I Was Hit by a Car on My Bicycle—How Do I Negotiate With the Insurance Company?
A recent report from U.S. News finds accidents involving bicyclists and motorists are on the rise.
As a bicyclist, there are steps you could take to stay safe on the road. But sadly, you cannot prevent a driver from negligently operating a vehicle.
As a bike rider, you have many of the same rights as if you were hit while driving a motor vehicle. If you sustain an injury after an accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Before you talk to the insurance company, contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney to protect your right to compensation.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
A collision between a car or truck and a bike is scary. There is no question that bicyclists lack the same barriers that protect motorists during a collision. After an accident, it is easy to become overwhelmed. But what you do following your accident can have a direct impact on your right to compensation.
Here are a few things you should do after an accident:
- Stay at the scene: This may seem obvious, but it is amazing how many people walk away from an accident because they feel fine or do not think they need to file an insurance claim. There is no way to predict how your body will react in the days following your accident. Stay at the scene and get the driver’s insurance and contact information if possible. If there are witnesses, get their contact information.
- Prioritize your health: Now is not the time to tough things out. If you feel pain or have difficulty moving, do not push it. Doing so can make your injuries worse. If you believe you have a life-threatening injury, ask the driver or a witness to call the police and allow emergency services to transport you to the hospital. Follow your doctor’s advice and any treatment they prescribe.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney: While you may hear advice to contact the driver’s insurance company, it is typically a good idea to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney first. The insurance company may attempt to prioritize profits and offer you far less than what you deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney can review the facts of your case and advise you on the next steps moving forward.
Who Pays if I Am Hit While Riding My Bike?
For an accident that causes injuries, the mounting medical costs can be overwhelming. The good news is, some resources can help you cover these costs. In some cases, you may also be able to have any repairs to your bicycle included in your final injury award. Depending on the circumstances of your case, multiple parties may help cover the costs associated with your accident. This could include:
The Driver’s Insurance
In many cases, bicycle accidents happen because of a driver’s negligence. Distracted or impaired driving, speeding, and failure to yield the right of way are common causes of these types of accidents. When the driver is at fault, their insurance company would generally be responsible for the cost of your losses. Do not attempt to directly contact the insurance company. Personal injury attorneys have experience working with auto insurance companies and can help you fight for a fair resolution to your case.
If you have personal injury protection (PIP) through your own auto insurance, this policy can help cover the cost of medical care and lost wages up to your policy limits. You can also use this insurance if you are a victim of a hit-and-run. Additionally, if the driver’s policy is insufficient to cover your damages, the driver leaves the scene, or they do not have insurance, you may seek compensation from your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
The State or Local Government
In some cases, road conditions, poor visibility, or lack of proper directional devices may be a direct or contributory cause of your accident. The state has a legal responsibility to repair dangerous conditions that they are aware of. While these cases are rare and often difficult to prove, your attorney can help you determine whether this is a route you should pursue.
Factors That Will Affect the Value of Your Case
Your bicycle accident lawyer and the insurance company consider many factors when they make an offer during a personal injury case. While they can in no way predict the value of your case, they can provide some guidance as to what your case may be worth.
Things your injury award may include are:
- Current and future medical costs: Medical costs may be up to the discretion of the insurance company, but generally include doctor visits, medication costs, surgery costs, hospital stays, medical devices, and other medical costs directly related to your injuries.
- Current and future lost wages: If your injuries leave you unable to work, you may be able to claim lost wages. These begin the day you first miss work and end when you return to work. For serious injuries that leave you permanently unable to work or significantly decrease your ability to work, you may receive future wages payable in a lump sum payment.
- Pain and suffering: Not all injuries are physical. Pain and suffering may include mental anguish, depression, anxiety, PTSD, or loss of companionship.
- Punitive damages: A plaintiff may receive punitive damages if the defendant’s actions were intentional or egregiously reckless.
Why You Need an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
After a bicycle accident, get every bit of care you need. At a time like this, you should not have to worry about money, work, or negotiating with the insurance company.
Your rights matter. Do not leave your health and financial security in the hands of the insurance company. To learn more about your rights or for help with your case moving forward, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.