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Bicycle accidents are on the rise. More than 850 bicyclists died in an accident in 2018. That’s one death every 11 hours in the United States.
Thousands more were injured. Thankfully, most bicyclists sustain minor injuries. But other bicyclists suffer from long-lasting, even permanent damages.
If you suffered a serious injury in a bike accident, you can file an accident claim. When people hear about filing for one, they wonder, “Just how much money can I make?”
The answer depends on a few things. Here is a quick guide.
Percentage of Fault
Florida is a no-fault state. When you get into an accident, the state expects you to go to your insurance provider for coverage. Your insurance may cover all damages and medical bills.
If you want to file a bike accident lawsuit, you can file for negligence. But Florida follows a “pure comparative negligence rule.” Your percentage of fault in the accident reduces how much you can receive.
You can receive damages for any percentage that you’re at fault. Even if you are 99% at fault, you can sue for 1% of damages.
The court determines fault through several factors. If you were following the regulations for bicycling, your fault will be small. If you were wearing reflective gear and had lights on your bike, your fault will likely be small.
You should file a lawsuit when your fault is below 50%. You can still file if you were at significant fault, but your chances of winning are low. Winning a small settlement may not be enough to offset legal fees.
When people think of settlements, they think of paying for medical bills. Medical bills are the first things that courts look to when determining amounts.
You should receive coverage from your car insurance. But you may not receive full payments for all expenses. You can file an accident claim for those unpaid expenses.
You can sue for ongoing treatment. A court can also consider potential future expenses. If you expect to pay for physical therapy, you can receive money for those treatments.
You may need accommodations, like a wheelchair or prosthetics. You may need prescriptions for pain management. Bike accident compensation can pay for them.
To help your case, keep all paperwork that your doctor gives you. Get a full physical and psychological evaluation. You may have no physical injuries, but you may suffer from PTSD as a result of your accident.
Provide your lawyers with the contact information of your physician. You can even ask your physician to testify in court. This will lend credibility and detail to your argument, increasing the chance of a significant settlement.
You can file a claim if your accident harmed your ability to work. You can sue for days that you missed. You can also sue if you did work, but you had to take fewer responsibilities because of your injuries.
Document when the accident occurred and how long you were hospitalized. If you needed to recover at home, document those days as well. Talk to your employer and connect them to your lawyer.
Do try to return to work as soon as possible. This will keep you on your employer’s good side, encouraging them to cooperate with your legal team.
If you are partially disabled, you may be able to receive accommodations from your worker’s compensation insurance. Get as many accommodations as you can.
Provide a concrete dollar amount for your lost wages. The jury or your insurer may award you that exact amount. You may be able to earn more based on investments.
Pain and Suffering
Under tort law, you can recover damages for suffering and mental anguish. Any accident would cause suffering, but it can be hard to quantify it.
If a doctor diagnosed you with a mental illness related to the accident, you may be able to prove you’re suffering. If you require counseling and therapy, you can also build a case for suffering.
It is difficult to prove mental pain without physical pain. But it is possible. Hire expert witnesses who can speak to your psychiatric condition, connecting it to your accident.
The jury will use their discretion to find a dollar amount. They may look at how much you pay for counseling services.
Medical bills and lost wages are special damages, while the suffering and mental distress are general damages. These are the two main types of damages, but there are others you can consider.
Transportation from the accident scene costs money. You can receive compensation from your insurer. You can also receive compensation if your bike gets towed.
You can receive a settlement for your broken property. If you were struck by a reckless driver, you can receive punitive damages. These are fines that a court adds as a criminal penalty.
You may be able to file a claim if you witnessed an accident. Observing an accident can provoke PTSD or a panic attack, which falls under tort law.
How Much You Can Get From an Accident Claim
An accident can be debilitating. But you don’t have to suffer for long. File an accident claim to receive compensation.
Florida adjusts compensation based on fault so file a lawsuit when your percentage is low. You will receive insurance money, but that might not cover all expenses. File a lawsuit for ongoing treatments.
Consider tort law for suffering. Factor in additional damages to your property. You may be able to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Go to the experts. The Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Vivo is Boca Raton’s leading law firm for bicyclists. Contact us today.