If you hit a cyclist with your car, the rider may try to seek compensation for their injuries and property damages with an insurance claim or lawsuit. It may be in your best interest to speak with a bicycle accident lawyer from our firm about how to protect yourself against a potentially costly settlement or verdict.
Are Vehicle Drivers Always at Fault in Bicycle Accidents?
According to Florida Statutes § 316.2065, bicyclists have “all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle.” This means that cyclists must obey the same rules of the road as any other driver. Therefore, if a bicyclist is breaking traffic laws or operating their bike negligently or recklessly, they may bear all or part of the fault for their accident.
In addition to following the standard rules of the road, bicyclists must:
- Not carry more riders than intended by the bicycle’s manufacturer, except for children in a backpack, sling, or child’s bicycle seat
- Wear a helmet if under 16 years of age
- Never ride attached to a moving motor vehicle
- Travel in the bicycle lane or as close to the right-hand curb as possible when no lane is present
- Not ride two-abreast in bicycle lanes or on the roadway
- Outfit their bicycle with the proper lamps and reflectors for night-time riding
- Equip their bikes with proper brakes
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Florida Law Requires Accidents Resulting in Damage to Be Reported
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), drivers must report crashes involving injuries, death, or at least $500 in vehicle or property damages. Failure to do so is against the law and could result in hit-and-run accident charges.
If you hit a cyclist, stop, and call local law enforcement immediately. If you have already left the scene, you can complete a Driver Report of Traffic Crash (Self Report) form or a Driver Exchange of Information form. To learn more about self-reporting, visit the FLHSMV’s Crash Portal.
What Damages Can an Injured Bicyclist Seek?
The cyclist involved in your accident may try to seek compensation for their injuries and other losses. This may include awards for:
Economic damages are the actual, out-of-pocket costs a personal injury victim can pursue after an accident. This type of compensation may include the value of:
- Past and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation services
- Medications and medical equipment
- Mobility aids
- Long-term nursing care
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential if the injured party cannot return to work
- Vehicle and personal property damages
- Household services
- Home modifications
- Medical travel expenses
This type of compensation, also known as pain and suffering damages, includes awards for the physical, mental, and emotional consequences of a personal injury victim’s accident. Non-economic compensation may consist of awards for:
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of a limb, body part, or bodily function
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Depression, stress, and anxiety
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Wrongful Death Compensation
A deceased cyclist’s loved ones can seek compensation on behalf of surviving family members and the deceased’s estate. In Florida, this may include awards for:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- The deceased’s lost wages, benefits, and earnings
- The deceased’s pain and suffering
- Surviving family members’ pain and suffering
- Loss of the deceased’s care, support, and companionship
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How Long Does the Cyclist Have to Take Legal Action?
After an accident, the injured party will usually file an insurance claim as soon as possible. However, legally, the cyclist involved in your accident has four years to file a personal injury lawsuit against you, according to Florida Statutes § 95.11. The same statute allows surviving family members two years from the time of their loved one’s death to pursue a wrongful death action.
How Can a Bicycle Accident Attorney Help Me?
To win an insurance claim or lawsuit, the bicyclist must prove your negligent actions caused the accident and resulting losses. Our bicycle accident attorneys can help you prove you are not at fault and assist you with any counterclaims for your damages. We can:
- Visit the scene of the accident and collect evidence, including photographs and surveillance video
- Enlist help from crash-reconstruction experts
- Locate and interview eyewitnesses
- Hire medical professionals to review the cyclist’s injury claims
- Speak with the insurance companies on your behalf
- Protect you from pressure or intimidation from the other party’s insurance agents or legal representatives
- File your counterclaims or lawsuits and represent you throughout the insurance and legal process
Find Out More About How a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Can Assist You
If you were involved in an accident with a bicyclist, contact our firm to find out how our attorneys can help. Speaking with our lawyers can help you be proactive in protecting your rights and your assets. If your accident was not your fault, we can stand up for you. Call our offices at 1-800-747-3733 for a free case evaluation.
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