Dave Moulton

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Bicycle Accident Lawy

 

 

 

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Monday
May012017

If you ride a bike, check your auto insurance

If you ride a bike and own a car, and let’s face it most of us do, check your car insurance. That’s right your car insurance.

If you are hit by a car while on your bike and end up with $60,000 or more in medical bills, it will not help you if the driver at fault has only minimum legal coverage of say $25,000.

Worse yet he may have no insurance, or as is happening in more and more bicycle/car crashes, it is a hit and run. The driver leaves the scene and there is no one to make a claim against.

Most cyclists do not know that in most cases you can claim for expenses and compensation from your own insurance company, and if you are not at fault you are not penalized. However, this is only the case if you previously bought sufficient coverage on your own policy.

I was advised to do this a few years ago by an attorney friend of mine, and as a result I upped my underinsured and uninsured driver coverage to $250,000. It is advisable to carry at least $100,000 and up to $300,000. It may cost you $8.00 a month for the extra coverage, but the peace of mind it brings is worth it.

This advice was reiterated in a free book I just received called “The Utah Bicycle Accident Handbook.” As the title suggests it applies to the state of Utah, but much of the advice is good in most states.

The book also pointed out that I might consider Personal Injury Protection, or No Fault Coverage. This allows for my medical expenses to be covered immediately, instead of having to wait for the other party’s insurance to accept responsibility for the accident. If they do eventually accept responsibility my insurance company will seek reimbursement from the at fault insurer.

I had a serious bike accident a few years ago, and I was fortunate in that the person who caused the accident owned a business and had excellent auto insurance. There was also a witness who came forward, and I had an attorney who specialized in bicycle cases handle the claim.

I would advise anyone to do the same. An attorney will take a third of the final settlement, but they take no money up front, so it is in their interest to get the best settlement possible.

Insurance companies are in the business of paying out as little as possible, that is how they make a profit. In my case I would have had no idea what would have been a fair offer, or just how much they would have paid, but an specialist bike accident attorney has that knowledge and experience. 

The lawyer who helped me was Peter Wilborn, of Charleston, SC. He is in touch with a network of other bicycle accident lawyers all over the US, and can probably put you in touch with some close to you.

Peter Wilborn's Bike Law wensite has also covered this subject here.

 

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Reader Comments (4)

Great advice, Dave. I was struck by a car six years ago and seriously injured. The driver was minimally insured. As it turns out, I had adequate under-insured motorists coverage, thanks to my agent who apparently convinced me to take on the additional coverage. It made all the difference.

May 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterChris Hepp

Great information Dave.

Up here in Canada, the British Columbia provincial auto insurance also has the option for bike and rider coverage/underinsured drivers, so where ever one may be in the world it’s worth asking if it’s available. I have it, pretty much a no brainer.

Also provincial British Columbia Automobile Association ( BCAA), the equivalent to AAA in the U.S. has a get you home provision for member bike riders that have a mechanical problem. However, be sure to ask about any bike coverage and not assume that it is automatic.

What should also be strongly considered is; if the bike has been in an accident, both the police and insurance company may want it inspected by a competent bike tech. to see if there are any defects with the bike. Last summer 2 of us went through a bike that had been involved in a fatality, not only was bike under inspection but also the helmet ( the law in British Columbia) and the shoes.

It’s in ones own interest to keep the bike in top mechanical condition. The problem is, many folks riding around are on bikes that are mechanical disasters

E.G. last one I saw was a couple of days ago, the customer was getting clicking in the gears. – Rear gear cable and chain stretched beyond belief, brake pads completely shot, crack in the rear rim on a machined braking surface way beyond it’s minimum due to the brake not being centered properly and mostly rear wheel braking, rear tire down to the canvas. Had this been involved in an accident and inspected, there was enough there for the insurance co. and police to have a field day. In this neck of the woods this bad isn’t an every day occurrence, but there are enough of these bikes in this same condition. To add some context, this was owned by a randonneur who qualified for and rode the Paris Brest Paris.

If you’re not sure, get it checked, it may save your life and a lot more.

May 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeith

I have $500K un/under coverage for $22/year (Maine, USA)

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteveP

Every time I get on one of my bikes my main goal is to get home safely. When riding with a son or two, they inevitably say "nice ride", I respond "and importantly we got home safely".

Worrying about distracted drivers is a constant concern and lowers the enjoyment of cycling. I need to check with my insurance carrier if I'm covered.

I've been hit by a driver head on who didn't have insurance - he was driving on the wrong side of the road to pass the traffic in his lane. Fortunately I was in my car and not on my bike.

May 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJack

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