Being in a bicycle accident is an unfortunate event, not only for the physical ramifications, but the financial ones. When you’ve been injured in a Fresno bicycle accident, for example, you will have medical bills and other costs to worry about. Under normal circumstances, you would have to go through the at-fault person’s insurance company for these damages. However, what if that person doesn’t have insurance or if they do, what if it isn’t enough to cover the extent of your injuries?
In these scenarios, uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage is the policy that can apply. This coverage is usually applied in car accidents, but can also extend to bicycle or other accidents as well. Despite these policies usually being optional, having them can be a lifesaver in terms of seeking compensation in the event of an accident.
Experienced and Knowledgeable Fresno Bicycle Accident Lawyers
At Maison Law, our team of knowledgeable and experienced Fresno bicycle accident lawyers can help you through any injuries and subsequent claims process. Whether it’s the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your own, getting you the financial support you need is our top priority. We have a wealth of experience in dealing with the various obstacles any insurance company puts in your way, and will help you navigate a sometimes complicated process.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today for a free consultation.
Is UM/UIM Coverage Available in Fresno?
Insuring yourself while riding a bicycle in Fresno is tied to your uninsured/underinsured policy. But the issue of purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is a little confusing to people. In terms of requiring insurance, California has legally mandated minimums for coverage, but that only applies when driving your car.
However, uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage is offered by most all insurance companies as an optional add-on policy. Thus, UM/UIM coverage is available for you in Fresno. These policies are designed to cover any losses you suffer because of a careless or negligent driver when they do not have enough coverage to pay for your damages–or if they have no insurance at all.
While UM and UIM coverage is very similar, there are some key differences, including:
- Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage – An uninsured motorist policy applies when the at-fault driver either has no insurance coverage. In these instances, an uninsured motorist policy will be the primary coverage for any damages or injuries you suffered from an accident.
- Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage – California requires all drivers to carry at least some level of auto insurance. Sometimes, the at-fault driver is insured, but they may have only elected the bare minimum required coverage, which are:
- $15,000 for bodily injury coverage or death per person.
- $30,000 for total bodily injury or death per accident to all people in the other vehicle combined.
- $5,000 for property damage to the other vehicle.
As a result, the policy limits can often be too low to cover the costs associated with your injuries and damages, especially if you were injured while riding your bicycle.
In the event that you have UIM coverage, but it still doesn’t cover the extent of your damages, you can opt for filing a claim with your health or homeowner’s insurance to try to recover the outstanding medical costs and damages to your bike.
Do I Need UM/UIM Coverage In Fresno?
In trying to determine if you need UM/UIM coverage in Fresno, you may want to consider the following:
- How often do I ride my bike?
- Do I ride my bike in the areas of Fresno that are more prone to accidents?
- Do I ride at night or in inclement weather?
- Do I own a high-end bicycle?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you should strongly consider adding a UM/UIM policy to your insurance. Obviously, the more you ride your bike, the more chances you have of being in an accident. Then, the areas of Fresno you ride your bike in, and the time of day you ride your bike typically all can increase the risks of an accident.
Further, bicycles and their corresponding equipment can be expensive, with top of the line bicycles and gear can range up to $10,000 or more. If you’re willing to invest a significant amount of money on your bike and equipment, you should also invest in a UM/UIM policy.
Probably the biggest reason to opt for UM/UIM coverage is simply for your peace of mind. Even if you take all the necessary steps and precautions out on the road, you still can’t control negligent or reckless drivers that can cause an accident.
What Causes Bicycle Accidents in Fresno?
Another reason to carry UM/UIM insurance is simply because you never know when an accident will strike. Moreover, riding a bicycle, especially on Fresno’s busier streets and roads, is inherently risky. Other drivers don’t always see you on your bike, and some simply aren’t as careful as they should be. These conditions can, and often do, lead to accidents. Here are some of the more common causes of bicycle accidents in Fresno:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield or provide adequate buffer
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence
- Failing to signal or unsafe lane changes
- Negligent turning
- Fatigue or drowsy driving
Here again, these factors offer a wide range of potential for accidents in Fresno. Even if you take the necessary safety precautions and ride on your bike as safely as you can, you can’t account for the actions of another driver. Unfortunately, this puts you at a disadvantage and can lead to accidents.
Fresno Bicycle Accident Damages
Most of the time, if you’re in a bicycle accident in Fresno, you are going to have damages in one form or another. Damages can include injuries and their associated costs, but can also include the damage to your bicycle or other property in the accident.
This is where UM/UIM coverage can be vital, especially if the other driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance. When this is the case, your UM/UIM policy will be responsible for covering:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Any permanent disfigurement or disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Funeral and burial costs in the event of a wrongful death along with other substantial damages
Like any accident, the damages you suffer can quickly add up. Having a UM/UIM policy is a great way to cover some of these damages, but another way is to call on our team of Fresno bicycle accident lawyers for assistance. We can make sure to exhaust every applicable policy to get you the support you need.
Experienced Fresno Bicycle Accident Lawyers Will Stand With You
Being in a bicycle accident is never an ideal situation, but is even less so if the driver is uninsured or doesn’t have the coverage to adequately cover your damages. Dealing with your injuries and damage to your property is a harsh reality in a Fresno bicycle accident, but you don’t have to experience this alone.
At Maison Law, we can help you figure out what policies you have and whether or not they apply to your claim. From there, we can handle all the responsibilities of your claim, making sure you get the compensation you’re owed.
If you would like to schedule a free consultation with our office, contact us today.