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Who pays for medical expenses in a PA bicycle accident?


A: FAQ: I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle in Philadelphia.  I was hurt and needed medical treatment.  Who pays for my medical expenses?  Can I sue the driver?

ANSWER: The answer to your first question depends.  If you own a car and have an auto policy for that car, your medical expenses are covered by your own auto insurance company under the PIP (personal injury protection) or medical benefits coverage. Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, which means regardless of who caused the accident, the injured insured’s own insurance company pays for their medical expenses.

Even though you were injured while riding your bike, PIP covers an insured driver’s injuries sustained while riding a bicycle.  It also covers an insured driver’s injuries if they were injured as a pedestrian, e.g., hit by a car while crossing a street in Old City, Philadelphia.

The minimum PIP coverage drivers are required to carry is $5,000.  If you have the minimum PIP coverage, the first $5,000 of your medical bills will be covered.  If your injuries require extensive medical treatment and your PIP coverage is exhausted, then you would use your health insurance to pay for your medical expenses.  If your health insurance has a deductible and copays, then you will be required to pay for them. 

This brings us to your second question.  Yes, you can sue the driver in a subsequent PA car accident lawsuit if the driver was negligent in causing the accident.  You may be able to recover the following damages:

  • medical expenses,
  • lost wages,
  • pain and suffering, and
  • other out of pocket expenses.

Thus, the medical deductible and co-pays become part of your medical expenses claim you may recover.  It is important to save all of the medical receipts and other out of pocket expenses you may incur.

Some injured cyclists may think that because their PIP coverage from their auto insurance applies to the bike-car accident, then the limited tort option also applies.  This is not the case.  PA law does not apply limited tort to an injured insured when they are injured as a pedestrian or a bicyclist. 

Limited tort limits the ability of an injured insured to sue for pain and suffering in a subsequent auto accident lawsuit if their injuries are not serious or if the accident doesn’t fall under any of the exceptions. For a discussion on the exceptions, see Pennsylvania's Limited Tort - When You Can Sue for Pain and Suffering (Part A)

I am sure you have more questions about your accident.  Feel free to schedule a FREE consultation with me.  Call 877.944.8396

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