How Insurance Coverage Works If the Cyclist Is at Fault for a Car Accident

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Bicyclist Riding in Front of CarIn most accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles, it is the bicyclist who suffers the most serious injuries. Typically, the car driver’s damages are limited to property damage, though there may be some cases where a driver reacts to a bicyclist hitting their vehicle by swerving into other vehicles or a stationary object, which might cause the driver to suffer an injury.

In any event, when a bicyclist causes an accident with a car, whose insurance will pay for medical bills and property damage? It depends on both parties’ insurance policies. Below is a discussion of what insurance pays the car driver’s damages as well as what coverage may pay the at-fault bicyclist’s damages.

But first, please refer to this table for an overview of possible coverage for both the car driver and bicyclist, if the bicyclist caused the wreck:


Car Driver


Bicyclist’s PIP



Car driver’s PIP



Car driver’s collision, gap coverage



Bicyclist’s homeowner’s or renter’s policy



Own health insurance



Lawsuit against at-fault party




(In another article, we discuss insurance coverage for bicyclists who were not at fault for their accident.)

Bicyclist’s Auto Insurance

If the bicyclist has auto insurance, it may cover the bicyclist’s injuries, but only if the cyclist has personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. The bicyclist’s auto liability insurance may refuse to pay for the car driver’s property damage or injuries. However, the bicyclist’s non-auto policies may cover the car driver’s damages.

Bicyclist’s Renter’s or Homeowner’s Insurance

While the bicyclist’s auto insurance may refuse to pay the car driver’s damages, the bicyclist’s renter’s or homeowner’s insurance may cover the car driver’s property damage, as well as any injuries he might have suffered in the accident. Thus, the car driver may file a claim against the cyclist’s renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy. Coverage will depend on the terms of the policy and whether the policyholder was participating in a covered activity; bicycling is often a covered activity.

The bicyclist’s renter’s or homeowner’s insurance will likely not cover the bicyclist’s damages, though.

Car Driver’s Auto Insurance

The car driver’s auto insurance policy may cover the car driver’s damages, depending on the car driver’s policy. If the driver carries PIP, it covers his injuries up to the policy limits regardless of fault. PIP insurance does not cover property damage, so it will not pay to repair or replace the car.

Collision coverage on the driver’s auto policy can pay to repair or replace the car. Gap insurance is another optional coverage that can help with some of the driver’s losses. Gap insurance covers the difference between the balance of the driver’s auto loan and the depreciated value of the vehicle.

Health Insurance

Both parties may use their health insurance to cover medical treatment. But the health insurance company may look for reimbursement. This is called subrogation. For example, if the car driver suffered injuries that required medical care, his health insurance may cover his bills but later seek reimbursement from an auto insurance or other policy.

File a Lawsuit

Whether a bicyclist has insurance coverage or not, at the end of the day, he is responsible for the consequences of his actions. If the bicyclist’s insurance coverage does not compensate the driver for all damages, the driver may file a lawsuit against the bicyclist seeking damages from the bicyclist, including the cyclist’s bank accounts and other assets.

We may also pursue a lawsuit if the responsible insurance company is refusing to offer full compensation to cover all damages. We encourage anybody who suffered serious injuries in an accident that somebody else caused to seek counsel with attorney Max Meyers to go over their insurance and legal options.

Recoverable Damages for Bicycle-Car Accidents

Recoverable damages depend on the nature and severity of the injuries and how those injuries affect the person’s finances, physical health, and emotional health. Recoverable damages also depend on available insurance coverage, so please work with a lawyer to identify all damages and pursue compensation.

Economic Damages

These damages can include your medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and property loss to your vehicle and its contents.

Non-Economic Damages

These damages can include things like pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Need Legal Help? Call Max Meyers Law

Most drivers walk away from accidents with bicyclists without serious injuries. But if you suffered severe injuries and/or significant financial damages in a crash that a bicyclist caused, call Max Meyers Law.

Or if you were a bicyclist wrongly accused of causing an accident or if the insurance company is refusing to pay you for damages, call us for help.

Call 425-399-7000 to set up your free consultation.

Max Meyers
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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.