As bicycling becomes a more popular means of transportation in cities like Seattle, Tacoma, Burlington, Spokane, Vancouver, Wenatchee, Port Orchard, the Tri-Cities, Bellingham, it is no surprise that bicycle injuries give rise to many of the personal injury claims we see in the Pacific Northwest. GLP Attorneys’ bicycle injury lawyers specialize in bike rider-related injury law and offer high-quality legal services for injured victims of bicycle collisions. Our our lawyers stand ready to help you with your case today.
If you have been involved in an bicycle-related accident, please call or email our attorneys for a free consultation.
Understanding Bicycle Accident Injury Negligence
Under Washington state law, a bicycle is a legal road vehicle — just like an automobile. This means that bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Washington state courts look to a number of factors when determining whether a driver or cyclist was negligent in causing an automobile collision with a bicycle. Some examples of these factors include, but are not limited to:
- Driving or cycling at a speed too fast for road or traffic conditions
- Driving or cycling under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving or cycling, including texting while driving/cycling
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals
- Failing to properly signal while turning
- Drivers or cyclists following other legal road vehicles too closely
- Generally failing to follow the Rules of the Road
Getting a Qualified Bicycle Accident Injury Lawyer
In all bicycle accident injury cases, it is essential that measures be taken immediately to preserve evidence, investigate any facts in question, and enable physicians or other experts to thoroughly evaluate any injuries resulting from the incident promptly.
In such circumstances, it is therefore important to contact a qualified an attorney with experience helping clients injured in bicycle accidents as soon as possible.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, call GLP Attorneys at 800.273.5005 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free lawyer consultation to ensure your rights are being protected and that any potential claims you may have are properly addressed.
The two most immediate concerns people have after being involved in a bicycle accident are (1) getting treatment for any injuries they suffered as a result of the accident and (2) determining how they might ensure that the resulting medical bills get paid. If you are injured in a bicycle accident, there are three main kinds of coverage that may apply to your situation: PIP insurance, health insurance, and liability insurance.
Click the "+" icons below to learn more about each kind of coverage.
The best insurance for payment of medical expenses in full is personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage.
What is PIP? PIP is optional insurance coverage that is added to an auto policy. In the event of a collision, PIP will help pay for medical expenses, wage loss, and loss of essential services -- regardless of who is at fault. The minimum amount of PIP medical expense coverage in Washington is $10,000, but policies can be purchased that provide coverage of $25,000, $35,000, or more.
Is PIP insurance mandatory? PIP insurance coverage is not mandatory for individual car owners in Washington state. However, their insurance companies must offer the coverage. RCW 48.22.085 provides that no new liability insurance policy or renewal of an existing policy may be issued unless PIP coverage is offered as an optional coverage. The law states that a named insured may reject, in writing, PIP coverage. The insurance carrier is not required to include PIP coverage in any supplemental, renewal, or replacement policy unless a named insured subsequently requests such coverage in writing.
What else can PIP do? PIP coverage also helps in that you avoid deductibles, co-pays, and limited referral networks, and in most cases should cover medical bills in full as they are incurred.
How do healthcare providers bill PIP? When PIP coverage is available, health care providers should promptly submit records and bills to the PIP insurance carrier, be available to answer questions from the PIP adjuster, and make sure all submitted records are legible, organized, and properly coded.
Where can I get more information on PIP? If you want to learn more about PIP coverage in Washington, you can also visit the Washington State Insurance Commissioner’s website.
How does PIP apply to bicycle injuries? If you’ve been injured in a bicycle collision, you may have two layers of PIP available to you. If the driver of the automobile that hit you has PIP, you are eligible to use the PIP benefits under their automobile policy. Once that PIP benefit has been exhausted, you may also use your own PIP coverage, if you have it, from your own automobile insurance policy.
What if PIP coverage isn't enough? Oftentimes, the minimum PIP coverage of $10,000 exhausts before you reach maximum medical improvement and get released from care by your primary doctor. This is especially true where you are taken by ambulance from the collision scene to a hospital for emergency care. Other times, you may have no PIP coverage available. In either situation, the primary insurance for immediate payment of medical expenses is any available health insurance.
What does health insurance in Washington typically cover? Most Washington health plans will cover chiropractic care, massage therapy, physical therapy, and acupuncture pursuant to WAC 284-43. Billing health insurance is subject to the terms of any contract that the health care provider has with the particular health plan. This means that there may be limitations on the number of treatment visits and covered conditions. You may need to obtain referrals for care, and deductibles and co-payments will apply.
What do I do if I am injured but don't have any insurance coverage? If you do not have PIP coverage, health insurance or worker’s compensation insurance that will cover your medical bills, you can seek medical care and ask that the health care provider “hold” their bills through use of a medical lien against any future settlement with the person that caused your injury.
In what situations can a medical lien be filed? A medical lien can be filed when there is a third party responsible for your injuries AND you have outstanding medical bills associated with those injuries because:
- You have already exhausted your PIP coverage; or
- There is no PIP coverage, worker’s compensation, or health insurance available.
How does a medical lien work? If you still have outstanding medical bills and you have run out of insurance options, a health care provider can hold your medical bills for payment from any settlement with the at-fault party’s liability insurance carrier. This is known as a medical lien. Medical liens are governed by RCW 60.44.
How should I proceed once a medical lien has been filed? By asking any health care provider to file a medical lien, the provider has the right to enforce the lien against any final settlement of your claims with the insurance company for the at-fault party. You should monitor how much you owe for the treatment you are receiving so that you are not surprised by a big outstanding bill that might make settlement of your claim difficult.
If you have been involved in an bicycle related accident, please call or email our attorneys for a free consultation