Personal Injury Attorney For Pedestrian & Bicycle Accidents
There’s plenty to love about Florida. The state’s idyllic, sunkissed weather and lush city landscapes, in particular, means there’s hardly a better place to enjoy biking, jogging, and power-walking. Unfortunately, not all city roads are pedestrian- or bike-friendly, and not all drivers are mindful of cyclists and passersby. Bicycle and pedestrian accidents can not only leave survivors injured and traumatized but also burdened with expensive medical bills and property losses. Some injured cyclists and pedestrians may be able to seek compensation through their insurance policies. Still, without professional legal counsel, policyholders are likely at a disadvantage when negotiating for adequate compensation.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel. Contact our personal injury attorney with Stout Defense, P.A., to request a free case consultation. We’ll make sure to defend your rights during negotiations and help you obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Traffic Accident Law In Florida
In addition to stopping in order to exchange basic information, Florida law requires that all drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians involved in a traffic accident provide reasonable assistance to those injured during the incident. Anyone who fails to do so and instead chooses to leave the scene (hit and run accidents) could face a third-degree or second-degree felony, depending on the severity of the accident.
If anyone involved in a traffic accident is unable to exchange information with the other parties, they are still required to report the details of the crash to a law enforcement officer. Regardless of who was at fault or what damages were sustained, all parties must report the accident to the police. Police reports can be valuable pieces of evidence when filing for compensation.
Compensation Through PIP Insurance Coverage
As a no-fault state, Florida mandates that everyone involved in a traffic accident seek compensation through their own personal-injury-protection (PIP) insurance first before attempting to file suit. Doing so is done regardless of who was at fault. If the injured cyclist or pedestrian does not own a car or a PIP policy, the driver’s insurance would be used instead.
Additional Compensation Through A Lawsuit
Once PIP benefits have been exhausted, a personal injury lawyer can help injured cyclists and pedestrians seek additional compensation by negotiating or filing a lawsuit against the negligent party. However, Florida has a short statute of limitations regarding personal injury claims (usually 2 years). If you think you’ve got a case, contact us right away!
Compensation For Wrongful Death
If a pedestrian or cyclist does not survive the accident, their family may file a wrongful death claim on their loved one’s behalf to recover compensation for emotional and financial damages. A wrongful death attorney can help family members gather evidence and ensure the negligent party is held accountable for their actions.
Common Causes Of Bicycle & Pedestrian Accidents
Cyclists and pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable parties on the road. Given the sheer scale and weight differences between motorized vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians, traffic accidents involving non-motorized vehicles can be even more devastating than regular car crashes. Most car accidents happen as a result of negligence by either the driver, cyclist, or pedestrian.
A driver may be considered negligent for not exercising a reasonable duty of care while using common roads. Some common examples of driver negligence include the following.
- Distracted Driving
- Driving Under The Influence (DUI)
- Running A Red Light
- Disobeying Stop Signs
- Not Using Turn Signals
- Failing To Notice Bicyclists Approaching An Intersection
- Opening A Car Door Without Checking The Mirror(s) For Cyclists (Dooring)
Similarly, pedestrians and cyclists are also expected to adhere to traffic laws and may be considered negligent for any of the following.
- Rushing In Front Of Cars
- Failing To Use Dedicated Cross-Walks (Jaywalking)
- Ignoring Pedestrian Signals At Intersections
- Failing To See If It Is Safe To Cross The Street
- Not Paying Attention To Their Surroundings
- Not Using Sidewalks & Bike Lanes
What To Do Following A Traffic Accident
While it’s impossible to predict when an accident may happen, knowing your rights and what to do in the event of a traffic accident can go a long way in helping you during an emergency. The following includes the most important steps drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians should take in the event of an accident.
- Check yourself and others for injury: As soon as you’ve regained your senses, check yourself first, and then assist others with injuries if you’re able to. Avoid moving any injured persons to prevent causing additional injuries and pain.
- Call the authorities: Regardless of the severity of the incident, contact the local authorities as soon as possible, and request medical assistance for anyone injured.
- Exchange basic information: In the event of an accident, all parties involved are required by law to exchange basic information, including insurance information.
- Gather evidence: If possible, record the details of the event by taking pictures of the crash scene and jotting down any details provided by the other parties and the police.
- Call your attorney: Contact your lawyer before giving any statements to your, or to the other parties’, insurance company. Your attorney can deal with the insurance agents on your behalf so you don’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing or agreeing to an unfair settlement offer.
Bicycle & Pedestrian Accidents FAQs
What Compensation Can Be Recovered From An Accident?
Compensation through a PIP insurance policy may cover any injury-related expenses and lost wages — up to $10,000. Please note, however, most insurance companies in Florida refrain from compensating policyholders for stress-related injuries. An attorney can help you seek additional compensation by negotiating with the insurance company or filing a lawsuit.
How Long Do I Have To Take A Case To Court?
In most situations, injured cyclists and pedestrians have two years, starting from the date of the crash, to take the case to court. However, the longer you wait to take action, the more difficult it becomes to collect evidence and obtain fair compensation. In addition, please note that once you accept a settlement offer, you forfeit your right to seek additional compensation.
What Happens If The Accident Was Partly My Fault?
In Florida, a "pure comparative fault" rule applies when parties are found to share blame for a traffic accident. To summarize, juries are required to calculate two factors based on the evidence: the total dollar amount of each party’s damages, and each party’s share of the fault. Based on these estimates, the court then decides who gets compensated, and by how much.
How Can A Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?
We can help you review and dispute settlement offers, determine and sue for negligence, and seek additional compensation for life-altering injuries and losses. Remember that the law often restricts the time you have to take legal action, so make sure to contact a lawyer soon after the incident.