Last week, a New Port Richey middle school student was riding his bicycle when he was hit by a pickup truck after turning in front of it. The child suffered severe injuries, partially due to not wearing a helmet, and was airlifted to the hospital. Luckily, it looks like the injuries are not life-threatening. When there is an accident between a bicycle and a vehicle, who is responsible for paying for the injuries sustained in the accident by the bicyclist? Also, can someone on a bicycle still collect for their injuries, even if they are partially to blame for the injuries and their severity?
Because Florida is a no-fault state, medical bills, lost wages and other direct expenses such as replacement services would be covered by the bicyclist’s own insurance company if they own a car. In the case of a child, such as in the accident in New Port Richey, the bills would be covered by the parent’s insurance company, assuming that the parents own a car. If the passenger of a bicycle does not have insurance because they or their parents do not have a car, the driver of the vehicle that was involved in the accident would be responsible for the medical bills. This is the case regardless of whose fault the accident is, meaning that even though the child is partially at fault for this accident by riding in the path of a vehicle; his parent’s insurance company would still be responsible for paying his medical bills.
The responsibility for expenses changes when determining who is responsible for pain and suffering damages. In a case like this, where the bicyclist was seriously injured to the point of having to be air lifted, the injuries are of the severity where the driver of the vehicle would be responsible for the pain and suffering damages.
In this accident the child riding the bicycle was partially at fault for the accident by riding in the path of the vehicle and also partially responsible for the severity of the injuries for not wearing a helmet. However, this does not mean that the driver of the vehicle that hit him doesn’t bear any responsibility for pain and suffering damages. If the case was brought to trial, a jury would determine a percentage of negligence between the rider and the driver and would award the rider of the bicycle the percentage of the award that he was not responsible for. In this case, because the rider was a child, it is likely that there would be less of a percentage that would be determined to be his fault because, as a child, he would not have the judgment of an adult when it comes to where to ride his bicycle and whether or not to wear a helmet. What this means is that, even though the rider of the bicycle was partially at fault, it would not completely bar him from collecting against the driver of the vehicle that hit him.
If you or your child has been involved in an accident while a rider of a bicycle, it is important to call the Brooks Law Group at 1-888-WE-MEAN-IT right away so that your rights can be protected. Call us today to set up a free consultation.