Bicyclists have virtually no protection against passenger vehicles, trucks,
and other motorists on the road. Because of this, bicycle accidents are
known for devastating results, often with riders suffering serious injuries.
While all bicycle accidents are unique, many are caused by the negligence
of other drivers who fail in their legal obligation to take reasonable
measures of driving safely. By pursuing a personal injury claim against
the at-fault driver, riders injured in these types of wrecks have the
ability to recover financial compensation for their damages. But what
happens if a rider played a role in causing their own accident and injury?
When it comes to any type of traffic accident, it is not always the case
that one party is entirely at fault. In some cases, including those involving
bicycle accidents, the injured victim themselves may have played a role in contributing
to or causing the accident in which they suffered harm. Even riders who
may be responsible – at least partially – for their own injuries,
may still have the right to recover at least some compensation for their
damages. This is because Florida uses the rule of pure comparative negligence
in personal injury cases.
At Roman & Gaynor, our firm’s founding Clearwater personal injury
lawyers are avid cyclists passionate about supporting the local cycling
community and fighting behalf on injured riders. By drawing from nearly
50 years of combined experience, our legal team is able to affectively
advocate for bicyclists who depend on compensation to help them cove their
medical expenses, lost work wages, and pain and suffering, among other
losses. We strive to secure the maximum compensation possible –
even if a rider is believed to have be partially at-fault for causing
their own accident and injuries.
To understand how injured riders may still be eligible to recover compensation
even if they contribute to their own wreck, you need to understand Florida’s
pure comparative negligence law:
Fault and liability – One of the most difficult yet important aspects of a personal
injury case is determining fault and liability. If you or a loved one
have suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, Florida law says that you
can recover compensation depending on the percentage of fault each party
had in causing the wreck. As such, apportioning fault and liability becomes
a critical aspect, as it can dictate how much compensation you may be
eligible to receive.
Pure comparative negligence – Pure comparative negligence is a rule Florida applies to personal
injury cases, including bicycle accident cases. Under this standard, your
compensation recovery will be based on how must at fault the other party
was and how much at fault you were for contributing to the crash.
Reduced recovery – Under the pure comparative negligence rule, your recovery will
be reduced by your percentage of fault. If, for example, an injured rider
is found to be 20% at fault for contributing to a crash and the other
driver is found to be 80% at fault, the injured rider’s compensation
recovery will be reduced by 20% - which is how much their negligence contributed
to the crash. If a riders damages were $100,000, they would be able to
recover no more than $80,000; the full amount of damages reduced by their
percentage of fault.
Ultimately, Florida’s pure comparative negligence law means that
injured riders can still seek and recover compensation even if they contributed
to the crash. This is important because riders often depend on compensation
to help them cover their expenses, including medical bills. By ensuring
that fault and liability are accurately determined, and by disputing fault
pinned on riders, riders can work to ensure that they recover what they
need to cover at least some of their losses.
Establishing fault in any type of traffic accident is no easy task, especially
when insurance companies are using their extensive resources to skirt
liability away from their policy holders. Because the apportioning of
fault and liability is so critical to a victim’s eventual recovery,
it becomes extremely important that injured victims and their families
work with seasoned personal injury attorneys who know how to fight back
against insurers and establish fault in a way that minimizes any reduction
in compensation for victims.
Our legal team at Roman & Gaynor has helped many injured riders after
they were harmed in accidents, even when riders contributed in some way
to their own accident and injuries. If you have questions about a recent
bicycle accident and how the pure comparative negligence rule may work
in your case, do not hesitate to reach out to use to personally discuss
your potential case and rights. Our firm is available 24/7 to help.
Contact us today for a FREE consultation.