What Is Personal Injury?
Personal injury is rooted in the concept that everyone is responsible for exercising a duty of care to everyone else. When someone fails to practice their duty of care and someone else is injured and incurs damages as a result, the person who neglected their duty can be held financially accountable for a victim’s damages. The law provides that the victim can file a claim against the negligent person’s liability insurance to recover compensation, and if the claim is not settled, the victim can file a lawsuit against them in civil court.
In Florida, more than one person may be assigned fault, or liability, for an accident under a “comparative negligence” rule. If you are held partially at fault for a bicycle accident, your settlement will be reduced by that percentage of fault. For example, if you are 20% at fault and a vehicle operator is 80% at fault, your settlement will be reduced by 20%.
What Florida Laws Affect Bicycle Accidents?
Bicycle riders must comply with the rules of the road, such as obeying traffic signals and riding bicycles with sufficient braking systems. Riders, like drivers, owe others a duty of care.
There are some laws that apply specifically to the safe operation of bicycles, such as using the marked bike lane or where there is no bike lane, riding as close to the right curb as possible when traveling at speeds slower than normal traffic. If riding a bike on the sidewalk, while crossing the road, or using the crosswalk, you must obey the same rules as pedestrians. You also must yield to pedestrians. If riding after dark, your bicycle must be equipped with a white lamp on the front visible from at least 500 feet and a red reflector on the rear visible from 600 feet. Violation of these laws may result in the assignment of at least some fault to you.
Vehicle operators are required to use special care when sharing the roadway with “vulnerable” users, including those riding bicycles. Those who fail to do so and injure riders may be subject not only to civil action, such as a personal injury claim, but to criminal penalties as well.
What Is Involved in Filing a Claim?
Filing a claim against the insurance policy covering a negligent party requires evidence of their negligence and of your damages, such as medical expenses and lost income when you were unable to work due to your injuries.
The major challenge in filing a claim is the fact that the insurance company will want to pay you as little as possible, or nothing at all. To that end, the insurance adjuster will attempt to increase your percentage of fault and decrease the value of your damages. That is how insurance companies work.
How Can Legal Counsel Help?
Having an experienced personal injury attorney representing you can make a tremendous difference. You should focus on recovering from your injuries while your attorney executes the complex work of your claim. What your attorney does is, of course, subject to your approval. At The Law Offices of Scott Sobol, we give you the information and guidance you need to make informed decisions every step of the way.