Mark Roman | November 23, 2022 | Bicycle Accidents
Cyclists involved in automobile accidents can sustain catastrophic and life-threatening injuries. A bicyclist does not have the protection of a metal frame and airbags when struck by a motor vehicle. Stacking uninsured motorist coverage on your auto policy could help you cover the expenses caused by a negligent driver.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Florida insurance laws require companies to offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage applies:
- In a car accident caused by a hit-and-run driver
- In a car crash caused by an uninsured driver
Underinsured motorist coverage applies when the at-fault does not have sufficient liability insurance to pay a claim.
Even though your underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage is purchased with your automobile insurance, the coverage can apply if you are injured in a bicycle accident.
What Do We Mean by Stacking Uninsured Motorist Insurance in Florida?
Stacking uninsured motorist coverage refers to adding coverage for two different vehicles together to cover the bicycle accident. You can stack your uninsured motorist coverage for a bicycle crash in two ways.
Suppose you have a single automobile insurance policy that covers two vehicles. Each vehicle is covered by $100,000 in uninsured motorist insurance. You can “stack” the policies together to increase the uninsured motorist coverage for a bicycle accident to $200,000.
You can also stack coverage from two different insurance policies with the same company. Suppose your name is on both your and your spouse’s automobile insurance policies. If so, you can stack uninsured motorist coverage across both insurance policies.
Why Should a Cyclist Stack Insurance?
Florida requires drivers to have two types of insurance coverage for automobiles:
- $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage
- $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance coverage
PIP is no-fault insurance coverage. If a motorist hits you with their car, your no-fault insurance coverage should apply (assuming you own a motor vehicle and have your own PIP coverage). However, no-fault insurance only pays up to 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages after a bicycle accident.
Bicycle accidents cause severe injuries, including permanent disabilities and impairments. Unfortunately, even with a minor injury, your economic damages won’t be covered in full by no-fault car insurance.
If the driver has liability insurance coverage, you might be able to recover damages by filing an insurance claim against the liability policy. However, Florida does not require drivers to have liability insurance for their automobiles. Therefore, even though the driver is at fault for causing your bicycle accident, the driver might not have liability insurance to cover your damages.
If a car hits you while riding your bicycle, you could be responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses and losses. Purchasing underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage can protect you from these losses. Stacking the insurance coverage gives you additional peace of mind in case you are hit by a car while cycling in Clearwater.
The Driver Must Be at Fault for Uninsured Motorist Insurance To Apply
Even though you stack uninsured motorist coverage, it does not mean your insurance company automatically pays your bicycle accident claim. You have the burden of proving the driver caused the accident.
Generally, you must prove the elements of negligence for a bicycle accident claim. Those elements are:
- Duty of Care – The motorist owed the bicyclist a duty of care to take reasonable steps to avoid causing a bicycle accident
- Breach of Duty – The motorist breached the duty of care owed to the bicyclist through the motorist’s actions or omissions
- Causation – The motorist’s actions were a direct and proximate cause of the bicycle accident
- Damages – The bicyclist sustained damages because of the motorist’s actions
Damages include economic damages, such as out-of-pocket expenses, loss of income, and medical bills. It also includes non-economic damages, including emotional distress, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.
If you sustain permanent impairments, you might also be entitled to future damages. Future damages include a decrease in your quality of life and the future loss of earning capacity.
Do I Need a Lawyer if I File an Uninsured Motorist Claim for a Bicycle Accident?
People often assume they do not need legal advice when dealing directly with their insurance provider. It is important to remember that your insurance company is like other insurance providers. The insurance adjuster tries to limit liability for claims.
It does not matter that you are a customer. The claims adjuster will use any tactics available to undervalue your claim. For example, the adjuster might try to lower the value of your bicycle accident claim by blaming you for the accident (contributory fault).
A Clearwater bicycle accident lawyer is familiar with these insurance tactics. Before talking with an insurance adjuster or accepting a settlement offer, you might want to talk to a lawyer to ensure you receive the maximum compensation available for your claim.
Contact the Clearwater Bicycle Accident Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a bicycle accident lawyer in Clearwater. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655