Although, being involved in an automobile accident while a bicyclist or a pedestrian has similar legal ramifications as when you are, yourself, in a motor vehicle, there are some important differences.
Obviously, the first thing that you must consider and tend to is your injury. You may want to consider seeking medical treatment that is covered by your private health insurance company, but sometimes your injuries and their immediate care must take precedence over health insurance complexities and monetary issues.
In general, although there are exceptions, the motor vehicle insurance of the vehicle that struck you will cover the first $2,000.00 in medical bills that you incur. After that your private health insurance will kick in. That is why you should try to seek care (at least after an initial Emergency Room visit) with a doctor, chiropractic facility, physical therapist, etc. that is in your health insurance network. You also want to ensure that you follow the proper procedures of your health insurer. (i.e. seeing your primary care physician before seeking further specialized treatment). An attorney can be very helpful in guiding you through this sometimes complicated and frustrating maze of insurance rules and regulations. You can then focus on getting better and arranging other parts of your life which have been inconvenienced by this accident.
When you are struck as a pedestrian or bicyclist, you must also consider informing your own motor vehicle insurance company of this accident and/or a household member’s motor vehicle insurance company. It is possible that if your injuries are significant that you may want to proceed against these insurance companies for underinsured benefits. If this is the case, time is of the essence and the sooner that you inform these companies of your accident, the less they can raise the issue of prejudice by late notice. It is also possible that the vehicle that struck you has no insurance at all. In informing your own auto insurer or that of a household member’s insurer of this accident, you preserve your right to pursue uninsured benefits with these insurance companies. Again, time is a factor in notifying these insurers of your accident.
It is likely that the insurance company of the vehicle that struck you will contact you in order to get a statement from you. It is critical to cooperate with this company or you may deprive yourself of potential benefits that you may derive from that company. On the other hand, what you say to this company can potentially adversely affect the value of your case or even cause the insurer to deny you any benefits at all. Accordingly, it is crucial that you contact an attorney prior to agreeing to speak to the insurance company.
Many attorneys, and all attorneys at Altman & Altman, LLP, will speak to you initially at no cost. We will provide you a free consultation where we can explain to you your rights, your duties, and all avenues that you can take to be compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
We strongly encourage you to take advantage of this initial consultation as many cases are won and lost at the very critical initial stages.
There are many other loopholes and potential traps for the unwary that are too numerous to mention in this discussion. Needless to say, it would benefit you to have an attorney with many years of experience to negotiate and deal with an insurance company which often has an adverse interest to yours.
We would very much welcome the opportunity to speak with you at length about your case. Feel free to call us at any time at 617 492 3000 to discuss the issues raised above and more.
Steven C. Goldwyn, Esq.