Florida is well-known for its beautiful weather all year long. Because of the climate, many people rely on cycling as a form of transportation. However, that may not always be a good thing. Despite the popularity of cycling, the pastime comes with many dangers.
Out of all the states, Florida ranks first for bicycle fatalities. There are .57 cycling deaths per 100,000 people. In 2017, 125 cyclists were killed in the state. Others experienced serious injuries that kept them from working and caring for their families.
All too often, someone else is liable for bicycle accidents. If you were involved in a bike accident and you think another party is liable, you should contact a bicycle accident lawyer in Florida. 1-800-Injured can connect you with an aggressive attorney right away for an initial consultation.
What Happens if a Cyclist Causes an Accident?
Typically, a bicycle accident is caused by a negligent driver, but the cyclist isn’t always innocent. In some cases, the cyclist is to blame for the accident.
This often occurs when the cyclist does not follow the rules of the road. In Florida, cyclists must adhere to strict laws that govern their bicycles and their riding habits. For instance, they need to use a light at night. Like motor vehicles, they also should comply with traffic signals. By ignoring the rules, a cyclist makes themselves liable for the accident.
If you didn’t adhere to the rules of the road, you may be liable for the accident. You might be responsible for your own medical bills as well as the damage experienced by other injured parties. They might even file a personal injury lawsuit against you in an effort to recover compensation.
That said, many bike accidents involve negligence on multiple levels. Although a cyclist’s negligence may have contributed to the accident, a distracted driver may bear a larger portion of the blame. In Florida, you can still seek compensation for your accident even if you are partially responsible for it.
The law that allows this is known as comparative fault. Let’s say the cyclist is 20 percent responsible for the accident and the driver is 80 percent responsible. The cyclist can file a lawsuit against the driver and recover 80 percent of the damages. If the tables are turned, the cyclist would be able to receive 20 percent of the damages. They would also be responsible for paying 80 percent of the driver’s damages. An accident lawyer can help you understand more about how comparative fault works.
Does Car Insurance Cover Bicycle Accidents?
Your car insurance should cover bike accidents. However, you should check your policy to be certain. Every policy is different.
Some cyclists also have car insurance that can cover the damages, if the cyclist is at-fault for the accident. For car insurance to kick in, two requirements must be met. First, the collision must involve at least one motor vehicle. Secondly, the cyclist must have Personal Injury Protection on their policy.
How Liability Works When Insurance Isn’t Involved
Although Florida motorists are required to have insurance, Florida cyclists are not. If a cyclist is responsible for the accident and is uninsured, the money for the lawsuit would need to come from their assets. Unfortunately, this may not be enough to pay for the damage.
Some cases do involve bicycle liability insurance. If a cyclist has this type of insurance, they do not need to pay out-of-pocket for the damages. Instead, the insurance company will.
Whether you are the cyclist or the driver, you should seek the help of a bicycle accident lawyer in Florida. Liability may not be what it seems. With a lawyer’s help, you can figure out who is responsible and how much money you can receive for the accident.
What Happens if Someone Else Hits a Cyclist With Your Car?
If someone else hits a cyclist with your car, there are a few things that can happen. The accident can be scary for the driver and devastating for the cyclist, but as the vehicle owner, it can also seriously affect you.
You have car insurance to keep yourself free of liability during a collision. If someone else is driving, that could also remain true. That said, your policy won’t always protect you. Your coverage depends on your policy, who was driving your car, and whether or not they had permission to do so.
If someone was on your insurance policy, you have nothing to worry about. Your insurance should cover the victim’s injuries and missed wages. Likewise, a driver who had your permission to drive your vehicle should also be covered. Whether or not you’re in the car with them at the time of the accident, your policy should kick in.
Then, your insurance works the same way as it would in a car accident. The policy will pay for the victim’s damages and the damages to your own vehicle.
It is possible that the damage will be more than the limits on your insurance policy. In this case, the driver of your vehicle might be able to go through their own car insurance company to cover the rest of the expenses.
Exceeding the Damage Limits
Sometimes, a driver who was permitted to operate a vehicle doesn’t have their own insurance. This complicates the situation. If the cyclist hires a bicycle accident attorney in Florida, they could go after the driver of your vehicle. A personal injury lawsuit could seek compensation, and the driver would need to pay out-of-pocket.
When Permission is Not Given
If you don’t give someone permission to drive your car, then you’re off the hook for damages. Instead of going through your insurance policy, the injured cyclist would hold the driver liable.
Of course, this isn’t always easy to prove. There may be no evidence of permission, or the driver could argue that the permission was implied. In this scenario, you may want to work with an accident lawyer to handle your case.
What Should You Do After a Bicycle Accident?
After a bike accident, the steps you take can directly impact your outcome. Immediately following the accident, you should check on the cyclist. In Florida, it’s considered a crime to leave the scene of an accident without stopping. The only exception is for an accident that involves no injuries or death and minimal property damage.
In 2017, there were 830 incapacitating and 2,917 non-incapacitating injuries to cyclists in Florida. Most cyclists don’t stand a chance against a vehicle. Therefore, any accident involving someone on a bicycle is likely to result in an injury.
You should handle bicycle accidents the same way you would handle car accidents. If possible, avoid discussing who was at-fault in the collision. Admitting fault could hurt your case and leave you responsible for paying the victim’s damages.
You should also call the police. If the cyclist is injured and you don’t notify the authorities, you will be guilty of a hit and run. In addition to facing financial consequences for the crash, you will also face criminal consequences.
As you wait for the authorities, collect evidence. If there were any witnesses, ask them for their names and contact information. You should also take pictures of the scene of the accident and any injuries to yourself or damage to your car.
As time passes, your memory of the incident will diminish. You should write down your own account of the accident as soon as possible. Some of the details you record could show the other party was liable for the accident.
Seek Medical Treatment for Yourself
Typically, a cyclist will have more serious injuries than a driver in a crash. Don’t let that stop you from seeking medical attention. If you have any injuries, you should get seen by a doctor. They may find an injury that could cause you long-term pain.
As you visit various doctors, keep track of your expenses. You may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills.
Hiring a Bicycle Accident Attorney in Florida
A bicycle accident is scary for everyone involved. Whether you are the driver or the cyclist, you could be in for a future of pain and financial stress. By working with a bicycle accident lawyer in Florida, you can seek compensation.
There are several ways in which your attorney can help you. First, they can explain who was liable for the accident. Then, they can work towards getting your compensation through an insurance company. Depending on the fault, it could be through your insurance company or the other party’s insurance.
If insurance won’t cover the damage, you could file a personal injury claim. For this to happen, there needs to be an element of negligence. For instance, a cyclist driving the wrong way down a one-way street could be liable for the collision. In this case, the driver has the potential to file a personal injury claim against the cyclist.
On the other hand, a cyclist could file a claim against a negligent driver. Drunk driving, texting and driving, and speeding are all examples of negligent driving behaviors.
If you’re involved in a bike crash, you need legal representation. 1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service that connects bicycle accident victims with lawyers and doctors. Contact 1-800-Injured and get connected with their network of aggressive legal attorneys. With an experienced professional by your side, you can seek a better outcome