Guest Writer – Gordon Hadfield, Hadfield Stieben Doutt, LLC
Happy New Year to all the cyclists! I was going to write about winter riding, but that didn’t make much sense because winter weather never arrived in Northern Colorado (thanks, global warming—just another reason to ride your bike rather than drive.)
Instead, I want to focus on something weirder than the warm weather. That is the effect your car insurance can have on your recovery from a bicycle crash. It doesn’t make intuitive sense, but if you are hit by a car while riding your bicycle, two important coverages on your car insurance can protect you.
The first of these is Medical Payments Coverage – otherwise known as Med-Pay. This is typically extra insurance that you purchase along with your car’s liability insurance. Med-Pay will cover medical bills caused by an accident. These medical bills are submitted to your car insurance company, which usually pays the medical providers directly. Insurance companies are required by Colorado law to offer at least $5,000 in Med-Pay coverage when liability insurance is purchased. Most Med-Pay policies that we see are in the amount of $5,000, but they range from $1,000 to $100,000 depending on the policy. Importantly, if an automobile negligently hits a cyclist, the cyclist’s Med-Pay coverage will help pay for their medical expenses.
The second of these is Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage, also called UM / UIM Coverage. This is insurance coverage that you purchase to protect yourself from being in an accident with someone who has no insurance, or only very little insurance. UM / UIM Coverage is especially important in Colorado, where some liability policies only total $25,000 and there are many uninsured motorists. The amount of UM / UIM coverage can range from $25,000 to over $300,000, and it must be offered to purchasers of liability insurance. UM / UIM typically works as follows: if a motorist with only $25,000 in insurance coverage causes you $50,000 in medical expenses, then you would first collect the $25,000 from the at-fault motorist. Once those funds were collected, you would then submit a claim under your UM / UIM coverage for the rest of your damages. Once again, if an automobile negligently hits a cyclist, the cyclist’s UM / UIM coverage will help pay for their damages.
As the new year rings in, check your car insurance to make sure it is adequate.
Gordon Hadfield is an experienced and strategic trial lawyer. Gordon takes pride in personally serving his clients and meeting with them face to face to understand their goals and expectations.