A bicycle accident can involve a collision between you and another bicyclist, a pedestrian, or an automobile. If a car is at fault for crashing into you, the liability is fairly straightforward and you should be able to recover damages from the driver’s insurance company, just as you would if you were a pedestrian or the driver of another vehicle. However, if you were at fault for a bicycle accident, the issue of insurance coverage becomes somewhat more murky. This article is an attempt to clarify.
Collision With Another Bicyclist or Pedestrian
If you cause a bicycle accident and there was no motor vehicle involved, then it is not your auto insurance that covers your liability. Rather, it is your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance. These types of insurance cover you if you accidentally cause bodily injury or property damage to others while riding a bike or participating in any other sporting activity. This coverage applies even if you are not on your own property at the time that the accident occurs. For more detailed information, you can review the liability section of your homeowner’s/renter’s policy.
Keep in mind, however, that if you sustain injury in a bicycle accident that you cause, you cannot file a claim with your own homeowner’s or renter’s insurer. This is because of a rule that states that you cannot be liable to yourself. In this instance, however, your health insurance should cover the costs of any medical treatment you require.
Collision With a Motor Vehicle
If you cause a collision between your bicycle and an automobile, your liability coverage depends on your insurance policy. Some auto insurers extend liability coverage to you when you are on your bicycle and collide with a motor vehicle, the rationale being that the crash still qualifies as an auto accident. With other insurers, however, you are only covered in an accident in which you were driving your car, and the policy does not extend to your bicycle.
You should check your auto insurance policy to see if your liability coverage extends to bicycle accidents. If it does not, the same coverage from your homeowner’s or renter’s policy described above should apply.
Collision With a Motor Vehicle in a No-Fault State
If you live in a no-fault state, you are usually required to purchase personal injury protection coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. PIP may cover you in the event of a bicycle accident, but again, you should check your policy to be sure.
Coping with the aftermath of a bicycle accident can be a challenge, but it is not insurmountable. A bicycle accident lawyer in DC can answer your questions regarding insurance and liability. Contact a law office for more information.
Thanks to The Law Office of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and insurance coverage for bicycle accidents.