A bicycle accident can cause serious and life-threatening injuries, including broken bones and traumatic brain injuries. If you get injured in a bicycle accident, it is important to understand who is responsible for paying for your medical bills and other expenses. You have rights as an injured cyclist in New Mexico. Discuss all of your legal options for free with a bicycle accident lawyer at The Fine Law Firm today for more information.
The At-Fault Driver
There are fault and no-fault car insurance laws. New Mexico uses a fault law, which means that the party at fault for a bicycle accident is responsible for paying for a victim’s injuries and other losses, including bicycle repairs or replacement, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The injured victim can only recover compensation, however, after proving that the driver is to blame for the collision, such as by running a red light or failing to yield the right-of-way at an intersection.
All drivers in New Mexico must carry minimum required amounts of liability insurance to cover the expenses connected to accidents. If a driver causes a bicycle crash, that driver’s bodily injury and property damage liability insurance will pay for a victim’s bills. Most bicycle accident claims reach insurance settlements. If it is necessary, however, an injured bicyclist may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver in pursuit of fair financial compensation.
If the bicycle accident did not involve a negligent driver, the bicyclist may only be able to use his or her own insurance coverage to pay for injuries. If the cyclist crashed his or her bike into a fixed object, for example, third-party insurance coverage may not be available. This could also be the case after a bicycle accident involving a hit-and-run or an uninsured driver.
In these scenarios, the bicyclist may be able to recover financial compensation through his or her medical payment (med pay) car insurance, comprehensive or collision coverage, or homeowners insurance coverage. An injured biker who does not have a driver to hold responsible should contact his or her insurance companies to inquire about coverage.
A Third Party
There may be another option for financial recovery after a bicycle accident if there is proof of negligence committed by a third party. One example is if a bicycle accident is caused by a pothole or a road hazard. If the road defect should have been repaired sooner, the government agency in charge of roadway maintenance could be held liable for the biker’s injuries. Another example is holding a bicycle manufacturer liable for a defective product.
An injured bicyclist may also have a health insurance policy that can help pay for medical costs after an accident. An injured bicyclist should use this insurance when receiving professional medical care immediately after the collision. If it is discovered later that the biker was not at fault for the accident, his or her health insurance company can use a process known as insurance subrogation to request reimbursement from the at-fault party’s insurer. In the meantime, the cyclist can receive health insurance coverage for necessary care and treatment.
Letter of Protection
If there are no other options to pay for injuries in a bicycle accident, the victim could ask for a Letter of Protection from an attorney. A Letter of Protection is essentially a promise that the bicyclist will pay a hospital for all services rendered at a later date, after he or she receives financial compensation from an insurance claim or lawsuit. An attorney may provide a Letter of Protection on a bicyclist’s behalf if the attorney is pursuing financial compensation from a driver or another defendant.
For a complete overview of all of your legal options as the victim of a bicycle accident in Albuquerque, contact The Fine Law Firm.