If a vehicle driver’s negligence caused your Florida bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. The three most common damages are:
Who pays the Bicyclist’s Medical Bills if a Car Hits Him or Her?
In most accidents where a vehicle hits a bicyclist in Florida, the bicyclist will be able to get at least 80% of his medical bills paid up to $10,000. (I use the word “his” throughout this article but it equally applies to “her” as well).
In most cases, to get the PIP auto insurer to pay for 80% of the bicyclist’s medical bills up to $10,000, he should follow this process:
1. The bicyclist can make a claim through his or her PIP insurance if he or she owns a car; if not then go to #2
2. If the bicyclist does not own a car, he can make a claim through a resident relative’s PIP insurance; if not then go to #3
3. The PIP coverage on the vehicle may pay for 80% of the medical bills of the bicyclist’s bills up to a $10,000.
After PIP is billed and pays, the bicyclist’s first party medical coverage may pay any remaining balance. The most common first party medical coverage is health insurance.
If a vehicle driver’s carelessness caused the bicyclist’s injury, then the bicyclist may also be able to make a claim against 11 parties who may be responsible for the out of pocket expenses. The bicyclist may also be able to recover other damages that are discussed below.
Learn more about how a bicyclist can get his bills paid if a driver’s negligence caused his accident.
Who pays the Bicyclist’s Lost Wages if a Car Hits Him or Her?
In order for a bicyclist to get his lost wages paid, he would follow the same process described above in the medical bills section. The biggest difference is that PIP pays for 60% of lost wages, not 80%.
To get your lost wages paid, you need to have your employer complete a wage and salary verification form. Then send it to the PIP insurer.
If someone’s carelessness caused your bike crash, you can also make a claim against 11 parties who may be liable.
Learn more about getting your lost wages paid if you a vehicle hit you while you were on a bike in Florida.
Can the PIP auto insurer deny coverage if a bicyclist waits more than fourteen (14) days to see a medical provider?
Yes. They can also limit your PIP coverage to $2,500 if you are not diagnosed with an “emergency medical condition” (“EMC”).
Who pays the Bicyclist for his Pain and Suffering if a Vehicle Hits Him or Her?
If a vehicle driver’s carelessness caused a bicyclist’s injury, the bicyclist may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. He or she can make a claim against 11 parties who may be liable.
Tip: Several factors affect a bicyclist’s right to recover pain and suffering damages. These include whether:
- He is a Florida resident or non-resident.
- The type of vehicle that hit him (e.g. car, taxi, bus, truck, motorcycle, etc.).
- Whether the vehicle owner or its driver that hit him is a Florida resident or nonresident.
Learn more about a bicyclist’s right to pain and suffering compensation if a vehicle hit him in Florida.
Does a Florida bike rider have a case for crashing into a car door that is open?
Maybe. Learn about a Florida biker rider’s claim for hitting a car door that is open.
How Long Does a Bicyclist Have to Sue the Responsible Parties?
In Florida, the time limit to sue for negligence applies to bike accidents. In addition, there is a five (5) year time limit to sue for uninsured motorist (UM) liability coverage.
Important Florida Bicycle Accident Laws
The majority of Florida’s bicycle regulations are found in Florida Statute 316.2065. Let’s look at some of the more commonly encountered parts of this statute (law).
I will then give my thoughts.
Bicyclists have equal rights and responsibilities as vehicle drivers in Florida
(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter, except as to special regulations in this chapter, and except as to provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.
My thoughts: This means that a bicyclist needs to follow all the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers. This is true unless there is a special exception that I discuss below.
There are obviously some right and responsibilities that a vehicle driver has that it is not possible for a bicyclist to have. If that is the case, then the bicyclist does not have to follow the vehicle driver’s duties.
Also, a vehicle driver is not automatically liable just because he hits a bicyclist. They both have an equal duty to obey traffic laws.
Bicycle Accident Settlements
Check out some Florida bicycle accident settlements.
Bicyclists Must Have a Headlight and a Lamp and Reflector on the Rear if it is Dark
(7) ”Every bicycle in use between sunset and sunrise shall be equipped with a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and a lamp and reflector on the rear each exhibiting a red light visible from a distance of 600 feet to the rear.
My thoughts: If you are riding between sunset and sunrise, then you must have:
- the proper lamp on the front; and
- a lamp on the rear; and
- a reflector on the rear
Head On Bike Accidents at Night
If a driver strikes a bicyclist head on, and you are missing the proper front lamp, you may be partially, or wholly, at fault for the accident. Thus, the full value of your case would be reduced by your percentage of fault.
If you are missing your rear lamp and reflector, it should not decrease the full case value in this scenario.
Rear End Bike Accidents at Night
If a driver strikes you from behind, and you are missing your rear lamp or reflector, you may be partially, or wholly, at fault for the accident.
Thus, the full value of your case would be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you are missing your front lamp, it should not decrease the full case value in this scenario.
What if Lighting is Not an Issue?
If you are struck at an area with lights at the intersection, on a building nearby, and the car that hit you had lights, less fault may be assigned to you. Therefore, your full case value may be decreased by a smaller amount.
Fact: About 60 percent of fatal bicycle crashes in Florida occur during non-daylight hours. Reasonably priced bicycle lamps that run many hours on small rechargeable batteries are now available.
My thoughts: Since bicycle lamps are not expensive, a jury (and claims adjuster) may assign more fault to you, for failing to comply with this reasonable law, if your failure to have a lamp or reflector caused the crash.
Bicyclist Gets $100,000 Settlement While Hit During Dark Lighting Conditions
The above diagram is from a case where I represented a bicyclist after a car hit her. The accident took place at 8:35 p.m.
The police officer described the lighting condition as dark (street light). She survived the crash, but since her injuries were life threatening, a traffic homicide investigation took place.
A Bicyclist’s Dark Clothing Can Hurt the Bicyclist’s Case
My client’s clothing consisted of a dark brown print top that had been worn over a white shirt and dark blue sweatpants.
My thoughts: The full value of this case may have been decreased since she was wearing dark clothing at night. This is because it may have been more difficult for the driver to see her.
The pickup truck driver may have argued that she did not see my client.
Tip: Always preserve your clothing after a bike accident that occurs between sunset and sunrise. Your clothes will likely become evidence in the personal injury case.
Flashlight was lying near the bike
The report stated that a flashlight was lying near the bicycle. I assume that this was my client’s flashlight.
The flashlight was not activated when observed. This could potentially decrease the full value of the bicyclist’s client’s case if a jury drew an inference that it was not on at the time of the crash.
USAA insured the pickup truck driver with a $100,000 bodily injury (BI) liability auto insurance policy.
USAA paid $100,000 to settle the case.
Riding a Bicycle in on the Sidewalk, or From One Sidewalk to Another
Learn about injury claims if you’re hit by a car while riding on a sidewalk, or from one sidewalk to another sidewalk.
Can You Ride a Bicycle in a Crosswalk in Florida?
Florida Statute 316.2065(9) says “A person propelling a vehicle by human power…across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.”
When a bike rider is in a crosswalk, he or she is treated as a pedestrian.
Case Value Isn’t Reduced if You Weren’t a Bicycle Helmet
In Florida, if you do not wear a bicycle helmet, it may not be considered evidence of negligence or contributory negligence. Florida Statute 316.2065(18).
The same is true if a parent or guardian fails to prevent a child from riding a bicycle without bicycle helmet.
This means that the full value of your injury case will not get reduced just because you did not wear a helmet. Learn about head injury claims from Florida accidents.
If a driver hits a bicyclist, and the bicyclist receives and pays a ticket, can this be used against the bicyclist in his personal injury case?
In Florida, No.
In MacNeil v. Singer, 389 So.2d 232 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980), MacNeil on her bicycle and Singer in his car collided at an intersection in Gainesville, just after sundown on September 21, 1976.
This case is older, but it is still good law.
MacNeil had no lamp on the front of her bicycle. Singer stopped at a stop sign, and MacNeil started across the intersection.
There were lights at the intersection, on a building nearby, and Singer’s car lights were on. MacNeil thought Singer saw her, but he pulled into the intersection and hit her.
Singer was hurrying to claim a parking space he had just found, after trying to find one for some time.
My thoughts: If the vehicle driver says that he was hurrying to do something, this helps the bicyclist’s case.
MacNeil was hospitalized with severe injuries, but no one else was injured. McNeil was cited for violation of 316.2065 (renumbered).
Section 318.14, Florida Statutes says that persons cited for violations of “noncriminal traffic infractions” may pay the civil penalty by mail or in person within ten days of receiving the citation.
Failure to have a lamp on one’s bicycle after sundown as required by section 316.2065(7), Florida Statutes, is such a “noncriminal traffic infraction.” The statute also provides that if the person cited either pays his penalty, “he shall be deemed to have admitted the infraction.”
Without consulting MacNeil, while her daughter was in the hospital, MacNeil’s mother paid the fine by mail. Mrs. MacNeil testified “I thought that by paying the fine she [her daughter] would be saved having to do that. I didn’t know what condition she’d be in when she was allowed out of the hospital…”
She was unaware that her actions triggered the entry of an “automatic” guilty plea to the citation for Katherine. But the statute protects the unwary by providing that “such admission shall not be used as evidence in any other proceedings.” Section 318.14(4)(b).
The guilty plea in this case was not admissible in the personal injury case because of the express language of section 318.14(4)(b).
Florida law recognizes that persons charged with minor traffic offenses often pay their fines, as a matter of expediency, rather than contesting the charge, and such action should not be deemed an admission of guilt or fault in any other context.
Section 318.19(1) stated that the privilege of mailing in a fine in lieu of an actual appearance as set forth in section 318.14(4) does not extend to accidents where “another” person is killed or injured, or where damage to property exceeds $250.00.
In this case, MacNeil was the only person injured and there was no testimony about property damage. In any event, MacNeil would not be faced with an “automatic” guilty plea, were section 318.14(4) not applicable.
A guilty plea is a kind of “admission against interest.” Absent an express exclusionary rule such as is contained in section 318.14(4)(b), it may be introduced in a civil action against a party, if relevant and material to the issues.
However, it is an unquestionable that any such admission must be made by the party against whom it is offered, or with his consent, direction, or concurrence. Mrs. MacNeil’s maternal concerns triggered payment of the fine in this case.
Katherine was not consulted, nor was she aware of her mother’s actions on her behalf. It therefore was not her plea, and should not have been admissible against her.
The admission of the guilty plea was material because it likely influenced the jury verdict in this case. There was considerable conflicting evidence on the question of fault for MacNeil’s injuries.
She had no light on her bicycle, but she had the “right of way,” and there was other light at the intersection which might have been sufficient to enable Singer to see her.
The appeals court ruled that the admission of the citation and guilty plea were not allowed.
Bicyclists Cannot Carry More Passengers than the Bike Allows
(3)(a) A bicycle may not be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped, except that an adult rider may carry a child securely attached to his or her person in a backpack or sling.
My thoughts: If a bicyclist is riding with more people than the number for which the bike is designed, and this contributed to the crash, the full value of a bicyclist’s case may get reduced for carrying to many passengers.
For example, if a car hit you while you have someone sitting on your handle bars, and it contributed to the crash, the full value of a your case may get reduced for carrying to many passengers.
Bicyclists must use a permanent and regular seat while riding
(2) A person operating a bicycle may not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.
My thoughts: If a bicyclist is riding a bike without a seat, and it contributed to the crash, the full value of a bicyclist’s case may get reduced for not having a regular seat on the bike.
The amount of the reduction will depend on all the facts of the case.
Did someone’s carelessness cause your bike accident in Florida or other type of accident?
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