Most bicycle accidents happen due to road and weather hazards, but some serious crashes involve motor vehicle drivers and cyclists. If you’re hit by a person driving while riding your bike, it’s critical to understand your rights as well as the next steps to take to avoid further injury or property loss.
Understanding your rights in Minnesota
Some crashes involving people biking and people driving motor vehicles result in serious injuries or death. If you’re involved in a crash while riding your bike, it’s important to understand your rights based on Minnesota law. Bicycle riders have the same rights as those driving motor vehicles.
According to state regulations:
- Minnesota is a no-fault state. This means your own auto insurance coverage (also known as personal injury protection or PIP) is responsible for paying for your medical treatment and other out-of-pocket costs after your accident, regardless of who’s at fault.
- Personal injury coverage covers only specific losses. You can receive payment for your medical bills, lost wages, replacement services such as housekeeping and some funeral expenses.
- You can file a lawsuit only after meeting certain criteria. If you incur at least $4,000 in medical expenses or if you’re out of work or suffer from a permanent injury for over 60 days, you may file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver.
If you find yourself involved in an accident without auto insurance, you may be able to use your relative’s auto insurance if you live in the same household. After PIP coverage runs out or you don’t have insurance of your own, you may then pursue a liability claim against the at-fault party’s insurance policy.
What steps should you take after a crash?
After a crash, it’s easy to allow the adrenaline and emotion to get the best of you. It’s best to familiarize yourself with the steps you should take after a motor vehicle and bike crash sooner rather than later.
Check yourself for injury: If you’re injured, try your best not to move. If you’re not injured, but other parties are, call 911 for immediate medical attention.
Gather important information: If you can, get the driver’s name, address, phone number and license plate number. If there are witnesses, get their information as well. Use your cell phone to take photos of the scene and your bike. Should a case occur, this information will be beneficial to you.
Call your insurance company: If you have coverage of your own, make sure you call to get the claim process started as soon as possible.
- Get your bike checked out: Before you get back out on the road, make sure a mechanic checks for needed repairs to avoid further damage.
For help in navigating the insurance process or for assistance with filing a claim against an at-fault driver, it’s best to consult with a professional bike attorney. An attorney can help make sure you receive any compensation due to you in a timely manner.
Attorney Daniel J. Brazil of Brazil Law Group is an experienced personal injury attorney with offices located in Uptown. He has a passion for the outdoors, especially cycling and climbing. Learn more about Dan and his practice by following him on Twitter (@LawDanielBrazil and #MplsBikeAttorney).