Securing an insurance payout while recovering from Florida bicycle accident injuries isn’t always a simple matter.
Whether it’s possible at all depends a lot on the underlying facts. But in many cases, you might have several insurance claim options.
Our longtime local injury lawyers can help answer your questions about the types of crash coverage that might be available and how best to go about filing a claim.
Florida’s Ongoing Struggle to Make Biking Safer
A lot has changed in Florida in recent years. One of the things that hasn’t changed much (unfortunately) is the state’s position near the front of the pack when it comes to bike crashes.
Just recently, a 71-year-old lost his life after suffering Cape Coral bicycle accident injuries. He was struck and killed by a pickup truck driver on Country Club Boulevard. The man had been pedaling on the sidewalk when a section of it closed, forcing him to continue his journey on the outside right lane. The driver who struck him was towing a dump trailer and reportedly swerved to avoid a collision with vehicles in the left lane. Nearby residents told WINK News there was really “no way for (the bicyclist) to go anywhere else, and he was traveling with the direction of travel.”
Road design in the U.S. – particularly in the South – has long made foot and bicycle traffic an afterthought. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 985 bicyclists died in U.S. road accidents last year, up 5 percent from the year before. Analysis by Smart Growth America (which releases an annual “Dangerous By Design” report on the safety of vulnerable road users) has concluded that systemic oversights with traffic engineering contribute to the high number of fatal pedestrian and bicycle accidents in Florida and beyond. Solutions like median islands, traffic signals with exclusive pedestrian & bicycle phases, giving cyclists and walkers a head start before green lights, and lowering speed limits can go a long way. Some cities have committed to adopting these measures with some success, but it’s been slow-going.
Other issues to tackle include driver distraction, visibility impairments, and drivers just generally not watching for or failing to use reasonable care around bicyclists.
Will Insurance Cover My Cape Coral Bicycle Accident Injuries?
Insurance coverage available to cover the fall out from your Florida bike crash injuries will depend on several factors (i.e., how badly you’re hurt, what you were doing at the time, where the crash occurred, who was involved, what type of vehicles were involved, who was at-fault, how much/what type of insurance each person has, etc.).
As Cape Coral injury lawyers, some of the possibilities for financial compensation following a cycling accident may include:
- Health insurance. This is typically the first go-to for anyone in a bicycle crash – whether it involved two bicyclists, a single bicyclist, a bicyclist and pedestrian or a bicyclist and a motor vehicle. If it’s later determined you have a claim to financial damages from another at-fault party, your health insurer may assert subrogation rights. That means they reserve the right to collect compensation for coverage they provided for your injuries when another at-fault party is compelled to pay monetary damages.
- Homeowners or renters’ insurance. This might apply if you crash with another bicyclist who was at-fault and they have this type of coverage. Such policies occasionally cover the cost of damages for personal injuries and property loss. It will depend on whether there is an insurance rider to cover personal liability for their bicycle/related injuries on their policy. If your injuries are serious, this is something with which you may request an injury attorney’s help. If you were at-fault, property damage to your own bike may be covered under your own homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy, though it’s unlikely this policy will provide coverage for your own personal injuries.
- PIP (personal injury protection) insurance. This type of no-fault coverage, as explained in F.S. 627.736, is required of virtually all motorists in Florida. PIP covers up to 80 percent of medical bills and 60 percent of lost wages due to a crash (up to $10,000) regardless of fault. Even if you, as a bicyclist, were at-fault for a crash, you may be able to collect PIP coverage from your own auto insurance policy (even though you weren’t driving). If you don’t have PIP coverage (as bicyclists aren’t required to), you might be able to file a claim with a resident family member’s policy. If you don’t have PIP, and you don’t have a resident family member with PIP, you might be able to collect it from the vehicle owner. If your auto insurance policy has MedPay, there may be grounds to file a claim on that policy, regardless of fault. You may need to speak with a lawyer about the particulars of your legal standing.
- Bodily injury liability insurance. This type of insurance isn’t required in Florida, but a lot of drivers carry it because the alternative is a $20,000 personal responsibility waiver. If you’re injured in a bicycle accident AND the driver of the motor vehicle was at-fault AND they have liability coverage AND your injuries meet/exceed the serious injury threshold (as outlined in F.S. 627.737), then you may have standing to file a claim for damages from the driver’s insurance company. Don’t expect an automatic payout. Especially for serious injuries, consult a lawyer.
- UM/UIM insurance. If you’re injured in a bicycle accident AND your injuries are serious AND the driver of the vehicle was at-fault AND they do not have insurance (or enough insurance to cover your damages) AND you have auto insurance AND that insurance includes an uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist provision – then you may file a claim with your own auto insurer for damages relating to your bicycle accident. This is also a possibility for bicyclists who are injured in hit-and-run accidents. Again, talk this over with an injury lawyer first.
- Workers’ compensation insurance. This would only apply if you were riding your bicycle for work. In that case, there’s a good chance you may be able to file a no-fault claim for workers’ compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, disability, etc.
- Commercial liability insurance. This might apply in a few scenarios – most of which involve an at-fault driver who crashes into a bicyclist while they are acting in the course and scope of employment. Another possibility involves dram shop liability – if the at-fault driver was drunk and had been served alcohol by an establishment despite knowing they were under age 21 OR that they were habitually addicted to alcohol.
This is not necessarily an exhaustive list, but it does detail the options that are going to cover most bicycle accident scenarios. If you have additional questions, we’re happy to provide answers.
If you are injured in Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, Cape Coral, Naples, or Key West, contact Garvin Injury Law at 800.977.7017 for a free consultation.
More Blog Entries:
Can Both Drivers Be At-Fault in a Fort Myers Car Accident? Dec. 22, 2022, Cape Coral Personal Injury Lawyer Blog