If you are struck by a motorist who has no insurance, what can you do? Go after the defendant, who likely has no assets? Good luck collecting even if you win a judgment. Best advice: make sure you have uninsured motorist coverage on your car insurance and/or your bicycle insurance provider. If you don’t, you could face months or years of medical bills if your injury is serious and long-term. With hundreds of bicycle accidents occurring in Los Angeles alone each year, you can’t afford to head out on the roadways unprotected.
You can’t always assume everyone who shares the roadway with you has sufficient insurance. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the state requires that drivers and vehicle owners carry these minimum monetary limits:
Making matters worse, often times the accident is a hit and run. The motorist hits you, takes off and is never seen again. The police probably won’t put too many resources into investigating and tracking down the perpetrator unless there is a death or grave injuries. In those instances where the motorist can’t be identified, you are left holding all the bills. Adding insult to injury, you may have to take time off work to recover, causing you to fall even further behind in your bills.
Be wise and consider getting uninsured motorist coverage from your car or bicycle insurance provider. In the event the person who hits you has no insurance, your cyclist’s uninsured motorist coverage would kick in. This would cover any bills associated with medical injuries and damages that exceed the motorist’s insurance — if they have any at all. Of course, talk to your insurance agent for exact coverages and details.
Let’s take an example. Say you are a bicycle enthusiast and love to bike everywhere. You’re smart and recognize the need to add uninsured motorist (UM) coverage to your car or bicycle policy. Let’s say you purchase $100,000 in coverage and are hit by a motorist with only $15,000 set aside for bodily injury liability insurance. You could get $15,000 from the under-insured motorist and $85,000 from your car insurance company. This would go towards your emergency room bills, ongoing medical bills, any rehabilitation you need to go through, lost income, and pain and suffering.
UM insurance, compared with other types of insurance coverage, is more affordable thank you may think. It’s recommended you obtain the highest UM limits your budget can afford, taking into account your particular assets and exposures. In general, a few things need to happen in order for you to claim UM benefits after an accident:
UM insurance brings great peace of mind to bicyclists, especially in a city where bike accidents are a daily occurrence. However, in the event you are severely hurt or killed, even $100,000 would be a drop in the bucket for your medical, pharmaceutical, rehab and therapy bills over the long-term. And because many injuries sustained while on a bike can be life-threatening and life-altering, such as in the case of TBI and amputations, this albeit large amount in theory would never be enough to provide the care you need for the rest of your life.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident and sustained injuries, call Power Legal Group now for a free consultation at 800-323-POWER. We would be happy to discuss your case with you and explain the applicable coverages to you.