Filing a Claim with Help From a Bike Accident Lawyer
The nice year-round weather makes Southern California a haven for bicyclists. However, with so many vehicles on the road, bicycle accidents are inevitable. According to data from the California Active Transportation Safety Information Pages (CATSIP), there were 3,953 bicycle crashes in Orange County, CA from 2017 to 2021.
If you’ve suffered property damage or a physical injury as a result of an accident with a negligent motorist, an experienced bike accident lawyer can help you file an insurance claim to recover damages. Here is what to know about filing a claim and how a bike accident lawyer can help.
Does Car Insurance Cover Bicycle Accidents?
If you’re hit by a car while riding your bike, the at-fault driver’s auto liability coverage is responsible for covering damages, such as medical costs for sustained injuries and property damage, like repairs for the bicycle.
Because California is an at-fault state, the liable party is responsible for covering economic damages and non-economic damages, regardless if the victim is another driver or a bicyclist.
If you’re the victim of a bicycle accident, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. This claim can help you recover compensation for a range of issues you may experience as a result of the accident, including:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship
- Diminished quality of life
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
To file this claim, you would need to be able to prove that the driver acted negligently and caused the accident. A bike accident lawyer can help you work through the details of your case and gather this evidence.
Bicyclist Insurance Claims and Policies
If you’re injured in a bike accident, you may be able to file a bicycle accident claim to cover your losses. There are multiple types of insurance plans that can be utilized. These include:
At-Fault Driver’s Auto Liability Coverage
If you’re in a bicycle accident and the driver is at fault, the most likely scenario is that the at-fault driver’s auto liability coverage will cover the costs of your medical expenses and property damages.
In California, all drivers are required to carry a motor vehicle liability insurance policy. The minimum liability insurance requirements for that policy include:
- $15,000 for injury/death to one person
- $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
- $5,000 for damage to property
If your losses exceed the policy limit of the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage, a lawsuit can be filed against the at-fault party to cover the remaining costs. Or, the following insurance alternatives can kick in.
Homeowner’s Insurance or Renter’s Insurance
Bicycles are typically covered under the “personal property” section of your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Therefore, if an injured cyclist has this type of coverage, it can be utilized in the event of a bicycle accident.
Experts recommend that anyone who owns an expensive bike should also consider an add-on to their policy that allows them to schedule their personal property. Also known as an endorsement or a rider, scheduled personal property provides more coverage for high-value items.
Health Insurance or Medical Payments Insurance
If you were injured in the accident, you may be able to use your medical payments coverage or personal health insurance to pay for your medical expenses.
Note that you’ll be required to comply with the terms of your coverage, including the payment of all applicable copays and deductibles.
There are also standalone bike insurance policies specifically designed to protect your bike in the event of theft, vandalism, property damage, and personal injury.
If you’re an avid and frequent biker, you may want to consider investing in bicycle insurance. This policy can cover a range of potential issues associated with your bike.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
While all drivers are required by law to carry auto liability insurance, many drivers are uninsured. In fact, it is estimated that about 16% of drivers in California are uninsured, the 10th most in the US. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-uninsured-motorists
If you are hit by a car while riding your bike and the driver does not have auto insurance, your personal uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage can be utilized. However, this policy must be part of your auto insurance plan.
This coverage applies any time you’re hit by an “uninsured” driver, even if you were riding a bike (not driving) when the accident occurred.
You could also find that the driver has some level of auto insurance, but it is not enough to cover the extent of your injuries or damages. If that is the case, the “underinsured” policy will cover the remaining losses.
From there, your UMC/UIM coverage will kick in to cover the remaining amount, up to your own policy limits.
As an alternative option, you could also sue the uninsured driver for the damages and injuries you’ve sustained. A bike accident lawyer can help you understand all of your options and determine the best route.
Consult with a Bike Accident Lawyer
In the aftermath of a bike accident, you deserve time to rest and recover. By trusting this process with a reputable legal team, you can ensure that everything will be handled correctly and on time. A bike accident lawyer can help you with every step of the claims process, including:
- Communicating with the insurance agency
- Filing your claim
- Investigating your case
- Determining fault
- Gathering evidence to support your claim
- Seeking compensation for your damages and injuries
A bike accident attorney will have a close understanding of state laws, including those that apply to drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, it’s important to understand how the insurance claim process works. A bike accident lawyer can help you work through your options and handle the process from start to finish.
At Beach Accident Attorneys, we’re ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more and request a free consultation.