Bike accidents are unfortunately not uncommon, especially in busy metropolitan areas of California. After an accident, it is essential to understand what types of insurance coverage might apply to help you pay for damages. For example, does auto insurance cover a bike accident? Below, our Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers discuss whether auto insurance may cover a bicycle accident.
If you have suffered serious injuries in an accident, we recommend consulting with our attorneys during a free consultation. We can answer your legal questions and discuss your options for recovery. Call us at (800) 824-5416 or fill out our online contact form today.
Does Auto Insurance Cover a Bike Accident?
One question frequently arises in the aftermath of an accident: “Will car insurance cover a bicycle accident?” Generally, if the accident does not involve a motor vehicle, then car insurance would not cover the bike accident.
However, car insurance may cover damages if a motor vehicle is involved. Available coverage depends on a variety of factors, though, including accident liability, the policy, and its coverage limits.
What Insurance Will Cover Me if I Am in a Bicycle Accident?
Our Los Angeles bike accident lawyers understand the stress you may face after an accident. Bike accidents often result in traumatic injuries, like traumatic brain injuries. When trying to focus on recovery, you may wonder how you will pay for your medical expenses and other losses. You may have a few options for recovering compensation for your damages through car insurance.
However, who pays for injuries and losses in a bike accident depends on the unique circumstances surrounding the accident. Some factors affecting coverage include accident liability and available car insurance policy coverage.
We recommend working with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer who can help you determine your best options for obtaining the compensation you need. Your attorney can assess your situation and determine all potential sources of compensation.
At-Fault Driver’s Car Insurance Coverage
Generally, if a motor vehicle hits a cyclist in a car accident and is at fault, the driver is liable for any resulting damages. Their auto insurance should cover your damages, such as medical costs and property damages.
California requires all drivers to carry liability insurance, which covers damages for bodily injuries and property damage to others in an accident the driver causes. Minimum liability insurance requirements in California include the following:
- $15,000 for bodily injury or death to a person
- $30,000 for bodily injury or death to more than one person
- $5,000 for property damages
Therefore, if you suffered injuries in a bike accident due to a motorist’s negligence, they may be liable for your damages. You may have a viable claim against their car insurance policy to cover your losses.
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However, suppose their car insurance limits are insufficient for your damages, or the driver does not have insurance. In that case, you may have to look for alternative solutions, such as your own car insurance policies.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Unfortunately, many motorists in California drive without car insurance. What happens if you get hit by a motorist while cycling and the driver does not have car insurance? Even if the at-fault driver does not have car insurance, you may still have options for recovering compensation for your damages. In this case, you may be able to turn to your own auto insurance coverage if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Similarly, suppose the other driver does have insurance, but the policy limits are not enough to cover all of your damages. In that case, you may also be able to file an underinsured motorist bodily injury claim with your insurance company.
However, you are not required to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in California. Therefore, you should review your policy to determine whether filing a claim is viable. You would only have it as part of your policy if you added it as additional coverage.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payments coverage, also called med pay, is another potential option for covering some or all of your medical bills if you have been hit by a vehicle. Med pay usually has a lower fixed limit. However, you do not have to pay copays or deductibles to use it. Additionally, you can use it no matter who is at fault for the accident.
Med pay is an optional add-on for auto insurance policies. Motorists are not required to carry med pay coverage on their car insurance. Therefore, you must check your policy to see if you have it.
If you have health insurance coverage, you can file a claim with your health insurance provider to pay for any injuries due to the accident. Under this option, you may still have out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copays, but your insurance should cover the bulk of your expenses.
However, keep in mind that if you file a personal injury claim against a negligent party for your damages, your health insurance company may want reimbursement for covering your injuries. Your insurance company may assert a claim for reimbursement or place a lien against any settlement or verdict you obtain in a bicycle accident case.
Homeowners or Renters Insurance
Some bicycles cost thousands of dollars. Repairing or replacing it after a crash may be unfeasible without insurance coverage. If you have homeowners or renters insurance, it may cover personal property damages incurred in the accident.
Your policy may cover the loss if your bike is damaged or destroyed in the crash. It may also cover other losses, such as your bicycle helmet, bicycle gear, and other personal property damaged in the accident.
What If I Am at Fault for the Bicycle Accident?
California follows a “pure comparative negligence” rule, meaning that you can pursue damages from the other party even if you are 99 percent responsible for the accident. If you, the cyclist, are partially at fault for the accident, you may still be able to recover compensation for your damages.
However, the amount you can recover may be reduced by your percentage of fault. Also, if you are responsible for the car accident, then you may be liable for any injuries or damages resulting from the accident.
Common Damages in a Bike Accident Case
Cyclists do not have the same protection as motorists. Therefore, bike accidents generally result in severe injuries or even wrongful death. When filing an insurance claim or considering a settlement offer, it is critical to consider and account for all of your costs due to the bike accident.
Common costs associated with a bike accident may include immediate financial losses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Prescription medicine
- Lost wages if you must take time off work
- Costs to repair or replace your bicycle
You should also consider future medical costs and loss of earning capacity. Will you have future rehabilitation costs? How long will you be away from work? Will your injuries affect your ability to return to your job?
Additionally, non-monetary losses, known as non-economic damages, are common in bicycle accidents. Examples of these potential losses include, but are not limited to:
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of enjoyment of life
You want to ensure that a settlement accounts for all your losses. An experienced bike accident lawyer can evaluate your claim and determine its potential value.
Proving Negligence in a Bike Accident Case to Get Compensation
Negligence plays a crucial role in determining who pays for damages in a bicycle accident. In most cases, a bike accident results from someone’s negligence, whether another motorist’s or the cyclist’s negligence. If the driver is negligent, you have the right to pursue financial compensation from them to cover your injuries and losses.
However, you will need to prove that the driver was at fault. In order to prove negligence, you must be able to show the following:
- The motorist owed you a duty of care: Motorists must act reasonably on the road to protect other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists from accidents. An example of acting reasonably includes following traffic laws.
- The driver breached their duty: You must show that the motorist acted negligently or recklessly, causing the accident. Examples of negligent behavior include speeding or ignoring traffic signals.
- You suffered harm as a result of the breach: You must be able to show that your injuries resulted from the motorist’s negligence.
Contact Our Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Lawyers for a Free Case Review
While auto insurance can cover bicycle accidents, your options for recovery depend on the unique circumstances of your case. If a motorist or another person’s negligence caused you harm, you may be eligible for financial compensation through a personal injury claim.
We recommend contacting our Los Angeles bicycle accident attorneys if you have suffered injuries in a serious bicycle accident. An attorney from our firm can review your case and help you understand your legal options.
We provide a free consultation to discuss your situation and determine whether we can help. Call us at (800) 824-5416 or contact us online to schedule your consultation today.
Allen Vaysberg practices personal injury law and works tirelessly to defeat the tactics of insurance companies and large corporations who try to deny justice and fair compensation to injured people.