He was on a bike and turning out from a sidewalk onto a crosswalk in the middle of campus, where all pedestrians have priority, and the car hit him and sent him flying, hurting his leg/knee and he had to go get checked in the ER and suffered many days afterward of pain and lack of movement. The car sustained small front-bumper damage and a police report was filed. She was found not liable and my boyfriend received a bill for close to $2,000 in car damages; we think they sent it directly to him since he was on a bike, not in a vehicle. Can my boyfriend's car insurance cover the damages, or is there a way to "appeal" these damages since we feel he is not at fault? He also suffered physical pain and extended misery since the accident happened, so does that count for something? What can we do?
I'm terribly sorry to hear about the circumstances that led you to post on AVVO.com. That being said, you should certainly make sure that your boyfriend gets the appropriate medical care for his injuries. He should also speak with a Plaintiff's attorney in his area without delay. It is hard with the limited information that you have provided to tell whether you have a claim, but particularly I would want to know who found your boyfriend at fault. Assuming the police report cites your boyfriend as "at-fault," that does not necessarily mean that he is.
Remember, a police report merely summarizes the information that the police officer collects, and he ends up offering an opinion as to cause. It is not always dispositive of true fault. I have had cases where the report cited my client at fault, and even the adverse insurance company accepted liability. I would certainly recommend that you speak with a local attorney as soon as you can.
I wish you luck in dealing with these unfortunate circumstances and wish you well with the recovery process.
Personal Property coverage under either renter's or homeowner's insurance may cover your boyfriend's personal property against a number of types of loss. The Personal Liability coverage of a renter's or homeowner's insurance policy can provide your boyfriend liability protection against claims caused by any unintentional act (he did not intentionally hit the car). This Personal Liability coverage can also protect him for injuries or damage caused in a bicycle accident. I would also contact his car insurance carrier to see if they would cover the damages. In situations like this, if there is any type of insurance available, ASK if this is covered. Good luck.
You say the car driver was found "not liable" but don't say by whom, in what forum. If this was a decision by a court, then the clock is ticking on any appeal. If, on the other hand, what he has received is a demand letter from the car driver's insurance, then he should consult a personal injury lawyer, as suggested.
He should also contact his insurance agent to see if he has any applicable coverage, but as also already suggested, homeowners or renters insurance would be a more likely source of coverage than an auto policy.
A bicyclist is not a pedestrian under WI law, so the fact that he was in a crosswalk doesn't necessarily help, and it may hurt. Unless he was walking the bicycle, he should have been following the same rules of the road as the car.
It sounds like when you say found "not liable" you are referring to the police report. Police officers who were not there to witness the collision cannot determine who is "liable." While the officer may give his or her opinion as to what they think caused or contributed to the collision, it doesn't really matter as they are often wrong and they did not witness anything. You should contact a lawyer to further discuss what you mean by the driver being found not liable and also discuss whether the other issues. Generally the sooner you contact a lawyer the better. Most lawyers will talk to you for free and give you their opinion.
You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on Avvo.com.
If your friend has renters or homeowners insurance (perhaps through his parents), you should turn the claim over to his insurance company. They have an obligation to investigate this incident, defend him and indemnify him if necessary.
If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.
Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
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