When the actions of a motorist cause a bicycle accident and the rider sustains catastrophic injuries, the liable driver may be legally required to compensate the victim. Receiving compensation requires filing an insurance or personal injury claim. Unfortunately, if you are the accident victim, you will be burdened with taking legal action. This can be challenging when you or a loved one are dealing with serious injuries.
To ensure your legal rights are protected after a bicycle accident, you are urged to seek help from a personal injury lawyer with experience handling bike accident cases. The legal professionals at GED Lawyers are prepared to help you pursue a bike accident claim and seek the fair compensation you deserve.
When Can You Seek Compensation for a Bike Accident?
Injured cyclists and those who’ve lost a loved one in a fatal bike accident can engage in legal action against a driver who was partly or wholly responsible for the accident. To establish a viable personal injury claim, the injured victim must prove the following:
- The motorist was guilty of negligence, recklessness, or violating traffic laws. Drivers must be reasonably safe, and when they fail to fulfill that obligation, they have breached a legal responsibility or duty.
- The breach of legal duty was the actual cause of a bike accident. Therefore, you must show that the driver’s actions or inaction directly caused the collision.
- You sustained injuries or lost a loved one due to the bicycle accident that resulted in financial, physical, emotional, or personal losses.
Motorists can make many poor decisions and careless mistakes that lead to bike accidents, such as driving while distracted or intoxicated, speeding, or failing to yield. These and other risky behaviors can lead to situations where a cyclist is injured and could benefit from retaining an attorney who can help them pursue a compensation claim.
Does Auto Insurance Cover Bike Accidents?
When a motorist hits a cyclist who sustains injuries, the motorist’s insurance carrier may be responsible for paying for injury-related damages. For example, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and more. This insurance is commonly offered in no-fault states so that the accident victim can be covered regardless of who is at fault.
However, identifying whose auto insurance will cover your injuries in an accident is not always straightforward in a no-fault state. Our bike accident lawyers work with these types of claims regularly, so we can determine the best way to get your injuries and losses reimbursed.
Taking a Case to Trial vs. Negotiating a Settlement
Many personal injury claims end with a settlement where the defendant or their insurer may not admit to responsibility but are nonetheless willing to compensate the injured victim if they agree not to file a lawsuit or drop one already in progress.
An attorney must present compelling evidence to the liable party regarding their degree of fault in the accident and how the victim’s losses have impacted their life. Some claimants accept a settlement rather than pursue legal action because the prospect of receiving a greater financial award may not outweigh certain drawbacks, such as litigation being costly and requiring many months or years to yield a verdict.
Additionally, going to trial comes with some risks, as juries can be unpredictable in how they interpret a case’s facts. A personal injury attorney can help a client weigh the pros and cons of a settlement vs. litigation and recommend a course of action most suitable for your specific case.
However, if the attorney believes that the victim may be entitled to receive significantly more compensation than offered in a settlement, they may advise them to take the case to trial. Like an insurance claim, the plaintiff must prove the defendant’s negligence and demonstrate how their losses have affected them in the past, present, and future.
Bicycle Accident Recoverable Damages
Bike accident victims often sustain severe or lethal injuries. Even if the cyclist wears a helmet and other protective gear, a bike in no way shields the person from the impact of a motor vehicle. As a result, the rider may incur extensive medical bills, experience severe pain, and temporarily or permanently be unable to work in their chosen profession.
Ideally, the liable driver or their insurer should be responsible for paying for most of the cyclist’s losses sustained in the accident, including the following:
- Past and future medical and treatment costs
- Lost income and wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Permanent disability, scarring, or disfigurement
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of life enjoyment and quality of life
- Loss of companionship
A bike accident attorney can help you pursue the total compensation you are owed by negotiating a settlement with the liable party or filing a civil lawsuit.
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?
The Florida statute of limitations determines how long a claimant has to ask a court to award them compensation for a personal injury. Per Florida Statute § 95.11, this time limit is four years from the date the claimant’s injuries occurred. Wrongful death claim filings are only allowed two years.
If a bicycle accident victim or their family fails to submit a legal complaint within these timelines, the case will likely be dismissed. If you retain an attorney, however, they will ensure that all documents are filed correctly and that all legal deadlines are met.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim in Florida must be filed by a personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This person can be designated under the decedent’s estate plan or will. If no one is specified, the court will appoint a representative, who will name persons from the decedent’s estate interested in receiving damages from the claim.
Family members who may recover damages in a wrongful death case include the spouse, minor children, adult children when there is no spouse, parents, blood relatives, and adopted siblings.
Wrongful Death Recoverable Damages
Florida Statute § 768.20 states that only the decedent’s personal representative can file a wrongful death claim to benefit the survivors and estate of the deceased.
The decedent’s estate may recover the following damages and more:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost wages
- The decedent’s medical bills
- Emotional pain and anguish
- Loss of support and guidance
- Loss of household services
- Decedent’s anticipated lost earnings
- Estate potential future accumulations
Consult with an Estero Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you have experienced a bicycle accident or another unfortunate event that caused personal injuries, you need professional help from an attorney who understands what you are going through. Since 1995, GED Lawyers has been helping clients by offering comprehensive legal counsel in personal injury, wrongful death, and other areas.
We provide individualized attention and unwavering determination as part of our mission. We’re here to support and guide you through the legal process with compassionate advice and professional assistance. Please contact us today for a free, no-obligation case review.