What Should I Do if Someone Hits Me While I’m on My Bicycle?
Bicycle-car collisions can lead to serious injuries for the bike rider while usually leaving the vehicle occupants unscathed. If you’re hit by a car while on your bike, you may be disoriented or have trouble thinking clearly about what to do next. This is understandable, but knowing what to do and having a plan beforehand may help if you’re in this unpleasant situation. There are steps you can take to protect your legal rights and make it easier to get compensation for your injuries.
Bikers should follow safety protocols and ride carefully, but many bike-car accidents are caused by the vehicle driver. If a negligent driver injured you while riding your bicycle, you might have painful injuries, extensive medical bills, and lost time at work. This can feel overwhelming, but there are often options to help get your expenses covered. The best solution is to speak with a bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Darrigo & Diaz Attorneys at Law have been helping injured people get compensation for their damages since 1999, and we don’t charge anything until we secure a settlement. Please contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about your options for filing a claim.
What to Do Right After a Bicycle Accident
You need to first determine if you are still in danger and see to your injuries. Depending on the situation, one of these may be more immediate than the other. If you’re still in the middle of a roadway and you see another car approaching, you should probably try to move out of the road if you can. Once you’re out of immediate danger, check yourself over for injuries and call 911 to report the accident.
How To Report a Bike Accident
Florida law requires you to report any motor vehicle accident where someone is injured, or there is more than $500 in property damage, but you should always report an accident, even if you don’t think you’re hurt. An accident can get your adrenaline flowing, which may distract you from pain. At the same time, some injuries don’t hurt until the body starts trying to heal them, and the area becomes swollen and painful. As a result, many people don’t experience pain and other symptoms immediately but develop them later. Let the paramedics check you and follow up with a doctor visit afterward.
Call 911and request an ambulance. While you’re waiting, make a note of everyone around the scene, and try to get any potential witnesses’ names and contact information. The driver who hit you will hopefully stick around and check on you. Ask for their contact and insurance information as you may need them later.
A police officer should respond to the scene to take a report. Answer their questions honestly, but avoid speculating on the cause of the accident and never say you think it was your fault. We’ve met many people who thought they were at fault but were incorrect. It’s easy to make assumptions when you don’t have the complete picture of everything that happened.
What Insurance Covers Bicycle Accidents?
Florida is a “no-fault” state for motor vehicle accidents, up to a point. All drivers must carry $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to cover their medical expenses if they’re hurt in an accident. You do not have to prove fault to use PIP, so it saves the claimant time and effort and eliminates many lawsuits that would otherwise take up the local court’s time. However, if you’re seriously injured, and your medical expenses and lost wages are significantly over $10,000, you can still sue the other driver or seek compensation from their liability insurance (if they have it). In this situation, you will have to prove fault.
How does this affect bicycle riders? If you have PIP insurance for your car, it should cover you even when you’re on a bicycle. But some people exclusively ride bikes and don’t carry car insurance. What then?
If the other driver was at fault, you still have grounds to file a claim against their liability coverage. Remember that liability coverage isn’t required in Florida, so not everyone has it. However, $10,000 in Property Damage Liability is required, so any damage to your bike should be taken care of.
That leaves your medical expenses, lost time at work, and pain and suffering. If you don’t have or have exhausted your PIP coverage, you can either file a claim with the other driver’s liability insurance, if they have it, or sue them directly. In this case, you will also need to prove fault.
If the driver doesn’t have liability coverage, you and your lawyer will discuss how feasible it is to recover the damages in a lawsuit. This isn’t just about determining if you have a strong case with a lot of evidence in your favor, although that is important. Your attorney will do some research to learn more about the driver’s financial situation. If this person has no money or assets you can seize in a lawsuit, you may win a judgment but never see a dime. When this happens, we may look to see if you have any additional insurance coverage that can help. For example, your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will sometimes cover you. In other less common situations, we may find that a third party also contributed to your injuries, such as the manufacturer of a defective bike helmet. If so, we might consider a lawsuit against the third party.
Call the Darrigo & Diaz Law Firm After Your Bike Accident
If you or a loved one are struggling to pay bills after a bicycle accident, seeking help from a qualified bicycle lawyer is essential. Darrigo & Diaz Attorneys at Law are available to answer any questions. If we take your case and you want to proceed, we can fight the insurance company or other parties to get you compensation. As always, there is a no-win, no-fee guarantee, and your initial consultation is free. Call us at 813-734-7397.