If you are a bicyclist injured in a collision, you are entitled to most of the same damages that you could claim in any other personal injury case. These include medical expenses, lost wages, permanent disability, pain and suffering, and bicycle repair or replacement. Collecting compensation may be a challenge, but you have several different options.
If you were a cyclist injured in a collision with an automobile, you can collect the driver’s insurance information, just as you would if you were involved in the accident as the driver of a vehicle. You could then file a claim with the driver’s insurance company.
However, what if you were hurt colliding with another bicyclist, or even a pedestrian? While you wouldn’t file a claim with the other party’s auto insurance, he or she may have insurance coverage that still applies. If a person has a homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy, this should cover accidents that the individual causes outside the home that he or she owns or rents. This is true whether the other person intended to cause injury or not.
Insurance companies are actively looking for reasons to deny your claim or pay as little as possible on it. Anything you say at the scene or to an insurance adjuster is evidence that can be used against you, so you should think carefully before you speak, sign anything, or put anything in writing.
It is better to pursue an insurance claim whenever possible. However, it is appropriate to file a lawsuit under the following circumstances:
- The other party doesn’t have insurance
- The insurance company denies your claim
- The insurance coverage is not sufficient to cover all your damages
If you file a lawsuit against a party who has insurance, you will probably name both the party and the insurance company as defendants in your lawsuit. Almost everyone who owns a home carries homeowners insurance because most mortgage lenders require it as a condition of loan approval to protect their investment. However, renters insurance is optional, and less than half of all people who rent a home carry it. The law generally requires anyone who operates a motor vehicle to carry insurance on it, but not all drivers comply.
If the other party does not have insurance, you will probably name him or her as the sole defendant in your case. If he or she doesn’t have enough money to pay your damages, he or she may be judgment-proof, in which case, filing a lawsuit may not be worthwhile.
Most personal injury lawsuits end up settling out of court. A bicycle accident lawyer, like our friends at Cohen & Cohen, may be able to help you collect the compensation you deserve.
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