How Auto Insurance Applies to Your Bicycle Accident Case
All drivers are obligated by Florida law to have insurance coverage in the event of an accident. While bicyclists are not obligated to carry insurance, you can pursue a claim against the other driver’s insurance if they injure you in an accident caused by their negligence.
The insurance claim process can be difficult to navigate, however. You will essentially need to prove that the driver was negligent and the extent of your injuries and other losses. Perhaps predictably, the insurance company will try to pay as little on your claim as possible, and will therefore try to use your own actions and statements against you. To get the compensation you need to get back on your feet, the best thing you can do is work with a Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer.
Damages Your Boca Raton Bicycle Accident Lawyer Will Pursue
It is no secret that bicyclists are incredibly vulnerable in the event of an accident, especially when they are struck by a car. Their only source of protection may be their helmet, and even then, you are still likely to suffer catastrophic injuries such as broken bones, severe abrasions, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. Your injuries may require extensive medical treatment and leave you disabled, unable to work, and unable to enjoy your daily life.
You deserve to be made whole. A Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation you need to make a full recovery including the following:
- Your current and future medical bills, especially any copays, deductibles, or other expenses that aren’t covered by insurance
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy expenses
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Your pain and suffering
Tragically, some accidents result in death for the bicyclist. As a result, the bicyclist’s family may be entitled to wrongful death damages.
Unfortunately, many bicyclists settle their claims for far less than they are worth simply because they don’t understand the value of their claim. This means that they are at a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with the insurance company. A Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer can level the playing field and help you get the compensation you deserve.
How Fault Can Affect Your Bike Accident Claim
One of the most common defenses we see in bicycle accident cases is when the driver claims that the bicyclist was negligent. Perhaps they ran a stop sign, entered an intersection without looking, or were riding on the wrong side of the street. Whether or not this is true, it is important to emphasize that you may be entitled to compensation even if your own negligence contributed to the accident.
Florida follows what is referred to as the “pure comparative negligence” rule. Under this rule, an injury victim can still pursue compensation even if they are partially at fault for the accident through their own negligence. In fact, the victim can still pursue a claim even if the accident was mostly caused by their own negligence.
The rule works by establishing how much each party’s negligence contributed to the accident and then reducing the claimant’s damages accordingly. For example, let’s say a bicyclist runs a stop sign and is struck by a vehicle that was speeding and also ran a stop sign. It is determined that the bicyclist’s negligence contributed 30% to causing the accident. If they are then awarded $500,000 in damages, it will then be reduced by 30% or $150,000. As a result, the injured bicyclist will receive $350,000 in compensation.
It is easy enough for the driver to claim that you were partially to blame for your injuries. It is much harder to actually prove it, however. A Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer can guard against these claims and ensure that you get all of the compensation that you deserve.
Understanding Florida’s Bicycle Laws
Understanding how Florida law applies to your case is important when it comes to evaluating your claim. If you were not following the law at the time the accident occurred, it could affect the amount of compensation you are entitled to recover. The following is a basic overview of some of the common laws in Florida that can affect your claim:
- Bicycles are considered “vehicles” and riders are considered “drivers” under the law, meaning that bicyclists are expected to follow all traffic laws
- Bicyclists must obey are traffic signals, controls, and signs
- Bicyclists must use the bike lane when one is provided
- Bicyclists can ride on the sidewalk, provided that they obey the “rights of duties” that apply to pedestrians
- Bicyclists under the age of 16 must wear a helmet
- When riding between sunset and sunrise, bikes must be equipped with lights: a white light on the front visible up to 500 feet and a red light visible up to 600 feet on the rear
There may also be local ordinances in addition to state law that apply to your case. Florida’s bicycle laws can be complex and it isn’t always clear how they apply to your case. Insurance companies will often misinterpret them in order to avoid paying claims. An experienced Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer will understand how these laws apply to your case and be able to protect the value of your claim.
Other Parties Who May Be at Fault in a Bicycle Accident
While most bicycle accidents are caused by negligent motorists, there may be other parties at fault for your injuries. For example:
- A pedestrian may be partially liable for forcing you out into traffic or knocking you to the ground.
- State or local government agencies may be held liable for unsafe road or bike lane design or negligent maintenance.
- Road construction companies that may be at fault for unsafe road conditions due to shoddy construction or by failing to provide appropriate signage and alternate routes for the construction zone.
- You may have a claim against your bicycle, component, or helmet manufacturer if your injuries were the result of the defective design or manufacture of your bike, its parts, or your helmet.
Identifying the correct party responsible for your accident is critical to the success of your claim. A Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer can make sure that all of the appropriate parties are held accountable.
Turn To A Boca Raton Bicycle Accidents Attorney At The Grife Law Firm
No Fees Unless You WinIf you have been injured because of someone else’s careless actions on the water, you should contact a Boca Raton boat accident attorney at The Grife Law Firm to find out more about your legal options. We assist injured individuals throughout Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, including in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. Call us at 855-998-0770 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. We also are available to assist people who need a cruise ship accident attorney when they are injured on vacation.
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