Who Pays for Injuries in a Bicycle Accident in Tennessee?
Posted in Bicycle accidents on October 26, 2022
Bicycle accidents often result in significant injuries for cyclists. When this occurs, cyclists need to know how they will be able to pay their medical bills. There may be various parties responsible for paying bicycle accident victims’ medical bills, depending on who was at fault for the incident and the types of insurance the parties involved carry.
The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance
If a bicycle accident was caused by the careless or negligent actions of another driver in Tennessee, then the at-fault driver’s insurance should be responsible for paying compensation to the bicycle crash victim. Every driver in Tennessee is supposed to carry insurance by law, and this includes a minimum of $25,000 per person for bodily injury liability and $15,000 per accident for property damage liability.
After a bicycle crash occurs, individuals harmed can make a claim with their personal insurance carrier, who will then contact the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. Conversely, an injured bicyclist can make a claim directly against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier on their own.
It can take some time to recover compensation through an insurance settlement, often a few weeks or a few months if fault is relatively straightforward. In the meantime, individuals may be able to use their personal health insurance or their personal auto insurance to pay for compensation for injuries.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
It is not uncommon for drivers to operate without auto insurance in Tennessee. In the event a bicyclist is hit by an uninsured driver or by a hit-and-run driver, they may be able to turn to their personal auto insurance and tap into uninsured motorist coverage. However, we strongly encourage all drivers and bicyclists to examine their personal auto insurance policies to see if they carry uninsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage is not required under Tennessee law but is very helpful in situations like this.
How Comparative Negligence Changes the Equation
There are times when more than one party will be found to be at fault for a bicycle crash in Tennessee. In fact, it may be the case that a bicyclist shares fault for the incident. Under Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence law, the bicyclist could still recover compensation for their injuries so long as they are not 51% or more responsible for the incident.
Under this law, the percentage of fault the bicyclist may have had for the incident will be taken into account. For example, suppose a bicyclist is injured by a driver who was distracted by their phone and did not see the bicyclist. Let us also suppose that the bicyclist sustained $100,000 worth of medical bills caused by a brain injury. However, what if a jury finds that the bicyclist was 20% responsible for the incident because they suddenly left the bike lane and into the path of the oncoming vehicle?
In this case, instead of receiving the full $100,000, the bicyclist would receive $80,000 to account for their 20% of the fault.
We encourage all injured bicyclists to work with a skilled attorney who can examine every fact of their case. Often, allegations of shared fault are made without much evidence, and a Nashville bicycle accident attorney will help push back against these allegations.