Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents

Berkeley College of Music, site of pedestrian accident © Virginia Lee

Berkeley College of Music, site of pedestrian accident © Virginia Lee

There are numerous cases involving pedestrians and bicycles hit by automobiles, trucks, and buses. Often, the driver of the motor vehicle is the one who was at fault, for example, by striking you in a crosswalk, jumping the curb, or hitting you while you were riding your bicycle in a designated bike path. A pedestrian or a bicyclist may also be at fault, for example, when a pedestrian runs out into the road into traffic, or when a bicyclist runs a stop sign when bicycling through an intersection.

There are also situations where bicyclists strike pedestrians, causing severe injuries such as concussions, fractures and scarring. In those instances where a motor vehicle is not involved, your attorney will determine if there are other insurance policies, such as the bicyclist’s homeowner’s, which may be available to cover medical bills, lost wages, bodily injuries, and pain and suffering.

"Casey" Rohnert Park © Jim King

“Casey” Rohnert Park © Jim King

If you believe that the motor vehicle driver or bicyclist was at fault, or that both of you may have been at fault, you should contact an attorney to help sort out the liability and insurance coverage, and determine whether you have a claim for your bodily injuries and pain and suffering.

What to do if you have been in an accident

A pedestrian or bicyclist hit by an automobile, if medically able, should call the police from the scene of the accident or request that someone call the police. The police will investigate and may provide you with an “exchange form,” listing information about the driver and insurance information. Again, if you are medically able, try to exchange information with the driver, passengers, and any witnesses, and take photos of the scene with your cell phone, as well as of injured persons and any damaged property. At some point you should return to the scene of the accident with friends or family and take photos, and request a copy of the police report. There is usually a small fee for the report. You do not need to complete a Crash Operator Report as you were not driving a motor vehicle, but you do need to contact your own automobile insurance company, despite the fact that you weren’t driving a motor vehicle.

Medical attention

As with any accident, you need to attend to your medical needs as soon as possible. Since pedestrian and bicycle accidents are usually quite serious, you may be taken to a hospital by ambulance with injuries such as fractures, lacerations, back injuries, concussion, and internal injuries. You should give your attorney any medical records or bills that you receive.

Insurance coverage

Generally, your attorney will seek compensation for preliminary medical bills and lost wages from the driver’s motor vehicle Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage, and then from your health insurance. Your attorney will also seek compensation from the driver’s insurance policy for your bodily injuries and pain and suffering, unpaid lost wages, and any permanent injuries.

If the driver who hit you is uninsured, underinsured, or is a “hit and run” driver who disappears, your attorney will seek PIP and bodily injury coverage from your automobile policy, or from an automobile policy where you are considered a covered household member.

Prepare for meeting with me

Please bring the following to your meeting with me: your driver’s license, registration, automobile insurance declarations page, exchange form, police report, photos, any documents received from any insurance companies, information provided to you by the other driver, and any medical records you may have. If you have completed a client intake sheet, bring that with you as well, or return it to me by email.