You’re cruising down the scenic streets of Florida on your bike, taking in the beautiful views, when all of a sudden, a car hits you. You’re injured, your bike is damaged, and you’re left wondering what your rights are. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we’ll discuss your rights if you get into a bicycle accident in Florida.
Florida Bike Laws
Firstly, let’s talk about Florida’s bike laws. Under Florida’s no-fault law, bicycle accident victims may face limitations when taking legal action against the at-fault driver. This means that certain conditions must be met for an injured cyclist to file an action against the at-fault driver.
What is Florida’s No-Fault Law and Insurance?
Florida’s no-fault insurance law, also known as personal injury protection (PIP), requires that every driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist who suffers injuries in an accident must file a claim under their auto insurance policy. Regardless of who’s at fault, the injured party must recover expenses and losses from their insurance company.
Florida Leads US in Bicycle Fatalities
Florida is the most dangerous state for bicyclists, with the highest bicycle accident fatalities per 100,000 people. Last 2021, there were 183 fatal bicycle crashes statewide, with nearly a third of them occurring in the Tampa Bay area.
Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, specifically, had 17 fatal crashes each out of 1,013 bicycle crashes. The numbers for 2022 are just as alarming, with 79 fatal bicycle crashes in the state as of June 16th. Across the United States, bicycle fatalities have been steadily increasing, reaching 938 in 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a branch of the USDOT, has reported that traffic fatalities in 2021 are expected to increase by approximately 10.5% compared to the number of reported fatalities in 2020. NHTSA has also stated that Florida had a 12.7% rise in overall road fatalities in 2021.
Filing an Action Against the At-Fault Driver
In order for a Florida bicycle accident to file an action against the at-fault driver, the injured victim must have suffered a serious injury, such as significant scarring, disfigurement, or loss of bodily function. This is because cyclists are more exposed and vulnerable than passengers in a car accident, often resulting in serious injuries or even death.
Determining Liability and Case Value
If your injuries qualify as a “serious injury” and you decide to sue the defendant or defendants in court for your bike crash, you and your attorney must prove that the defendant or defendants owed you a duty of care, that they failed to perform this duty of care, and that the defendant caused your bicycle incident, resulting in money or other types of damages.
These cases are often complicated, and multiple factors may need to be taken into account, such as road conditions, weather, and your portion of the fault in causing the accident, if any.
What are the Possible Damages?
The damages that may be awarded to you in a Florida bike crash case may include medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, damages to your bicycle, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring and disfigurement, loss of companionship, emotional distress, disability, pain, and suffering. Florida does not limit the amount of pain and suffering damages you may receive.
Pure Comparative Negligence Rule
It’s important to note that Florida follows a “Pure Comparative Negligence” rule. This means that if you were found to be partially at fault for causing your bicycle accident, your damage award would be reduced by the proportion of fault assigned to you.
Don’t Go It Alone: Hire a Florida Bicycle Accident Attorney to Fight for Your Rights
Here are just a few reasons why you should never try to handle a bicycle incident case on your own:
The insurance company is not on your side
After the accident, the driver’s insurance company will likely contact you to discuss your claim. Unfortunately, the insurance company is not on your side. Their main goal is to minimize their financial liability and pay out as little as possible. An experienced bicycle accident attorney will have your best interests in mind and fight tirelessly to ensure you receive compensation.
You may be entitled to more compensation than you think
If you’ve been injured, you may be entitled to compensation for a wide range of damages, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. However, determining the full value of your case can be challenging. An experienced Florida bike accident attorney will have the knowledge and experience to accurately evaluate your damages and fight for the full compensation you deserve.
Florida’s no-fault laws can be confusing
Florida’s no-fault insurance laws can be confusing and make it difficult to determine who is responsible for paying for your damages. Additionally, if you want to file a lawsuit outside of the no-fault system, you must meet certain criteria and prove that you suffered a serious injury. An experienced attorney will be well-versed in Florida’s no-fault laws and know how to navigate the system to ensure you receive fair compensation.
You need someone on your side who knows the law
Finally, it’s important to remember that the legal system can be complex and overwhelming, especially if this is the first time you’ve never been involved in a legal case. Hiring an experienced bicycle accident attorney will ensure that you have someone on your side who knows the law and can guide you through the process from start to finish. Here at Pacin Levine, P.A., we have a team of skilled Florida bicycle accident attorneys who can help you navigate Florida’s no-fault laws and determine the best course of action for your case. Don’t try to handle your case alone – contact us at 1-800-24-7-CRASH (2727) today to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.