Bicycles are supposed to share the road with cars, buses, trucks, and all the other motor vehicles. But, sometimes other drivers are not as careful as they should be, and end up causing bicycle accidents. Because bicycle riders are unprotected the injuries can be catastrophic.
If you’ve been hurt in a bike accident you need to understand your rights.
Who’s to Blame when you get injured in a bicycle accident?
No matter how severe the injuries, you cannot collect compensation for pain and suffering if you were the one at fault for the accident. The first step in any claims process is determining the cause of the accident.
Once an insurance company is notified of a claim, either by you or the driver, they begin the process of figuring out what caused the accident. Bicyclists are required to obey the rules of the road, the same ways cars do. In bicycle accidents the statements of the driver, other witnesses, and your own statements form the foundation of any fault determinations.
Any police reports or citations will also be used to determine fault. Just because the insurance company has made a determination that you are fully or partially at fault for the accident doesn’t mean it is a final decision.
If a lawsuit is filed, it will ultimately be a judge or jury that makes a decision.
Do You Have to Exchange Information?
Bicyclists are not required to carry insurance. However, during bicycle accidents you are still required to exchange at least contact information with the driver.
You will want to get the insurance details from the driver. If the driver does not have insurance, or for some reason does not stop to exchange information, you should try and get as much information about the accident as possible.
This includes the type of car, the license plate, and a description of the driver. If there are any witnesses you should also get their information so you can contact them later.
You may need to file an accident report with the DMV or the police depending on the circumstances of the case.
How to Get Medical Bills Paid
One of the biggest immediate concerns many people have is getting their medical bills paid. While not every bicycle accident results in major injuries, things such as broken collar bones and head injuries are common and need to be treated right away.
If you have health insurance, it should pay the initial costs of your treatment. In some states you may have a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) provision that covers you, even if you are riding a bike when you are hit by a car.
Another possibility, depending on the state, is the PIP coverage of the driver. You may be able to get your immediate medical bills paid up to a certain amount, regardless of who is at fault for the accident, through their PIP coverage.
You only live once. Taking care of your medical needs as quickly as possible should by your priority after a bicycle accident. When you delay treatment or fail to follow the instructions of your physicians it also makes it harder to get paid the compensation you deserve.
You open yourself up to claims from the insurance company that must not have been that hurt, or that things are worse because you failed to get timely treatment.
As part of the bicycle accident claims process, you should ask for compensation for all of your out of pocket medical expenses, including co-pays, costs for medications, and perhaps even mileage.
Anyone who paid for your medical bills, such as your health insurance or PIP carrier, may seek to get reimbursed from the at fault driver’s insurance
Hit and Run Cases
If a car has hit you and the driver failed to stop and check on you or exchange information, you have been the victim of a crime. Sometimes called Failure to Perform the duties of a driver, hit and run cases may leave you feeling you have no way of getting paid for you injuries.
Most states have a short time window for making a personal injury claim. However, many times hit and run drivers are tracked down and criminally charged. This may give you the chance to sue them civilly for your damages.
Another possibility is your own car insurance. Every state and policy work differently. But, in many instances you can make a claim with your own car insurance.
If you have an uninsured motorist provision in your policy, you may be able to use it to get paid for your injuries and pain and suffering, even though you were on your bike.
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident you need to find a tough, experienced personal injury lawyer who will fight for your rights.
There are many hoops to jump through and deadlines to consider when dealing with a personal injury case. Your focus should be on getting better.
Contact us to help find a personal injury lawyer near you with experience in bicycle accidents.
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