Florida continues to be one of the states in the nation with the highest number of bicycle crashes. In 2012, Florida had 6,425 bicycle crashes, a 28% increase from the previous year. In 2012, 6,058 cyclists were injured, almost a 31% increase over 2011. Broward County leads the pack at 822 crashes, followed by Miami Date at 751.
If you were riding a bike in Florida and were involved in an accident caused by a motor vehicle do you know what to do? Florida’s no-fault law limits the ability of bicycle accident victims to take legal action against the at-fault driver. In order for an injured 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.
What is No-Fault Insurance Law?
Florida’s no-fault insurance law, also known as personal injury protection (PIP), states that regardless of who’s at fault, each driver, pedestrian or bicyclist who suffers injuries in an accident must file a claim under their own auto insurance policy to recover the following expenses and losses following the accident.
- 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
In the event that the bicycle rider doesn’t have auto insurance, Florida 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.
In order for an injured cyclist to file an action against the at-fault driver to recover damages outside the domain of no-fault insurance law, the injured victim must have suffered a serious injury, like:
- Significant scarring
- Loss of a bodily function
Because cyclists are exposed and don’t have seatbelts or a shield to protect them like passengers in a car accident, often accidents involving bicyclists result in serious injuries or even death to the cyclist. In the event where a loved one died as a result of the accident, surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
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 to help you understand the nuisances of Florida’s no-fault laws.