It may not be as common as a car hitting a cyclist, but sometimes the bicyclist is the cause of a car wreck. What happens in this scenario, if you are in the car and sustain an injury? How does the insurance coverage work?
Usually, the motorist’s damages are limited to damage done to the car; however there may be some cases when the driver swerves to avoid hitting the at-fault cyclist and ends up hitting another car or object. This is where things get a little complicated.
Obeying the rules of the road
Both cyclists and drivers are obligated to obey the rules of the road. This means that both must follow all local and state traffic laws and be mindful of the safety of others. However, if a cyclist is at fault, the insurance situation can be different.
Ordinarily, if the motorist hits the cyclist because of driver negligence, his or her automobile liability insurance would kick in. A cyclist, on the other hand, probably does not have a policy that will straight out pay for a personal injury or property damage. What happens next really depends upon what kind of insurance each party has.
The cyclist’s auto insurance
If the cyclist has auto insurance, his Med/Pay or PIP (personal injury protection) may cover the cost of his injuries. However, the insurer may refuse to pay the car owner for his property damage or injuries. Where does that leave the injured driver? The answer is that it’s possible that the cyclist’s non-auto insurance may cover the driver’s damages.
Cyclist’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance
Some homeowner’s or renter’s policies may cover the cost of the motorist’s damages. If this is the case, the driver can file a claim for his property damage, medical bills, and other related losses to be paid by the insurer. This is possible because many of these types of policies cover the activity of bicycling.
Car driver’s insurance
If the car driver has Med/Pay or PIP, his accident-related medical bills will be paid, up to the limit of the insurance provision. If he has collision insurance, that provision can pay to repair or replace the car. If he has gap insurance, that provision will cover the difference between the balance of the driver’s auto loan and the depreciated value of the vehicle, in the event the car was totaled in the accident.
All parties injured in the accident can use their health insurance to pay for their medical bills, but the health insurance company may seek reimbursement from any insurance settlement. It’s also possible the car driver’s insurance company will go after the at-fault cyclist for reimbursement of the cost of their insured’s medical treatment.
When to file a lawsuit
If the at-fault cyclist can’t compensate the driver for all of his damages, he is still responsible. It is at this time that a personal injury attorney may file a lawsuit against the cyclist seeking damages from the cyclist’s bank account or other assets.
To avoid a lawsuit in such an event, cyclists may want to look into their own insurance provision to see what might be covered in an event such as described in my article. It would protect both him and any other person in the event of an unfortunate accident.
If you have any questions about this article or any area of personal injury law, please refer to the contact info below.
Also, if you are interested, please read my other personal injury articles at http://blog.petermillerlaw.com.
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