Florida is the perfect state for bicycle riders year-round. Whether you depend on your bike to get you from place to place or just enjoy the activity itself, it is crucial to understand the risks of riding your bicycle. Thankfully, we have outlined everything you need to know if you ever find yourself in a bicycle accident, unsure of what to do.
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, the first thing you need to do is file a claim to your insurance company with the other party involved. If the other party involved was driving a motor vehicle, you might have to include an auto insurance policy. Sometimes, you will also be able to use your own auto insurance coverage (even if you were the one biking at the time of the accident).
Processing Cycling Accident Claims in Florida
Once a claim is open, an auto insurance adjuster will be assigned to the case. In the process, they will represent the insurance company’s financial interests. So, they will most likely try to resolve the issue by giving you as little compensation as possible. Because of this, you must always be cautious and vigilant in taking notes while on the phone with them.
Because Florida is a no-fault state (regarding accident claims), it is your auto insurance’s responsibility to handle your medical coverage. You may also file a legal negligence claim. You can still try to file a claim for 1% of damages, even if you were at fault for the other 99% of the damages.
Breakdown of Florida’s Biking Laws
- Bikes are treated as vehicles.
- All cyclists must abide by all traffic signals and controls.
- Cyclists must have a regular, fixed seat.
- If your bike is not intended to carry more than one person, you cannot carry passengers on your bike.
- Parents must enforce any of Florida’s provisions to their children.
- All bikes must be equipped with a braking system.
- Bicyclists have the same duties and rights as a pedestrian when riding on a sidewalk.
- Between sunset and sunrise, all bikes must be equipped with a lamp.
- When not traveling at the speed of other traffic, bicycle riders must utilize the designated bike path.
Damages in Florida Personal Injury Cases
Individuals suffering from injuries caused by bicycle accidents may request compensation for the damages. This compensation can include medical costs, pain and suffering, and loss of present or future wages. To limit the amount of money a single injured person can receive in a personal injury case, Florida enforces specific damage caps. While these caps do not apply to medical malpractice compensation, they are entirely implemented in punitive damages.
In Florida, the statute of limitations (or time limit) lasts for four years following the date you were injured. If the claim is filed against a public entity (the city, county, or state), there will be a 180-day investigatory period followed by a three-year statute of limitations. If any of these scenarios involve wrongful death, the statute of limitations is reduced to two years.
What to Do After an Accident
Always do the right thing, so that your case has a better chance at succeeding. If you make all the right choices, the amount you recover and the general outcome will look much better for you. To do so, you have to keep in mind that creating the strongest case begins as soon as the accident occurs. So, if you are involved in a bicycle accident, you must complete the following tasks:
- Call the Police
The first thing to do after an accident is to alert the authorities. Doing so will ensure that they have the most accurate record of what happened, as well as any evidence that may be relevant to your case. Once the police arrive, they will gather important witness accounts, contact information for all parties involved, and reports of the scene. Additionally, they will investigate any factors that may have contributed to the accident, including intoxication or distracted driving.
- Collect Evidence
As soon as you can, collect as much evidence as possible. Take pictures of the scene of the accident from various angles, record videos of the bike’s condition, make a note of the weather and road conditions, and document all of your injuries. Lastly, collect the contact information from everyone involved, as well as any witnesses.
- Seek Medical Assistance
Once you have called the police and collected all your evidence, seek medical attention. Even if you don’t think you are injured, do what’s best for your health and get examined by a medical professional. Doing so will strengthen your case, as it will allow the insurance company to understand the full extent of the accident and your injuries.
Keep Any Documents Related to Your Personal Injury Case
It is essential to hold on to all the documents relating to your case. These documents can include any police reports, medical records, receipts, recorded statements, check stubs, payments, and any other relevant documents for your case.
Injury Assistance Law Firm is a personal injury claims lawyer in Orlando. As an Orlando personal injury lawyer, we know what it takes to win a case against an insurance company, and we can provide you with all the help you need to feel confident in your case. If you are interested in learning more, contact us today.