This page is intended to be a resource and guide to you, but it is not legal advice. These issues vary by city and state, so please, seek legal advice in your home state/city. Our intent here is to address the most-commonly-asked questions we get, in the hopes it can help you in your situation, or at least get you on the right track!
Will the at-fault driver’s auto insurance pay my hospital (or ambulance) bill? No. The at-fault driver’s insurer is only, ultimately, going to pay one person — you, the injured party. They will not pay anyone you owe for the treatment you received. Cops unfortunately don’t know this and often provide that person’s insurance to the hospital. Be sure you give your medical treaters YOUR health insurance information (and medpay, if you have it) so that you don’t wind up in collections. You will still need to pay your normal co-pays and deductibles, just as you normally would.
The driver’s auto insurer is calling me and it’s only been hours/days since the crash. Do I have to talk to them? NO. In fact, most states (including Colorado) have laws forbidding them from contacting you for at least 2 weeks post-crash, since you are likely in pain, possibly on pain meds, distracted, overwhelmed, uncertain about what your injuries even are. Tell them NOT to call back.
I don’t even know what my injuries/damages/losses are right now. How long do I have to negotiate my claims with the driver or their insurer? STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS (SOL) is a really big deal. In most states, bicycle vs. motor vehicle claims have a 3-year SOL. This means you have 3 years in which to either fully resolve all of your claims or preserve your claims by filing a lawsuit. But once the three-year mark is up, your claims are waived and forever barred. Therefore, take your time -get medical treatment, feel better, get back to your pre-crash life and level of activity before you even consider settling your case. Once you settle you cannot go back and ask for more.
The police cited the driver as the at-fault party. This should be an easy case for me to settle, right? Sadly, not always. The driver’s insurer will still do their own liability investigation and they will still usually look for ways to pin some fault on the cyclist, even if you did everything right. Daylight but you had a dark shirt on for work? You weren’t dressed brightly enough. You were riding at 10mph under the posted speed limit? You were riding too fast for the conditions. You had the right of way and the motorist was obligated to stop for you? You should have made eye contact with them before riding in front of their vehicle. And so on. We wish that a police report citing the driver was all it took for cyclists to have easy cases and to get their claims paid. Here is a great example.
I’ve heard I shouldn’t post about my crash or injuries on social media. But I can still post about other things during the pendency of my case, right? NO. EMPHATIC NO. Read this blog for more. We recommend anyone involved in a crash stay off all socials, all together. The driver’s insurance company has teams of people dedicated to following you around on the internet compiling a file of photos and posts they can use to undermine your case.
I cannot afford a lawyer. No problem, attorneys who take cases on a contingency fee basis don’t require a retainer up front, they don’t charge by the hour, and they won’t send you monthly invoices. A contingency fee contract means the attorney is accepting your case, contingent upon their recovery of a % of your settlement at the end as their fee. If you don’t recover anything, in a settlement or at trial, your attorney does not get paid. They accept the risks of taking on your case, and doing a lot of work for you-sometimes, for years. And they are incentivized and motivated to get you a great result -because their fee is a % of that result. Also, most contingency fee attorneys will fund the costs of your case, so you don’t have to pay for anything like copying fees, filing fees, expert costs. The attorney then recovers those costs back at the end of the case from your settlement.
What Should I Do First If I’m Involved In a Crash? View this Instagram post of ours for a detailed response.