FAQ – Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Electric Scooter Accident Injuries
What should I do after a bicycle, pedestrian, or electric scooter accident?
Your actions immediately following a bicycle, pedestrian, or electric scooter accident are incredibly important, and you should take certain steps to put yourself and a lawyer in the best possible position to protect your interests. If you have been in a bicycle, pedestrian, or electric scooter accident, you should do the following things:
- File a police report immediately. Even if you do not feel like you are injured at the time of the accident, you may feel the effects hours or days later. If you wait until then to file a police report, it may undermine your lawyer’s ability to recover compensation for your injuries. Make sure that the investigating officers record your account of the accident for their report, and get the police officers’ names and badge numbers, along with the police report number.
- Do not admit to anything, including fault. Simply state the facts. Do not say that you’re “fine,” as you may not know until later. If asked, simply say something along the lines of, “I will know if I’m okay after I seek medical attention.”
- Obtain driver and witness contact information. Be sure to get names, addresses, phone numbers, driver license numbers, plate numbers, vehicle information (make, model and year), and insurance company and policy numbers. Get this information even if police have already included it in their report.
- Document the incident. Use your phone to take pictures and videos at the scene, including your bicycle or scooter, your injuries, the other vehicle involved, skid marks, security cameras, and damage to other property such as street signs and telephone poles. Also, hand write everything you can recall about what happened, and sign and date your notes.
- Preserve evidence. Don’t fix your bike, wash any damaged clothes you were wearing, or throw away your helmet. This is all evidence you may need to use down the road to prove your case.
- Contact a lawyer before settling your potential claims. Do not talk to an insurance company—let alone settle your claims or sign a release of liability—until you have spoken with a lawyer.
Who is responsible for paying my bills and compensating me for my lost wages if I am injured in a bicycle, pedestrian, or electric scooter accident?
Minnesota is a “no-fault” state. This means that if you have auto insurance and a motor vehicle was actively involved in an accident, then you must first look to your insurance provider for compensation. Under the no-fault rules (also known as personal injury protection or PIP), your auto insurance provider must cover the following expenses, even if you were injured while walking or riding a bike or an electric scooter and not while driving a car:
- Medical expenses up to $20,000
- Wage loss up to $20,000, but no more than $500 per week
- Other expenses such as mileage and replacement services
If you do not have auto insurance, but live with a relative or family member who does, then the relative or family member’s policy may cover the expenses set forth above under the no-fault rules. If you do not have auto insurance and do not live with a relative or family member who has auto insurance, then you can make a claim against the driver’s insurance company for no-fault coverage.
What additional compensation can I recover for my bicycle, pedestrian, or electric scooter accident injuries?
Under Minnesota law, you may seek compensation from the at-fault driver by making a liability claim against his or her liability insurance policy if you have sufficiently serious injuries. Specifically, if you have
- More than $4,000 in medical expenses, or
- A permanent injury, or
- Scarring/disfigurement, or
- At least 60 days of disability
Bicyclists, pedestrians, and users of electric scooters who are injured while riding may be entitled to monetary compensation to cover health care costs, wage loss, property damage, as well as human injuries such as emotional distress and pain and suffering. Insurance policy limits can vary across a wide spectrum, ranging from $30,000 into the millions.
As insurance companies’ business model is to collect high premiums and avoid or delay making fair payouts, you should contact a lawyer to help you navigate the insurance maze and maximize your settlement, or bring a lawsuit on your behalf if necessary.
What should I do if the person who caused my bicycle, pedestrian, or electric scooter accident injuries is uninsured or underinsured?
The at-fault driver or the owner of the vehicle (if the driver does not own the vehicle) may not have enough liability insurance to cover your expenses and losses.
In such situations, your auto insurance policy may provide uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, even if you were injured while walking or riding a bike or an electric scooter and not while driving a car. Accordingly, we strongly suggest that cyclists and other vulnerable roadway users purchase as much uninsured and underinsured coverage as you can reasonably afford.
Additionally, if the driver was driving in connection with his or her work at the time of the accident, then you may be able to recover compensation from the driver’s employer or the employer’s insurance carrier. It may also be the case that the driver (or owner of the vehicle if the driver is not the owner) has significant personal assets that will cover your expenses.
Finally, if there is no insurance coverage available from any of the avenues detailed above, Minnesota law allows you to make what is called an assigned claims plan claim for no-fault insurance benefits, unless you own a vehicle and fail to insure it.
You should contact a lawyer to help you sort out your options.
What should I do if I am injured by a hit-and-run driver while walking or riding my bicycle or electric scooter?
If you are hit by a hit-and-run driver, you should immediately report it to the police and provide them with whatever identifying information you or witnesses have such as a description of the vehicle and driver.
You should then contact a lawyer to ensure that your interests are protected. We will conduct an investigation to track down the hit-and-run driver, and help you find options for covering your expenses and losses.
Can I recover compensation for my bicycle accident, pedestrian accident, or electric scooter accident injuries if a driver does not actually hit me or my bike or scooter?
Yes. It is not necessary that you actually collide with a motorist to recover compensation for your injuries. For example, if a driver’s negligence caused you to lose control of your bicycle and you suffered injuries as a result, you may be entitled to compensation through your own auto insurance policy or the driver’s auto insurance policy, even though the vehicle never hit you.
If a motor vehicle is not actively involved in the accident, however, your auto insurance carrier will not provide coverage for your injuries.
Should I agree with the driver’s request to settle with them personally and not report it to their insurance carrier?
Some drivers do not want you to report an accident to their auto insurance carrier because they don’t want their rates to go up. Yet settling directly with a driver is usually not advisable because they will seldom agree to pay you as much as you could potentially recover from the insurance company, and dealing directly with private parties can get very messy.
You should contact a lawyer to help you protect your interests before making any agreements with the driver.
Can I still win my case if the police report says I am at fault for the accident?
Yes. In many cases a police report is not even admissible in court, as an officer’s determination of fault may not be based on an accurate understanding of the facts or the law. So while a police report that says you are at fault may undermine our ability to obtain an equitable early settlement, it will not necessarily determine the outcome of your case.
Can I recover compensation for my bicycle, pedestrian, or electric scooter accident injuries if I am partially at fault for the accident?
Accident victims in Minnesota can recover damages for their injuries even if they were partially at fault. Minnesota is a contributory negligence state, which means that injured persons may recover damages in proportion to their degree of fault, as long as they were not more than 50% at fault.
For example, in an accident involving a cyclist and a driver, if the driver was 60% at fault, the cyclist would be legally entitled to recover up to 60% of the value of her damages even though she was 40% at fault.
Can I recover compensation for my injuries if I am at fault for the accident?
Under the no-fault rules that govern insurance policies in Minnesota, either your auto insurance policy or the driver’s auto insurance policy allow persons to recover compensation regardless of who caused the accident.
No-fault insurance coverage applies as long as a motor vehicle was actively involved in the accident, even if you were injured while riding a bike or an electric scooter and not while driving a car.
What can I expect to happen if I cause an accident while riding my bicycle or an electric scooter?
If you cause an accident while riding a bicycle or electric scooter, you may be held responsible for the injured person’s harms and losses.
While your Minnesota auto insurance policy may cover you for your injuries when a motor vehicle is actively involved in the accident, it will not cover another person’s injuries caused by you when you are riding a bicycle or an electric scooter. However, a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy may provide coverage in such situations, and some insurance companies such as Velosurance offer liability insurance to bicyclists in amounts up to $100,000.
Additionally, keep in mind that Minnesota is a contributory negligence state, which means that if the other person is partially at fault, you will only be liable for their damages in proportion to your degree of fault. And if the other person was more than 50% at fault, you will not be liable for any of their damages and, in fact, you may be entitled to recover damages from them or their insurance company.
You should contact with a bicycle accident lawyer or electric scooter accident lawyer to help you protect your interests if some alleges that you caused them to suffer injuries while riding.
Is a bicycle considered a motor vehicle in Minnesota?
No. The definition of “motor vehicle” does not include bicycles under the relevant statute, Minnesota Statute 169.011, Subdivision 42. Click here for an overview of the Minnesota statutes that pertain to bicycles, and click here for an overview of the Minnesota statutes that pertain to electric scooters.
How long do I have to bring a claim for my injuries suffered in a bicycle accident, pedestrian accident, or an electric scooter accident?
In Minnesota, you generally have up to six years to assert your rights against the person who caused your injuries or their insurance company. But in some cases you may have less, depending on several factors.
You should contact a lawyer to ensure that you do not lose your right to recover compensation for your injuries.
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