Getting a recovery for a bike accident
There are no laws requiring that a bicyclist carry insurance for either his own protection (medical bills, etc.) or for the protection of the general public.
I can foresee this situation changing in the future in that bicycling has become more prevalent in our society.
First-Party Coverage for the Bicyclist
There is no first-party insurance coverage for the biker. If a bicyclist were injured due to his own negligence or through no fault of others, he would have to look to his own medical insurance and disability insurance for lost income protection.
In the instance where the bicyclist were struck by a motor vehicle, then the bicyclist would be entitled to No Fault coverage for his medical bills and lost income. Motor vehicles include passenger cars, taxis, buses, trucks, and motorcycles.
In another instance where the bicyclist was working (such as making a food delivery), there would be workers’ compensation insurance for his medical and lost income. This insurance would be provided as part of his employment.
Liability Coverage for the Bicyclist
There is no requirement that a bicycle owner or rider have insurance.
Unfortunately, we have seen many instances where an innocent pedestrian has been injured seriously by a bicyclist who either flees the scene or has no insurance. In that instance the injured person is out of luck.
Occasionally, the bicyclist may have insurance. An individual biker may be covered through his insurance covering his home and personal activities, such as a homeowners or condo or renters’ insurance policy. Years ago, we had a case where a pedestrian was knocked-down by a bicyclist. Fortunately, the biker had insurance. The biker was also hurt, and he counter-sued our client for causing the collision. Fortunately, our client had his own renters’ insurance.
Additionally, if the bicyclist were working, such as making a food delivery, there would be coverage through the business for a suit by either an injured pedestrian or motorist.
Cases Where the Bicyclist Seeks Recovery
There are two cases where an injured bicyclist may seek recovery against another.
First, if the bicyclist were struck by a motor vehicle, then the motor vehicle would have insurance. One classic bike accident is “dooring” where a vehicle owner opens his driver’s door into a passing bike.
Second, in the very rare case there may be a case against a non-motorist defendant. For example, a recent case reported a bicyclist was injured due to the negligence of a New York DOT worker. The biker approached one of the Central Park transverses. Road work was being done, and the transverse was closed. Nonetheless, a City “flagman” motioned the biker to proceed. The biker hit a massive road defect which was being repaired. He fell from the bike and sustained significant injuries. The biker sued the City for the road worker’s direction that the biker could proceed even though the bicyclist was directed to go into a trap. New York’s highest court allowed the verdict against the City to stand.
An Additional Consideration
In biking accidents, a police report may be necessary to identify the biker. We have seen cases where the bicycle leaves the scene, and he is unidentified. It is highly recommended that the police be called.
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