Florida accident attorneys from Zimmet & Zimmet handle all types of accident claims, including those involving electric bicycles or e-bikes. With this convenient mode of transportation becoming more popular throughout Florida, there has been a steady increase in accidents and injuries. If you are involved in an accident while using an e-bike, you may wonder what rights you have to recover compensation.
Are there protections for e-bike riders? What rights and obligations do you have? Keep reading to learn more about e-bike accidents and if you can recover compensation for your injuries.
Florida Law for E-Bike Use and Accidents
The Florida Legislature passed House Bill 971 in 2020, which outlined all the laws and regulations related to e-bike use in the state. Along with outlining guidelines and regulations, this Bill also established what type of e-bikes were allowed in the state.
Since the passing of that law, e-bike riders have been given the same options for recovery after being in an accident with a car or truck. What this means is that recovering compensation is possible based on Florida law.
Steps to Take After an E-Bike Accident in Florida
Just like any other accident, there are certain steps you should take after an e-bike accident to protect yourself and your rights.
Seek Medical Attention
After an accident, you need to be checked out by a medical professional. Some injuries caused in an e-bike accident may not be apparent right away. In fact, it could be several days after the accident that you start to feel pain due to the adrenaline your body produces in response to a traumatic event.
While many injuries are obvious, such as broken bones and road rash, others are not. For example, internal bleeding and TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) can take days or longer to produce symptoms. Being checked out by a doctor will ensure that the right tests are done to find any potential injuries that need to be treated.
Contact the Authorities
Any time an accident occurs, it’s smart to get in touch with the authorities right away. They can create an official record of the incident, which can be helpful if you file a personal injury claim. The police who arrive at the accident scene will record everyone’s name and information, talk to witnesses, and collect insurance details.
Be sure to go to the local police station to get a copy of the accident report. If you can’t do this, you can ask your Florida accident attorneys to do so on your behalf.
Collect Accident-Related Evidence
If you can, try to collect some evidence while you are still at the scene. Police reports are a great start, but something may be missed, or key elements may be left out.
Take pictures of the scene, damage to your e-bike, and any injuries you sustained. It’s also smart to collect contact information from the other people involved in your accident. You should speak to witnesses who saw the accident and ask them for their phone numbers, too.
Turn to Your Auto Insurance for Monetary Compensation
If you own a vehicle or live with a relative who does, you should be covered by PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage on your auto insurance policy. Since Florida operates on a no-fault law, all parties involved in an accident will file a claim with their auto insurance policy and the PIP coverage they are required to purchase. PIP insurance coverage will pay for all medical costs. Also, it covers the policy owner and relatives who live with them.
What Will PIP Cover?
PIP (with some variations and exceptions) covers up to 80% of your accident-related medical costs up to $10,000. However, the laws in Florida have accounted for the fact that in situations where severe injuries occur, medical costs may easily exceed the $10,000 mandatory coverage provided by PIP. If this happens, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s bodily injury coverage on their auto insurance policy. This type of claim will be used to cover any leftover medical costs and your pain and suffering.
What if the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
In the state of Florida, there are many drivers who don’t have bodily injury coverage as part of their policy. One reason for this is that it’s not required in Florida. Some drivers even drive illegally and have no insurance.
Because of this, it’s essential that bicyclists and e-bike riders have underinsured or uninsured motorist protection added to their auto insurance policy. Even though Florida requires that insurers offer UM coverage, many drivers opt not to buy it. However, the benefit of UM protection is worth more than the small cost it adds to your policy.
With UM protection, you can receive compensation if the person who caused your accident and injuries has minimal or no BI insurance. UM coverage is also used if you are the victim of a hit-and-run e-bike accident.
Property Damage Coverage in an E-Bike Accident
In an e-bike accident involving a motor vehicle, it’s likely that your bike will be damaged. While PIP provides coverage for injuries, you may wonder what will cover the damage to your property. Florida requires that all drivers in the state have Property Damage (PD) liability coverage. This part of the insurance policy covers damage to someone else’s property up to the limit. The mandatory amount that drivers must have is $10,000. This policy doesn’t cover the driver’s property. A driver can purchase separate coverage for their property, but this is not mandatory.
This means if your e-bike is damaged in the accident, the at-fault driver’s PD coverage is required to compensate you for the repairs or to replace it. It’s smart to keep all receipts related to your e-bike purchase and have it inspected by a mechanic to determine what the repair costs will be or if it has been totaled in the accident.
Common Injuries in E-Bike Accidents
Not all accidents are serious, nor do they result in severe injuries. However, many do. Some of the most common types of injuries that you may sustain in an e-bike accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Bone fractures
- Abdominal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Abrasions or lacerations that cause scarring
- Neck injuries
- Pelvis fractures
These injuries can cause long-term issues and require ongoing treatment and rehabilitation. Due to the severity of these, it’s clear that the $10,000 in PIP coverage your auto policy provides won’t be enough to handle the costs. This is when working with your attorney is recommended to start the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
This lawsuit will provide compensation for your remaining medical costs and any pain and suffering you have endured due to the collision.
Don’t Wait to Call Florida Accident Attorneys from Zimmet & Zimmet
No one plans to be in an accident. However, these situations occur all the time. It’s imperative that you take some time to get medical treatment and then talk to an attorney.
At Zimmet & Zimmet, our Florida accident attorneys have experience representing all types of personal injury cases. You can count on us to put our experience and resources to work for you to help you recover the compensation you deserve. The first step is to contact our office to set up a free, no-obligation initial consultation. We can learn about your case and create a plan to move forward. Get in touch today.