Fatal Bicycle Accidents: What You Need To Know
People who have lost loved ones in a fatal bicycle accident may be able to recover wrongful death damages from the at-fault driver of the car or truck who caused the crash. They may also be able to recover No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits from the responsible auto insurance company.
Wrongful death damages for a fatal bicycle accident
The dependents and family of a person who was killed in a fatal bicycle accident may be able to sue the at-fault driver of the car or truck who caused the crash for damages under the wrongful death act.
A wrongful death lawsuit, which must be brought by the personal representative of the deceased bicyclist’s estate, allows for the recovery of compensation for the bicyclist’s pain and suffering as well as damages for his or her dependents’ loss of financial support and loss of society and companionship.
The liability insurance coverage of the at-fault driver of the car or truck that caused the fatal bicycle accident will help pay for the wrongful death damages that the at-fault driver is ultimately determined to be liable for.
Generally, Michigan law requires all Michigan drivers to carry liability insurance coverage with the following minimum limits:
- “[N]ot less than $250,000.00 because of bodily injury to or death of 1 person in any 1 accident.” (MCL 500.3101(1); 500.3131(2); 500.3009(1)(a))
- “[N]ot less than $500,000.00 because of bodily injury to or death of 2 or more persons in any 1 accident.” (MCL 500.3101(1); 500.3131(2); 500.3009(1)(b))
The law also provides that a driver “may choose to purchase lower limits” of $50,000 and $100,000. (MCL 500.3009(5)
However, if the vehicle being driven by the at-fault driver who caused the deadly crash was an Uber or Lyft or a truck or commercial vehicle, then the liability insurance coverage limits may be higher.
Settlements after a fatal bicycle accident
One of the most important factors in determining how much a settlement might be a deadly crash is the lawyer who represents the dependents and family members who lost a loved one in a deadly crash.
Insurance companies use claims software such as the Colossus personal injury calculator to evaluate exposure and risk for automobile crashes. Having an experienced lawyer with an established history of successful settlements and trial verdicts can increase a settlement by 3 to 4 times more.
The attorney whom you choose to hire matters because attorneys who are known for going to trial can settle cases for significantly more money and often much faster.
No-Fault benefits after a fatal bicycle accident
The dependents and family members of a bicyclist whose life was lost in a fatal bicycle accident may be entitled to recover financial support through “survivors loss benefits” under Michigan’s No-Fault law.
To make a claim for survivor’s loss benefits, an application for No-Fault benefits must be filed with the responsible auto insurance within ONE YEAR from the date of the crash. (MCL 500.3145(1))
Failure to file on time – within ONE YEAR of the deadly crash – will forever disqualify dependents and family from claiming survivor’s loss benefits.
What auto insurance company pays No-Fault survivors loss benefits?
The dependents and family members of a bicyclist whose life was lost in a automobile crash will recover No-Fault survivors loss benefits from one of the following sources in accordance with the No-Fault law’s “priority” rules:
- The deceased bicyclist’s own No-Fault auto insurance company which issued the policy for his or her own personal motor vehicle in which the bicyclist is the named insured. (MCL 500.3114(1); 500.3115)
- The No-Fault auto insurance company that issued a policy to the deceased bicyclist’s spouse on his or her own motor vehicle. (MCL 500.3114(1); 500.3115)
- The No-Fault auto insurance company that issued a policy to a resident relative of the deceased bicyclist on his or her own motor vehicle. (MCL 500.3114(1); 500.3115)
- The Michigan Assigned Claims Plan if No-Fault coverage is not available through any of the sources above. (MCL 500.3115) The Michigan Assigned Claims Plan assigns companies to handle No-Fault claims for people injured in crashes who have no other source of No-Fault coverage.
Protecting your family’s rights
Consulting with an experienced lawyer is one of the first and most important things that dependents and family members can do after a fatal bicycle accident. A lawyer can help:
- Ensure that dependents and family members get all of the benefits and compensation they are entitled to such as wrongful death damages which may include funeral and burial expenses and survivor’s loss benefits.
- Protect grieving dependents and family members from being taken advantage of by misrepresentations made by an insurance company for an at-fault negligent driver – which happens far too often because Michigan’s refusal to enact bad faith laws.
Call Michigan Auto Law for a free consultation with a lawyer
If you have tragically lost a loved one in a fatal bicycle accident and would like to speak with an experienced attorney, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our injury lawyers. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.