Your coverage isn’t limited to auto crashes alone
Please note: Transcript edited for clarity, brevity, and readability.
Why is car insurance important for cyclists?
It may seem counterintuitive, but if you’re riding your bike and [the driver who hits you] has car insurance, that makes it straightforward, meaning their car insurance, is going to cover your injuries. Where your car insurance comes into play: If you get hit by a car that doesn’t have insurance, your insurance can step in [the place of the uninsured driver].
Can you provide an example?
This pops up most often in two scenarios. The first one is a hit-and-run. if you’re riding your bike and somebody hits you and takes off, your car insurance can step in and cover your medical bills related to your injuries. The second scenario is if you’re hit by a car and the driver has no car insurance. In both of those scenarios your car insurance can help.
Do you think cyclists are unaware that car insurance can help them in a crash situation, and if so why?
When most people think car insurance, they think of a car crash, meaning they’re in a car. But your car insurance covers you whether you’re in a car or not. One important factor is that you likely have what’s called a Medical Payment Provision or MedPay, which means the other driver’s insurance will pay up to a certain amount of your medical bills so you don’t have to worry about submitting bills to your health insurance or getting doctor’s bills paid right away—whether it’s an ambulance, emergency room visit, a visit to your doctor. On the flip side, your car insurance can cover the first level of your medical bills.
What should cyclists do in a hit-and-run situation?
The first thing you need to do is make sure you get medical attention. Beyond that, you want to make sure that you file a police report. That’s something that your insurance will often require. Give as much detail as you can. If you’re able, see if there are witnesses. The police may be able to do that, but they may not. A good attorney will likely send an investigator to see if there are surveillance cameras, whether it’s city red-light cameras or stores in the area. In a hit-and-run situation, you want to clearly document and prove that you were in a crash that was somebody else’s fault.
What are some of the most common problems that cyclists face in these types of cases?
The biggest problem is they wait too long. Most states have what’s called a statute of limitations. It’s basically a deadline to file a lawsuit. Here in Illinois, for example, it’s generally two years. There are some exceptions. One of the other mistakes: if the injured party can identify the car that hit them and they don’t file a police report, or they don’t exchange information. You want to treat a bike injury as if you were driving a car. You want to exchange contact information, insurance information, and you want to contact the police so there’s a police report. Get some pictures, if possible.
What are some things that cyclists can do to protect themselves?
I think most people are aware of the GoPro craze. This is a big issue with bicycles, especially because it’s not uncommon for drivers to blame cyclist. It happens regularly. I think a lot people of people have a perception that cyclists are crazy, unsafe, ignore all the rules. Something like a helmet camera can provide incredible evidence to prove that you weren’t doing anything wrong, and that the driver is the one at fault.