Does auto insurance cover bicycle accidents in Orlando, Florida? That's a big question people ask when they call us after getting hit by a car while out on a bike ride. It's a scary situation, and although bicycle accidents are very common in Florida, these accidents can leave a person with thousands of dollars in medical bills. In an instant, folks can be plunged into financial ruin, all because of a careless, negligent, or reckless driver. Even worse, some bicyclists are left with permanent injuries, and some are killed.
Considering an experience like this might make you ask whether or not your car insurance covers bicycle accidents. Well, the good news is that your auto insurance will often come into play if you get hit by a car while riding your bike in Florida. Most people think that their only option after a bike accident is their health insurance, but this is rarely the case because a relevant car insurance policy or commercial vehicle policy is almost always involved.
In this article, we're going to discuss the most common types of auto insurance coverage that come into play after a Florida bicycle accident. That way, you can be better prepared for the road ahead if you find yourself the victim of a bicycle accident in Orlando or anywhere else in Florida.
Understanding Auto Insurance and Bicycle Accidents
When you're pedaling down the street on a bicycle, you're probably not riding around thinking about auto insurance. But what happens if a negligent driver hits you while you're out riding your bike? Does the negligent driver's auto insurance cover the medical bills, ambulance ride, and physical therapy? Does your auto insurance policy kick in and help you with medical bills and lost wages?
The answer will depend on the different types of coverage within a given auto insurance policy. In Florida, you may encounter a number of relevant types of auto insurance, including personal injury protection (PIP), bodily injury coverage (BI), or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). In this article, we'll talk about these different types of insurance in greater detail.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage for Bike Accidents in Florida
If you're pedaling through Florida on a bike and get hit by a car, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) can be your financial safety net, at least for the first $10,000 in damages. As part of Florida's no-fault insurance system, PIP coverage is designed to cover medical costs and lost wages, regardless of who caused the accident. Unfortunately, PIP insurance is generally limited because, under Florida law, drivers are only required to carry $10,000 in PIP coverage.
The good news is that your personal injury protection policy should apply if you're hit by a car while riding your bicycle. In fact, if you own a vehicle that’s insured under Florida's no-fault law and you're injured while biking or as a pedestrian, your PIP coverage most often applies. Thus, at least for the first $10,000 in damages, you likely have some insurance coverage for your injuries.
How Does PIP Insurance Cover Bicycle Accidents in Florida?
As we talked about, your PIP coverage on your auto insurance policy should cover your medical expenses if you get hit by a car while riding your bike. It may also cover a portion of your damages for missing work. The tricky part comes when we're dealing with a cyclist who didn't have auto insurance in Florida.
Even though bicyclists share roads with cars every day; they aren’t required to carry auto insurance in Florida because bikes aren't motor vehicles. So here lies an interesting twist: A cyclist without their own PIP policy may be able to access the driver’s PIP benefits following an accident involving a car. Under Florida law, a wide array of folks are covered by a PIP policy, including "other persons struck by the motor vehicle."
Bear in mind though: This only covers a maximum of $10,000 per person for injuries related to the bike crash. Hence, severe accidents may still leave cyclists with more bills than protection from any involved motorists' PIP policies alone. That's when people generally need to file a personal injury claim to get the compensation necessary to cover all their damages.
What to Do When PIP Coverage Isn't Enough
Personal injury protection coverage is often just $10,000, as we talked about. In Florida, additional coverage options might include medical payments (MedPay) and uninsured motorist coverage, and we'll talk about that later in this article. However, folks who have damages that exceed the available PIP coverage will often need to pursue a personal injury claim after a serious bicycle accident in Orlando, Florida.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage After Orlando Bicycle Accidents
If you're a cyclist hit by a car in Florida, bodily injury liability coverage is something you need to understand. This coverage can be an important factor in covering expenses related to any physical injuries caused by a collision due to a negligent driver and policyholder. In most personal injury claims, where one person is suing another person for negligent driving, the most relevant insurance coverage at issue is the bodily injury policy.
What is Bodily Injury Liability Coverage?
In simple terms, bodily injury liability coverage covers the costs associated with any physical harm that results from an accident caused by the policyholder. In other words, if you're injured by a negligent driver, that negligent driver's bodily injury coverage is often the limiting factor if you choose to pursue a personal injury claim. Bodily injury liability coverage can cover things like medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more.
This means if a driver hits you while you're riding on your bike and they are at fault for causing the accident, their bodily injury liability could help pay for your medical expenses or other related costs. But remember each case varies depending on the unique facts of the situation. Thus, the value of a given bicycle accident case is going to boil down to a number of factors, including the insurance available, the culpability of the negligent driver, whether you were negligent too, and how severe your injuries are.
The Role of At-Fault Drivers in Florida Bicycle Accidents
Florida follows what's known as "no-fault" insurance law but this doesn't mean at-fault drivers escape financial responsibility entirely. If they cause significant harm – like hitting a cyclist – their bodily injury liability insurance will likely come into play, assuming they have bodily injury coverage. Theoretically, if a driver negligently injures someone and they don't have insurance, they're putting their personal assets as risk if the injured person chooses to sue them.
Unfortunately, Florida doesn't require drivers to carry bodily injury coverage. As a result, some people are injured by negligent drivers, and there's no bodily injury insurance available to help cover their damages. Additionally, most people don't have significant amounts of money or assets to justify suing them for their personal assets.
Florida only requires that motorists carry minimum amounts of PIP (Personal Injury Protection) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance. Other states, like Georgia and South Carolina, require drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury coverage. However, even if there's little or no bodily injury coverage available, the injured person may be able to seek compensation through their own uninsured or underinsured motorist policy.
Navigating Bodily Injury Insurance Claims after Bicycle Accidents
Making sure you get compensated fairly after getting injured in a bicycle accident involves navigating complex processes. First, there needs to be insurance available. Then, you'll need to prove the driver's negligence and demonstrate the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life.
An Orlando bike accident lawyer at our office can make this process less daunting and help guide you to getting the most compensation available. Our lawyers know how to deal with insurance companies and fight for what you're entitled to under the law. We're happy to help you, and we offer free legal consultations to bike accident victims in Orlando.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage for Bicycle Accidents in Orlando
Riding a bike can be hazardous for a number of reasons, but there's always the potential for an uninsured motorist to strike you, leaving you with thousands of dollars in medical bills. This is where uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) can come to your rescue, and this is why we recommend everyone speak to their insurance company about UM/UIM insurance. This type of insurance policy coverage isn't just for automobile insurance; it can also come into play when you're hit on a bike or while you're out walking around and get hit by a car.
In Florida, there are many drivers on the road who don't have car insurance or only have a $10,000 bodily injury policy. In these situations, the victim of a bike crash is left with few options for getting compensation, other than looking to their own health insurance or car insurance policy. Thus, UM/UIM coverage can be a lifeline if you're in a bicycle accident caused by someone who either has no insurance or insufficient insurance to cover your medical bills and other related costs.
The Role of Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Orlando Bike Accidents
This type of auto insurance kicks in when the at-fault driver cannot fully compensate you for your losses due to their limited or non-existent bodily injury liability coverage. If they are insured but their policy coverage isn't enough to cover all your expenses, that’s when underinsured motorist coverage applies. In cases where they lack any sort of liability protection altogether, then we’re dealing with uninsured motorist coverage.
Although this is an extra safety pad on top of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Bodily Injury Liability (BIL), folks often aren't carrying enough UM to cover their damages after a serious Orlando bike accident. Thus, UM/UIM coverage won't always guarantee full compensation after bicycle accidents involving severe injuries or fatalities.
UM and UIM Coverage Limitations in Florida Bike Accidents
A point worth noting is that just because you have UM/UIM coverage doesn't mean you'll automatically receive maximum benefits from an accident claim. Florida law does not require drivers to carry this kind of insurance – so cyclists must choose to purchase this voluntarily. Additionally, insurance companies hate paying out UM/UIM benefits, and even though you paid for that policy, they will fight you over every dollar.
Your payout depends heavily on how much coverage you've opted for, and it’s always advisable to review your policy limits periodically. Additionally, whether you get fair compensation will depend upon whether the insurance company can blame you for the accident or place some blame on you. Insurance companies are in the business of minimizing and denying claims, and they will take whatever you say or do and use it against you to avoid paying you money.
Get Legal Help from an Orlando Bike Accident Lawyer Near Me
Navigating insurance claims after a bicycle accident can be tricky business, especially when you're dealing with an insurance company that is your adversary. The intricacies of Florida law combined with confusing policy language make it daunting. Therefore, seeking legal help from an Orlando bike accident lawyer at our office can prove invaluable during these times.
With professional guidance from an Orlando bike accident attorney, you're more likely to get the compensation you deserve, and you can better avoid the insurance company's tactics. Our attorneys will guide you to getting the compensation you're entitled to. We fight insurance companies daily, and we can help you get where you need to go.
Steps to Take After Getting Injured in an Orlando Bike Accident
After getting hurt in a bicycle accident in Orlando, there's some steps you can take to help protect your rights and to protect the value of your claim. From the first moment after the crash, the insurance companies involved will be working to pay you as little as possible. So, your early steps can be critical to preserving your bike accident case's value.
Step 1: Report the Accident
Always report the bicycle accident as soon as possible. A police report can help to establish important details, like when, where, and how the bike accident occurred and who is to blame. Additionally, the police report may contain witness statements and witness contact information, which can be very helpful later on.
Step 2: Seek Medical Attention Immediately
You need immediate medical attention following an accident. This will not only help identify any hidden injuries but also create essential medical records that are crucial in making claims. Like a police report, medical records can establish critical facts after an Orlando bicycle accident.
Step 3: Document Everything
Gather as much evidence as possible from the scene of the accident. Photos, witness statements, and video footage could all come into play when filing your personal injury claim later on. So, be sure to take photos and videos after an accident if you can.
Step 4: Be Careful What You Say
In the aftermath of an accident, you need to be very careful what you say. Sometimes what you consider to be a harmless statement could come back to bite you if you choose to pursue a personal injury claim. As a general rule, you should not volunteer excess information at the scene of an accident, and you should not give the insurance company a recorded statement without talking with your lawyer. Also, don't post about your accident on social media because the insurance company will almost certainly take that information and try to use it against you.
Step 5: Contact an Orlando Bike Accident Lawyer
You should reach out to an Orlando bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to make sure you're prepared to deal with the insurance companies. They will be reaching out to you soon after your accident, and their goal is to get you to say things they can use against you. With a lawyer by your side from the start, you have a much better chance at getting the compensation you're entitled to under the law.
We understand that starting your personal injury claim process can seem daunting, especially when you're not engaged in this line of work every day. But with some guidance and understanding of what to expect, and with the help of an Orlando bicycle accident attorney, it becomes less overwhelming. I can promise you that these bike accident claims are extremely common in Orlando and across Florida, and you're not alone.
Legal Considerations After a Bicycle Accident
Given the complexity of Florida law, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable Orlando bike accident attorney after experiencing a bicycle accident. Florida law can be complex and often requires the help of a lawyer to navigate effectively, especially if you're seriously injured and entitled to a significant amount of money. The insurance company will try to bully you into taking pennies on the dollar, and they'll often use sneaky and dishonest tactics to minimize how much they pay. That's where we can help.
Your Rights as a Cyclist in Florida
In Florida, cyclists have the same rights on the road as motor vehicle drivers. This means if another party violates these rights resulting in an accident, they may be held liable for damages. Florida Statute 316.2065 explicitly outlines cyclist’s rights and duties on public roads.
However, even though bicyclists generally have the same rights and duties as drivers, proving negligence isn't always straightforward after a bicycle accident. There are a number of ways insurance companies try to avoid blame or shift blame to the bicyclists and away from the driver they insure, and they do this all the time to minimize claims and avoid paying out money. Fighting these tactics and properly valuing all of an injured person's damages is a major part of an Orlando personal injury attorney's job.
Potential Damages You Can Recover After an Orlando Bicycle Accident
The extent of your injuries will greatly influence potential compensation after a bicycle accident involving a negligent driver. You might qualify for various types of damages including:
- Medical bills
- Hospital bills
- Ambulance bills
- Rehabilitation bills
- Cost of medical equipment
- Lost past and future wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
In addition to the damages you may be able to pursue for your own, personal losses, our loved one may be entitled to loss of consortium for their loss of support and services that resulted from your injuries. This is where an Orlando bike accident lawyer can help. We can make sure you're seeking compensation for all the various types of damages you've suffered so that you can get maximum compensation for your losses.
Statute of Limitations for Bike Accidents in Orlando, Florida
To preserve your right to seek compensation, you need to file any lawsuit within specified time limits known as statute limitations. If not, your case could be dismissed. Under Florida law, you have two (2) years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury lawsuit after getting injured in a bicycle accident.
Long-Term Implications of Bicycle Accidents
The aftermath of a bicycle accident doesn't always end with physical healing. It can ripple into the future, impacting both your personal life and finances for years to come.
Physical Consequences of Bike Accidents
Bicycle accidents often result in injuries that are more than just skin deep. For example, a broken bone might heal, but it could leave you with lingering pain or decreased mobility, especially if you injure your spine, neck, hip, knee, or ankle. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are another common outcome from bicycle accidents and can lead to potential cognitive impairment or personality changes.
Economic Impact of Getting Seriously Injured in a Bicycle Accident
The financial toll from a bicycle accident extends beyond initial medical bills. Rehabilitation services, assistive devices, home modifications, and other injury-related expenses all add up quickly. Additionally, an injured person may also suffer a decrease in income due to the time away from work while recovering. Some folks even suffer injuries that prevent them from every being able to perform at work again, resulting in loss of earning capacity for a lifetime.
Lifestyle Changes and Adaptations
An unfortunate truth about severe bicycle accidents is that they sometimes necessitate significant lifestyle changes, and returning back to exactly how things were before the crash might not be possible. It may be essential to transition into a new line of work if the current one involves tasks that are no longer doable. Also, a person may not be able to ever ride their bike again due to an injury.
There's a serious emotional toll of dealing with all these unexpected changes and limitations. This is something that's difficult to put a price tag on, but it is an undeniable part of the long-term implications of Orlando bicycle accidents.
FAQs in Relation to the Question: Does Auto Insurance Cover Bicycle Accidents?
Q1: Can I bring a personal injury claim if I get knocked off my bike by an automobile?
A1: Yes, cyclists can file an insurance claim if they're hit by a vehicle. It's crucial to gather all relevant information at the accident scene to establish liability against the at-fault driver.
Q2: How does insurance work with bikes in Florida?
A2: Bike accidents involving cars usually fall under auto insurance policies of the motorists and cyclists involved. Personal injury protection, bodily injury liability, or uninsured motorist coverage may apply. Speak with an Orlando bike accident attorney to help you access all the potential insurance coverages available.
Q3: Is bike insurance a thing?
A3: Absolutely, specialized bicycle insurance exists covering theft, damage and liability. However, it is separate from auto or homeowner’s policies. Speak with your insurance company to see if there are coverages that might interest you.
Q4: Can I claim compensation for a bike accident in Florida?
A4: Yes. If you're injured by a negligent motorist while riding your bike, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent driver in Florida. This is especially true if you've suffered severe injuries and if you were not at fault for the accident.
Q5: Does PIP cover bicycle accidents in Florida?
A5: If you have a current auto insurance policy in Florida, your PIP coverage should kick in and cover your medical bills. If you don't have an insured automobile in Florida, then the driver's PIP insurance may kick in and cover some of your medical bills and lost wages.
Q6: How much do attorneys charge for bicycle accidents in Orlando?
A6: Attorney contingency fees are governed by Rule 4-1.5 of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar. Generally, attorneys charge a one-third contingency fee while the case is in the pre-suit phase. If the case must go into litigation, the attorney fee will generally increase to 40% after the attorney files a lawsuit and after the opposing attorney files an answer to that lawsuit.