How an Individual’s Auto Insurance Factors into a Bicycle Accident

One of the concerns that an individual may have after a bicycle accident is how to pay for damages stemming from the incident. Health insurance could help cover some of the medical bills, but the accident victim would still have to meet co-pays and/or deductibles. Certain procedures may not be covered. Not to mention, this doesn’t solve the problem of lost earnings while healing.

Auto insurance may become an important factor if a car strikes you. This depends on who was at fault, the types of coverage available, and the terms of the policy.

Recovering from the Bicyclist’s Auto Insurance Policy

If a bicyclist is in a traffic accident with a motor vehicle, auto insurance can cover the bicyclist’s damages. This may even include the cyclist’s own auto insurance. For instance, medical payments coverage isn’t mandatory in Colorado but insurance companies must offer it. If the insured has it, it could cover his or her medical and hospital costs.

Although $5,000 is the minimum, many purchase this coverage in higher amounts. The amount of recovery from med pay depends on the damages and policy limits. Keep in mind that Colorado requires insurance companies hold $5,000 of coverage for 30 days in order to first pay trauma bills.

Recovering from the At-Fault Driver’s Policy

If the driver of a motor vehicle was at fault for the accident, his or her liability insurance should cover the bicyclist’s injuries. At a minimum, motorists are required to carry $25,000 bodily injury liability per person and $50,000 per accident. Assuming the driver has insurance and the bicyclist’s bodily injury damages are less than $25,000, the driver’s policy would likely cover all damages. But what if the person was driving without insurance?

Injured by an Uninsured Driver

It may be against the law, but the unfortunate reality is that a significant number of people get behind the wheel without auto insurance. This is where uninsured motorist coverage can provide protection. Like medical payments coverage, it isn’t required in Colorado, but insurance companies must offer it. Those who choose to keep it could be reimbursed for both economic and noneconomic damages.

For instance, it may help cover medical costs and lost wages. It could also compensate someone for pain and suffering, emotional distress and other losses. Uninsured motorist coverage can also provide protection when a bicyclist is injured in a hit and run.

Sometimes the driver has insurance, but not enough to pay for the damages. When injuries are significant, expenses can quickly rise above the policy’s limits. Underinsured motorist coverage can help fill in the gap when this happens. Again, this is assuming the bicyclist has it on his or her policy, and coverage is up to the policy’s limits.

It’s important to carefully review the terms of a policy in order to learn if coverage is available for a bicycle accident claim. If there is confusion or uncertainty, seek legal advice. Keep in mind that another option, when auto insurance isn’t available or is not enough, is pursuing legal action through a lawsuit. An attorney can determine if the cyclist has a case and if so, the types of compensation recoverable.

D.J. Banovitz is an attorney serving injured bicyclists in Arvada, and is an avid cyclist himself. Call 303-300-5060 to set up a consultation.