Legal Rights of Injured Cyclists: Insurance Claims and Liability

by Sarah Stasik
Asia cyclist injured on the street bike after collision accident car and bike.

If you're a cyclist injured in a car-bike accident, you may wonder what legal rights you have.

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Typically, a cyclist crash that involves a car accident follows the same types of processes and rules that any other roadway collision might.

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What Should Cyclists Do If They’re Injured by a Car?

As someone who's involved in a bike accident on the road, you should take some steps to help protect your rights.

1. Gather Information at the Scene

If you're able, start by gathering information at the scene of the bike-car accident. It's a good idea to exchange contact information with drivers who are involved in the accident and get the names and contact information of any witnesses. You'll also want to get the insurance information for any drivers involved in the accident.

When safe to do so, consider taking pictures or video of the accident scene. This information may help you remember facts about the accident later or ensure your lawyer can make a stronger case if you end up filing a lawsuit.

2. Report the Accident to Appropriate Authorities

Ensure someone calls 911 or otherwise reports the car-bike accident to the authorities. If a police officer responds to the scene, they'll often gather a lot of the information noted in the above step. You can request a copy of the police accident report later to get some of that information if you weren't able to do it safely at the scene.

3. Get Checked Out Medically

Getting into a collision with a vehicle on the road can involve serious injuries for a cyclist. Even if you feel like you're only dealing with bruises or some minor cuts, it's important to get checked out by medical professionals. Having a medical diagnosis in your history can actually help with any future bike-car accident settlement, as you'll have more evidence to back your claims.

4. File Claims With Insurance Companies

You'll likely need to file a bike-car accident insurance claim following the incident. If you believe the driver of a car was at fault in the accident, you should file an accident claim with their insurance company. This is another reason you may want to get a copy of the police accident report. While the report won't say specifically that a driver was at fault, the driver being ticketed can indicate that their actions or lack of actions potentially caused the incident.

5. Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney

Consider reaching out to a personal injury attorney, particularly if your losses related to the accident are extensive. A lawyer can help you understand what type of bike-car accident settlement might be fair in your case and what steps you may need to take to seek this type of compensation.

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What Insurance Covers an Injured Cyclist?

In a car-bike accident, who's at fault matters when it comes to insurance coverage. If the driver of the car was at fault in the incident, their motor vehicle coverage should cover your injuries and the repair or replacement of your bicycle.

However, if you were at fault, you may need to turn to your homeowners, renters and/or health insurance to cover your injuries and other losses. Whether the property damage to your bike is covered by your insurance will depend on your specific policies and what type of coverage you have.

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Can You Sue the Driver in a Car-Bike Accident?

Yes, you can sue the driver of a car if you're an injured cyclist in a car-bike accident. However, your success in doing so will depend on the facts of the case. Talking to a personal injury lawyer about your case can help you understand your options and how much compensation you might be able to get.

Typically, it may not be worth filing a lawsuit if you weren't seriously injured and you're simply looking to get your bike repaired or replaced. However, if you have medical bills, including those for ongoing treatment for your injuries, and you were unable to work, so you lost wages, you may have a viable reason to seek greater compensation via a lawsuit.

To succeed, you'll have to demonstrate a variety of facts, though. The burden of proof is on the person bringing a personal injury lawsuit, and in a bike-car accident case, you'll need to prove that the driver was negligent and at fault. You may also have to prove your damages with evidence such as bills and testimony from witnesses and experts like your doctor.

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