Bike Accidents Caused by Delaware Residents
Delaware beach towns are some of the most popular summer vacation spots in the Northeast region. Residents of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and even New York often vacation in Delaware. Dewey Beach, Rehoboth and Bethany are prime beach towns in Delaware. It’s increasingly common to see out of state cars in these towns.
Unfortunately, bicycle and pedestrian accidents tend to occur more often during the summer months. This is especially true at Delaware beach towns. Bike and pedestrian accidents often occur at the beach because vacationers are often unfamiliar with the surroundings, including speed limits, intersections, etc. In addition, drivers are often distracted, looking for parking spots or paying attention to stores/restaurants. In some cases, drivers use their cell phones to text or talk, in violation of Delaware driving laws. These factors certainly contribute to bike and pedestrian accidents.
Out of State Residents Injured in Bike or Pedestrian Accidents in Delaware
Out of state residents, such as residents of Maryland or Pennsylvania, who are injured in a bike or pedestrian accident at one of Delaware’s beach towns are often confused about their legal rights. Common questions include:
- Can I sue the at-fault driver?
- Who pays for my medical bills?
- Can I recover for pain and suffering?
Out of state residents can bring lawsuits in Delaware for bike or pedestrian accident injuries which occur within the state. For example, a Maryland resident who is injured in a bike or pedestrian accident which occurs at a Delaware beach town has the legal right to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Usually, claims may be made for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
PIP Benefits for Out of State Residents Injured in Bike or Pedestrian Accidents in Delaware
Claims for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits are often complex in Delaware bike or pedestrian accident injury cases. That’s because Delaware law allows Delaware residents, who are injured on a bike or as a pedestrian, to make a PIP claim with the auto insurance company of the at-fault driver. This principle is actually quite different from other, neighboring states, such as Pennsylvania or New Jersey.
Under Delaware auto accident law, Delaware residents who are injured in bike or pedestrian accidents will generally make claims for PIP benefits with the auto insurance company of the at-fault driver. For example, a Delaware resident who is hit by a car while walking across the street will probably make a PIP claim for medical bills and lost wages with the auto insurance company covering the striking vehicle.
However, this law will not always apply to out of state residents, such as residents of Maryland or Pennsylvania. Generally, the law of the state in which the auto policy was purchased will apply with respect to PIP benefits. Therefore, a Maryland resident who is injured in a bike or pedestrian accident while vacationing in Delaware would make a PIP claim under their own auto insurance policy, in accordance with Maryland PIP insurance law. Likewise, a Pennsylvania resident who is injured in a bike or pedestrian accident in Delaware would make a PIP claim under their own auto insurance policy, in accordance with Pennsylvania law.
There are situations, however, when Delaware law will apply, thus allowing an out of state resident to make a PIP claim with the auto insurance company of the car that hit them. For example, in Watts v. Universal Underwriters Group, the Delaware Superior Court (Kent County) held in favor of a Maryland resident who was killed in a pedestrian auto accident in Delaware. The court applied Delaware law and allowed the plaintiff (pedestrian’s mother) to make a claim for PIP benefits with the car insurance company of the at-fault driver.
It is important to note that the facts and circumstances of each case will vary. Outcomes depend on the terms of the parties’ auto insurance contracts. Read more about out of state residents’ legal rights after auto accidents in Delaware.
For more information, please contact the auto injury lawyers at Knepper & Stratton. Our lawyers have been handling bike and pedestrian accident cases for over 30 years. The firm has offices in Wilmington, Newark and Dover. (302) 658-1717
*Disclaimer: This website page does not provide any legal advice or create any attorney-client relationship. Every case is unique and you should not take any action or make decisions in your case without speaking to a qualified car and truck accident lawyer in Delaware. Any discussion of results is no guarantee of the same or similar results in current or future cases.
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