In the United States, approximately 48,000 cyclists were injured in motor vehicle accidents in 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Many of these accidents cause serious injuries and grave damage. Injured cyclists have several options for recovering damages, depending upon the circumstances surrounding the accident and the specifics of their and the driver's insurance policies.
Filing a Claim against the Driver
For most bicycle-car accidents, negligence of some sort is involved, either on the driver’s or the cyclist’s part. If the driver was at fault for the accident, the cyclist can file a claim against the driver, and the driver’s insurance company will be responsible for covering the damages. Damages include things such as:
- medical bills;
- lost wages;
- scarring or disfigurement; and
- pain and suffering.
If the driver’s policy isn’t enough to cover the full extent of the cyclist’s damages, the cyclist may be able to file a claim with his or her own insurance policy if he or she has underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). This coverage should compensate the cyclist for the damages that are higher than what the driver’s policy paid.
Using Your Own Car Insurance Policy
There are several types of insurance a cyclist may use in an auto/bicycle accident. First, there is the UIM discussed above. UIM’s sister insurance, uninsured motorist coverage (UM) may come into play in these types of accidents as well. Cyclists may be able to file a claim using their own UM coverage if the driver carried no insurance or if the accident was a hit and run.
Another type of car insurance coverage that cyclists may use after a collision is personal injury protection (PIP). PIP is insurance that covers your medical bills in an accident and may cover policyholders injured in a bicycle-car collision. PIP is a no-fault type of coverage, which means regardless of who was at fault, PIP will cover you.
In the state of Washington, UM, UIM and PIP are optional types of coverage. You may or may not have these types of coverage on your policy. You’ll need to check your policy details to see what you carry, what is covered and what your limits are.
What to Do after a Bicycle Accident
If you or a loved one were involved in a bicycle accident and you suffered more than minor injuries, schedule a consultation with an attorney. An attorney will be able to guide you through the steps to file claims and to secure adequate recompense.
In the meantime, start collecting as much information as possible regarding your accident and your injuries. Keep all your medical bills, photos of your injuries and of the accident scene, insurance policy, witness information, etc. in a file folder. This information can help support your case and demonstrate your injuries.
Speaking to a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
To determine what your next step should be following a bicycle accident, contact attorney Max Meyers for a free consultation. We represent traffic accident victims in and around Redmond and will be happy to provide you with a no-cost case evaluation. Call our office today 425-399-7000 to get started.