In the state of Florida, a great majority of cyclists qualify for damages in a personal injury lawsuit when they are involved in an accident with a car or motorized vehicle. It is a good idea that you consult with a board-certified personal injury attorney at Balkan and Patterson to find out if you qualify for compensation.
Should you or someone you love become injured in a car accident while riding a bicycle, here are 6 critical steps to take to ensure that you can be reimbursed for the costs associated with those injuries.
1. Call the Police
Always stay put and involve the police. Failure to do so can result in misdemeanor charges. Also, it is important that law enforcement document the accident. If you are seriously injured, be sure to also request an ambulance.
2. Provide a Statement to the Police and Ask for a Copy
Simply recount the series of events. Do your best to include details before and during the accident itself.
3. Collect Information from the Other Driver and Any Witnesses
By Florida law, all drivers in an accident are required to exchange contact, vehicle, and insurance information. If you own an insured car, Florida requires you to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. You should report the details of your accident to your PIP carrier to seek assistance with your medical bills.
If you do not own an insured vehicle, Florida law stipulates that one of two people carrying PIP insurance use their coverage to pay your medical bills:
- A relative with whom you live
- The at-fault driver
Often, PIP insurance will not cover the full expenses of your injury and property loss. As such, you likely qualify for compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. You will need to have the car driver’s information to properly file a personal injury claim.
Any witnesses that stopped to assist should also be willing to provide their contact info should you need their testimony in a personal injury claim.
4. Take Pictures and Videos of the Damage
Record as much as you can with your smartphone’s camera. Make sure to take pictures at the scene of the accident, as well as the damage to your bike and the car. It is also appropriate to get pictures of your injuries as you wait for the police and/or an ambulance.
5. Seek Medical Attention As Soon As Possible
Even if you walk away from your accident, you must see your primary care physician as soon as possible. Some injuries do not begin showing symptoms until hours or days later. Your doctor can order the right tests to investigate any potential injuries.
6. Keep Track of All Your Bills
Any bills you receive as a result of your injuries should be saved. Not only that, but you should collect receipts and doctor notes related to any rehabilitation. If you are traveling to medical appointments, be sure to also save mileage and any childcare costs.
If you lose time away from work, those are considered lost wages. Make sure to track your lost wages as a result of your injuries.
If your injuries render you handicapped, record costs associated with equipment and home renovations. You will likely also qualify for pain and suffering damages. These damages are calculated based upon how much pain you endure daily, as well as any loss of function resulting from your injuries.
Pain and suffering can also cause emotional effects. Some cyclists suffer from PTSD after their accident. Those who lose the ability to do many things in life that they love often become listless and depressed. If you suffer from any emotional effects after your accident, be sure to also include any mental health professional notes and costs.
Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney to Build Your Case
There is no cost for an initial consultation with an attorney at Balkan and Patterson. If we feel that you have a case, we will need access to all the records you’ve saved for the discovery process. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to follow-up on the information you provide, as well as collect all necessary expert witness testimony to build a strong case.
Who is At Fault if a Bicycle Hits a Car?
9.5 times out of 10 in Florida, a car driver is going to be held fully responsible for the accident. Even if some people believe you contributed to the accident while riding your bike, the car driver is tasked with exercising extra care while sharing the road with cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists.
Therefore, even if the car driver is only 1% responsible, they can be held 100% liable for damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
For more information about how a South Florida personal injury attorney can help you with your bicycle accident case, contact Balkan and Patterson at 561-750-9191 or visit our website.