When on the road, you never know what is going to cross your path that could result in an accident – and that applies whether you’re in a car or on a bicycle.
A Marathon man found out just how unpredictable the roads can be when an iguana darted out in front of his bike and caused him to crash. While he certainly fared better than the iguana with just a few stitches to the head, the incident raises an interesting question: In a no-fault state, what happens when you have an accident?
If you love riding your bike, then it’s important to know what to do if you’re involved in an accident in Florida. Here’s all the information you need about Florida’s no-fault laws and how they impact getting any medical care you may need.
Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law
The law in Florida that some people find confusing is called the no-fault insurance law, also sometimes referred to as personal injury protection.
This law simply states that no matter who is at fault for the accident, each driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian that suffers injuries as the result of an accident is required to files a claim under their own insurance policy to help cover expenses in the wake of an accident.
PIP insurance often covers things that can result from injuries sustained in an accident, such as:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses (x-rays, dental work, rehabilitation, hospital, doctor visits, etc.)
- Replacement services needed as someone recovers from an injury, such as lawn care services
Where this may run into problems is if a bicyclist doesn’t have auto insurance to cover their accident.
Bicycle Accident Law in Florida
If a bike is your only form of transportation, then it’s not out of the realm of possibility that you don’t have auto insurance to cover your medical costs if you have a bicycle accident. Luckily, lawmakers in Florida thought of this scenario.
If you don’t have auto insurance, then under the law you can file a claim under the policy of the responsible driver. That means that the bicyclist can have their property and injuries covered under another person’s insurance.
To file an action against an at-fault driver as a bicyclist so that damages outside of the no-fault insurance law parameters can be recovered, the injured party must have suffered a serious bodily injury. This includes things such as:
- Significant scarring
- Loss of bodily function
Due to the nature of riding a bicycle, injuries can be severe simply because there is less protection in the event of an accident. Make sure to seek medical care for any injuries sustained as the result of an accident and keep all the records.
It’s also crucial that information of the at-fault driver is collected at the scene and any copies of a police report of the accident are in your possession.
If someone dies as a result of a bicycling accident, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed.
You Have a Right to Seek Compensation
Simply because Florida is a no-fault state does not mean that victims of car accidents can’t receive compensation for the costs of medical care or in seeking damages.
Victims of accidents simply need to meet the legal threshold to pursue a case as outlined above. If you feel you have grounds to seek compensation for your bicycle accident, then don’t delay.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.