If you were struck by a drunk, distracted, or otherwise reckless motorist while cycling, you may be thinking about taking legal action. After all, the damages resulting from unanticipated injuries can add up fast.
If you weren’t wearing a helmet when the accident occurred, though, you’re probably wondering whether you’re even entitled to pursue compensation. Thankfully, failure to wear a helmet does not bar you from filing a personal injury claim. It could, however, influence the outcome of the proceedings. Here’s how:
If You Sustained a Head Injury
If you file a third-party insurance claim, you will only be able to obtain compensation for damages that were caused by the other party. That means if you are found liable for some portion of your losses, the final settlement or verdict will be reduced by your own percentage of fault, pursuant to Florida’s pure comparative negligence standard.
If you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and you suffered a head injury, the insurance adjuster may try to hold you partially liable. However, your attorney might be able to counter this defense by showing evidence that your injuries would have been just as severe and your damages just as extensive even if you had been wearing a DOT- or CPSC-approved bicycle helmet.
If You Sustained Other Injuries
If you didn’t actually sustain a head injury, the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet would be less likely to impact your claim. If you suffered road rash and a few broken ribs, for example, wearing a helmet wouldn’t necessarily have reduced the severity of your injuries. As such, it is unlikely that your failure to wear a helmet would reduce the final settlement or verdict.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Following a Bicycle Accident?
The standard statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in the state of Florida is four years; however, if you intend to bring the claim against a government entity, you must submit written notice, allow for a 180-day investigation, and file your lawsuit within three years of the date on which you were hurt.
While this might seem like a considerable amount of time, it is likely that valuable evidence will only be available for a few days or weeks after the accident. Also, a small mistake early in the proceedings, such as providing a recorded statement to the insurer or posting about the crash on social media, could jeopardize your claim. To protect your case, it is advisable that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
Call 727-845-5972 to Speak with a Bicycle Accident Attorney in Tampa Bay
If you were hurt in a bicycle accident, our attorneys can help you fight for the full compensation you deserve. We will handle the logistics of your claim so you can focus on your health. Call 727-845-5972 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free consultation with a bicycle accident lawyer in Florida.