How Does Wearing a Bike Helmet Affect Your Biking Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Everyone who rides a bike should wear a helmet, especially in Florida, which is one of the most dangerous states in the country when it comes to bicycling safety. The potential for serious injury as a result of a biking accident is significant, and includes traumatic brain injuries and deaths. The statistics are clear: of cyclists killed in crashes, 83 percent do not wear helmets. Given this, what if you are injured while bicycling but were not wearing a helmet? Does this decrease your chances of recovery?
Florida does not have a bike helmet law on the books, and if you age 16 or over you do not have to wear one. What this means is that if you are hit and injured by someone on your bike, they cannot use your lack of bike helmet against you to try to mitigate or even eliminate your ability to seek damages. Some states do allow this tactic, known as “contributory negligence,” and the idea behind it is that without a plaintiff’s contribution to their personal injury in some way their injury would not have occurred. The effect is that a plaintiff’s total damages can be reduced by the proportion they are responsible for those damages.
While Florida does allow contributory negligence, Florida law specifically prohibits defendants from asserting a defense of contributory negligence when it comes to biking accidents. Florida Statute 316.2065 in particular states: “The failure of a person to wear a bicycle helmet or the failure of a parent or guardian to prevent a child from riding a bicycle without a bicycle helmet may not be considered evidence of negligence or contributory negligence.”
While all personal injury victims need to be prepared to defend against contributory negligence claims, this is especially true for victims injured while biking due to how serious most biking injuries tend to be. There is often nothing protecting the biker’s body from the considerable weight and speed of a car. An experienced personal injury attorney skilled in litigating bicycle injuries is absolutely necessary to ensure that you not only get maximum compensation but that the defendant does not successfully blame your for the accident.
It’s also important to remember that there is a statute of limitations in Florida when it comes to bringing bicycle crash claims. Florida law allows injured parties to wait up to four years to bring a personal injury case, however it is best to not wait that long. It is important to begin investigating and gathering information about the accident immediately, and you never know how long it can take for paperwork to be processed. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you begin building your case as soon as you are able to.
Injured in a Biking Traffic Accident?
At Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC, our firm has represented many personal injury clients who were harmed in a variety of different kinds of injury cases, including bicycling injury cases. We know how catastrophic these injuries can be and that they can impact your entire life moving forward. Our experienced Miami personal injury attorneys are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve for your bicycling accident injuries. Contact us today to discuss your options.
Posted in: Personal Injury