What are your legal rights as a cyclist? In Indiana, the answer is easy: You have the same rights as any other user of the road. You have the right to occupy your lane. You have the right to ride safely and observe all traffic signs and signals, and you have the right to seek financial compensation when a negligent driver causes you harm.
At Caress Worland Law Group, our Indianapolis bicycle accident attorneys take great pride in representing injured cyclists in Indiana. While the Indianapolis area is a great place to ride, we continue to see far too many accidents involving cyclists and motor vehicles on public roads. Firm founder Tim Caress has fought – and continues to fight – for increased protections for cyclists. The dedicated Indianapolis bicycle accident attorneys from our firm are passionate about holding negligent drivers accountable when they put cyclists in harm’s way.
So, you were hit while riding your bicycle. You are facing mounting medical bills, you are concerned about your ability to work, and your doctor isn’t sure if you will ever be able to ride again. What do you do now?
In most cases, seeking financial compensation for injuries from a bicycle accident involving a motor vehicle involves filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Auto insurance policies cover bicycle and pedestrian accidents. And if the driver was 100% at fault in the accident, you are entitled to recover 100% of your injury-related losses. Some of the most-common driver-related factors involved in bicycle accidents include:
- Aggressive driving and road rage
- Alcohol or drug impairment
- Attempting to pass cyclists against oncoming traffic
- Driving distractions (talking on the phone, texting, and using social media behind the wheel)
- Failure to properly judge speed or distance when approaching a cyclist
- Following cyclists too closely
- Forcing cyclists off of the road
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Turning without looking and changing lanes without checking blind spots for cyclists
If the driver who hit you or ran you off of the road didn’t stop or if he or she stopped but claimed not to have insurance, you may need to file a claim under your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) policy. If you have this coverage, it applies to bicycle accidents just the same as accidents involving your vehicle. Other potential options include:
- Contacting witnesses and using other sources of evidence to identify the driver
- Pursuing a claim against the driver directly (not through insurance)
- Pursuing a claim against the municipality or other authority responsible for the design and maintenance of the road (if the road surface or condition was a factor in your crash)
- Pursuing a claim against your bicycle’s manufacturer (if a bicycle defect caused or contributed to your injuries)
In Indiana, drivers are only required to carry a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person and $50,000 per incident. As a result; if you suffered a spinal cord injury, a traumatic brain injury, bone fractures, organ damage, or any other serious injury requiring extensive medical treatment; your losses could far exceed the coverage available under the at-fault driver’s policy.
If this is the case, once again, you potentially have a few options available. For example, you may be entitled to additional coverage under your UIM policy, or you may have claims against other responsible parties. To learn more, we encourage you to schedule your free initial consultation with our skilled and respected Indianapolis bicycle accident attorneys, as soon as possible.
In bicycle accident cases, it is common for insurance companies to blame riders for their own injuries. If you chose not to wear a helmet or you were riding on the wrong side of the street, you can expect the insurance companies to try to use this against you.
However, even if our investigation suggests you are partially to blame for your own injuries, you may still be entitled to financial compensation. In these situations, Indiana follows a rule known as “modified comparative fault.” As long as you were not primarily at fault in the accident, you will still be entitled to a partial financial recovery.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident, we want to help you. To learn more about your legal rights and find out how much you may be entitled to recover, please contact us to schedule your free initial consultation. You can reach us by phone at (317) 255-5400, or send us your contact information and our Indianapolis bicycle accident lawyers will be in touch as soon as possible.
Always remember to ride and run safely, and enjoy your next opportunity.