Q I was walking and was hit by bicyclist. Can I sue the bicyclist to cover the cost of my injuries and lost work?
You may be concerned that there is no insurance policy to pursue if you have suffered injuries in a non-motorized vehicle accident. Although bicyclists in North Carolina have the same road rights as motorized vehicles as per the Bicycle and Bikeway Act, bicyclists are not required to maintain liability insurance policies.
If the bicyclist was at-fault in the accident, you may be able to pursue a claim directly with the cyclist. Depending on the circumstances, an asset search may be completed. You may be able to settle your claim out-of-court. If negotiations are not satisfactory, then a lengthy court process may be required.
The accident events need to be reviewed carefully. Was the cyclist in an area that permits bicycles? Are there speed limits in place for cyclists and were these being observed? Were you as a pedestrian following crosswalk signs?
Pedestrian victims may be able to receive compensation from other parties. Sometimes insurance policies cover instances outside their general scope or intent. For example, some homeowners insurance policies will cover the theft of your laptop if it was stolen from your car. Also, some homeowners insurance policies will cover damage to your vehicle if the damage occurred while on your property--the damage could be a result from a number of reasons: a tree falling or even someone breaking into the car.
Not every insurance policy is the same. As a victim in an accident where the at-fault party is uninsured, in addition to pursuing the negligent party directly you may be able to seek compensation from your own insurance policies if any are present. For example, your personal automobile insurance policy has underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. UM/UMI coverage helps cover your medical expenses wen the other party lacks or has inadequate insurance.
Getting hurt by a bicycle can cause serious injuries, and even death. Earlier this year two pedestrian-bicycle fatalties occurred in Central Park. In both accidents, the pedestrians died and the cyclists survived.
Fortunately, the rate of pedestrian-bicycle accidents is going down. The Journal of Safety Research released a report this October 2014 on the rates of pedestrian-bicycle accidents. The report attributes a developing cycling infrastructure as a main cause for the lower accident rate.
North Carolina has a growing network of greenways, bike lanes, and hundreds of cyclist groups. Raleigh cycling clubs can be found most nights of the week on downtown streets, gathering at cafes, breweries, and coffee shops. As the number of cyclists grows, the chances of being involved in a bicycle accident also grow. Brent Adams & Associates maintains five offices in the greater Triangle area. From Raleigh, Cary, Fayetteville, Dunn, and Clinton, our bicycle accident lawyers help victims navigate their injury claims. Anyone who has been hurt by no fault of their own deserves to know their rights. Our firm enjoys helping accident victims understand their rights under state and federal law, and we take great pleasure in representing their interests in negotiations in and out of court. If you were hurt in a bicycle accident, contact our attorneys for a complimentary consult.