What Insurance Might Apply To A North Carolina Bicycle Wreck

A bicyclist hurt in a wreck in North Carolina has many insurance issues to sort out.  These insurance issues can be separated into several categories:

  • Car or truck versus bicycle
  • Bicycle versus bicycle
  • Bicycle wreck due to unsafe road conditions

Car or Truck versus Bicycle
The most frequent type of bicycle wreck is when a bicyclist is hit by a car or truck.  Under these circumstances, a bicyclist is entitled to assert a claim against the car or truck’s liability insurance. 

Under North Carolina law, any automobile using the streets and highways of the state is required to carry at least $30,000 of liability insurance for bodily injury coverage.  For a truck, the required insurance may be higher depending on the size and type of truck.  

But what if the car or truck does not have enough insurance or is driving illegally without insurance?  This is not always the end of the line for the injured bicyclist.  If the bicyclist has their own automobile with insurance, the bicyclist should contact this insurance company and make a claim.  Most automobile coverages will contain coverages called Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist insurance which will step in as if this were the insurance for the person who hit you. 

When evaluating these insurance issues, it is critically important to know that you have looked for all available insurance to provide Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist coverage.  Indeed, we recently represented a young woman bicyclist hit by someone with only $30,000 of insurance.  Fortunately, the young woman’s family maintained an automobile policy with $100,000 of Underinsured Motorist coverage which was essential to providing the necessary benefits for our client.

Bicycle versus Bicycle
A bicycle wreck involving two bicycles does not happened frequently but we have represented several bicyclists involved in these types of wrecks.  Finding insurance in these situations can be tricky and you must know where and how to find it.  Under these circumstances, the injured bicyclist can assert a claim that may be covered under the other bicyclist’s homeowners insurance policy.

Bicycle Wreck Due to Unsafe Road Conditions
Bicycle wrecks due to unsafe road conditions are among the most difficult to evaluate.  Depending on the type of road and who had the obligation to maintain the road, there are numerous possible types of insurance coverage.  For wrecks on state maintained highways, claims would be covered under the North Carolina State Tort Claims Act which caps recoveries at $1,000,000 for any one person.  In order to find out if there is coverage for other claims against a municipality, the injured person may need to send a request to the municipality to obtain insurance information.

Medical Payments Coverage
Many North Carolina bicyclists have a type of insurance coverage on their auto policies called Medical Payments Coverage.  This coverage, which is typically $1,000, $2,000, $5,000 or $10,000, allows for a injured person to recover the reasonable amount of medical expenses (or funeral expenses) incurred due to an accident with a motor vehicle.  If you are in a bicycle wreck, you should contact your insurance company to see whether you have Medical Payments coverage.  Many law firsm do not handle Medical Payments coverage for their clients.  However, we rountinely help our clients recover available Medical Payments coverage.

If you have a question about your rights and ability to recover after a bicycle wreck, call or email Hendren & Malone immediately.

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