Bicycles are considered vehicles in many states and, as such, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. They must act with a reasonable standard of care as they navigate the same roads as cars, pedestrians, and other bikes. Just like in a two-car accident, if a bicyclist hit and scratched up your car, you may be able to receive compensation for the damages.
Assuming that you in no way contributed to the bicycle hitting your car, then the bicyclist is completely at fault and completely responsible for paying for the damages. However, it is possible for both you and a bicyclist to be partially responsible for the accident. In this case a claim can be filed, but the percentage of your own negligence may be deducted from the amount of monetary compensation available.
A bicyclist’s car insurance might not cover any damages done to your car. It seems counterintuitive, considering that bicycles are moving vehicles on the road. But many insurance companies will argue that because the bicyclist was not driving the car covered by the insurance policy, any coverage available is not applicable.
But don’t fret, yet! If the bicyclist has homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, those policies could possibly cover the damages to your car. Most homeowner’s insurance companies include a personal liability policy in the coverage. Liability protects you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that your or family members (even pets!) cause to other people. Generally, the damage must be considered accidental and not intentional.
Every policy is different, but the personal liability policy could cover any property damage on your car that the bicyclist caused.
What happens if the bicyclist has no insurance whatsoever and no money to cover the damage to your car?
Consider adding collision to your auto insurance policy. Collision coverage will help pay for the repair to your damaged car if you are struck by an uninsured driver or, in this case, a bicyclist. As long as at least one of the vehicles in the accident is a car, collision coverage could apply.
Auto insurance policies vary from company to company and person to person. To understand how you are covered, make sure you meet with an auto insurance agent. A good agent will take the time to talk you through your policy. A well-rounded auto insurance policy will help keep you safe and out of debt should an unfortunate incident occur to you and your car.
An experienced car accident lawyer in Central Phoenix, AZ has seen a lot of different types of accidents over the years. If a bicycle hit and scratched up your car, call a law firm for a free consultation. Your attorney can help you learn what sort of recovery options you might have to help pay for the damages.
Thanks to Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into personal injury claims and vandalism.