Does Car Insurance Cover Bicycle Accidents?
When you purchase a car, it almost goes without saying that you’ll also purchase car insurance. In fault states like Louisiana, the right amount of coverage is crucial to protect your assets in the event that you cause a car accident. Not only is car insurance important, but it’s also required by law. In Louisiana, you must carry at least $15,000 for bodily injury per person, $30,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident.
It’s common knowledge that car insurance covers collisions between other vehicles—cars, motorcycles, and 18-wheelers, to name a few—but what many people don’t know is that their insurance policy can also cover injuries and property damage to non-motorists, including bicyclists. Learn more about bicycle accident claims from the New Orleans personal injury lawyers at Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys.
Whose Car Insurance Will Cover a Bicycle Accident?
Whether or not a car insurance policy will accept a cyclist insurance claim depends on two major factors: fault and coverage. The first thing you’ll want to do after being in a bike accident (after reporting it and seeking appropriate medical care) is determine who was at fault for the accident.
If the Motorist Was at Fault
If you were hit by a car, motorcycle, or other vehicle and the driver of that vehicle is found to be at fault for the accident, bicycle accident claims should be filed with the motorist’s car insurance company first. Their property damage liability insurance will most likely cover damage to your bicycle, while their bodily injury liability insurance will likely cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other economic losses (up to their specified policy limit). Bodily injury liability also often includes compensation for pain and suffering.
If the at-fault motorist does not have car insurance, does not have enough car insurance to cover your losses, or cannot be identified, you may file an uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) claim through your own car insurance company if you elected to purchase this optional coverage.
If the Cyclist Was at Fault
If you were riding your bike and caused a car versus bicycle accident, you will need to look at your own car insurance policy for possible coverage. Unfortunately, Louisiana does not offer optional personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, so your only option through your own insurance would be Medical Payments coverage (often called MedPay). MedPay is an add-on to your insurance that can cover medical bills if you are in an accident, regardless of fault. However, it usually excludes costs like lost wages or in-home medical care.
If a cyclist and a motorist are found to be partially at fault for an accident, cyclists may still be able to file bicycle accident claims under the legal doctrine of comparative negligence.
How Else Can I Get Compensation After a Bicycle Accident?
Unfortunately, bicyclists often suffer serious and life-altering injuries after bike accidents, such as traumatic brain injuries. This can lead to exorbitant costs for ongoing medical care and rehabilitation, not to mention reduced earning capacity and lifelong disability.
Even if you’re able to successfully settle with the at-fault motorist’s car insurance, bicycle accident claims alone may not be enough to cover all your losses. The good news is that there are several additional avenues for getting compensation after a bike accident.
If you’re facing serious injuries and need ongoing care, your personal health insurance can provide significant coverage to help reduce the cost of medical bills. Because health insurance plans often include an out-of-pocket deductible, you’ll want to use deductible-free options like MedPay first if you have it. Oftentimes, your health insurance will be willing to work directly with the car insurance company to ensure that they receive payment.
Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance
If you get into a bike accident with another cyclist and the at-fault cyclist has homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, there’s a good chance they have liability coverage for bike accidents. No-fault medical coverage through a homeowner’s insurance policy typically provides between $1,000 to $5,000 to those injured by the covered bicyclist. Your own homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may also cover property damage to your bicycle, even if you caused the crash.
While it’s not overly common, some individuals may purchase additional umbrella insurance. If you were involved in a serious bicycle accident with a motorist and your injuries maxed out their auto insurance policy, an umbrella policy could provide much-needed additional coverage for bicycle accident claims.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
You may also have the option to sue the at-fault motorist personally after a bike accident if they don’t have insurance or have maxed out their insurance policy. However, actually collecting the bike settlement you’re owed can be difficult if the motorist does not have any assets and/or no steady wages that can be garnished.
How Do I Get the Most Compensation After a Bike Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured or you’ve lost a loved one in a bike accident in New Orleans or throughout Louisiana, your best chance of getting the highest settlement possible is by consulting with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer. With a qualified attorney in your corner, you can ensure that you get the compensation you need, whether it be from the insurance company, motorist, or another responsible party.
To find out how Mike Brander Injury Attorneys can help you with your case and to schedule your free consultation, call us at one of the numbers below. Representatives are available 24/7 to take your call. You can also connect with us online using our free LiveChat service, or by filling out this brief intake form. Calls and consultations are complimentary and risk free, and we charge no fees unless we win a recovery on your behalf.
The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.