Does My Car Insurance Cover Me if I Hit Someone on a Bike?
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Does your car insurance cover you if you hit someone on a bicycle while driving your car? The simple answer is yes, most car insurance covers accidents involving bicyclists when the driver of the car is at fault.
Here are details about the type of insurance that kicks in when you have an accident with a bicyclist, and what you need to do if you are involved in an accident with a bike rider.
If you hit someone on a bicycle while driving your car, your liability insurance covers any property damage or bodily injury costs. If the damage and injury fall on the bicyclist, then the bike rider can expect denial of any claim on their part. Some instances where a bicyclist can find themselves at fault for an accident include:
- Failure to signal properly
- Failure to use the required lighting while riding at night
- Riding the wrong way on a one-way street.
Depending on state, if adjusters find the bike rider more than 50% responsible for an accident, the bike rider might not have the ability to collect damages and might even end up paying for any damage to the car involved in the accident.
When assigning negligence, insurance adjusters do so in one of four ways, mainly depending on the state. The levels of negligence include:
- Contributory negligence: In contributory negligence, the at-fault party can claim some negligence on the part of the other at-fault party. In a case of contributory negligence, the not at-fault person might end up receiving partial or even no damages from the at-fault party.
- Comparative negligence: In comparative negligence, adjusters examine each party’s part in the accident.
Furthermore, states use two methods of determining comparative negligence, pure and modified comparative negligence.
- Pure comparative negligence: In a pure comparative negligence case, the adjuster or the courts total the damages and divide them according to how much negligence each party holds for causing the accident. Each party then receives damages in accordance with the percentage of negligence they hold.
- Modified comparative negligence: In a modified comparative negligence case, if the adjuster or courts find the person not at-fault was 50% or more responsible for an accident, then they recover no damages in an accident.
The following table contains the negligence system for each state:
|Negligence System by State|
|Alabama||Pure Contributory Negligence|
|Alaska||Pure Comparative Negligence|
|Arizona||Pure Comparative Negligence|
|Arkansas||Modified Comparative Negligence – 50% Rule|
|California||Pure Comparative Negligence|
|Colorado||Modified Comparative Negligence – 50% Rule|
|Connecticut||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Delaware||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|District of Columbia||Pure Contributory Negligence|
|Florida||Pure Comparative Negligence|
|Georgia||Modified Comparative Negligence – 50% Rule|
|Hawaii||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Idaho||Modified Comparative Negligence – 50% Rule|
|Illinois||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Indiana||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Iowa||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Kansas||Modified Comparative Negligence – 50% Rule|
|Kentucky||Pure Comparative Negligence|
|Louisiana||Pure Comparative Negligence|
|Maine||Modified Comparative Negligence – 50% Rule|
|Maryland||Pure Contributory Negligence|
|Massachusetts||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Michigan||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Minnesota||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Mississippi||Pure Comparative Negligence|
|Missouri||Pure Comparative Negligence|
|Montana||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Nebraska||Modified Comparative Negligence – 50% Rule|
|Nevada||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|New Hampshire||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|New Jersey||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|New Mexico||Pure Comparative Negligence|
|New York||Pure Comparative Negligence|
|North Carolina||Pure Contributory Negligence|
|North Dakota||Modified Comparative Negligence – 50% Rule|
|Ohio||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Oklahoma||Modified Comparative Negligence – 50% Rule|
|Oregon||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Pennsylvania||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Rhode Island||Pure Comparative Negligence|
|South Carolina||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|South Dakota||Pure Comparative Negligence|
|Tennessee||Modified Comparative Negligence – 50% Rule|
|Texas||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Utah||Modified Comparative Negligence – 50% Rule|
|Vermont||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Virginia||Pure Contributory Negligence|
|Washington||Pure Comparative Negligence|
|West Virginia||Modified Comparative Negligence – 50% Rule|
|Wisconsin||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
|Wyoming||Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule|
What to do if you hit someone on a bike
When involved in an accident with someone riding on a bicycle, you should follow specific steps to protect yourself and the rider. Once the accident happens, make sure to follow the steps below:
Step 1: Check for injuries. Check the bike rider, your passengers, and yourself for injuries.
If needed, administer medical aid, such as CPR. If not trained in these procedures do, do not attempt them as you could do more harm than good.
Step 2: Contact the police. Next, contact the authorities by calling 911, or having someone else do so if you do not have a phone.
Make sure to report any injuries so that the dispatcher can send the appropriate medical personnel if needed.
Step 3: Exchange information. When possible, get the bike rider’s information, including name, telephone number, and their insurance company if they have one.
Also, take down the names of any witnesses and their phone numbers.
Make sure not to claim any fault in the accident. The adjuster determines this during their investigation.
Step 4: Call your insurance company. Notify your insurance company of the accident.
They should send out an adjuster to look at any damage to your vehicle. In addition, the adjuster will use the police report and any witness testimony to determine negligence for the claim.
Step 5: Seek the services of a lawyer if needed In the extreme case where the bike rider decides to sue you for negligence, you need to obtain the services of a lawyer.
Luckily, your insurance should cover any injuries to a bike rider you hit in an accident and any damages to the bike. If you were not at-fault, then the bike rider bears the responsibility to pay for any damage to your car or injury to you. If needed, seek the services of a lawyer to represent you if the accident winds up in court.