How a Bicycle Helmet Can Affect your Personal Injury Claim
September 27, 2013 Posted By Vanguard Attorneys
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 negligence.
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.