In Worcester, MA a man was struck by a motor vehicle while riding his bicycle. The Worcester Police claim that this was a road rage incident. When police arrived on scene, the cyclist was found unconscious, in serious condition with a broken ankle and fractured ribs.
It’s obvious that in a situation like this (car vs. bicycle) the bicycle and bicyclist end up with the brunt of the damage. Too often in these types of accidents the bicyclists suffer serious personal injuries requiring extensive medical treatment.
If you were injured in a similar situation, how do your medical bills get paid? Well, in Massachusetts every motor vehicle is required to carry auto insurance. It is mandated by law that the auto insurance policy carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits. PIP provides up to $8,000 in no-fault insurance. So, if you are hit by a car while riding your bicycle and injured, then the PIP coverage on that vehicle will apply and cover up to $8000 of your medical bills or a portion of your lost wages, if any. If you have private health insurance, then in most situations, PIP will cover up to $2,000 of your medical bills and a portion of any lost wages.
What about getting compensation for your out of pocket medical bills, pain and suffering, and any scarring or permanent disability. Again, the car’s insurance policy will also carry bodily injury coverage to compensate the accident victim for any damages/injuries they suffered. In Massachusetts, the minimum amount of bodily injury coverage required by law is $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident.
If the car that hit you has no insurance, then your own auto insurance policy comes into play. Massachusetts law requires that all auto insurance policies carry Uninsured coverage. So, if you are hit on your bicycle by a negligent uninsured driver, then you can seek compensation from your own insurance company under the Uninsured Motorist portion of your insurance policy.
If the car that hit you has the minimum amount of insurance and you suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident, like we have seen numerous times, the $20,000 of coverage might not be enough. In this case, again, your own auto insurance policy may come into play if you have Underinsured Motorist coverage. Underinsured coverage (which is optional coverage, unlike Uninsured coverage, which is mandatory), on your own auto insurance policy will offer coverage beyond the $20,000 minimum, provided you have an uninsured amount above the minimum. So you should look at your underinsured coverage and make sure you have an amount above the $20,000 because the underinsured coverage you have is reduced by any liability payments made by the negligent driver’s insurance company. If the negligent driver has the minimum of $20,000 bodily injury coverage and you have $20,000 of underinsured there will be a complete offset.