When a bicyclist is struck by a car and injured, age plays a major factor
in determining how the use of a helmet can affect a personal injury claim.
Florida state law does not require the use of helmets for bicyclists over
the age of 16. So in these instances, courts are much less likely to assign
any amount of blame due to
contributory negligence on the part of the cyclist. However, minors age 16 or under are required
to wear a helmet. If a minor is injured, his/her parents may receive a
substantial assignment of blame, potentially reducing any compensation
for their child’s injuries.
Regardless of age, the failure to wear a helmet in no way precludes an
injured bicyclist from pursuing a lawsuit and claiming compensation for
injuries. However, insurance company adjusters may present evidence and
examples in which wearing bicycle helmets have been proven to reduce head
injuries. If the rider’s injury claim involves substantial medical
expenses for a traumatic brain injury, the insurance company may argue
this point in an attempt to negotiate a lower settlement amount.
Other Factors for Bicycle Accident Claims
There are a two other laws that do apply to Florida bicyclists that could
present issues of contributory negligence if a personal injury suit is filed.
- Lights: If you ride a bicycle after dark, Florida law requires that a white
light be installed on the front of the bike, visible from 500 ft. away.
The bike must also have a red reflector and a red light installed in the
rear, visible from at least 600 ft. away.
- Hand Signals: While riding in traffic, cyclists are required to use the
following hand signals:
- Left Turn – hand and arm extended horizontally
- Right Turn – hand and arm extended upward
- Stop or Slow Quickly – hand and arm extended downward
If an injured cyclist violates the preceding bike laws and files a personal
injury claim, any award for damages may be reduced due to contributory
Personal Injury Attorneys
If you, or a loved one, have been injured in a
bicycle accident, you are strongly urged to seek counsel with an experienced
personal injury attorney. An established personal injury attorney can negotiate with the insurance
companies and go to court, if necessary, to recover the maximum settlement
for your injury. Time limits may apply for legal action, so share your
case with a bicycle accident attorney today.
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