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Bicycle Accidents and Florida's No-Fault Insurance Law

  • Published: 2010-10-12 : Author: Law Offices of Russ E. Robbins, P.A.
  • Synopsis: Florida unfortunately, leads the nation in the number of annual bicyclist deaths.

Main Document

It is an unfortunate truth that bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles are all too common. The state of Florida, unfortunately, leads the nation in the number of annual bicyclist deaths.

On an early September afternoon, eight-year-old Elian Rojas was riding his bike home from school with his father when he was struck by a delivery truck at the corner of 13th Road and Jog Road in Greenacres, Florida. When paramedics arrived at the scene, it was already too late; Rojas was pronounced dead.

The delivery truck, owned by RecoverCare, just finished making a delivery at the nearby Woodlake Nursing and Rehab Center before the fatal accident occurred.

Neighbors who live near the corner where Rojas was killed told reporters that the corner is known for having poor visibility, making it difficult for drivers to see other cars, bicyclists and children.

Bicycle Accidents All Too Common in Florida

It is a sad and unfortunate truth that accidents like the one that took Elian Rojas's life are all too common. In 2008, 716 people in the United States died and 52,000 were injured in bicycle accidents. Florida, unfortunately, has the dubious honor of leading the nation in the number of annual bicyclist deaths. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 125 bicyclists were killed in bicycle accidents in Florida in 2008. The majority of these deaths were attributable to bike-car collisions.

The reasons behind bicycle-motor vehicle accidents vary. In many cases, the driver simply did not see the bicyclist. In other cases, the driver may have gotten too close to the bike while passing or may have hit the biker while making a left-hand turn in front of the cyclist.

Bicycle riders involved in accidents with motor vehicles often suffer severe injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, head injuries, broken bones and other soft tissue injuries. Many cyclists suffer paralysis or permanent disfigurement, and in worst cases, die from collisions with motor vehicles.

Filing a Claim under an Auto Insurance Policy

Bike riders involved in a bicycle-motor vehicle accident may be unaware that they can seek compensation for their injuries under their own car insurance policy and, in some cases, under the at-fault driver's policy.

Florida has a no-fault insurance law, or, also known as personal injury protection (PIP). This means that despite who's at fault, each driver, pedestrian or bicyclist who suffers injuries in a vehicle accident in Florida is required to file a claim under their own auto insurance policy to recover certain expenses and losses following an automobile accident.

The law allows injured parties to recover:

80% of reasonable medical expenses including doctor visits, surgery, X-rays, dental, rehabilitative services, and medically necessary ambulance, hospital, and nursing services

60% of lost wages under their own policy

Replacement services like babysitting or lawn care

If the bicycle rider does not operate a vehicle or carry auto insurance, the law allows the cyclist to file a claim under the responsible driver's auto insurance policy. In these cases, the injured bicyclist may be able to recover from the at-fault driver's property damage liability (PDL) benefits, bodily injury coverage or other policy coverage.

Because injured parties turn to their own insurer for coverage, Florida's no-fault law limits the ability of motor vehicle accident victims to take legal action against the at-fault driver. In order for an injured party, or cyclist, to file an action against the at-fault driver to recover damages outside the realm of no-fault insurance law, certain conditions must be met.

The injured victim must have sustained a serious injury, such as:

Significant scarring

Disfigurement

Loss of a bodily function

Surviving family members also have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in cases where their loved one died as a result of the accident.

Unlike passengers who have a shield to protect them in a collision, bicyclists are exposed. Many collisions involving bicycles all too often result in serious injuries or even death to the cyclist.

If you or someone you know was involved in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, it's important to contact an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney.

Article provided by Law Offices of Russ E. Robbins, P.A. - Visit us at www.robbinsinjurylaw.com


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