So, what happens if you are in a serious wreck and the at-fault party has no or little insurance coverage? If you are smart you would have planned for that unfortunate occurrence when you renewed your automobile insurance.
For example, I try to spend as much time riding my bike as possible. Unfortunately, more time on the road also means greater risks of an accident. In my line of work, I’ve seen enough incidents involving cyclists being hit by cars to make me more than a little nervous when I strap on my shoes for a ride. Sure, there are certain precautions you can take to prevent an accident from occurring (wear visible clothing, stay near the shoulder, don’t ride during high traffic), but there is not much you can do to prevent a careless or distracted motorist from hitting you. You can do everything right and still be the victim of a negligent driver.
I have seen many individuals who have been seriously injured due to the negligence of others. This is especially true in bike-car collisions. Best-case scenario, you’d be out for the season; however, more likely than not, your life and that of your family may be forever changed.
If you are hurt in a bike wreck and it is someone else’s fault, your expenses could be substantial. Many drivers only carry minimal liability coverage ($30,000.00 in North Carolina), meaning that if you were seriously hurt in a collision, you could be personally responsible for medical bills, lost earnings, rehabilitation expenses, and you’d receive no recovery for your pain and suffering or your long-term damages. Do not count on the average driver to have adequate insurance coverage to fully compensate you for the expenses you would incur in a serious wreck. In North Carolina, about one in four drivers are either uninsured or underinsured. To protect yourself from their negligence, it is important to purchase something called uninsured and underinsured motorists’ coverage. You can easily add this coverage to your own automobile insurance policy. This insurance will kick in and pay your damages when the careless driver has no or inadequate insurance. The cost of this coverage is minimal. For instance, I pay about $15.00 a month extra to get $1,000,000.00 in uninsured and underinsured coverage. Uninsured and underinsured insurance will protect you from financially irresponsible drivers and provide you with peace of mind as you are pedaling down the road. Call your insurance agent today.
For more information on uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage click on the video in the “Bookmarks/Favorite” section of this month’s newsletter.
Ryan Connolly is a partner with Crabtree, Carpenter & Connolly, PLLC, in Durham, NC. The firm helps injured parties from all over the nation recover from injuries caused by the negligence of others. Ryan is an avid runner, cyclist, and swimmer and competes in triathlons around the state each year.