In California, car insurance usually helps through uninsured motorist coverage or personal injury protection if a cyclist gets hurt by a car. In this state, the at-fault rule is followed, so you can ask the at-fault driver’s car insurance to compensate for things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Also, cyclists might have the backup from personal health insurance or insurance specifically for their bike and their own.
Insurance policy coverage for a bicycle accident
If you have a bicycle accident in California, different insurance options are available. Who is at fault determines which insurance you can use. However, it is good to know the options for insurance coverage for bicyclists.
The driver’s insurance: If a driver causes a bike accident, you can claim against their insurance to get money for the damages you face. This includes covering your medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress.
Medical payments coverage: Med Pay is part of car insurance and covers medical bills. It applies if you are hurt in a hit-and-run.
UIM (Uninsured Motorist) coverage: If your car insurance includes coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists, you might use this for a bike accident. It works for hit-and-runs or if the other driver lacks enough insurance to pay for all your accident costs.
Homeowner’s insurance: If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, it could cover bike damage and injuries caused by someone else.
Factors affecting auto insurance coverage for bicycle crash
There are a variety of factors that are considered compensation that affect the coverage for your bicycle crash. Some of the major factors that could affect insurance coverage are:
- Injury severity: The seriousness of your injuries greatly impacts the compensation you might receive. The extent of injuries and required medical treatment determines this. For example, severe injuries like spinal cord trauma usually lead to higher compensation compared to temporary injuries like a broken arm.
- Lost income: If the accident prevents you from working or returning to work fully, the lost income is considered part of the compensation.
- Pain and suffering: Emotional and physical pain from the injury also influence the compensation. The severity of the initial injury, medical treatment effectiveness, and any resulting disability are considered.
- Insurance limits: The coverage limit of the at-fault party’s insurance affects compensation. If their policy limit exceeds your expenses, you might need to file a lawsuit to cover the remaining costs.
- Shared fault: Sometimes, the victim is partially responsible for the accident. In California’s pure comparative negligence system, even if you share some fault (up to 99%), you can still claim compensation.
Determining liability and compensation
Deciding who is at fault in a bicycle accident isn’t just about what the parties involved think. It is about whether one or both did not act responsibly, violating the expected care under California law.
Drivers in California must drive safely, avoiding accidents and harm to others on the road, including cyclists. This means they must pay attention to their surroundings and follow traffic rules. If a driver is not careful and causes harm, they can be held responsible for their actions. Different things like driving drunk, not paying attention, or breaking traffic rules can lead to drivers hitting cyclists.
Cyclists also have responsibilities on the road, just like drivers. When riding, they must follow traffic laws, pay attention to signals, and be aware of their surroundings. They can be held responsible for a crash if they don’t follow the rules. Examples of their negligence might include:
- Ignoring traffic signals
- Riding under the influence
- Not using bike lanes
- Passing improperly
- Not signaling when turning
California is an at-fault state and the negligent party is responsible for compensating the victim’s loss.
How does an insurance company cover bicycle accidents?
Insurance companies usually cover bicycle accidents through various policies. When a cyclist is involved in an accident, the insurance coverage depends on the circumstances. If a cyclist is hit by a car, the driver’s auto insurance typically covers the cyclist’s injuries and damages, especially if the driver is at fault. Contrarily, if the cyclist is responsible, their health insurance might cover their medical expenses.
Additionally, some insurers offer specific Bicycle Insurance covering theft, damage, liability, and medical payments related to cycling accidents. Reporting the incident promptly to the insurance company and providing accurate details and documentation is crucial for ensuring proper coverage and navigating the claims process smoothly. Moreover, before handing out the compensation to the victims, the insurance company will review all the evidence and negotiate a settlement.
Who pays for the injury and losses?
Every accident is different and may need a different approach to determine who will pay for the injury and loss. California is an at-fault state, so the party that caused the accident must bear most of the losses incurred through their pocket or by insurance.
At-fault driver: If the vehicle driver caused the accident, their liability car insurance covers most medical expenses and losses. But if costs exceed policy limits, legal action might be necessary. Sometimes, the cyclist’s car insurance could also contribute.
At-fault cyclist: If the bicyclist is at fault, their auto insurance may cover injuries only if they have optional personal injury protection or medical payment coverage. But this coverage has limits, leaving the cyclist responsible for any remaining medical expenses.
Uninsured motorist or med pay coverage: Cyclists might have uninsured motorist protection or Med Pay in their insurance policy. These can help cover medical costs up to policy limits. Not all policies include this automatically, though, as many people skip it to save on premiums.
Different types of claims regarding damages
Getting injured in a bike accident can have extensive effects on your life, impacting you emotionally, financially, and in terms of health and income loss. That is why you have the legal right to sue the responsible party for compensation to help you adapt to these changes. Here’s what the compensation might cover:
- Economic Damages: These compensate for tangible losses like lost income, medical expenses, and property damage resulting from the accident.
- Non-economic Damages: These cover intangible impacts such as emotional trauma, mental distress, and psychological harm caused by the injuries. They include things like loss of enjoyment of life, emotional stress, and other psychosocial harms.
What to do after a bicycle accident in Sacramento?
Safety is important when riding a bicycle, but no matter how safe you are, you can get in an accident. The immediate steps to follow after an accident are:
Get medical help if needed
Your priority should be your health. Check for any injuries or bruises from the accident, and in case of the injuries, remember to take a picture for evidence later.
Call the police
When an accident takes place, you should call the police. Neither you nor the other party can leave the accident scene legally, even if you have injuries or property damages.
Obtain driver information
Exchange details with the other party involved in the accident. This includes your name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, car make, and insurance policy number.
Obtain eyewitness contact information
The Eyewitness statements can be a major factor in your lawsuit. So, keeping the contact of witnesses is crucial in a bicycle accident.
The court gives a decision based on evidence. You should preserve evidence like your torn clothes, broken bicycle, and many more. You should also take pictures of the scene of the accident; this could be presented as evidence in court.
Seek advice from a Sacramento bicycle accident lawyer
Taking help from an expert Sacramento bicycle accident attorney is the key to your case’s success. An attorney can negotiate with your insurance company and help you have the rights you deserve. They also help you to get compensation for all your damages and trauma.
Filing a personal injury Claim? J.G Winter Law can help
Dealing with bicycle accidents can be devastating. Recovering from injuries, dealing with mental health, and going through the compensation process can be challenging and can put stress on you. Getting help from an experienced bicycle accident attorney can make your case easier and help you get compensation sooner.
At JG Winter Law, we have experienced bicycle accident attorneys for your support. Our experience and expertise will bring you the rights you deserve. Get an estimation of your deserved compensation for Free. Contact Us Now.
Does car insurance cover bicycle accidents’ FAQs
Do you need insurance for cycling?
You do not need insurance for cycling, but getting insurance is recommended because it can help you cover your losses in case of an accident.
How common are bicycle accidents?
Bicycle accidents are very common in California. California is ranked the highest state for having the most bicycle accidents. According to the report of People Powered Movement, 11,000 people in California get injured in a bicycle accident each year.
How do I get compensation after a bike accident?
California is an at-fault state; you can get compensation after a bike accident if you provide evidence of damage the other party did. Once this is proven, the at-fault party’s insurance must pay for your damages.
Can I sue the driver responsible for my accident?
According to the California Civil Code (CIV) §1714, you can sue the driver responsible for your bicycle accident case.