Liability in a No-Contact Bicycle Crash
What Happens in a No-Contact Bicycle Crash?
You’re bicycling legally and safely down a road, and there’s a parked car a little bit ahead of you on the right shoulder. As you near it, it suddenly pulls out into your path – there’s a driver inside who forgot to check his mirrors. To avoid a collision, you swerve to the side and lose control of your bicycle, hitting the ground and sustaining serious injuries. The car drives away.
You’ve just been involved in a no-contact bicycle crash. Although the car did not directly hit your bicycle, the driver’s negligence directly contributed to your injuries. However, the insurance company wasn’t there to witness the incident, and they won’t just take your word for what happened. What can you do to prove your side of the story in this situation?
The Phantom Driver Problem
The bad news is that unless you got the driver’s license plate number or some other identifying information, you won’t really be able to bring him to court. The insurance industry has a term for this scenario – a phantom driver. Seeing as the liable party is absent from proceedings altogether, this becomes an issue between you and the insurance company.
According to the California Insurance Code, an accident victim can make an uninsured motorist (UM) claim only when “the bodily injury has arisen out of physical contact of the automobile with the insured …” Unfortunately, California has a history of interpreting this law quite literally, denying uninsured motorist coverage to victims of phantom drivers. In essence, they’re saying it’s better to be hit than not – which is absurd.
What You Can Do
So is there any way you can file a successful claim after a no-contact crash? Yes, but you must have evidence of the driver’s negligence. Witnesses can provide valuable proof, so can photos and videos. If you go cycling on a regular basis and want to ensure that your rights are protected, record your ride. This way, if something happens, you will have indisputable proof of the events.
An Attorney Can Help
After a no-contact bicycle crash, your insurance company may very well not be willing to help you. To make sure that you are not the one to bear the financial burden of an accident that you were not responsible for, contact the experienced bicycle accident attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm for assistance. We can help you investigate your case, find evidence, and establish liability. To learn more about your rights and legal options in a FREE consultation, call us today at (800) 522-7274.