Florida Bicycle Accident Attorney

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FLORIDA BICYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
Florida has always been a go-to location for bicycling enthusiasts. The fact that they can cycle through the countryside through the never-ending summer is a Godsend. In fact, for many, bicycles are the primary mode of transport.

Numerous communities have even been labeled bike-friendly or have established useful ride-sharing platforms.

Despite all these facilities, bicycle crashes are a common occurrence, and the smallest of mistakes tend to have the most severe repercussions.

If you been in a bicycle accident, your first plan of action should be to file an insurance claim against the individual(s) responsible for the incident. Frequently, this also tends to include auto insurance policies.

Of course, this could also mean that your auto insurance coverage may come into play as well, even if you were on a bicycle at the time.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
1. File a Report Right Away
Regardless of whether you were injured or your bicycle was damaged, it is always recommended by bicycle accident lawyers to report the accident right away.

Also, your bike may seem to be okay on the surface, a complete check-up might prove otherwise.

It is also worth mentioning here that Florida law has made it compulsory for bicycle and other commuters to file a report with the police if their property is damaged and if their personal injuries and/or serious injuries are over $500.

2. Consult a Bicycle Accidents Lawyer

If you feel like you are in great shape and your bicycle seems fine too, you might be tempted to just move on without any action.

Firstly, it's best to have your bike inspected before you take it out on the road again. And we would recommend you talking to a bike accident attorney and discussing what your next plan of action should be.

Ideally, these experienced professionals may tell you about what kinds of proof may be required to file a claim and what sort of compensation you can expect for your troubles. This also means that you should preserve your bicycle (and all of your bicycling accessories) before you have consulted with an attorney.

3. Don't Ignore Your Physical Health Get Medical Attention

If you took a spill, visit your nearest hospital as soon as you are through filing a police report. If possible, make sure that your doctor or your loved one makes a note of what your condition was on arrival, before going through the required treatment.

Note: Your doctor's medical report (or any future medical costs) will play a crucial role when your bicycle accidents attorney seeks to maximize compensation from responsible parties or their insurance companies.

4. Call Your Insurance Provider

Depending on the type of automobile involved in the bicycle accident, you may already be pre-approved for some compensation from your insurance provider.

Therefore, it is always a sensible idea to reach out to them as soon as possible. Also, you should get a hold of the responsible party's insurance company so your accident attorney can negotiate a settlement.

5. Maintain Records and Make Notes

It is your duty to make sure you keep track of everything. Maintain a file where you can put all documentations pertaining to the case. All sorts of invoices for hospital bills to repair expenses should be maintained – basically anything that has a bearing on the case.

Your bike accidents attorney will continue to take your hand and walk you through the process, but it's best to be prepared yourself.

6. Never Make Statements Without Your Accident Lawyer

If you think the accident and trauma you went through was the last of it, you're wrong. You'll have to deal with insurance companies as well as all the effected and/or parties at fault. The local law enforcement will also need to be dealt with, and it works to your advantage to have some sort of legal representation to walk you through everything.

Make sure you never make any official statements in the absence of your bicycle accident lawyer. You never know when your statement could be used against you in a court of law, regardless of your intention behind it.

Note: Even something as simple as an apology can easily be spun to suggest that you accept full responsibility (or at least some) for the incident. Either way, this will only end up diminishing the integrity of your claim.

7. Deal With Traffic Citations (If Any)

If you have been issued a traffic citation at the scene of the bicycle crash, Florida law states that you have the right to contest it. If you win, you are scot-free with no liabilities, or you may receive a withhold adjudication.

A withhold adjudication means that you may have to pay the fine but according to the official reports following the incident, you wouldn't be classified as 'guilty.'

Now, do you see how biking during the glorious Floridian summers can also be a reason for distress and anxiety if you're not careful?

It's best you keep the above-mentioned plan of action in mind and know your rights and responsibilities. This way, you will not only remain safe but will also receive swift justice as opposed to facing adversity every step of the way.
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Bicycle Accidents in Florida – Personal Injury
& Wrongful Death
Florida law states that cyclists have 'rights reserved' as compared to every other citizen that may be driving another vehicle on the same road. However, some exceptions to this rule may be for cyclists who are riding with children below the age of four, bicyclists who were traversing in the bike lane and how bicyclists below the age of sixteen should wear helmets.

Despite adhering to these rules and regulations, it is quite possible for you to experience a bicycle crash. For this reason, if you are used to this means of transportation, it is high time that you learn about how to handle a bicycle accident in Florida. You should also realize that hiring the best bike accident attorneys could mean the difference between the responsible parties walking away without litigation and you getting compensated for your injuries and losses.

If you or your loved one received bicycle accident injuries (or God forbid, were killed) recently, perhaps due to a reckless driver, you might be eligible to file personal injury claims against those responsible. Similarly, wrongful deaths caused by a bicycle crash may make a client eligible to file wrongful death lawsuits or claims against those responsible for the compensation of damages.

The prerequisites for every successful bike accident injuries claim include:

  • Proof of accident injury following the bicycle crash
  • Duty of following the rules and regulations of bicycling and other means of transportation
  • Proof of the responsible party breaching these rules and regulations
  • Evidence that the injuries were caused directly due to the responsible party's breach of rules and regulations
Compensation for a Cyclist Hit by a Car
Most bicycle crashes caused by a vehicle in Florida are followed by at least 80% compensation of medical bills that were up to $10,000. Ideally, to get PIP auto insurers to grant 80% of your medical bills, you should follow this process:

  • First, make a claim through your PIP insurance. However, if you don't own a car, you can move onto the next bullet point.
  • If you don't own a vehicle, you can also file claims through your relative's PIP insurance, if you are living with them.
  • The PIP coverage will pay 80% of all of your medical bills, up to a maximum of $10,000.

Once PIP is billed and paid, your first-party medical insurance would pay the remaining balance of your crash-related expenses. The most common insurance product to do so is health insurance.

For a bicycle to get compensated for lost wages, they would follow the same procedure as mentioned above. The only difference now will be that PIP will only reimburse you for 60% of your lost wages. For anything above this limit, Florida law allows you to file a claim against up to 11 categories of responsible parties, including:

  1. A reckless driver
  2. The owner of the vehicle/rental car companies
  3. The careless driver, their spouse's or their resident relative's insurance provider
  4. The driver's employers (if the driver was on an official commute)/Ridesharing companies
  5. Parents (if they signed the responsible driver's application for a driver's license)
  6. Worker's compensation
  7. The manufacturer of the vehicle being driven (or even the tires being used)
  8. The responsible driver's vehicle repair shop
  9. The contractor responsible for the maintenance or design of the road
  10. Property owners that may have created conditions for the potential hazard
  11. Other first-party benefits (disability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, etc.)
Bicycle Injury Crash Statistics in Florida
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published 'Traffic Safety Facts' in 2017 for bicyclists and other commuters on the road. According to this report, Florida ranked #1 in fatalities for the year.

The NHTSA also reported that they had recorded 125 bicyclist fatalities, which was slightly lower than the numbers recorded by the Florida Department of Highway and Motor Vehicles. The latter reported that, in reality, 128 fatalities had occurred due to bicycle crashes. Besides, California and Florida have led the nation in terms of the number of bicyclist fatalities per year.

In 2018, Floridian witnessed 6,568 bicycle accidents, which resulted in 148 deaths and 6,175 injuries. Also, towards the end of the first quarter of 2019, official reports suggested that there had been 1,695 bicycle crashes in the state, with a total of 40 fatalities and 1,588 injuries.

Broward County alone had reported over 700 bicycle crashes in 2018, which resulted in 696 injuries and 9 fatalities. In the first quarter of 2019, there had been 179 bicycle crashes, which resulted in 168 serious injuries and 2 deaths.
How Bicycle Accidents Happen
Despite taking all the necessary measures to establish cyclist-friendly roads, cyclists cannot steer clear of the main roads completely. This is where they have to share roads with larger and faster vehicles such as motorbikes, cars, large buses and even lorries.

Even if you consider yourself an experienced or skilled cyclist and have a lot of experience with the highway code, you may only be safe if you and every other motor vehicle is equally aware of or follows the rules. That being said, your responsibility or expertise on the road is only a 50% contributor to your safety.

Considering all of the above, bicycle crashes can result from a large variety of external factors, most of which are related to breaching standard road rules and regulations. Using a phone behind the wheel, driving too close to the shoulder or bike lane, or making sudden lane changes are just some of the examples.

Here are a few common causes of bicycle accidents in Florida:

  • A motor vehicle breaching the path of cyclists
  • Drivers failing to acknowledge cyclists when changing lanes
  • Motor vehicle driving out of a junction
  • Motor vehicle doors being opened right in front of a cyclist
  • Bad road conditions
  • Reckless driving
Common Cyclist Injuries
Bicycle crashes have been known to cause numerous injuries that range from mild injuries that only feel uncomfortable to those that are, sadly, quite fatal. Some of the most common bicycling injuries in Florida include:

  • Road rashes
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Fractures
  • Head injuries/ brain injuries
  • Psychological Injuries

In order to seek compensation for all of the abovementioned injuries and non-financial losses, you need to first hire a personal injury attorney and discuss the different factors that led up to the incident.
Bicycle Laws of Florida
We already mentioned earlier how Florida law grants 'rights reserved' to bicyclists and other commuters on the road. However, we are now about to outline some of the rules and regulations that have been set aside for bicycle commuters under Florida's Bicycle Law.

To read more detailed information about these laws, you can refer to Florida Statutes, Section 316.2065.

  1. Bicyclists are required to obey every traffic signal and control.
  2. Bicyclists are required to use regular, fixed seats while riding their bicycles.
  3. The number of passengers/riders on any bicycle should be limited to the maximum number recommended by the manufacturer.
  4. At least one hand should remain firmly on the handlebars during commutes.
  5. Generally, parents and guardians are required to make sure their children abide by Florida Bicycle Laws.
  6. Every bicycle on the road should have working brakes (which is capable of braking within 25 feet, taking into account several possible road conditions).

How Bicyclists Can Responsibly Share the Road With Other Vehicles

Even though bicycles have been considered as liable as other vehicles, Florida law has made a few special and relevant rules that apply to every biker's safety. These provisions include:

  • Bikers are required to ride as close as realistically possible to the edge or curb of the road, on the right-hand side (Of course, there are a few exceptions such as when the lane may be too narrow to be in with another vehicle when you're sharing the speed limit with surrounding traffic, when avoiding hazards or when making a left turn.)
  • Another caveat to the provision mentioned above will apply when you're cycling along a one-way street that has multiple lanes. In this case, you should ride your bicycle as close as reasonably practicable to the left-hand as possible.
  • If two bicyclists, or a bicyclist and a vehicle, are riding shoulder to shoulder, then they should share a single lane while also avoiding hindering the flow of traffic.
While these were the most common bicycle laws in Florida, you should refer to Florida Statutes for provisions on 'how to make a turn on a bicycle' or 'whether you can listen to music while biking around in Florida.' Not only will the answer to the latter surprise you, but you should also refer to the Florida Statutes regularly because they are constantly subject to change.

Of course, if you have an experienced bicycle accident attorney by your side, you can rest assured that you are protected from every legal perspective, according to Florida law.
Bicycle Accidents Lawyers Are the Need of the Hour
If you've been in a crash due to the fault of a third-party and have sustained injuries requiring medical attention, the logical next step is to get in touch with a bicycle accident attorney.

Although the statute of limitation on accident cases in Florida is quite extensive, the earlier any action is taken the better. Quick decisive action will improve the chances of gathering and preserving evidence that could provide to be vital to the judgment of the case.

Engaging a Fort Myers bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident will enable them to identify witnesses or other crucial evidence that could play a central role in your case. A consultation won't cost you anything, so it makes sense to do so.

If you contact a Fort Myers bicycle accident lawyer right now, you can schedule a free consultation with us and help identify witnesses or other pieces of crucial evidence that could play a central role in your case.
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