- He or she owed the claimant a duty of care.
- There was a breach of that duty.
- The breach of the duty caused the accident.
- The accident was the proximate cause of the claimant’s injuries.
- The claimant suffered legally recognized damages.
The Duty of Care
Much of the fault determination turns on the duty of care. A bicyclist has a duty to use due care and caution for the safety of the person and property of others around him or her. The pedestrian also has a duty to be free from negligence. He or she must use due care and caution for the safety of his or her own person and property. When there’s an accident, a judge or jury will sort out who breached the duty of care. Maybe both parties did, and the law of comparative negligence is raised. For purposes of convenience, let’s say that the bicyclist ran a pedestrian down from behind on a sidewalk in a city where sidewalk riding is illegal. The bicyclist is likely to be determined to be 100 percent negligent, and the pedestrian required a knee surgery from the crash at a cost of $15,000.
Does the Bicyclist or Pedestrian Own a Home?
Although it’s available in some places, it’s probably safe to say that 99 percent of all bicyclists don’t have a specific bicycle liability insurance policy. So how might that pedestrian who was hit from behind and injured through no fault of his own obtain some form of compensation? He’ll need to find out what other kinds of insurance the bicyclist might have.
Sometime the bicyclist’s homeowners, condo or even rental insurance probably will cover the crash under its personal liability coverage, even though the accident occurred away from the insured premises. It’s the same type of coverage that a person might make a claim under if he or she shanked a shot while golfing and hit somebody in the head with a golf ball.
Severe Injuries or Death and Umbrella Insurance
Standard homeowners insurance usually provides $100,000 of liability coverage. If the cyclist or pedestrian suffered a severe brain injury or even died from a fall after being hit, his estate will probably exhaust the liability policy limits of the bicyclist’s homeowners insurance. That’s when the existence of umbrella insurance should be looked into. It’s an extra layer of liability insurance coverage that might be available. It comes in $1 million increments, and it’s so inexpensive that many homeowners buy it.
If you were a cyclist who was injured due to a pedestrian, or a pedestrian who was hit and injured by a bicyclist, you need to find out whether there might be compensation available for your injuries. If you only have health insurance, you’re still in a better position than many victims. You can contact us to arrange for a free consultation and case review on your accident and injuries. We’ll evaluate the facts of the case, and then we’ll let you know what we might be able to do for you. There just might be coverage out there that can provide full and fair compensation for your injuries.
We represent clients in San Francisco, Sacramento, Oakland and everywhere in northern California.