Road rage is a serious problem on the streets and highway in the U.S. Around 200 people are killed in road rage incidents a year in the country. These aren’t “aggressive driving” deaths—that number is much higher—but are deaths where someone intentionally killed a stranger out on the road.
Road rage is different than other situations like aggressive driving because if you hurt or kill someone in a road rage incident, then you have committed an assault or homicide. When a cyclist is hurt in a road rage accident, it brings up all sorts of issues regarding compensation.
Pennsylvania Road Rage Incident
In one example in Lebanon In July of 2017, a 68-year-old cyclist was riding among friends when a driver in a tan 1990’s model Dodge Durango approached the four cyclists and turned sharply—and seemingly intentionally—into the group and then sped off. The 68-year-old cyclist sustained the worst of the injuries and spent weeks in the hospital, endured at least two surgeries and spent months in rehab. He almost died at one point from the complications from a surgery and still wonders if he will ever get back to full health.
So could he collect against the driver if he was found?
In Pennsylvania, if someone injures you by being negligent, then you can get compensation from them for the injuries. If they injure you intentionally, the law still allows you to collect compensation from them, but the problem is, the insurance company will not pay out compensation for injuries cause by an intentional act.
At first blush this seems a bit unfair, but consider if all you had to do was get an insurance policy and purposefully run into people and thereby spread insurance money around for everyone. This doesn’t sound good, so that’s why it’s not allowed.
Sources of Compensation for Road Rage against Cyclists
This puts the intentionally injured people in a bad situation. They are injured, missing time form work and piling up a stack of bills, but then can’t collect from the driver’s insurance policy. This leaves them with only one option: looking to their own auto insurance policy for help.
If a person has uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) on their own policy, then this can be used for their bodily injury damages including things like pain and suffering, permanent disability and lost time from work.
A cyclist can use this coverage not because a bicycle is considered a vehicle, but because the cyclist was injured in an auto accident. Then the injured person’s own insurance might cover based on what provisions there are in the policy.
What about that intentional thing? The rule is that the person who is covered can’t be the one who intentionally did something to trigger the insurance coverage. So if you make a claim against your own insurance, you weren’t the one who intentionally hurt someone, so it potentially will cover—so long as you had the right coverage.
Medpay or Personal Injury Protection
In that same vein, a person’s own policy might have medpay or personal injury protection (PIP). Medpay is a provision that drivers can get on their own policy that will pay for medical bills regardless of who is at fault or who is injured so long as the insured or their vehicle is involved.
PIP works similar to medpay, but it pays medical bills plus other damages like pain and suffering and loss of wages. It also pays out regardless of who was injured or at fault so long at the insured or their vehicle is involved.
What do I do if I’m Injured by Road Rage?
If you are cycling and someone intentionally hits and injures you, you need to talk to a Philadelphia Bicycle Crash Attorney to find out your rights under the law. The insurance company might be right that you can’t collect from them because it was done intentionally, however, if you have the same insurance company, chances are they aren’t going to volunteer that your own policy could be used.
Even if they do, using UM/UIM can be tricky as there are certain requirements and rules that govern how it works.
Contact the Pearce Law Firm, P.C., to talk to an experienced attorney today. Don’t suffer alone and leave it to an insurance agent to determine what compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call Pearce Law Firm, P.C. at (215) 557-6868 or text at 215 880 6164, and start getting someone in your corner. You can also contact us online by clicking here.