How to succeed with a cycling accident claim in Florida
Learn more and talk to a Florida attorney right here.
The first step to take in the process if you are injured in a bicycling accident is to file an insurance claim with the party responsible for the accident – which, yes, may include an auto insurance policy.
Sometimes, this might include the biker’s own auto insurance coverage, as it can provide protection even if you were biking at the time.
Cycling accident claims – the process in Florida
After a claim is opened, the claim will be assigned to an auto insurance adjustor. This individual represents the company’s financial interests, so he or she will attempt to resolve the claim for as little as possible. Keep this in mind when you speak to them, and always have a pen handy when you’re on the phone.
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to accident claims, meaning that you are expected to turn to your own auto insurance after an accident for medical coverage. Beyond that, you can file a traditional negligence claim. You can be up to 99% at fault for an accident and still try to claim that 1% of damages.
Florida biking laws, broken down
Here is an overview of the bicycle laws in Florida.
- Bikes are treated as vehicles.
- Cyclists must obey all traffic controls and signals.
- Cyclists must use a fixed, regular seat for riding.
- You cannot carry passengers on a bike that is not intended to carry more than one person.
- Parents must not allow minors to violate any of Florida’s provisions.
- All bikes must come equipped with a braking system.
- If riding on the sidewalk, bicyclists have the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.
- Bikes must be equipped with a lamp when operating between sunset and sunrise.
- Bicyclists must use the designated bike path when not traveling at the speed of other traffic.
- Other laws can be found here.
Damages in Florida personal injury cases
Injured individuals can request compensation for damages they’ve suffered, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Florida has certain damage caps in personal injury cases, which serve to limit the amount of money an injured victim can receive. The state recently did away with the caps on medical malpractice damages, but the caps on punitive damages remain.
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases is four years from the date of injury, though that drops to two years if it is for wrongful death. If the claim is against the city, county or the state, there is a 180-day investigatory period and then a three-year statute of limitations (again, two years if it involves wrongful death).
What to do after an accident
For your case to succeed after an accident, doing the right things and avoiding the wrong ones can have a direct impact on your outcome and the amount you recover. Building a strong case begins immediately after the accident occurs, so even though it will feel like the last thing on earth you want to do, make sure you do the following:
Call the police
Make sure to notify the authorities immediately after an accident. This will help to preserve the official record and solidify any evidence.
The police can also gather any important witness information, such as the name of the other party involved and insurance contacts. Additionally, they can conduct any investigation into the cause of the accident or factors that may have contributed, such as distracted driving or alcohol consumption. This information can support your claim.
Do this as soon as you are able. Here is a checklist of 30 items to help you prepare. Shortly after an accident, the scene will no longer be preserved – so it is important that you act fast. Take pictures of the accident scene from a variety of angles. Take pictures of the weather conditions. Take pictures of your bike and your injuries. Get contact information from people who were there and write down anything they saw.
Here is a post-incident report to write things down.
Seek medical assistance
Make sure to do this as soon as possible. Many times, victims make the mistake of thinking that they aren’t injured, only to go home and find out that – nope! They totally were! Then their insurance claim suffers all the more for it. It is best to get looked at, even if you think you are fine. This will strengthen your case either way.
Hold on to any and all documents that might be relevant – police reports, medical records, payments, receipts, check stubs, recorded statements, etc.
Helpful resources to hire the best Florida personal injury lawyer
If you have been in a cycling accident and need an attorney, you should speak with one as soon as possible. Consider sitting down with someone in the Enjuris directory – and definitely someone who is licensed within the state of Florida. There are many twists and turns when it comes to state law, and you want to be prepared for them.
- Choosing a personal injury attorney – interview questions
- When do you NOT need an attorney after an accident?
- Preparing to meet with a personal injury attorney
- How damages are calculated
See our guide Choosing a personal injury attorney.