Been In A Florida Bicycle Accident?
As lockdown restrictions ease and the weather improves, more and more Floridians are venturing outside to drive, walk, and ride. However, this does have the potential to lead to more traffic accidents, particularly involving pedestrians and bicyclists – as people get used to driving again, they are more and more prone to make mistakes until normal routines return. If you have been injured in a bicycle crash in Florida, you need an experienced attorney on your side to help ensure you have the best chance at compensation for your injuries.
Hard To Share The Road
Florida has, in the past, been known for having significant numbers of bicycling deaths – in some years, more than double the next highest total. This can partially be explained by the weather, as one might imagine – year-round favorable weather for bicycling will result in an elevated number of accidents simply because there is more time to bicycle. However, other common causes include distracted driving, either on the part of the vehicle driver or the bicyclist, and confusion over the right-of-way in traffic.
Something to keep in mind as you ride your bicycle is that under Florida law, bicyclists have all the rights and duties of any other driver. They are required to comply with certain directives – for example, having to ride at the far right of the road if no bicycle lane exists – but they are entitled to share the road with vehicles, and do not have to yield the right of way simply because they are bicyclists. That said, many drivers simply do not know how to share the road with bicyclists, and it too often results in harm to the cyclist through no fault of their own.
Can I File Suit?
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, your injuries may be slight, or they may be quite severe. The most common injuries bicyclists sustain in accidents with automobiles are facial, causing fractures and dislocations, as well as the potential for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). In order to try and recover for your injuries in Florida, however, you will normally have to file a claim with your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurer – all Florida drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in PIP coverage, as well as $10,000 property damage liability coverage, to fall back on in the event of an accident. If you have no PIP coverage, you should be able to file under the responsible driver’s policy.
If your injuries are truly severe, state law does allow you to bring suit against the (allegedly) negligent driver, but you must have sustained either a “significant and permanent” loss of a bodily function, the loss of a limb, or any other permanent disability. In these cases, the tort immunity that normally happens in a no-fault insurance system such as Florida’s is lifted, allowing you to file suit against the driver. You still must be able to prove that the driver was negligent in order to recover, but with a dedicated attorney on your side, you have a chance to do this.
Contact A Tampa Bicycle Accident Attorney
It can be hard to rebound after a bicycle accident, especially if your injuries are severe, but you can still enjoy biking in the future, especially if you are able to focus on healing rather than filing paperwork. The Tampa bicycle accident lawyers at the Rinaldo Law Group are experienced in these types of cases, and we will work hard to give yours the best chance to prevail. Call our offices today for a free consultation.