Bicycling is a popular activity, enjoyed by recreational cyclists as well we competitive riders. Unfortunately, cycling can be particularly dangerous in the Tewksbury – Lowell, Massachusetts area. While our area does have biking trails, our streets tend to be highly traveled, with inadequate bike lanes that offer protection for cyclists.
Tragically, the combination of high traffic and poor bike lanes can make a deadly combination, resulting in a significant number of deaths and serious injuries to cyclists.
In every case in which a cyclist is seriously injured or killed, it is critical to conduct a full investigation and to uncover the causes of the crash, including who may be at fault. Often, those responsible for cycling deaths and injuries include:
Sadly, the number of bicyclists who lost their lives in collisions with automobiles increased by 12.2 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Researchers with NHTSA indicated that 2.3 percent of all traffic deaths involved someone riding a bicycle.
Similarly, the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that over 467,000 cyclists were injured in 2015, and that more than 1,000 cyclists were killed that year.
The causes of cycling deaths and injuries include:
When a bicyclist is hit by a motorist in Massachusetts, the risk of a debilitating bodily injury or loss of their life is high. This is due to the fact that there is no protective barrier to shield the bicyclist when they are hit by a motorist; thus it is the cyclist – not the vehicle – that bears almost 100% of the impact.
As a result, many bicyclists suffer serious injuries, including:
We know that if you have been seriously injured in an accident with a motorist, your life may have been turned upside down. In the blink of an eye, you may be damaged physically, emotionally, and financially. You may be wondering about:
As a Tewksbury bicycle accident lawyer, I can help address these issues during a free, confidential consultation.
When a bicyclist is involved in a collision with a negligent motorist, the auto insurance policies of both the bicyclist and motorist come into play.
Under Massachusetts law, motorists must carry a state-mandated minimum amount of auto insurance coverage:
In addition to the minimum coverage amounts described above, all motorists must also carry a minimum amount of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage through their auto insurance policy. In Massachusetts, all motorists are required to carry at least $8,000 in PIP coverage, which is typically used to help cover two types of expenses often incurred – medical bills and lost wages.
In most instances, the answer to this question is yes.
PIP coverage in Massachusetts typically provides compensation for a claimant’s medical bills and lost wages. PIP coverage for cycling accidents is very similar to PIP coverage for individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents while operating their motor vehicle.
An issue related to accessing PIP coverage in Massachusetts pertains to individuals who have a private, non-ERISA, health policy. For these individuals, PIP coverage only applies if (i) your health policy does not cover your medical bills after the accident; (ii) your health policy has a large deductible; or (iii) your health policy has a large co-pay.
If your health policy has a large deductible (for example, if you have a high deductible health plan with an accompanying health savings account) or a large co-pay, then PIP coverage will be used to cover those costs rather than actually reimbursing you for your medical expenses.
It is against the law to leave the scene of an accident. In Massachusetts, when a motorist is involved in an accident, they are legally obligated to stop and exchange their information with the other individual, or individuals, involved in the collision. Despite this legal obligation, hit and run accidents remain disturbingly high in Massachusetts and nationwide. For example, according to AAA, more than one hit-and-run accident occurs each minute on roads and streets in the U.S. As a result, between 2009 and 2016, there was a shocking 60 percent increase in hit and run collisions.
If you or a loved one was the victim of a hit and run bicycle accident, you have the ability to file a personal injury claim through your own auto insurance policy. If you do not have an auto insurance policy and relied on your bicycle for transportation, do not give up hope. If you live with a blood relative or spouse who has an auto insurance policy, you may be able to file a claim through their policy to seek financial restitution for your harms and losses.
In order to obtain the financial restitution, you are owed for your harms and losses (such as medical bills, lost wages, emotional trauma, and related pain and suffering) after a bicycle accident, there will likely need to be a level of negotiation with a claims adjuster. This is an individual who works for insurance company assigned to evaluate your claim. In many instances, a claims adjuster will make a low-ball settlement offer and do all they can to reduce or deny liability. These low-ball settlement offers often cover only portions of your medical expenses and lost wages without even providing an iota of compensation for your pain and suffering. This is why it makes sense to hire an experienced and aggressive Tewksbury bicycle injury lawyer. I can take the burden off your shoulders of dealing with the insurance company. This allows you to focus on your recovery and getting your life in order while I will work to obtain the best financial recovery for you.
In cases involving serious injury or wrongful death, it is especially critical to have the representation of an experienced injury lawyer in seeking full compensation. The process of holding all defendants accountable and recovering a fair settlement is meticulous, and typically involves months of investigation, depositions, interrogatories, and negotiation. The defendants and their lawyers need to understand the full amount of damages incurred, including the pain and suffering endured.
Insurance companies (who are typically involved in settlement payments on behalf of their insured) are notoriously averse to paying full compensation, even when it would appear obvious that their insured (the driver) is fully responsible for a crash. In essence, they will do everything they can to avoid liability, including blaming the injured cyclist.
My role is to build up the case of clients to the point where insurance companies and defendants have one decision – they can either pay full compensation my client (the injured cyclist), or they can go to trial and have fault and damages decided by a jury. If they refuse to pay a fair settlement, I will not hesitate to go to trial.
In Massachusetts, there is a finite amount of time that injured bicyclists have available to initiate a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent motorist who hit them to seek financial restitution for their harms and losses. The legal term for this finite amount of time is known as the statute of limitations. In most bicycle accident injury cases, the amount of time to file a lawsuit is three years, commencing from the date of the accident. If you fail to file a personal injury lawsuit within the allotted statute of limitations, you will likely be prohibited from ever holding the negligent motorist accountable for their careless actions.
If you or a loved one was seriously harmed in a bicycle accident caused by the careless or reckless actions of a motorist, contact my office today to schedule a free, confidential case review. During this case review, I can provide an honest assessment of your claim. My objective is to secure full and fair compensation for you. I work on a contingency fee basis, which means that I do not get paid unless and until you get paid. Contact my office today to get started.
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