Cycling is becoming increasingly popular as a mode of transportation, exercise, and recreation.
Unfortunately, the increase in popularity has led to a rise in bicycle accidents in recent years.
While most bicycle accidents are minor, they are sometimes quite severe. California experiences more fatalities from bicycle accidents than any other state.
In some circumstances, auto insurance covers injuries and property damage caused by a bicycle accident. Learn more about how car insurance could help you in the event of an accident.
Was a Car Involved in the Accident?
As you may suspect, auto insurance policies may not cover expenses related to accidents that do not involve a motor vehicle. Consider the following example: While cycling, you hit a deep pothole, causing you to lose control of your bicycle and crash into a brick wall. You break your wrist and your elbow. In this case, your car insurance may not be able to help you with the injuries or property damage.
There may still be options available to you. If you sustained injuries on another homeowner’s or business’s property, their liability insurance may be able to help you. In some circumstances, you may need to file a premises liability lawsuit to get compensation for your injuries.
It is important to note that premises liability claims are only appropriate if the owner was aware of the unsafe conditions on his property, but did nothing to prevent a foreseeable accident.
Because of the challenges of “sharing the road,” many cyclists will experience a close call or collision with a car at some point. When a bicycling accident involves a motor vehicle, it is possible an auto insurance policy may cover the damages. Whether the damages are covered will depend on the circumstances of the accident, who is at fault, and the specific details of the policy.
Who Caused the Accident?
In an accident involving a driver and a cyclist, the person that caused the accident is responsible for the damages. If the driver is at fault, his car insurance should cover his liability for the injuries and costs associated with the accident. If the cyclist is at fault, the driver’s liability insurance may not pay for the cyclist’s injuries or damages.
Your auto insurance may pay for the damage to your car if a cyclist fails to yield or runs into your stopped vehicle. “Minimum liability” car insurance only pays for the damage you cause to others. However, collision coverage will pay for damages to your vehicle caused by you or an “uninsured” person, like a cyclist.
The driver may be negligent but not have insurance or enough insurance to cover the cyclist’s injuries. If that is the case, the cyclist may still receive coverage through the uninsured motorist coverage in his auto insurance. Some car insurance policies can cover you even when you were not driving at the time. Again this depends on the type of auto insurance policy you carry.
What Kind of Insurance Policy Do You Carry?
There are three main types of car insurance: liability, uninsured motorists, and collision coverage. Liability usually only covers your legal responsibility to pay for damages done to others. Uninsured motorists policies cover your injuries when the other driver does not have auto insurance.
Collision coverage policies cover your own vehicle, no matter who is at fault. Within these three main types, the terms and conditions of a policy can differ substantially.
Liability coverage is not unlimited. State laws determine the minimum amount of coverage a driver must carry to legally operate a vehicle. In California, the mandatory minimum liability coverage is $5,000 for property damage and $15,000 per person (or $30,000 per accident) for bodily injury.
If the cost of the accident exceeds this amount, the insurance company of a driver with minimum coverage will only pay the legal minimum.
However, some drivers choose to extend their coverage to a higher amount to protect themselves from a potential lawsuit.
Uninsured motorists policies can also vary in the coverage they provide. In California, the law does not mandate the purchase of uninsured motorist insurance. This type of insurance covers you when the at-fault driver does not have liability insurance. It may also cover you when the negligent driver has liability insurance but not enough to compensate you for your injuries.
Collision coverage policies are what compensate you for property damage of your vehicle. In many instances, the insured must pay a deductible of either $500 or $1,000. The insurance company pays the rest of the damages.
If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, you may be able to make a claim for the damages to your bicycle. While car insurance will not cover a bicycle that was stolen from your car, your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance might.
If Car Insurance Won’t Cover My Accident, Are There Any Other Options?
Sometimes, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will cover damage to your bicycle. If you own an expensive bicycle, you should check with your homeowner’s insurance company to see if the policy includes your bike. When the accident occurred on someone else’s property, their homeowner’s insurance may cover the injuries you sustained.
If you were harmed in a bicycle accident and auto or home insurance denied your claim, you may still be able to recover compensation for the damages. When another party’s negligence caused your injuries, you have the right to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
A personal injury attorney will work with insurance companies and the courts to recover the damages you suffered.
Injured in a Bicycle Accident? Call a Long Beach Personal Injury Attorney
If you have sustained injuries in a bicycle accident, it is important to reach out to a personal injury attorney. Insurance companies often try to keep compensation low to victims. Experienced Long Beach personal injury attorney Michael Beliz can help. The Beliz Law Firm offers a free initial consultation.
In this consultation, we will discuss your accident, review your case, and explain the personal injury claims process. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and begin your road to recovery.