Yes, you can sue the other driver if you caused the accident while on your bike. However, depending upon the circumstances of the accident, it may or may not be in your best interest to do so.
The reason that you can (and maybe even should) sue the other driver that hit you on your bike – even if you caused the accident – is due to Florida’s partial fault clause. In this article, we will discuss how partial fault works, steps you should take after a bike accident involving a car, and how to seek a personal injury attorney’s advice on your bicycle accident case.
Florida’s “Partial Fault” Laws
The more official name for “partial fault” is Florida’s comparative fault rule. The alternative method is known as contributory negligence. If the accident that you caused took place in a contributory negligence state, you still have a case.
Florida seeks to assign negligence to each party involved if each party contributed some negligence that resulted in an accident. In an accident between two or more cars, negligence is assigned as a percentage to each driver that was negligent. In a personal injury case, the person with the lesser amount of negligence (under 50%) can be awarded a portion of their declared damages.
However, if a car gets into an accident with a bicycle, contributory negligence works much differently. You could have technically “caused” the accident, but if the car driver was negligent even only 1%, then they are liable for your injuries.
Car drivers are held responsible (for the most part) for accidents with bicyclists and pedestrians in Florida. They are required to exercise greater care for bicyclists and pedestrians around them.
What Should You Do if You Get Hit by a Car While Riding Your Bike?
In the wake of an accident, you are more likely to be hurt than the car driver. If that is the case, then the other driver is required by law to stop and provide you reasonable care (even if all they can do is call you an ambulance). Depending upon your physical, mental, and emotional state, here are a few things you can do right away after your accident.
Exchange Information with the Car Driver
You should have their name, car registration, and the name of their insurance provider. Make sure that the driver has your name and contact information, as well.
Get Pictures of the Damage, Injuries, and Scene Where the Accident Took Place
If you are able, pull out your phone and take plenty of pictures at the scene of the accident. Make sure to get pictures of the intersection, damage to each vehicle, and any injuries. Be sure to back up your photos so that an accidental delete doesn’t cause you to lose them.
Collect Eye Witnesses’ Contact Information
If there were any eye witnesses that stopped to assist, ask them kindly for their names and contact information. They may be key to demonstrating how the other driver’s negligence was greater than yours.
Seek Medical Attention
Make sure to seek medical attention right away. Even if you feel okay, some injuries surface later on. If you wait too long to seek medical attention, an insurance company or a personal injury courtroom might become suspicious that you injured yourself after the accident.
Appeal to the Car Driver’s Insurance Company
You should first contact the driver’s insurance and explain what happened. Many car insurance providers will consider settling with you to help you pay your medical and repair expenses.
Keep Track of Expenses and Repairs
If the car driver’s insurance will not cooperate, or if your injuries exceed insurance caps, then you may be eligible to seek compensation in a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver. As such, you should keep a careful log of all medical expenses, recuperation costs, lost wages, and other damages. If you do end up going to court, your attorney will need these expenses in order to help you collect as much in damages as is possible or reasonable.
Get a Consult with an Experienced Attorney
It never hurts to discuss your bicycle accident case with a personal injury attorney. In fact, it is always best to do so. Make sure to bring the police report, list of expenses, and be ready to provide your account of what happened. The attorney will be able to direct you on your next steps.
For more information about how a South Florida personal injury attorney can help you with your case after a bicycle accident involving car, contact Balkan and Patterson at 561-750-9191 or visit our website.