Bicycle Accident Attorney
The bike injury lawyers at Couture Law P.A. are on your side!
Bicycling is a fun and practical form of transportation in the mild climate of Titusville, Florida. Unfortunately, the activity places you in danger. Motor vehicles can produce devastating results when they collide with bicyclists. Bicycle accidents, especially those that involve motor vehicles, injure many people every year and kill others. In 2018, 161 people died in Florida bicycle accidents. This figure represented 5.1 percent of all bicyclist fatalities nationwide. If you need information about recovering damages after being hit on your bike, a bicycle accident lawyer at Couture Law P.A. can provide answers. We will work hard to help you get the most out of your insurance claim or lawsuit.
What to do when a bicycle accident happens
When any kind of accident happens, documenting the event will protect your interests. Insurance companies are not in the business of taking people’s word for things. An insurer will want to see evidence. Even a no-fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim requires documentation that the accident actually happened.
If hit while riding your bicycle, you should:
- Call 911 to summon the police
- Take pictures of your bike, injuries, and accident scene
- Ask witnesses for their contact information
- Request the insurance information of the driver who hit you
- Seek medical care
A police report about your bicycle accident provides solid proof that the crash occurred. The medical records from your emergency room or urgent care visit will officially establish the nature of your injures.
We understand that you may not have been able to do any of these things if you were severely injured and taken away in an ambulance. In that case, law enforcement probably responded to the scene and medical records were created. The police report could provide information about the driver who hit you and include relevant information that might demonstrate driver negligence.
Legal representation in a situation with serious injuries will relieve you of the burden of trying to track down information while hospitalized or recovering at home. We can investigate what happened and collect evidence to support your insurance claim or any subsequent legal actions.
Filing a PIP claim
Even though you were riding your bicycle when the accident happened, you likely own and insure a car. Your automobile policy could cover your bicycle accident. Florida law requires that your automobile policy include at least $10,000 in PIP coverage. This coverage exists so that you can recover medical expenses and other economic damages related to traffic accidents, including your bicycle accident. PIP does not require proving any kind of fault to make a legitimate claim.
However, some people ride bicycles because they do not own cars. If you are not an insured driver with access to your own PIP coverage, then you may have to seek payment from the insurance of the driver who struck you. This route could connect you with at least $10,000 in PIP coverage.
Legal advice can prepare you to deal with an insurer. Although the PIP coverage is meant to pay you regardless of fault, an insurer will always strive to limit what you get. An attorney could recognize when an insurance adjuster has unjustifiably lowered a claim’s value. We can pressure an insurer during negotiations to recognize valid evidence about your financial need.
What to do when PIP is not enough
Because the state only mandates $10,000 in PIP coverage, many policies cannot fully compensate you for what happened. A bicycle accident could inflict broken bones, head trauma, and spinal injuries. Extensive medical care, long periods away from work, or even long-term disability could result, and $10,000 would not come close to relieving the financial hardships caused by your accident.
At this point, a lawyer could investigate the viability of filing a lawsuit against the responsible driver. Your lawsuit would have to include evidence about the driver’s negligence to demand payment for your damages.
Common mistakes that impose liability on drivers:
- Failing to yield
- Drinking or using drugs
- Eating while driving
- Texting while driving
- Violating other traffic laws
Traffic laws for bicyclists
The law obligates bicyclists to follow the same traffic laws as motor vehicles when sharing the roads. Additionally, you cannot have a passenger on a bicycle that is designed for a single rider. Your bicycle must have working brakes and be fitted with a light for operation after dark.
If you violated a traffic law at the time of your accident, that fact could interfere with your pursuit of financial damages. An insurer will seek to assign some or all of the fault to you for the accident. Because Florida law recognizes comparative negligence, your claim might be reduced according to the percentage of fault assigned to you.
A lawyer could challenge any overstated claims about your liability suggested by an insurer and defend your right to compensation. Additionally, even if some fault lies with you, this does not mean that you have forfeited the right to all compensation.
Statutes of limitations
You have four years to file a lawsuit concerning your bicycle accident from the date of the accident. Although that might seem like plenty of time, insurance disputes can drag on and then make the deadline problematic. A timely consultation with an accident lawyer after your bicycle accident can protect your right to sue.
For the surviving family members of someone killed in a bicycle accident, the statute of limitations is only two years. If your case involves the state or local government, then you will be dealing with a three-year statute of limitations.
Legal help at every stage
A compassionate personal injury attorney counsels you and advocates for you when you have to hold someone accountable for an accident. We can prepare insurance forms and handle negotiations with an insurer while you focus on regaining your health and mobility. Bicycle accidents can inflict long-term damage that limits your future earning capacity. Our knowledge of personal injury law could provide insights about what a fair settlement would look like. Consult us so that you can access the maximum compensation available. Call us in Titusville today.