Depending on the circumstances of the accident and available coverage, car insurance may cover bicycle accidents in Georgia. Either the bicyclist’s own insurance or that of the other driver may cover the bicyclist’s injuries and other damages. Before filing a claim, talk to attorney Jason Schultz regarding fault for the accident, which will inform the type(s) of claim you file, and with whose insurance policy you file.
If a car hit me while riding my bike, does my car insurance cover it?
That depends. Motorists in Georgia are required to carry liability insurance that will cover damage to another vehicle in an accident in which they are at fault. If you have only this basic insurance, it will not cover you if you are the victim. However, if you purchased coverage under Georgia’s Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists Law, you will be able to use that if necessary.
A combination of these types of insurance is commonly called “UM/UIM,” and each provides coverage in the event an at-fault driver lacks insurance or has insurance insufficient to cover your injuries. UM/UIM insurance covers you if you are involved in a car accident even if you are not in a car at the time -- it applies to pedestrians and cyclists as well as motorists.
Further, if you have Medical Payments coverage on your policy, that no-fault coverage can help you pay for your medical expenses, regardless of fault and even if you were not driving a vehicle at the time.
Will the driver’s insurance cover me after a bicycle accident?
If the other driver is at fault, his or her bodily liability insurance can compensate you for your injuries. But depending on the extent of your injuries, the coverage might be inadequate. The minimum policy under state law would cover $25,000 in injuries. This is when an underinsured motorist policy (mentioned above) would kick in to cover damages not covered under the at-fault driver’s insufficient liability policy.
What if I am at fault for the accident?
It is possible that you, as the cyclist, might be partly or entirely at fault in the accident. Fortunately, you can recover damages from the motorist’s insurance if you are less than 50 percent at fault. The insurance company and, if necessary, the court will determine each party’s percentage of comparative fault . The damages you can receive will decrease in proportion to your share of the fault.
What if the driver flees the scene?
State law clearly requires any driver involved in an accident to stop immediately and remain at the scene to assist as needed. This would include cooperating in any police investigation of the event.
If the driver flees the scene, the situation becomes legally complicated for the victim, in addition to whatever injury you might have suffered. In an ideal situation, witnesses would step forward to help identify the vehicle or driver and corroborate your account. If there are no witnesses, you can file a claim with your own insurance company if you have uninsured motorist coverage, which will substitute for the at-fault driver’s liability coverage, the same way it would if the at-fault driver were uninsured.
What should I do if I am hit by a car on my bicycle?
You should treat a car-bike accident as if it were a car accident. If you are able, call the police and make sure the incident is properly reported and documented. This is crucial in determining liability and compensation. Also, get the driver’s insurance information, ask eyewitnesses for contact details, and, if you need it, ask for medical assistance. Even if you did not suffer serious injuries, set up an appointment with your doctor shortly after the wreck for an evaluation; this could be crucial to connect your injuries (the extent of which you might not realize yet) to your accident.
Do I need a lawyer if I was hit by a car while on my bike?
There’s nothing more terrifying for a cyclist than being hit by a car. While bike laws in Georgia may change, it remains the responsibility of motorists to maintain a safe distance from the cyclists with whom they share the road and to recognize them as rightful road users.
When this fails to happen and an accident occurs, the damage is likely to be one-sided. In the unfortunate event of a motorist striking a person on a bicycle, the bicyclist will have to navigate insurance coverage along with recovering from his or injuries. Get the legal help you need to successfully navigate this process and recover compensation for your damages.
Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, so time is a factor on top of all the other complexities. The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC, can help. Call us at 404-474-0804 to set up a free consultation.