Imagine this. It’s a beautiful day. There are trees around you, and the air smells like spring. The overall vibe feels like you want to ride your bicycle and roam around. When you reside in Fairfax Counties and Arlington, most especially, you will find that most people prefer to hop on their bikes and commute around the neighborhood than drive their cars.
But like in most places, you can still find yourself stuck in traffic even while you’re on a bike. And that also means that you are prone to facing bicycle accidents and, much worse, accidents arising from colliding against cars and other vehicles.
When that happens, you may have some questions about your situation. What should you do if you encounter such accidents while biking? Are you entitled to make a claim against the person who hit you? Will your insurance cover everything?
To help answer common questions, here are things you must do after facing a bicycle accident in Virginia.
Encounter Between Bicycle and Car
To best explain the bicycle vs. car scenario, let us give you an example.
Here’s a scenario:
David was on his bike commuting to work from home. He decided to cross a street using a crosswalk at an intersection guided by a traffic light. Now, imagine a car making a left turn while the light is red, doesn’t see David, and suddenly hits him in the crosswalk.
So what will happen?
In similar cases, you can file a liability claim against the driver’s auto liability coverage. And if David owns a car that is insured and has an auto policy, even if he wasn’t driving his car during the accident, the policy might still apply. This is because many auto policies contain coverages that protect you when you are injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle while you are walking or riding your bicycle.
Encounter Between Bicycle and Bicycle
To best explain the bicycle vs. bicycle scenario, here’s an example.
Picture this scenario:
Betty hopped on her bicycle one morning and headed to her usual route. She was about to take a sharp curve toward a hill while biking on the side of the trail when suddenly, another cyclist from the opposite direction appeared over the hill, taking over the sharp curve and hitting Betty.
What will happen?
In cases like it, car insurance will not apply since no cars are involved in the accident. However, you can still make a liability claim against the other cyclist at fault if that person has a renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy. Also, if you have health insurance, it can help cover the medical expenses while filing a claim against the cyclist who caused the accident.
Your Personal Checklist
Now, you need to make sure that you are prepared and have your checklist if you get involved in a bicycle accident. Here are things you must never forget doing:
1. Stop, Look, and Listen
Cliché as it may seem, but when you encounter an accident, you need to stop and avoid leaving the scene of the accident. Look and listen to your surroundings. If you think you are causing traffic or you’re in the middle of the road, you can move to a safer place near the area.
2. Call 911 Immediately
Always call for emergency support and have the police come over to document the accident. The police report will help you file the insurance claim. The dispatcher on the line can also send an ambulance for you in case you obtain any injuries.
3. Contact Your Auto Insurance Company
If you have a car covered by an auto insurance policy and you encountered an accident, that policy may have coverage for you. You need to report whether you are at fault or not right away. If you are the one who is struck, the other driver’s insurance company will reach out. You can speak with them if you want, but the best thing you can do is allow your lawyer to handle the bicycle accident situation, so you know what to expect and what your legal rights are.
Bicycle accidents happen everywhere, and it’s a hard pill to swallow when we say that it’s more likely to be inevitable. But with proper caution, good health insurance, an auto insurance policy, and the best legal support, you can expect to go through liability claims and insurance coverage processes quite calmly and stress-free.
Zuckerberg & Halperin are top-rated injury attorneys in Virginia, Washington, DC, and Maryland. They handle all serious injuries, including bicycle accidents. Contact us today to book your free consultation!