Comparative Negligence In Florida Bicycle Accident Claims
With great weather throughout the year, Florida is one of the best states in the U.S. for bicycling. Sadly, when there are more bicyclists on the road, it often means more bicycle accidents. According to the FLHSMV, in 2021, there were 6,404 bicycle crashes in Florida, resulting in 197 fatalities and 5,958 injuries. These statistics show that if a bicycle accident does not result in death, it will likely result in injuries. This is especially true if an accident involves a bicycle and another motor vehicle. Fortunately, if you have suffered injuries in a Florida bicycle accident, you can file a claim and possibly recover compensation. But while you may think that the driver of the other vehicle should be the only one to blame for your accident, that is not always the case. Bicyclists are subject to the same road rules as drivers, and when a cyclist acts negligently, and an accident happens, they may share responsibility. In Florida, this is called comparative negligence. Read on to learn more.
How Can Comparative Negligence Impact Your Bicycle Accident Case?
Bicyclists are required to abide by the same traffic rules as other drivers. For example, bicyclists must stop at red lights, signal when making turns, and yield the right of way. If, for example, a bicyclist runs a red light, they may be negligent. And, if an accident occurs because of this act, the bicyclist may be partially liable.
If you were injured in a Florida bicycle accident and are partially to blame for your accident, you may still recover compensation. Because Florida is a comparative negligence state, you can recover compensation in a bicycle accident claim even if you were 99% to blame for your accident. Nevertheless, while you can recover compensation when you are partially to blame for your Florida bicycle accident, your compensation will be reduced based on your degree of responsibility. For instance, suppose you are 20% to blame for your accident, and your total damages are valued at $100,000. In such a case, your compensation will be reduced by 20%, and you will receive 80% of $100,000, which is $80,000.
If you are partially responsible for your Florida bicycle accident, you want a skilled bicycle accident attorney by your side. An experienced attorney can fight for you to ensure you are not assigned an unfair degree of responsibility, which can, in turn, result in you recovering more compensation.
Can Not Wearing a Helmet Affect My Florida Bicycle Accident Claim?
According to Florida law, people under 16 years must wear a properly fitted, federally-approved helmet. However, it is advisable that everyone wears a helmet when on a bicycle. According to research, wearing a bicycle helmet can help lower the risk of head injury by up to 85%.
If you were injured in a Florida bicycle accident and were not wearing a helmet, you may be wondering how your failure to wear a helmet may impact your accident claim. In Florida, if a bicyclist did not have a helmet on at the time of their accident, they cannot be held partially responsible for their injuries and therefore, failure to wear a helmet cannot impact the value of a bicycle accident claim. Specifically, Florida Statute 316.2065(18) states that a person’s failure to wear a bicycle helmet may not be considered negligence. The law further states that a parent’s failure to ensure their child is wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle may not be considered negligence.
However, just because the law states that your failure to wear a helmet should not be used against you, the driver’s insurance company will still try to use your failure to wear a helmet against you. For this reason, it is crucial that you retain a skilled bicycle accident attorney, especially if the insurance company claims that it does not owe you a particular amount of money or any money because you were not wearing a helmet.
Contact a Naples Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you suffered injuries in a Florida bicycle accident and need help recovering the compensation you deserve, contact our Naples bicycle accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro.