For some Massachusetts residents, a bicycle is both a convenient and healthy way to commute to work, not to mention an enjoyable pastime. No matter how you use your bike, you likely pay close attention to your safety while on the road. After all, a collision between a vehicle and a bicycle can lead to serious damage – especially to the cyclist, more often than not.
In addition to the physical injuries and damage, there are also many questions that come with an accident. Who is responsible for paying your medical bills? Can you be compensated for your time off work? Addressing these concerns while dealing with the insurance companies may add to your stress and potentially delay your recovery.
Have you been injured in a bicycle accident? Better Phone Stone®. A consultation with Jason Stone Injury Lawyers can be arranged to take place by phone, by video chat, or in person and is always 100 percent free of charge. When you talk with us, There’s No Obligation, Just Information®.
Insurance Coverage in Massachusetts
Massachusetts applies the rule of “no fault” when it comes to car insurance claims. When an accident occurs, a driver can make a claim with his or her insurance company, no matter who was at fault.
Minimum car insurance requirements
All drivers on the road are required to carry a minimum level of car insurance. This mandatory insurance includes:
- Bodily Injury to Others
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
- Bodily Injury Caused by Uninsured Auto
- Property Damage
After a car accident, each person can claim up to $8000 of PIP coverage. This PIP coverage includes compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and replacement services.
If damages are more than $2000 and the injured victim was less than 50 percent at fault, he or she can pursue action against the at-fault driver to recover more compensation.
The minimum liability coverage for bodily injury in Massachusetts is only $20,000 if one person was injured or a total of $40,000 if multiple people were injured.
The unfortunate truth of the matter is that these minimum requirements are often not nearly enough to cover the necessary expenses after an accident. For example, one study concluded that suffering multiple leg fractures could cost nearly $40,000 or more.
Insurance coverage for a bicycle accident
There is an important difference with PIP coverage when it comes to bicycle accidents. Since cyclists are not required to be covered by insurance, they can have their first $2000 of damages paid by the driver’s insurance policy.
But you shouldn’t immediately assume that you don’t have coverage in the event of a bicycle accident. You may, in fact, be covered for certain damages through your auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, or health insurance. There may be some other means as well.
Some insurance companies offer additional, more comprehensive bicycle insurance. These policies can provide compensation for some medical bills, as well as:
- Replacement bike rental
- Cycling apparel
- Vehicle contact
- Crash damage
It is important to understand the details of your specific policy. But policies are rarely easy to understand – a fact insurance companies may exploit by confusing bicycle accident victims and refusing compensation.
When you have questions after a Massachusetts bicycle accident, Better Phone Stone®. Our bicycle accident lawyers can help you better understand your legal options.
Common Types of Bicycle Accidents in Massachusetts
A bicycle accident can happen anywhere. With that being said, though, the majority of bicycle accidents seen at our firm fall within four general categories:
- Right-hook accidents occur when a driver hits a cyclist traveling in the same direction while turning right
- Left-hook accidents are when a motorist hits a cyclist coming in the opposite direction while making a left turn
- Dooring accidents happen when a person hits a cyclist when opening the car door while parked on the side of the road
- Sideswipes take place when a driver unsafely merges into a lane, striking a cyclist; this can happen when the driver doesn’t see the cyclist or misjudges the distance between the vehicle and the bicycle
Bicycle accident cases often result in serious injury or even death. A Massachusetts bicycle accident lawyer with our law firm can help you understand your options for a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim, depending on the details of your case.
Massachusetts Law on Bicycle Safety
The good news for Massachusetts cyclists is that the commonwealth ranks 5th among all states in the National Bicycle Friendly report. Numerous regulations have been adopted with the goal of keeping cyclists safe on Massachusetts roads.
However, despite this good overall ranking, Massachusetts was graded a “D” for Legislation & Enforcement, ranking 49 out of 50 states. Clearly, there are still some advancements to be made for Massachusetts to be safer for cyclists.
Where to ride
According to Massachusetts law, cyclists are allowed to:
- Ride on public roads, streets, or bikeways (unless prohibited)
- Ride on sidewalks outside of business districts
- Use an unlimited number of reflectors and lights
- Ride two side-by-side in a lane of traffic
How to ride
- Use hand signals when stopping or turning
- Follow traffic safety laws
- Wear a helmet (if 16 and younger)
- Use headlights and taillights in the dark
A driver’s responsibility
Meanwhile, motorists are expected to:
- Give cyclists a safe distance when passing or merging
- Look for cyclists before opening a car door to avoid hitting or interfering with them
- Avoid sudden right turns at an intersection and after passing a cyclist
- Yield to oncoming cyclists when turning left
The bicycle accident attorneys at our firm know Massachusetts law for cyclists and motorists inside and out. Your lawyer will carefully investigate the circumstances of your bicycle accident to accurately determine fault so your case has the best chances.
Recommended Safety Equipment for Cyclists
Of course, there are proactive steps cyclists can take to protect themselves on the road, beyond going by Massachusetts law. These can include using various safety equipment like:
- Bicycle helmets: For riders over the age of 16, wearing a helmet is not mandatory in the commonwealth. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear one. An appropriate, well-fitting helmet is an essential line of defense against head injuries, especially traumatic brain injury, after a crash.
- Reflectors: One of the most common causes of bicycle accidents involving another vehicle is when the motorist does not see the bicycle. This can be especially true in the early morning, in the evening, at night, or under certain weather conditions, when visibility is low. Installing reflectors and lights on your bike can help others on the road see you easier.
- Mirrors: Defensive driving is essential for cyclists. Using mirrors attached to your bike increases your line of vision, making it easier for you to spot and avoid potential hazards. This can also help you keep an eye on how closely a vehicle is following you from behind.
- Gloves: Hands often take a beating in the event of a bicycle accident. Gloves not only offer a measure of protection to the hands but also keep the fingers warm in cooler months, allowing for more flexibility and quicker reaction time.
- Bell: Bells can be used to alert both other cyclists and pedestrians of your presence. Using a bell in addition to making the right hand signals can help you communicate with others around you, reducing the chances of a crash.
But even when taking every precaution possible, sometimes the worst-case scenario happens. When it does, call Jason Stone Injury Lawyers. Our team is here to help with your personal injury claim.
How We Can Help After Your Massachusetts Bicycle Accident
You shouldn’t be on the hook for your medical bills and lost wages after a bicycle accident. When you sustained bicycle accident injuries by the negligence of another driver, you have the right to receive full compensation for both your financial costs and pain and suffering damages.
The bicycle accident attorneys at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers are fully equipped to help injured cyclists win the maximum compensation available after the collision. With decades of experience with Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and federal laws, we have what it takes to handle your personal injury case.
According to our own Stone Cold Guarantee®, it is our promise to you that:
- You get paid or else we don’t get paid
- We have representatives available 24/7 to speak with you
- You will hear back from us within 24 hours or less
- You can speak to a bicycle accident lawyer face to face within 24 hours if you wish
- We will fight to prevent insurers from taking advantage of you when we take on your case
- We will guide you through the recovery process so you can have peace of mind
- You will have the option to settle or start litigating within 6 months of your first settlement offer
Our team is only a phone call away – contact us at (800) 577-5188 or complete our free initial consultation form to schedule your free consultation. There’s No Obligation, Just Information®, and no reason to put it off any longer.