Exploring Philadelphia on two wheels can be a delight, but dangers abound. Far too many cyclists are subject to the whims of irresponsible drivers, many of whom fail to yield or check their blind spots when bicycles are on the road.
At The Cochran Firm, we believe that Philadelphia cyclists should be able to enjoy our local roads without fear of being injured or even killed by negligent drivers. Sadly, negligence often leads to severe injuries for Philadelphia cyclists. Some bicycle accidents even cause fatalities.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), annual bicycle fatalities total nearly 1,000. While bicycles are used for a mere one percent of all trips made on U.S. roads, over two percent of fatalities involving motor vehicles also involve bikes.
Those who survive bicycle accidents may suffer years — even decades — of extreme physical pain. The recovery process can take years, leading to major medical bills (or debt) and, often, a complete inability to return to work. The emotional impact also deserves attention. Biking should be an enjoyable activity, but victims are often too afraid to ride after an accident.
With so much at stake, there should be no question as to whether legal representation is necessary. Victims owe it to themselves — and other at-risk cyclists — to hold negligent drivers accountable. What’s more, many find themselves in desperate need of damages to cover hospital bills and other expenses.
Bicycle accident law is a top practice area at The Cochran Firm in Philadelphia. Our legal team sends a clear message: motor vehicle negligence is unacceptable.
If you’ve been harmed by a negligent driver, you may be eligible for compensation.
What Causes Bicycle Accidents in Philadelphia?
Negligence is to blame for many Philadelphia bicycle accidents. All too often, this negligence involves large vehicles capable of producing significant physical trauma. This can take many forms, such as:
Rolling Through Stop Signs
Many traffic accidents occur at intersections, where cyclists have the right of way when stop signs are not present. If a negligent motorist approaches an intersection from a street with a stop sign but fails to come to a full stop, the cyclist may be unable to swerve in time to avoid a collision.
Opening Car Doors
Cyclists may be at risk if car doors are opened within their line of travel. For this reason, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation restricts motorists’ ability to open doors while driving. That being said, cyclists must also take care; they are charged with providing four feet of clearance between their line of travel and parked vehicles.
Passing Too Close to Cyclists
In Pennsylvania, drivers are required to give cyclists at least four feet of clearance when overtaking bikes. It is the driver’s responsibility — and definitely not that of the cyclist — to provide sufficient space and also travel at a prudent speed when passing. Often, however, drivers fail to slow down. Others remain dangerously close while passing. This can lead to devastating side-swipe accidents.
Inattention While Turning
From failing to use turn signals to not checking blind spots, several forms of negligent behavior can compromise cyclist safety as motorists make right or left turns. Often, inattention comes into play, particularly if motorists are using their cell phones while driving. Even if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel, motorists may simply not think to look for cyclists. This lack of awareness can be deadly.
Why Do You Need a Philadelphia Bicycle Accidents Lawyer?
Local representation is crucial, as both motor vehicle and cyclist laws differ dramatically from one state to the next. These differing regulations must be taken carefully into account for Philadelphia cases due to the following concerns:
Familiarity With Local Motorist Rules
The ideal Philadelphia bicycle accident attorney will possess an intimate understanding of the local rules of the road. These vary not only between states, but also from one municipality to the next. A lawyer who is well-versed in these regulations can help you demonstrate how, exactly, the driver involved in your accident was negligent and why, as a result, you deserve personal injury damages.
Accusations of Cyclist Negligence
In Pennsylvania, cyclists generally receive extensive leeway and autonomy, but exceptions definitely apply. For example: as mentioned previously, it is your responsibility as a cyclist to provide sufficient clearance when driving past parked cars.
Another relevant rule? Pennsylvania cyclists cannot travel on freeways without express permission from the Department of Transportation. If, at the time of your accident, you were not in compliance with these and other laws, your ability to obtain personal injury compensation could be compromised.
This is where Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence laws could come into play. Your Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyer needs to help you demonstrate that you were less than 51 percent at fault. This is not possible unless your attorney is well-versed in local pedal cycle rules, plus the general scope of comparative negligence.
Guidance Through an Often-Stressful Process
The personal injury process is always emotionally difficult, but this can be doubly the case for cyclists, who often struggle to command the respect and consideration they deserve. Bicycle accident lawyers recognize this and are therefore determined to stand in as fierce advocates.
The right attorney will provide helpful insight into every aspect of the personal injury process. As a result, you will always know what to expect. This foresight will help you feel calmer and more confident.
Why Work With The Cochran Firm in Philadelphia?
When your physical health, emotional wellbeing, and financial future are at stake, you can’t afford to work with just any attorney. You need a highly respected law firm with an exceptional track record.
The right legal team can help you get the damages you deserve while also limiting the stress of the personal injury process. This is where we excel at The Cochran Firm in Philadelphia.
Founded over four decades ago, The Cochran Firm has a strong reputation in Philadelphia and beyond. We offer a unique combination: the wealth of resources that only a nationwide firm can provide, plus the targeted representation of a local practice.
Other advantages worth considering include:
No two bicycle accident cases look quite alike. Each client carries different needs and preferences. These are honored at The Cochran Firm in Philadelphia, where we adjust our approach accordingly.
Our personalized, client-centric approach allows us to build a stronger case, no matter the scope of the injury or the complications built into the situation. We respect and appreciate our clients, as is abundantly clear during every consultation, phone call, and email interaction.
A Strong Track Record
Filing a personal injury lawsuit can be stressful even in the best of circumstances — but peace of mind is possible if you work with a highly trusted legal team. If your lawyer has succeeded with similar cases in the past, you will feel more confident that yet another success story is possible with a trusted personal injury attorney by your side.
This is one of the chief advantages of working with The Cochran Firm in Philadelphia. We have a wonderful track record both as a nationwide law firm and at the local level.
At The Cochran Firm, our stellar track record is evidenced not only in repeated courtroom successes, but also by powerful testimonials from our satisfied clients. A brief overview of this feedback should reveal that our clients feel respected and cared for through every step of the legal process.
Each of our attorneys brings unique strengths and knowledge to the table. This is incredibly valuable when dealing with niche practice areas, such as bicycle accidents. Many of our attorneys have worked extensively in practice areas such as motor vehicle accidents. This is especially a point of pride for Robert S. Miller, Simon T. Haileab, and Adam S. Getson.
Attention to Detail
With bicycle accident lawsuits, small details can make a big difference, so these are taken seriously by our firm’s meticulous lawyers. We demonstrate attention to detail during discovery, while negotiating settlements, and in every other legal procedure we take on.
From in-person conversations to phone calls and email correspondence, the Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyers at The Cochran Firm make a point of maintaining close contact with our valued clients. Open lines of communication are essential, and clients deserve to be kept in the loop.
What Happens When You Work With The Cochran Firm?
As we’ve touched on, the legal process won’t look exactly the same between cases — but with bicycle accidents, our legal response tends to follow a general pattern:
First and foremost, your legal team needs to build a foundation of trust. This begins during the initial consultation, which you can schedule by calling (800) 969-4400.
During this important first meeting, we will get your side of the story: what happened, how you’ve suffered as a result, and why you believe the other party showed negligence. We will provide honest feedback, including an assessment of your case’s prospects. Should we choose to move forward, you can feel confident that your bicycle accident case holds strong merit.
Once we’ve chatted about your intentions as a personal injury client, it’s time to embark on the most crucial part of the process: discovery. This is where the detail-oriented attorneys at The Cochran Firm shine.
We are undeniably thorough in our efforts to secure evidence. This can be difficult to come by in cases involving cyclists, but that doesn’t stop us. We acquire and examine several sources of evidence, such as:
- Medical records. Documentation from healthcare providers should demonstrate the scope of your suffering, as well as the cost of treatment and even your ability to return to work after your accident. All of this could play heavily into your final settlement, particularly if your accident resulted in significant hospital bills or ongoing (and expensive) rehabilitation. Consulting a medical malpractice attorney is crucial in such cases to ensure that your rights are protected and you receive the appropriate legal representation throughout the process.
- Police reports. Filing a police report is absolutely crucial in the aftermath of a Philadelphia bicycle accident. Better yet, law enforcement officials will arrive at the scene to complete these reports on their own. Either way, these documents should contain detailed information about the negligent driver, as well as other facts that may relate to your case.
- Photos from the scene of the bicycle accident. Whether taken by the victim, by onlookers, or by your attorney, photos can convey a lot more than can be expressed with words alone. These are often a key source of evidence in Philadelphia bicycle accident cases.
Witness statements can be especially valuable. These are available not only from people who were present at the time of the accident, but also from expert witnesses who can provide even more in-depth insight.
Dealing With Car Insurance Companies
When Pennsylvania bicycle accident cases involve motor vehicles, they are typically handled through insurance. This can be a huge source of frustration for cyclists, as Pennsylvania is a no-fault state for insurance purposes. Local drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP), which provides only modest coverage.
With especially serious injuries caused by extreme negligence, additional compensation may be possible. High-level legal representation will be needed to ensure that you meet this threshold. Even if you don’t, your Philadelphia bicycle accident attorney can help you maximize damages.
Seeking a Settlement or Verdict
If your case qualifies for a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll need to move fast: Pennsylvania has a strict statute of limitations spanning just two years. Extensions can be incredibly difficult to obtain. Your attorney will ensure that you remain on schedule.
During a formal bicycle accident lawsuit, your attorney will negotiate assertively to help you secure a settlement above and beyond what might be possible from insurance alone.
Pennsylvania bicycle accident lawsuits are typically resolved at the settlement level, but you can expect fierce representation if your case ends up in court. Either way, you can expect a contingency fee arrangement, which means you won’t pay for legal representation until the Philadelphia team from The Cochran Firm has produced a settlement or desired jury verdict.
The Cochran Firm: Your Trusted Resource After a Philadelphia Bicycle Accident
As an injured cyclist and the victim of negligence, you deserve compensation for your suffering. This could be well within reach if you work with The Cochran Firm in Philadelphia. We are committed to representing your best interests. Offering a personalized approach and zealous representation, our team is more than capable of securing damages on your behalf.
The sooner you get in touch with our talented team of Philadelphia attorneys, the better. We would love to get you started with a free consultation. Contact us or call (800) 969-4400 today to learn more.