Unfortunately, as of August 2018, there were 3,942 bicycle crashes in the state of Florida and 85 resulting fatalities.
If you are injured in a bicycle accident, you are able to take legal action. Keep reading below for four things you need to know about your bike accident, and how you can take action after your accident occurs.
Bike Accidents Types
For starters, there are a few different types of bike accidents. Unsurprisingly, they’re usually defined by where they take place.
The most common type of bike accident is a collision at an intersection or stop sign. For example, if the cyclist has a stop sign and the motorist does not, and the cyclist rides into an intersection where the car has the right of way, the cyclist is at fault.
Another common example is when a motorist has a stop sign but the cyclist does not. After stopping, the car then drives into the intersection in front of a cyclist who has the right of way. In this instance, absent other factors, the motorist is at fault.
Another common bike accident type is when a car and a bicyclist enter an intersection from opposite directions and the car turns left, colliding with the cyclist, usually because they didn’t see them or misjudged the cyclist’s speed. In this case, the motorist is at fault.
Payment Depends on Fault
Determining fault is crucial in determining who will pay when an accident occurs. This is also called negligence.
When a cyclist seeks damages following a bicycle accident, their lawyer will have to answer two questions:
- Was it the driver’s negligence? or
- Was it the cyclist’s negligence?
Negligence can take a variety of forms. For example, drifting into a bike lane or running a stop sign constitutes driver negligence, while riding the wrong way on a one-way street is an example of cyclist negligence.
Bicyclists Have the Same Responsibilities
With this in mind, it’s important to remember that where traffic safety is concerned, cyclists have just as much responsibility as drivers.
This means that drivers are not automatically liable if they hit a cyclist since all traffic laws that can reasonably apply to a cyclist are in effect.
Headlights are an easy example. Cyclists must have a headlight, a lamp, and a reflector on the rear of their bike. If it’s dark and a driver hits you because they couldn’t see you, you’re at fault, not the driver.
Click here for a full breakdown of Florida’s bicycle regulations.
You Have a Time Limit to Sue
As with other legal matters, negligence cases come with a statute of limitations. In Florida, the time limit to sue for negligence applies to bike accidents. This means that, in general, you have four years to sue for negligence. There is a five-year time limit to sue for uninsured motorist liability coverage.
However, keep in mind that the longer you wait to sue, the harder it may be to win your case. The lawyer on the other side will question why it took you so long to get around to suing their client, and it may be harder to prove that medical issues were caused by injuries sustained in that specific accident.
The Bike Accident Attorney You Need
We are experienced bicycle accident attorneys dedicated to helping you fight for your rights after an accident. Use our contact page to get in touch with our experienced attorneys at SteinLaw to set up your free case review today.