Average Settlement for Bicyclist Hit By a Car in FloridaTrusted Content
Legally reviewed by:Erik Abrahamson, J.D. September 28, 2021
The popularity of bicycling as a form of commuting, recreation, exercise and sport has increased over the years, with more than 48 million Americans participating in 2019. While bicycling provides countless benefits to riders in terms of efficiency, health, and the environment, with benefit comes risk.
In fact, Florida recorded a record 6,678 bicycle crashes on roadways in 2019. Very few cyclists hit by a car walk away with minimal injuries. Florida law permits bicycle accident survivors to pursue a personal injury lawsuit for their injuries. Many personal injury lawsuits reach settlement before trial. However, achieving a fair settlement for your injuries requires the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can occur anywhere. However, bicyclists are often disproportionately injured in these accidents compared to motorists. Without a car to shield them, bicyclists have no physical protection other than their helmets. Even on neighborhood streets and at low speeds, bicycle accidents result in severe and sometimes fatal injuries.
Bicycle accidents may be caused by any number of factors. These factors are important because they are used to establish fault. Common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Driver inattention,
- Failure to yield,
- Dangerous road conditions,
- Riding at night,
- Impaired driving, and
- Bad weather.
While many bicycle accidents result from driver error, in some situations, bicyclists may be found at least partially at fault for an accident.
Bicyclists should ride with caution at all times. However, when certain unavoidable conditions exist, such as dangerous weather or road conditions, bicyclists should raise their awareness to protect themselves from risk of bicycle accidents.
How is Fault Determined?
When determining fault, Florida operates under a system of pure comparative negligence. This means that even if a bicyclist partially caused their accident, they are not barred from recovering damages. Any value or settlement, however, is reduced by the bicyclist’s percentage of fault. Consider an example where a court finds a cyclist 20% liable and a driver 80% liable for a bicycle accident. In this situation, the court awards the cyclist 80% of their damages. Pure comparative negligence also impacts settlements because these percentages would be factored into negotiations.
What Should I Do First?
There are many steps to take after you suffer an accident on a bicycle. Knowing what to do immediately following a bicycle accident makes a difference in maintaining control and protecting your rights.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you believe you have not been injured, seek medical attention. You may suffer injuries you are unaware of immediately following an accident. Medical records legitimately document your injuries and may increase the value of your bicycle accident settlement.
Additionally, follow all required medical directions and recommendations for your recovery. Failing to follow through with prescribed medical treatment may negatively affect the value of your case.
Document the Scene
If physically able, write down every detail about the accident, including the following information:
- Where and when you were hit by a car;
- Road, traffic, and weather conditions; and
- Diagrams showing the position of parties involved.
Take photos of the car that struck you, the license plate of the vehicle, your injuries, and damage to your bicycle. Additionally, exchange contact information with the driver. This includes a photo of their driver’s license and their insurance information.
Call and wait for law enforcement officials to arrive at the scene. Responding officers create accident reports. These reports provide crucial, unbiased information used in bicycle accident lawsuits and settlement negotiations. Additionally, law enforcement officials assess the scene and determine whether other factors may have contributed to the accident, such as driving under the influence.
Never Negotiate with the Motorist
Even if a driver accepts blame for a bicycle accident, never accept any offers of settlement. You don’t know the full extent of your injuries and damage to your bike.
Keep All Documentation
Your personal injury attorney will review and analyze all documentation related to your bicycle accident. Medical bills, bicycle repair receipts, and pay stubs are used to calculate the value of your claim.
What Duties Do Bicyclists Have in Florida?
Florida law defines a bicycle as a vehicle. Therefore, Florida cyclists have all the same privileges, rights, and duties applicable to drivers. Bicyclists in Florida must undertake certain responsibilities.
First, all bicyclists in Florida must ride in the bike lane if traveling at speeds slower than vehicle traffic. If no bike lane is available, bicyclists must ride as far to the right as is safe to avoid interrupting traffic.
If a bicyclist is younger than 16 years of age, they must wear a helmet at all times. Bicyclists also must obey all traffic signals while biking.
Is There an Average Settlement for a Cyclist Hit by a Car?
There is no predetermined amount of money that a cyclist hit by a car can expect. Settlement depends on the success of negotiations and the particular facts of your case. However, your personal injury attorney may provide insight as to what damages you may be eligible to recover in your lawsuit. Additionally, once they have reviewed all relevant information related to your case, a personal injury attorney may provide you with a range of estimated settlement values.
What Factors Affect the Value of My Bicycle Accident Case?
Those injured in a bicycle accident may recover for economic and non-economic losses.
Economic damages include those tangible, calculable losses related to your bicycle accident. The most common economic damages include the following:
- Past and future medical expenses,
- Lost wages and future loss of income, and
- Property damage and repair.
Economic damages are generally easy to quantify and prove with documentary evidence. Recovery of these damages often alleviates the financial burden many feel following a bicycle accident.
Non-economic damages do not have a specific monetary value and can vary widely. These losses may include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of consortium,
- Loss of companionship,
- Disfigurement, and
- Mental anguish.
Non-economic damages may vary from a fraction of the cost of your medical bills to multiple times the cost of your medical bills. Non-economic damages have the potential to make up the bulk of your bicycle accident settlement. The attorneys at Abrahamson and Uiterwyk never overlook the importance of non-economic damages. While money cannot truly compensate for many of these losses, it can help to ease your recovery.
After you are hit by a car on a bike, you probably feel overwhelmed by the financial, emotional, and physical consequences of a bike accident. Acceptance of a first offer of settlement may sound like the right way forward, but in the end, it may cause more harm than good.
Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys can fight to help you get justice for your injuries. But if a fair settlement can’t be reached, we are prepared to take your case to trial. The team at Abrahamson and Uiterwyk provides all clients with personalized attention and compassion during difficult times. For over 30 years, our firm has been fighting for the rights of injured victims and their families throughout Florida. We handle all types of personal injury cases with zeal and integrity.
If you or a loved one was involved in a bicycle accident, let us assist you in seeking a just settlement. Contact us 24/7, including holidays, weekends, and evenings, for a free consultation!