Frequently Asked Questions
- If I was lane splitting when I was hit, do I still have a case?
Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist drives between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving cars. While it’s not illegal in some states, this behavior is against the law in Florida. If an accident happens when a motorcycle is lane splitting, the operator is likely to be held liable for the collision. In Florida, the victim of an accident gets compensated to the extent that their negligence didn’t contribute to an accident. But if a motorcyclist is at fault, it’s going to be difficult to recover compensation. The only exception is if the motorcyclist can show the other driver contributed to the accident through carelessness (such as texting while driving).
- Do I need to have motorcycle insurance in order to file a lawsuit?
While in most states motorcycle insurance laws are comparable to other motor vehicle laws, Florida is an exception. Drivers in Florida are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) as part of the state’s no-fault insurance laws, but it only applies to drivers of motor vehicles with four or more wheels. PIP is not available to a motorcycle owner even if that person carries PIP for another vehicle. That can put the motorcyclist at greater risk of not just physical injuries from an accident, but long-term financial disaster as well. A motorcycle operator would need to pursue compensation from the other driver’s insurance for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. A motorcycle owner can obtain uninsured motorist coverage (UMC) in the case of a collision with a driver who doesn’t carry liability insurance.
- Does it matter if I was wearing a helmet or not at the time of my accident?
Florida law states that bikers don’t need to wear helmets if they’re over the age of 21 and carry at least $10,000 of medical coverage to assist with any medical bills brought on by their decision not to wear a helmet. Both drivers and passengers under age 21 must wear helmets, as required by federal law. Helmet use doesn’t change the other driver’s liability in an accident. Even if you decided not to wear a helmet while riding your motorcycle, if the other driver caused the accident, you can still claim the same compensation.
- How long do I have to file a legal claim after being involved in a car accident?
Florida law allows you to sue for damages if your injuries from a car accident were a result of another driver’s negligence, if your injuries were severe, or if your losses exceeded the limits of your own PIP coverage. However, you have a limited amount of time to file a car accident claim. Florida’s statute of limitations laws dictate the amount of time you have to take legal action, and that time limit will depend on the circumstances of the accident and who may have legal liability for your injuries or losses. Under Florida law, car accident injury claims must be filed within four years from the date of a traffic accident for those who were injured in a car accident by another driver’s negligence. It’s rare that a Florida court will hear your case after the four-year statute of limitations has expired.
- Are my medical bills paid in an injury settlement?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Florida, and you’re one of the named insured on the car insurance policy, you can file a no-fault injury claim under your PIP coverage. You can also make a claim for your MedPay to cover your medical bills if you opted for this plan when your purchased car insurance. (In Florida, MedPay coverage is optional.) MedPay offers additional assistance for paying your medical bills but can only be used for medical payments. A combination of PIP and MedPay can be beneficial in the event of an accident. PIP is a no-fault claim because it pays benefits regardless of who is at fault in the accident.
- How long can I expect the legal claim process to take?
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Florida, the statute of limitations is four years in which to file a claim and three if your claim is against the government. The length of time that will be involved in settling a personal injury claim is going to depend on the type of settlement you want and the amount of time you’re willing to invest in your case. Your claim can be settled in weeks if you want a low settlement and are willing to accept the first offer.
- Am I able to recover damages if I was involved in a bicycle accident due to unsafe pavement or road conditions?
When accidents happen in work zones, investigators will look into factors that contributed to the crash, including poor signage and weather conditions. In most traffic accidents, the first step to getting compensation for your injury is to file an insurance claim and to protect yourself against insurers eager to settle the claim for the least amount possible. If you were injured riding a bicycle in a work zone, determining who is responsible for your injuries and damages can be difficult, since there may have been different factors that contributed to the accident. That’s why it’s important to speak to an attorney.
- If the driver who hit me was uninsured, can I still recover damages?
If a car hits you while you’re on a bicycle in Florida, your PIP should help pay for some of your medical bills, although the most that PIP will cover is $10,000. Under Florida law, benefits are given to people “while not an occupant of a self-propelled vehicle.” While most insurance policies use the word “pedestrian” to cover the definition of an occupant, bicycle riders are “pedestrians” under the PIP law. So if you were riding a bicycle, you’d qualify for PIP.
- My accident was caused by someone else’s actions, but we didn’t actually collide with one another. Could I still have a case?
If you were riding a bicycle and got run off the road by another driver, you can end up with a serious injury, and being run off the road by another driver is not uncommon. A lot of these types of accidents are due to distracted driving behind the wheel. Most of the time if two vehicles, including a car and bicycle, don’t make contact, the accident is considered a single-vehicle accident, so you will be charged with an at-fault claim if you file physical damage or medical claim.
- What should I do if the driver fled after I was hit?
If you’ve been hit by a driver who then flees the scene of the accident, but you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) insurance coverage, you can file a claim with your insurer for any injuries or property damage caused by the fleeing driver. Your insurance will cover any damages which you may have suffered. Florida law treats a hit-and-run driver who can’t be located by police as if the driver had no insurance. The process you should follow when involved in a hit-and-run accident is the same as if the driver that hit you had pulled over to the side of the road, and you should immediately call the police.
- Are the drivers always at fault if they hit a pedestrian walking in or near a crosswalk?
If you were in a crosswalk and got struck by a car or other vehicle, the motorist was likely at fault. However, if you jumped out into the crosswalk and were hit, it’s possible the pedestrian would be judged as being somewhat at fault. Florida law states that if you literally “jumped” out in front of a car, you may be partially at fault.
- My injury was caused by a defect in the sidewalk, could I potentially have a case?
A trip and fall on a sidewalk due to a defect can be the responsibility of the party in charge of maintaining that sidewalk, which entitles you to compensation for any injuries you may have sustained. A defective sidewalk can cause a trip and fall, and that includes cracks, tree roots left to grow uncontrolled, or disintegration. While it could be argued that the pedestrian has a responsibility to pay attention to their surroundings, a claim can be brought against an injury caused by a poorly maintained sidewalk.