Bicycle Accident Attorney in Pensacola, Florida
Far too many bicyclists are killed each year in traffic accidents. According to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a total of 846 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2019 across the nation. The NHTSA reports that a total of 161 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents in the state of Florida in 2019, which equates to nineteen percent of all bicyclist deaths nationwide. Florida's beautiful weather is one reason why so many bicyclists take to the trails and streets every day.
If you have suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, you have limited time to find out whether you can hold another person or party accountable for your injuries. David Lee Sellers is a criminal defense and personal injury attorney who represents the rights of injured victims throughout Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, Milton, and Crestview, Florida.
Florida Personal Injury Law
Personal injury law in Florida is similar to the law of most other states. Whether personal injuries are the results of an automobile accident, medical malpractice, a workplace accident, a slip and fall accident, or a bike accident, the party whose negligent conduct caused the accident may be held responsible in a personal injury lawsuit. The term negligence simply means that the party at fault fell below the standard of care, and but for that person's conduct, another person would not have suffered injuries.
Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that an injured person's recovery in a personal injury lawsuit or through an insurance claim will be awarded based on an assessment of fault. In other words, a person who is considered 30% at fault for a bicycle accident will only be awarded 70% of the damages or harm resulting from that accident.
One of the biggest hurdles to any Florida personal injury lawsuit is the statute of limitations. In Florida, injury victims have four years from the date of injury (which is typically the date of the accident) to file a lawsuit. In the event a bicycle accident victim suffers fatal injuries, a representative of the deceased victim may wish to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida is usually two years from the date of death, with few exceptions.
Florida Laws Affecting Bicycle Riders
Bicyclists and drivers of motor vehicles must follow all Florida traffic laws to ensure they are meeting the standard of care in limiting the chances that negligent conduct will result in an accident. The laws governing bicyclists and other motorists differ slightly—for the most part, however, anyone utilizing Florida's roadways must treat each other as equals.
Under Florida statute section 316.2065, bicyclists have all of the same rights and duties that the drivers of any other vehicles have, with some exceptions. When riding bicycles on sidewalks, bicyclists must yield to the right of way of pedestrians and must provide an audible signal to the pedestrian before overtaking or passing that person.
Additionally, bicycles must be equipped with a lamp on the front of the bicycle that exhibits white light that is visible from a distance of at least 500 feet. The bicycle must also have a reflector on the rear that exhibits a red light visible from a distance of at least 600 feet.
Drivers and vehicles are held to slightly different standards when it comes to accidents. Under Florida Statute Section 316.027, the driver of a vehicle must stop in the event he or she is involved in an accident that results in bodily harm, including accidents involving a bicycle that is hit by a car. Failure to stop may result in criminal penalties, as waiting to administer emergency medical intervention can place another person's life at risk.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim & How an Attorney Can Help
Filing a personal injury claim concerning bicycle accident injuries takes a series of important steps. The first step following any bicycle wreck is to ensure medical treatment is sought for any injuries. Failing to seek medical treatment after suffering injuries could be detrimental to a potential personal injury lawsuit. After receiving medical treatment, bicycle accident victims should seek the advice of a Pensacola, Florida personal injury attorney.
With the assistance of an attorney, a bicycle accident victim will explore possible options for seeking compensation from available sources, which always begins with insurance policies (which may include PIP coverage, or Personal Injury Protection, which is required to be purchased by all owners of motor vehicles registered in Florida). While speaking with an attorney can be intimidating for some accident victims, a consultation is the only way to know for sure whether any potential legal claims exist and what specific steps need to be taken to help a bicycle accident victim have the best chance possible of recovering compensation.
Bicycle Accident Attorney in Pensacola, Florida
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, you may have legal options available to you. However, you may not know where to begin without seeking the guidance of a legal professional. Serving Pensacola, Florida as well as Crestview, Fort Walton Beach, and Milton, David Lee Sellers, PA has helped countless clients recover compensation for severe and often permanent personal injuries. He is standing by to provide you or a loved one with a free case evaluation.