Who's responsible if a car hits you while you ride your bike?

Biking can be a lot of fun and a great way to exercise. Some people choose to bike back and forth to work to speed up their commute or reduce their carbon footprint. Others bike to keep their bodies and hearts healthy. Still others just enjoy a leisurely ride on the weekend. Whatever your motivation for getting on a bicycle, you should do your best to reduce your risk of accidents and injuries when you ride on public roads.

It only takes a second for someone driving a motor vehicle to injure you seriously. Because those on bikes are such small targets compared to those riding in motor vehicles — and because drivers are primarily looking out for other automobiles and not bikes or even motorcycles — it can be easy for distracted or negligent drivers to miss seeing you. Your bike cannot do much to protect you, which is why you should take care to wear adequate safety gear and follow safest procedures when on the road.

Liability insurance could cover your medical costs

If the driver of the motor vehicle was clearly at fault, according to Ohio law, the costs of the crash, e.g., the injured cyclist's medical bills, could be covered by a motor vehicle liability policy. All drivers licensed in Ohio are required to carry specific levels of insurance in case of an accident. The lowest level of coverage a motorist can carry is $25,000 of property damage coverage and $25,000 for a single injured person or fatality and $50,000 for injures or deaths to multiple people.

As a bicyclist, that means you will likely get limited to $25,000 of medical coverage while you recover. That may sound like a lot of money, but a few weeks in the hospital and a surgery or two could quickly consume the entire amount. You shouldn't end up in dire financial straits over injuries caused by someone else's negligence, but that can happen if you're hit by a driver carrying state minimum insurance.

Exploring all your options for compensation

If you've reviewed your current medical expenses, projected ongoing care needs and determined that the insurance policy of the driver won't cover it all, don't panic. There are other options for compensation, including civil lawsuits against the driver or others who contributed to the accident.

Depending on your own medical insurance policy, you may have some coverage for the accident-related treatments once the at-fault party's liability coverage runs out.

If you were working as a bike messenger or delivery person, you may have other options as well. It's important to review all available avenues to compensation, especially if an insurance company is offering a one-time settlement payment.

Before accepting, make sure the offer is fair and try to determine what your total losses will be. Doing so can save you from making a costly mistake.

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