What Happens When A Car Hits A Bicyclist?
As you would expect, when a cyclist is hit by a vehicle, they are likely to suffer serious, possibly even fatal, injuries. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that in a majority of bicyclist deaths, the most serious injuries are to the head, highlighting the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. Though a helmet should always be worn while riding your bike, your helmet alone can’t exactly prevent you from the injuries you may endure through coming into contact with an accelerating vehicle, weighing 4,000 pounds or more, and having the ability to throw you from your bike or even drag you.
Our Carrollton Motorcycle Accident Attorneys investigated bicycle/vehicle collisions in Texas and found that they typically result in such injuries as:
- Head and traumatic brain injuries;
- Neck and back injuries;
- Facial injuries;
- Internal organ damage;
- Fractures (broken bones) especially to the arms, hips, and legs;
- Soft-tissue injuries, including torn muscles and ligaments; and
- Damage to the spinal cord, including paralysis.
Although it seems unlikely, there isn’t a way to be certain that this scenario won’t happen and, if it does occur, there is a very good chance that critical injuries will follow. So, it’s best to be prepared for the worst.
What Insurance Covers In a Bike-and-Car Collision
Any accident involving a car and bicycle should be reported to the police and your insurance company, as any motor vehicle accident. If you are able, you should call 911 immediately following an accident. Besides taking photos of your damaged property, taking pictures of your injuries is one of the most important things that you can photograph after a crash. You should take photos of your injuries as soon as possible after they were sustained and in the days following your accident. Some injuries, like bruises, will not show up immediately. These photos will be needed by your insurance company and your attorney.
There are various ways that auto insurance may cover a bicycle accident, depending on the coverage:
- Liability Insurance. Auto liability coverage pays the injured person when the policyholder is responsible for the accident. If a driver hit a bicyclist and the driver was at fault, the driver’s liability insurance should pay for the cyclist’s losses. Automobile owners in Texas are required to carry liability insurance. The lowest amount of coverage allowed is as follows:
- $30,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person in an accident;
- $60,000 for bodily injury or death to cover all persons in any one accident; and
- $25,000 for property damage in any one accident.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM). This coverage pays for the insured’s bodily injury losses caused by a hit-and-run driver, a driver with no automobile insurance, or a driver of an underinsured vehicle. Having UM/UIM coverage is not required in Texas, but if the policyholder does not want this coverage, they must waive it in writing. UM/UIM provides a source of recovery if the at-fault driver does not carry any insurance or the amount of coverage in not sufficient to cover all of the bodily injuries.
Health Insurance. An individual’s health insurance should cover injuries suffered in a bicycle accident. Health insurance may be offered by your employer or available through private companies. However, depending on the health insurance plan, the injured bicyclist may be faced with high deductibles and copayments. Your insurance may seek reimbursement when it learns the injuries you are suffering from were caused by the negligent action of another. It helps tremendously to have an experienced attorney, well versed in dealing with health insurance subrogation issues, in your corner.
Medical Payments Coverage. Medical payments coverage may be purchased as part of an automobile insurance package and may be beneficial to an individual who does not have health insurance or who would like to supplement what their healthcare plan provides. It pays accident-related medical expenses, including copayments or deductibles, of the insured vehicle driver and passengers, regardless of fault. You would need to consult the wording of your policy, but medical payments coverage is often applicable to a policyholder’s bicycle crash caused by a motor vehicle. Medical payments coverage is generally offered in increments of $1,000, up to a maximum of $25,000. Insurance companies in Texas aren’t required to offer medical payments coverage (MedPay) as they are with PIP insurance.
Homeowners’ or Renters’ Insurance. Bicycles are covered under the personal property section of standard homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies. This kind of insurance may cover the cost to repair or replace a bike after a collision the bicyclist caused. Homeowners’ and renters’ insurance also provides liability protection for the harm the policyholder causes to someone else or their property. If you injured someone in a bicycle accident, you would be covered up to the limits of your policy.
Contact the Law Offices of Tim O'Hare for Experienced Carrollton Bicycle Accident Attorneys
At The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare, we know bicycle accidents can be catastrophic. Cyclists are killed every day because of the negligence of motorists. The founder of our firm, Tim O’Hare, has had a motorcycle license for most of his adult life, and he is an avid bike rider. His experience with motorcycles and bicycles allows him to personally understand the hows and whys of motorcycle and bicycle accidents. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you should trust an attorney that understands first-hand the biking experience.
Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare to find out how we can help you.