I got hit by a car on my bicycle. What legal action can I take?


A car hit me while I was riding a bicycle. Do I make an injury and damage claim the same way as a car accident?


If you are riding a bicycle and are involved in an accident with a vehicle, your legal options are largely the same as they would be if you were a vehicle driver or passenger and were injured in a traffic accident.

The one key difference is that, since bicycle riders aren't required to carry car insurance, there may be some different wrinkles when it comes to making an insurance claim for your injuries.

Understanding your best course of action for getting compensation for your injuries will depend on first understanding the insurance rules in place where you live, and then figuring out the specific insurance coverage that is carried by the people involved in the accident (including you and anyone whose car insurance policy might cover you).

Here are a few possible options:

You can file a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance carrier (this is called a "third party claim). This is almost always an option when the driver is at fault and you do not live in one of the dozen or so no-fault states.

You can file a claim under your own standard health insurance policy. If the vehicle driver or another party is at-fault, your insurance carrier will likely turn around and seek reimbursement from that party's own insurance carrier.

You can file a claim under your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage in your car insurance policy (if you have car insurance) or under a family member's PIP coverage when it applies to you.

If you live in one of the dozen or so no-fault states and you have PIP coverage, or a family member has PIP covergae that applies to you, you MUST make your injury claim under that policy, regardless of who was at fault for the accident -- unless the circumstances of your injury qualify you to step outside the no-fault system and pursue a claim against the at-fault driver. Learn more about How No-Fault Works.

As with all traffic accident cases, the vast majority of injury claims after a bicycle-car accident get resolved via an insurance settlement. But if settlement talks break down or if the insurer is uncooperative, you always have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver (again, unless your state's no-fault laws apply).

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