The Importance of Uninsured/Underinsured Car Insurance After a Bicycle Accident
If you or a family member is injured in a bicycle accident, then why would it matter what coverage you have on your car insurance?
It may seem like there is a disconnect but, believe it or not, the coverage that you have on your own car insurance can impact your legal rights if you are injured while riding a bicycle.
This is because car insurance covers any vehicle-related accidents, including you being injured while riding a bicycle, if the injury is caused by another motor vehicle.
For example, assume that you were riding your bike and the driver of a car did not see you and made a left turn directly in front of you causing you to collide into the side of the car. You sustained serious injuries including multiple fractures. What are your legal rights for recovery of your expenses and damages?
You might think that all damage would have to be paid for by the car driver who caused the accident, but that’s not true.
Because this was a vehicle-related accident and Pennsylvania works on a no-fault system, your medical bills will be paid by your own car insurance up to the amount if your coverage, which is usually $5,000. Then you would be able to present a claim for your injuries and pain and suffering against the other driver’s car insurance.
However, in the event that the other driver was Uninsured (meaning he or she has no insurance) or Underinsured (meaning that he or she does not have enough car insurance to pay for all of the damages) then you could present a claim against your own car insurance in the form of an Uninsured or Underinsured claim.
Again, that might not appear to make any sense. Why would you have a claim against your own car insurance for a bicycle accident? Nevertheless, that is how the law works in Pennsylvania. Any vehicle-related accident is covered by your own car insurance, even accidents involving you riding a bicycle.
So, in our example above where a car driver turns left in front of you, assume that driver has no insurance or a Pennsylvania state minimum policy of $15,000. Also assume that you have a serious injury and the fair value of that claim would be $100,000. If you purchased sufficient Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage on your own car insurance, you could make a claim against that coverage to make up the difference between the fair value of your claim and the insurance coverage of the responsible driver.
In addition, such a claim would not affect your insurance rates or your insurability because you paid for the coverage and Pennsylvania law does not allow your insurance company to hold the claim against you.
So, the bottom line is that it’s very important to have substantial Uninsured/Underinsured coverage not only for car accidents, but also for bicycle accidents. It’s critical for you to check your Policy to make sure you have this coverage. It’s optional in Pennsylvania, so you might not have any….
Tim Rayne is a Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer with the Chester County Pennsylvania based law firm MacElree Harvey. For over 25 years, Tim has been helping injured accident victims understand their rights and receive fair treatment from insurance companies. Tim has helped many bicycle accident victims with their serious injury claims. Tim has law offices in Kennett Square and West Chester Pennsylvania and also meets with clients at their homes or virtually via FaceTime or Zoom. Contact Tim Rayne to schedule a Free Consultation 6108400124 or [email protected] or TimRayneLaw.com.