One of the most frightening experiences for a cyclist is being hit by a motor vehicle while riding. For those who are able to pick themselves and their bike back up and ride on, there is often an overwhelming feeling of relief that they are not dead or seriously injured that the temptation is to get back to their day as soon as possible. But it is important for a cyclist to remember that “not dead” and “okay” are not necessarily the same thing.
No Small Accident
With such a high level of relief, adrenaline can kick in that will allow the rider to get through the moment, but their body may still feel the aftershock of the event sometime after the driver has returned to their vehicle and has driven miles away. By the same token, damage to a bicycle isn’t always obvious. Even slight bends to the spokes or frame or the bike can alter the rider’s ability to maneuver it properly or make necessary stops when needed. If a bicycle has been in an accident, it needs to go to a bike shop for an evaluation. The cyclist should also be evaluated for injuries by a qualified medical specialist.
Treat It Like A Crash
Just because a bicycle doesn’t cost anywhere near what a car does, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek compensation for the damage that did happen. When a crash happens, it is important that it be reported. This means calling the police and having a report filed. Get the name, address, license and insurance information from the driver. Stick to the facts when giving your explanation, and avoid directly admitting fault. Leave it to the police, insurance company, and lawyers involved to compare the scenario with applicable traffic laws to make that determination.
If injuries manifest themselves, they should be covered by the driver’s personal injury protection portion of their policy. Damages to the bike should be covered by their liability coverage, at least to the extent where it is determined that they are liable for the accident. If it is determined that the driver was only partially responsible, or not responsible at all, your own homeowner’s or renter’s insurance might cover it.
Defending Your Bike’s Worth
While your bicycle might not be a car, it still may be a valuable piece of property to you. If you have invested in a quality bike, be sure that it is properly appraised depending on the brand and age of the bike. It’s highly likely that the insurance company will undervalue it, so you may have to look for used bikes in similar condition in order to get an accurate replacement value.
If the damage to your bicycle or your own injuries are significant, it is important to have your case reviewed by a personal injury attorney who can evaluate what happened and let you know what steps to take in order to cover your best interests, and pursue further compensation if appropriate.