Florida is the deadliest state in the country for having the most number of bicycle accidents, according to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 783 bicyclists were killed in the United States with Florida taking the lead with 125 deaths.
Whether a cyclist is riding a bicycle as a mean of commuting, recreation, or exercise, it is imperative that those taking to the roadways, sidewalks, or pedestrian travel lanes on anything other than a motorized vehicle understand the rights extended to the cyclist as well as the responsibilities expected of the cyclist. Our team of experienced Pensacola bicycle accident lawyers at Zarzaur Law are here to help if you suffered injuries from an accident.
Rights and Responsibilities of Bicycle Riders
Because of the hazardous nature of roads, highways, and motor vehicles, all road users have a responsibility to other road users to refrain from causing them harm. Along with the right to be protected from the wrongful acts of other road users, every road user is required to act responsibly. However, some road users are more vulnerable than others and those who do not fall into the category of vulnerable users must take extra care to ensure that they do not cause harm to them. Under Florida state law, a person lawfully operating a bicycle, motorcycle, scooter, or moped on the roadway is defined as a vulnerable road user. Other less vulnerable road users must use special care to avoid causing harm to bicycle riders. For example, Florida Code 316.1995 prohibits motor vehicles from being driven on bicycle paths or sidewalks. Motorists must also yield to bicyclists making a turn in the same way they would yield to another motor vehicle. Failure to abide by the law may result in legal liability if a bicycle rider is injured and suffers damages. They may also face legal consequences for their disregard of the safety of other road users.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Expect from a Bicycle Accident Case?
Your lawyer may be able to give you an estimated value of your case based on different factors including the severity of your injuries, the damages suffered, and the results of past cases. However, no lawyer can tell you exactly how much you will recover in damages. After proper investigation into the accident and an assessment of your damages, your Pensacola bicycle accident attorney can then come up with a value for your case.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are tangible damages, which can be assessed using instruments like bills and invoices. Economic damages include past and future lost income, medical and funeral expenses, value of personal property, and any other economic loss which is the result of your injuries. Non-economic damages are intangible damages that are subjective in nature. They are not easily quantified and often require the assistance of an economic expert to establish the value. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of capacity for enjoyment of life.
Florida is the deadliest state in the country for having the most number of bicycle accidents.
Will I Lose My Right to Make a Claim if I Was Not Wearing a Bicycle Helmet?
Florida law expressly provides for a situation where a bicyclist is not wearing a helmet at the time of their accident. Section 18 of Florida’s Bicycle Regulations (FL Stat § 316.2065 (2020)) provides that the failure to wear a bicycle helmet may not be considered evidence of negligence or contributory negligence. This is important because under contributory negligence rules, a victim may be barred from getting any compensation if they are found to have been negligent or contributed in some way to the actions that caused their injury. Florida follows the comparative fault rule, which means that your degree of responsibility for the accident will be determined, and any compensation you are awarded will be reduced in proportion with the percentage of fault attributed to you.
If you’ve been the victim of a bicycle accident involving a vehicle, put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. Consult with a Board Certified Trial Lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you.
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What To Do If You Are Hit By a Vehicle While Riding a Bike
In the unfortunate event that a motorist versus cyclist accident does occur this should be treated much like any other motor vehicle accident involving cars – attention to the health, safety, and wellness of those involved with immediate deployment of emergency medical personnel and law enforcement.
Following that, documentation of the scene (photos), notation of or digital voice memos regarding the incident (document the weather and road conditions, time of day, identification of all parties and vehicles involved (first and last name, phone number, dates of birth, vehicle make/model/color, license plate or tag numbers), identify any witnesses to the event (first and last name, contact information), documentation of any bodily injuries including damage to helmet and attire, and documentation of the damage to the vehicle(s) and bicycle(s).
Bicycle Accident Check List
1. Call the police and report accident (even if you don’t think you are hurt).
2. Listen and remember what the other party says to you about how accident happened. Don’t agree to anything said by the at fault driver / party that caused the accident.
3. Preserve the condition of your bike, helmet, clothing, lighting and other property.
4. Report the crash to your own car insurance company as soon as possible. Florida is a no-fault state when it come to accident claims (let your bike accident lawyer deal with the at fault party and their insurance company).
5. Seek medical assistance. Under Florida law, your car insurance is “primary” for your medical bills. Have the ER / hospital bill your car insurance company.
6. Keep documentation of the accident. Police report, photos of bike (etc.), the scene, surroundings, other party’s vehicle.
7. Document injuries.
8. Don’t discuss the accident on social media.
9. Consult an accident lawyer that specializes in bicycle accidents in Florida.
10. Always remember – you are invisible on a bicycle.
Contact an Experienced Pensacola Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
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