Does Auto Insurance Cover Bicycle Accidents?

Many Los Angeles residents choose to ride their bicycles for recreation, transportation or to reduce their carbon footprint. Getting injured in a bicycle accident is not only a traumatic event, but it can have financial repercussions. Injured victims are looking at mounting medical expenses, income lost as a result of being unable to work and many other costs related to the accident. In such situations, you may be left wondering if your auto insurance policy will cover your bicycle accident injuries. Here is the information you need to know about whether your auto insurance an accident claim.

Broken child's helmet and bike on pedestrian crossing after terr

No One is Immune from Bicycle Accidents

No one is immune from being injured in a bicycle accident, irrespective of their experience level or skill as a bicyclist. An individual may take every possible precaution by being vigilant, following bicycle safety tips and careful on the road. He or she may be wearing a helmet and using the bike lane. And they may still not be immune from a bicycle accident. This is because negligent motorists cause a vast majority of bicycle accidents. An impaired, distracted, fatigued or speeding motorist, for example, can cause significant damage to a bicyclist.

Insurance Policy Coverage for Bicycle Accidents

There are a number of different types of insurance policies that may cover the injuries, damages and losses sustained by a victim in a bicycle accident. For example, when it comes to auto insurance, it is important for bicyclists to understand that it is not just the at-fault driver’s auto insurance coverage that matters, but also what your own auto insurance policy covers. 

This is because when we purchase an auto insurance policy, we are buying coverage not just for the harm we may cause to other people, but also for the injuries we may suffer because of others’ negligence. In addition to liability and property damage provisions auto insurance policies often have clauses addressing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and medical payment coverage. Here is a look at some of the different types of insurance that can help cover your bicycle accident injuries and losses.

The At-Fault Party's Automobile Insurance Policy

California law recognizes that there are circumstances that could prevent plaintiffs from filing their legal claim within a specific time. One of the most common circumstances where the statute of limitations may be extended is what is known as “delayed discovery.” This refers to situations where victims may not realize they were injured or that someone else’s negligence caused their injuries. In these cases, the clock will begin to tick when you discover your injury or become aware of the other party’s negligence.

Also, in California, a minor (under 18) could file a personal injury lawsuit after they turn 18, even if it’s two years after the date of injury. The statute may also be extended when the defendant leaves the state or cannot be located. The statute of limitations in such cases is stalled while the defendant is outside California or not available. Your Los Angeles injury lawyer can help evaluate your case and determine if any of these extensions apply to your case.

Filing a Lawsuit Against a Government Entity

Statistics show that a majority of bicyclists are injured or killed by negligent motorists. In situations in which a driver is at fault for the bicycle collision, the injured bicyclist may be able to recover compensation from the driver’s auto insurance policy. Injured bicyclists or families that have lost loved ones in such as bicycle collision may recover compensation from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy.

Under California law, all drivers are required to carry minimum levels of coverage including:

  • $15,000 for one injured person
  • $30,000 total per accident for two or more people who are injured
  • $5,000 in property damage

However, when drivers have only minimum coverage, it may not be sufficient to cover a bicyclist’s losses. In such cases where their losses exceed the policy limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage, injured bicycle accident victims may have to look at other types of coverage.

Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage

According to the Insurance Information Institute, over 16% of California’s drivers were uninsured in 2019. If you have been injured in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you may run into serious problems in terms of seeking compensation. However, you may still have other options.

California law requires every auto insurance policy to have an endorsement of uninsured motorist coverage, which applies in situations where an at-fault driver lacks insurance. So, if you have been struck by an underinsured driver, the at-fault driver’s policy would provide coverage up to the policy limits and your underinsured motorist coverage would kick in to pay for your losses that exceed those policy limits.

Med Pay Coverage

Medical Pay Benefits coverage, which is also known as Med Pay coverage is additional coverage that you can purchase with your auto insurance policy, though it is not mandatory in California. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in California, your insurance with Med Pay coverage will be responsible for paying all of your necessary medical bills as a result of any bodily injury that arises from the accident. It is important to note that using this coverage will not raise your insurance rates if you were not at fault for the accident.

Med Pay Coverage

Medical Pay Benefits coverage, which is also known as Med Pay coverage is additional coverage that you can purchase with your auto insurance policy, though it is not mandatory in California. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in California, your insurance with Med Pay coverage will be responsible for paying all of your necessary medical bills as a result of any bodily injury that arises from the accident. It is important to note that using this coverage will not raise your insurance rates if you were not at fault for the accident.

Homeowner's or Renter's Insurance

You may also have an option to cover some of your bicycle accident losses through your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. Some of these policies cover damage to your bicycle when it is caused by a third party. Your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy may also cover bodily injury, depending on what your policy states.

Health Insurance

If you still do not have enough coverage for your medical expenses, you could use your personal health insurance to cover your medical bills. Your health insurance should cover medical costs depending on the terms of your coverage such as payment of deductibles and co-pays. Your health insurance may help cover medical costs stemming from a bicycle accident while your injury claim is still pending.

Coverage for Hit-and-Run Accidents

Los Angeles is considered by many to be the “hit-and-run capital” of the nation. A number of hit-and-run crashes involving bicyclists go unsolved. The perpetrators are not held accountable. This can be a serious problem for injured bicycle accident victims who need insurance to pay medical expenses and other costs. If you have been injured in a hit-and-run bicycle accident check your auto insurance policy to see if you have Med Pay coverage and uninsured motorist coverage. These types of coverage may help you cover your medical costs.

Collisions When the Drivers Are Uninsured or Are Underinsured

In spite of the mandatory minimum liability insurance requirement, some drivers don’t get insurance or sometimes, don’t get sufficient insurance coverage. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, it would apply in situations when the at-fault driver has no insurance. If an underinsured driver injures you, underinsured motorist coverage could help bridge the gap. Your Med Pay coverage could also help cover medical expenses to a certain limit.

Check Your Insurance Options

The best approach is to not wait until you are in a crisis situation to check your insurance options. Make sure you have sufficient uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and medical payments coverage. That way, you can ride safely with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are covered in the event of an accident.

Consider All Costs After a Bicycle Accident

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, filing a police report is a crucial step. This helps ensure that the incident is reported in a timely and accurate manner. When you have evidence of what occurred, it helps substantiate your injury claim. Injuries in a bicycle accident could range from minor to life-threatening injuries that require long-term care. Bicycle accident victims may suffer from injuries ranging from head trauma, neck and back injuries and internal organ damage. It is important to consider all costs after a bicycle accident including:

  • Cost of initial treatment
  • Emergency care
  • Doctor’s office visits
  • Cost of prescription medication
  • Expenses relating to medical equipment
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Permanent injuries and disabilities

Discuss Your Claim with a Bicycle Accident Lawyer

When you have suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, you should not have to worry about being able to pay for your medical care. At the Vaziri Law Group, our experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers can help you understand your options. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid until you reach the settlement you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation and case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does insurance work with bikes?

Bicycle accidents may be covered by different types of insurance depending on the type of insurance coverage you have and who was at fault.

Are bikes covered by insurance?

Bicycles are typically insured under the personal property section of a homeowner’s insurance, condo insurance or renter’s insurance policy.

What are common cyclist accidents?

The most common and devastating cyclist accidents involve those where a left-turning or right-turning vehicle strikes the bicyclist.

Why are cyclists not insured?

Bicyclists are not required under the law to purchase insurance. However, there are policies available for purchase.

How do I claim my bike on insurance?

Bike insurance covers the cost to replace your bike at the current market cost with no deduction for depreciation. You may also be able to file a property damage claim through your own insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance, depending on the facts and circumstances.

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