In the summer, many NJ bicyclists are severely injured in auto accidents as the result of the drivers’ negligence. Bicyclists may be hit by all types of motor vehicles, i.e., cars, trucks, mini-vans and buses. Other than helmets which provide some protection from head-brain injuries, cyclists are often severely injured. After impacts, bicyclists may by thrown off their bikes and onto the pavement, concrete and/or roadway.
With serious injuries, such as multiple fractures throughout the body, ruptured internal organs and/or traumatic brain injuries, cyclists are often worried about their medical bills and who pays for them.
Injured Cyclists May Receive PIP Coverage
After drivers/passengers are injured in motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey, their medical bills are covered by their own car insurance policies. Medical benefits coverage or PIP benefits provide medical coverage to insured drivers/passengers regardless of who caused the accident. Therefore, even though injured drivers are not at fault, they seek medical benefits coverage from their own car insurance companies.
PIP benefits also cover pedestrians. N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4 states who is eligible for PIP and provides that auto policies provide PIP benefits regardless of fault
to the named insured and members of his family residing in his household who sustained bodily injury as a result of an accident while occupying, entering into, alighting from or using an automobile, or as a pedestrian, being struck by an automobile or by an object propelled by or from an automobile, to other persons sustaining bodily injury while occupying, entering into, alighting from or using the automobile of the named insured, with the permission of the named insured, and to pedestrians, sustaining bodily injury caused by the named insured’s automobile or struck by an object propelled by or from such automobile. (emphasis added)
In addition, N.J.S.A. 39:6A-2h defines “pedestrian” in relevant part as “any person who is not occupying, entering into, or alighting from a vehicle….”
Therefore, if a pedestrian owns an insured vehicle and is hit and injured by a car, his medical expenses are covered by his car insurance policy via PIP coverage.
What does PIP benefits coverage have to do with cyclists? Pursuant to NJ law, cyclists are considered pedestrians. Therefore, a cyclist may make a PIP claim with his car insurance company if he was hit and injured by a car.
If an injured cyclist does not own an insured vehicle, then an applicable car insurance may provide PIP benefits. For example, if the cyclist lived with his father, he may be eligible to receive PIP benefits caused by an automobile accident because he was a member of the family residing in his father’s home.
Hit by a Car, Bus or Truck While Riding a Bicycle in South Jersey?
If you were hit by a car, truck or a van while riding a bike in South Jersey, call Philip T. Ciprietti, Esq. to inquire about your legal rights. Mr. Ciprietti is a NJ personal injury lawyer who has helped victims of motor vehicle accidents in NJ. Call to schedule a FREE consultation. 800-281-8695