When you’re getting ready to go for a bike ride, you make sure you have everything you need for safety and check that your bike is in good shape.
But then it happens. You’re hit by a motor vehicle as they make a left-hand turn directly into you. Even though you wore a helmet and took safety precautions, you suffer serious injuries and end up with significant medical bills.
If this sounds like your situation, you’re not alone. On average, 1,000 North Carolina bicyclists suffer injuries in police-reported crashes with motor vehicles each year. Approximately 20 of these cyclists die, and 60 of them suffer serious injuries.
Even worse, some of these victims get hit by drivers who don’t carry auto insurance. So what happens if the person who hits you doesn’t have any insurance coverage? Are you totally out of luck?
Not necessarily. Read on to learn more.
Your Auto Insurance Policy Can Help After a Collision With an Uninsured Driver
If you have an auto insurance policy, it should include coverage that can help you if you get hit by an uninsured driver, even if the crash happened on your bike and not in your car.
Many people don’t realize that when they buy auto insurance, they’re purchasing coverage for many automobile-related harms — even those that don’t involve them driving or even riding in a car. This provision of auto insurance becomes very important for bicyclists who get hit by a car or truck.
RELATED ARTICLE: Do I Have to Pay My Own Medical Bills After a Car Crash?
And if you have an auto insurance policy that meets the minimum legal requirements in North Carolina, you should have coverage that protects you if you are hit by a driver who has no insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the costs of your injuries and other financial losses. This coverage is called uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.
What Does UM/UIM Insurance Cover?
Even though the law requires every driver to carry some amount of auto insurance, some people will always break the law and drive uninsured rather than pay insurance premiums. In fact, almost 7 percent of drivers in North Carolina carry no car insurance whatsoever.
This alarming fact is exactly why UM/UIM coverage exists. UM/UIM coverage provides compensation when the at-fault driver’s coverage isn’t enough to pay for all the damages you incur — or when the at-fault driver doesn’t have any insurance at all.
UM/UIM coverage will pay for both financial and non-financial losses after a wreck. Examples of losses covered by UM/UIM coverage include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Medications and medical equipment
- Lost wages due to missing time at work
- Loss of future earnings potential
- The costs of household help or in-home nursing care
- Pain and suffering
UM/UIM coverage can also help cover losses from hit-and-run crashes. When an unidentified negligent driver hits a cyclist and then leaves the scene, the bicyclist should be able to successfully file an UM/UIM claim with their own auto insurance company.
Minimum UM Rarely Provides Enough Coverage for Serious Injuries
Even though UM/UIM coverage can be incredibly helpful, it will only reimburse you for losses up to the policy limits. If you just have the state-mandated minimum $30,000 of UM coverage (UIM coverage isn’t available at the $30,000 minimum limits) and an uninsured or underinsured driver leaves you with serious injuries, it’s easy to exhaust the $30,000 and still have unpaid medical bills left over, not to mention other losses.
This is one of the many reasons why we recommend that most drivers carry additional UM/UIM coverage beyond North Carolina’s state-mandated minimums. Adding additional UM/UIM coverage is generally affordable and won’t create massive increases in your premiums, so it’s something you should consider — especially if you’re a cyclist, since bicycle riders often suffer serious injuries in collisions.
RELATED ARTICLE: Why You Need More UM/UIM Coverage Than You Think
If you’ve been hit and injured while riding your bike by an uninsured or underinsured driver in North Carolina, call your insurance company to find out what types of coverage you have available under your policy. And if you find the details of your policy confusing or your insurance company is giving you the runaround, contact Myers Law Firm for help.
Myers Law Firm: Fighting for Bicycle Accident Victims in and Around Charlotte, North Carolina
At Myers Law Firm, we understand that a serious bike crash can leave you with confusion, stress, and anxiety, not to mention lots of medical bills and other losses. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence, we’re here to help. When you choose us to represent you, we’ll act as your advocate and use our experience and resources to fight relentlessly for you.
To schedule your free consultation with an experienced injury lawyer from Myers Law Firm, call our offices today at 888-376-2889 or fill out our online contact form. We’ll use this time to learn about your case and inform you about your legal options so you can go forward with confidence.
Bicycle crash data. (n.d.). North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved from http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/pbcat_nc/_bicycle.cfm
Megna, M. (2017, November 15). Uninsured drivers by state. CarInsurance.com. Retrieved from https://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/uninsured-motorist-coverage-state-averages-of-uninsured-drivers.aspx
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.