennsylvania are prohibited from texting or using a handheld device while they drive. This applies to cyclists as well as motorists.
- Relevant statutes: The above laws are found in the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, specifically 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. 102, 3301, 3303, 3331, 3316, 3501, 3507, 3508, and 3510.
Pennsylvania’s bike riding laws are designed to promote safety and encourage responsible behavior from bicyclists and motorists. Riders and drivers need to be aware of these laws and follow them to ensure the safety of all road users.
How to Determine Fault in a Bike Crash
To establish who was at fault for the accident, you must prove that one or both involved parties were negligent. Since negligence cases can be very complex, you’ll want to enlist a West Chester bicycle accident attorney to collect extensive evidence to establish the following:
- Duty of Care: The first element is to prove that the defendant had a legal duty of care to the plaintiff. In a bike crash case, all drivers must exercise reasonable care, including looking out for cyclists.
- Breach of Duty: The next part establishes that the defendant breached their duty of care. For example, if a driver failed to yield to a cyclist at an intersection or was driving distracted, they may have breached their duty of care.
- Causation: The third thing your West Chester bike accident lawyer must do is prove that the defendant’s breach of duty caused your injuries. They can do so by showing that the defendant’s actions directly led to the accident and subsequent injuries.
- Damages: The final part is to prove that you suffered damages from the accident. This includes physical injuries, property damage, lost wages, and other related expenses.
Who Will Pay for The Damages From My Injuries?
When it comes to getting compensation for your injuries, there are multiple parties your bike accident attorney in West Chester will consider. Who pays for the damages depends on the circumstances of your accident, but a few potential parties include:
- Negligent drivers — If a driver of a bus, truck, automobile, or another vehicle caused the accident, you could hold them accountable.
- Negligent manufacturers — If your accident was due to a defective product, you could have a case against the retailers or manufacturer of the bicycle accessories, parts, or vehicles.
- Negligent mechanics or repair shops — If the collision happened because of a negligent repair, the mechanic or repair shop could be held responsible.
- State, city, or county in charge of road maintenance — Maybe one of these entities didn’t upkeep the roads, leading to unsafe conditions and collisions. If so, you could hold them accountable with a claim.
Understanding Modified Comparative Negligence and Contributing Fault
Pennsylvania follows a modified comparative negligence rule in personal injury cases, including bike accidents. Under this rule, you can still recover damages from the defendant even if you were partially at fault for the accident. However, the court will reduce your damages in proportion to their degree of fault.
In Pennsylvania, if your degree of fault exceeds the defendant’s, you won’t be able to recover any compensation or damages. But if your degree of responsibility is equal to or less than the defendant’s, you can still recover damages, but your percentage of fault will reduce your recovery.
For example, a cyclist was riding their bike on a sidewalk and was hit by a car that failed to yield at an intersection. As a result, the cyclist suffered $10,000 in damages. However, if the court determines that the driver was 80% at fault for the accident and the cyclist was 20% at fault for riding on the sidewalk, they could reduce the cyclist’s damages by 20%, or $2,000. So, the cyclist could recover $8,000 from the driver.
How Does Compensation Work In Bicycle Accident Claims?
The amount of compensation for a bicycle accident varies from case to case. Compensation depends on the type and severity of the victim’s injuries and the victim’s prognosis for recovery. The categories of bicycle accident compensation may include, but are not limited to:
- Medical bills;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental and emotional trauma;
- Loss of consortium; and
- Wrongful death.
How Our West Chester Bicycle Accident Attorneys Can Help
A bicycle accident attorney from Wilk Law will meet with you, answer all of your legal questions, and take the burden of filing and litigating your valid accident claim off of your hands. Wilk Law will handle all insurance company correspondence and respond to any accident-related creditors.
Our bicycle accident attorneys will also do the following on your behalf:
- Investigate your accident;
- Collect any evidence such as police reports, medical records, and receipts;
- Identify all liable parties and possible sources of compensation;
- Consult with needed medical, financial, and accident experts;
- Keep you apprised of all settlement offers; and
- If necessary, take your case to court.
There are time limits to file a bicycle accident lawsuit in Pennsylvania, so call our West Chester bicycle accident attorneys today. The sooner you call Wilk Law, the faster we can obtain compensation and justice for you.
Bicycling in West Chester, PA
Bicycling in West Chester, PA, is a popular activity; there are many things to do and see while riding a bike. In addition, the borough has several bike-friendly roads and trails, such as the popular Chester Valley Trail, making it easy to get around by bike.
You can explore the charming downtown area, ride through the beautiful neighborhoods, or take a scenic ride on the nearby trails. There are also plenty of mountain biking and road cycling opportunities in the surrounding area. Additionally, West Chester hosts many biking events throughout the year, including group rides, races, and charity events.
Bicycling Safety Tips
At Wilk Law, we want you to stay safe when cycling by following these tips:
- Obey all traffic laws;
- Ride with the flow of traffic;
- Wear bright and reflective clothing;
- Always wear a helmet;
- Look out for pedestrians;
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times;
- Look both ways at intersections; and
- Use hand signals when turning.
Contact a West Chester Bicycle Accident Attorney
If someone else’s negligence injured you or your loved one while bicycling, call Wilk Law for advice. Our bicycle accident attorneys work tirelessly to recover the maximum compensation available for bicycle accident injuries and to hold negligent parties responsible for their actions.
Schedule your free consultation today, or call us at (855) 946-3678. At Wilk Law, we only collect legal fees when we win compensation for you. Some of the areas our West Chester personal injury lawyers serve include: Coatesville, Downingtown, Philadelphia, Phoenixville, Pottstown, and more.