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Bikes in Boston: What Happens When They Are Involved in Accidents with Cars or Trucks

Although rightfully known as a great walking city, Boston experiences about one non-fatal bicycle crash and two traffic accidents involving pedestrians every day. And every year, cyclists and pedestrians are killed on Boston’s streets, often near intersections that have a history of being particularly inhospitable to road sharing. In February 2019, a 69-year-old children’s librarian was killed at an intersection when a cement truck hit her as the light turned green. Cyclists and safety activists expressed outrage because the intersection in Fenway where the accident occurred is known for being particularly treacherous for cyclists.

Such tragic accidents serve as reminders for city officials that they still have work to do to achieve Vision Zero Boston — the Boston Transportation Department’s initiative to eliminate fatal and serious traffic accidents by 2030. While statistics show that some roadways and intersections have a disproportionately high number of accidents due to their design, other contributing factors include driver fault (e.g., distracted driving or failing to look both ways), faulty or missing equipment, and weather conditions.

Fortunately, most Boston cycling accidents are not fatal. But concussions and broken bones can have serious, long-lasting effects and require extensive medical care and lost time from work. If you suffered an injury in a bike accident, the motorist’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage will cover a percentage of the lost wages and medical bills. PIP covers the first $2,000 in  medical bills, and then your health insurance company will be responsible; however, PIP will still cover deductibles and copays. PIP provides a total of $8,000 in coverage in Massachusetts.

It is a very good idea to hire a trusted attorney to assist you with PIP so you can do what is best for you and your family. For example, if the injured person is employed and will lose wages as a result of the incident, you can ask the PIP adjuster to apply all of the PIP monies to lost wages and just use your health insurance company for your medical bills.

If your medical expenses exceed $2,500, and if the motorist was at fault, you may be able to collect damages from that person’s insurance company. If the at-fault driver was operating a commercial truck, you may also be able to collect damages from the company. Not only can you sue if the driver negligently drove the vehicle, but also for failing to properly maintain or equip the vehicle if this contributed to the accident. It is important to see a doctor right away for treatment to treat your injuries and to begin documenting the injury as soon as possible so you will have all the evidence you need to present your case.

In addition to medical bills and lost wages, you can also sue for pain and suffering and any visible injuries such as scars. If the at-fault driver has inadequate insurance, your own policy might cover the damages, provided that you have Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist (UIM) coverage. UIM also provides coverage for hit and run accidents.

For help from a lawyer with a track record of obtaining compensation for local car accident injuries and wrongful deaths, call Swartz & Lynch, LLP in Boston, Massachusetts at 857-250-0664 or contact us online to arrange your free initial consultation.

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