You’ve just been in a crash. What’s first?
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Bicycle accidents occur all too often and ask there are more cars on the road the number of bike collisions naturally increases. There are some unique issues that arise for bicyclists. As an avid bicyclist and triathlete, managing attorney Justin Elsner, knows the dangers of riding a bicycle. Though it’s dangerous, bicycle riding is an amazing amount of fun. Many bicyclists aren’t aware of the insurance coverage that is applicable in a collision. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions with answers about bicycle accidents.
1. Who will pay my medical bills?
If you have health insurance you will be covered for your bicycle collision injuries. With high deductibles and co-pays, though, that can be quite costly. Luckily, Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) insurance will also cover the cost of medical expenses. If you are injured while riding a bicycle the at-fault driver’s PIP policy will be the first priority insurance for your medical expenses. It can be difficult to determine if the at-fault driver has PIP insurance so it may be advantageous to call an attorney for assistance. After you exhaust the at-fault driver’s PIP coverage you can also tap into your own personal PIP coverage if you have it on your policy. In addition to recommending that all drivers purchase PIP insurance benefits it is particularly important for bicyclists due to this extra benefit.
In addition to the medical benefits you are entitled to the other benefits under PIP. See the section on PIP benefits for more details. PIP will also include coverage for wage loss, loss of services, and funeral benefits.
2. How will my losses, including my pain and suffering, be paid?
Hopefully the at-fault driver has liability insurance. Unfortunately, in Washington the minimum requirement is only $25,000. A trip to the ER can quickly exhaust this. In addition to the at-fault driver’s policy your underinsured/uninsured motorist policy may cover your losses as well. If you are involved in a serious bicycle accident it is important to promptly notify your car insurance carrier so that they can conduct their own investigation.
3. What types of bike crashes are compensable?
The most common type of bicycle crash involves a vehicle hitting a bicyclist, but there are numerous other situations where a bicyclist can be injured by the fault of another party. If someone causes you to crash, but doesn’t actually hit your bicycle they can still be liable. If a driver or passenger opens their car door causing you to crash they have also violated state law in addition to being negligent. Sometimes the design of the road or the way a construction site is managed is done improperly or unsafely causing a bicyclist to crash.
4. What if I am at fault for the accident?
If you cause damage to a person or property while on your bicycle then you are responsible for the damages the same as if you were driving a car. If this happens then you should immediately notify your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy as well as any general personal liability insurance you might have.
What happens with my bicyle?
In most bicycle crashes the bicycle will get replaced. You should try to locate a bicycle online that is comparable to the bike you were riding or if you have the receipt you’ll need to send that to the insurance company. You should also replace any protective gear, especially the helmet as a caution even if it looks ok.
The insurance company may want to come look at the bicycle so do not dispose of the bicycle until you confirm whether it needs to be looked at. You should also take lots of pictures of the bicycle.
How do I get medical bills paid?
Getting your medical bills paid depends on the type of insurance you have.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance. The first in line insurance will be personal injury protection “PIP” insurance. Click here to learn more about PIP insurance.
Health Insurance. Second in-line is health insurance. We often have clients who have health insurance, but the benefits are denied because you have been in an accident. Elsner Law makes sure your bills get paid and that your health insurance company pays what they are supposed to pay.
Treatment on a lien. Third in line is what is commonly referred to as 3rd party billing or treating on a lien. Some medical providers will agree to treat accident victims with the expectation that they will get paid once the case settles. Most providers will only treat on a lien if the person has an attorney because they want to be confident that they will get paid. Elsner Law Firm can help you find a provider to get paid on a lien or work with your existing providers to help you get the treatment you need even if you don’t have medical insurance. Let us take the stress away from worrying about unpaid medical bills and not getting the treatment you need to get better. Call today so we can start helping you immediately.
Is the insurance company treating me fairly?
Do you think the sponsors of these stadiums can afford the cost by treating you fairly? We don’t think so either.
From day 1 of the crash the insurance company is building a case against you. The easiest way to determine if you are being treated fairly is to talk to a lawyer at Elsner Law Firm. We know the laws and can evaluate your situation if you call us now to discuss your concerns.
If you want to test how friendly the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster is click here to see the questions you should ask the adjuster. Their responses may make you re-think whether they are your friends.
The most common situations that people start to question the friendly adjuster and decide it is time to hire an attorney. Don’t wait until you’re dealing with these hassles. Call us now to discuss your case and save yourself some stress.
- The at-fault party’s insurance is not paying my medical bills.
The at-fault will only pay bills that an insurance adjuster (not a medical doctor) decides is reasonable and related to the accident. This is often the biggest dispute with insurance companies. The at-fault party won’t pay for your medical bills until you are done treating. If you are stuck in a situation where your medical bills aren’t getting paid you should call us so we can make sure the proper party is paying the bills or help keep bills from going to collections while you are treating.
- The insurance company has offered me a settlement that seems low.
The at-fault party will try to get you to settle early and for very little money. Once you settle the case you can’t get more money from the insurance company so you have to be cautious about settling. Determining the value of your case is not a simple calculation. Check out our FAQ’s here about what is involved in valuing a case and our video on how to determine the value of your case. If you don’t think you are getting a fair offer then you should call us and have us take over your negotiations. You only get one chance so don’t settle with regrets.
How can I save time and stress?
Insurance companies look for reasons to deny claims. Check out our list of 66 common reasons claims are denied.
We will fight back against these denials. If you hear an adjuster say any of those 66 things call us and we can help.
We can help save you time and stress by taking over your case at any stage in the process. Here’s some of the items we take care of to help you:
- Set up claims with all insurance companies
- take care of the conversations with all insurance companies including both your insurance and the at-fault as well as your health insurance company
- review all forms to ensure there aren’t any gotcha clauses
- make sure the insurance company follows state laws and doesn’t violate the Insurance Fair Conduct Act – click here for more information on that law.
- determine who is liable
- hire experts to prove your case
- advocate for your rights
- make sure your medical bills are paid
- make sure you get your other damages such as wage loss paid for
- file lawsuits on your behalf
When every other company and the government is looking for reasons not to compensate you we’ll be on your side to protect your rights so you don’t have to worry and can save yourself countless hours of hassle and stress. If you call now we can start saving you time and reducing your stress.
Do I qualify for an attorney that doesn’t require money up front?
The simplest answer to this question is to call and find out. We offer a free consultation so we can evaluate your case and determine how we can help you.
We like to build lifelong relationships with our clients and approach accepting cases with that mindset. Check out our section Are We the Right Firm for You to see our philosophy on having a successful relationship with our clients.
In addition to our philosophy there are certain things to ask yourself to see if you qualify for an attorney with no up-front costs or fees.
- Was the cause of the injury due to someone else’s actions? If you think so then give us a call to discuss. Check out our posts All About Liability and More About Liability for more information on determining who is liable. Remember that just because the insurance company says you are at-fault doesn’t mean you are. If you were clearly at fault, then your insurance company will provide an attorney to you at no-cost to you.
- Are you injured? To prove a case you have to prove injuries/damages. If you were injured enough to require treatment then you would be a good candidate for legal representation because the insurance companies will fight with you on the amount and length of time you get treatment.
- Is there insurance coverage? Unfortunately, many people do not have insurance. Usually when people don’t have insurance they don’t have any assets to pay your damages either. If you have uninsured motorist coverage then that will hopefully cover your losses. If neither the at-fault party nor do you have uninsured motorist insurance it is usually difficult to get your losses paid for and so there is not much an attorney can do to help. If you are in this situation it is still good to consult with us because there might be a way to force the insurance company to give you uninsured motorist insurance benefits or possibly find another party liable such as the government.
Is it too late to hire an attorney?
About the only time it is too late to hire an attorney is if the statute of limitations has run. This is the time limit you have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. In most injury cases that time limit is three years. The other situation that often comes up is when people have signed a settlement agreement with the insurance company. Depending on what the insurance company told you or what forms you signed it may be too late. Don’t immediately lose faith, though, if you are in this situation give us a call and we can discuss your situation in detail. There won’t be any charge for talking with us, but it’s best to resolve these issues sooner than later so call now to get a free consultation.