Personal Injury Protection insurance and Bicycle Accidents
Adrenaline runs extremely high after any kind of accident but particularly if you were hit by a car while riding your bicycle. Riders often leave the scene of the bicycle accident without getting any information from the driver, thinking that they’re not hurt very badly. But when the excitement winds down many of these bike accident victims realize that they actually sustained substantial injuries that require medical attention, surgery, and in some cases, long term medical care – with no recourse against the driver of the car that hit them.
First of all, if you are unfortunate enough to be in this situation, the most important thing you can do is to get medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you don’t think you’re hurt very badly, take a moment to assess your situation, and your injuries. Always get the contact and insurance information of any drivers involved, and get the contact information of any witnesses before leaving the scene. Also, try to take a few pictures of the scene if you’re physically able to, or ask a bystander to do so. Photos will tell an accurate story of what happened at the scene should you have to prove your case later on. Lastly, it’s a good idea to call the police in the event of an accident and file a police report.
But if you did leave the scene without getting the driver’s information, you can still get help with medical bills and lost time at work by filing a personal injury claim with your own auto insurance carrier.
Personal Injury Protection – PIP Coverage for Bicycle Accidents
The law in Oregon requires each driver to carry what’s know as personal injury protection coverage on his/her auto insurance policy. This is insurance that you pay for if you have auto insurance and it covers medical bills and lost wages whether you were in your car, on a bike, or a pedestrian. If you need immediate help paying medical bills or covering lost wages, you should file a PIP claim by calling your insurance company. PIP will cover up to $25,000 of your medical bills incurred in the first two years and up to 70% of your lost wages.
Your PIP coverage is primary, with all other available insurance (including your private medical insurance being secondary). The PIP coverage of the vehicle that hit you is the last policy to cover your imedical bills. Your PIP coverage falls next in line and your personal health insurance would be the next source of coverage.
Keep in mind that if a cyclist is injured due to someone else’s negligence, the cyclist has a legal right to be compensated for his or her injuries. Therefor it’s always best to document as much information as possible at the scene.
Having a lawyer on your side from the beginning of the case can alleviate a lot of the stress surrounding the accident. It can also help ensure you get the most compensation for your claim. The second most important thing you can do, after seeing your doctor, is to take advantage of my complimentary case evaluation to review your legal options.
You can recover damages from an accident even if you’re partially at fault. If you are 50% or less responsible you can recover that percentage of damages for which you are not responsible.
You can only use PIP coverage if a vehicle is involved in the accident. For example, if you collided with a vehicle or were run off the road, you would be able to use your PIP coverage. Examples where PIP coverage would not be available are if you fall off your bike, lose focus and run off the road, or run into an obstacle like a light pole. Also, accidents caused by the terrain (bad roads, lack of maintenance etc) and accidents caused by defective bike parts are examples that would fall outside of PIP coverage but you may have a right to compensation if there was a negligent party that caused those conditions. Be sure to consult with me to find out for sure what your options are.