About Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PAThe legal team at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have spent the last decade representing hundreds of clients who have been injured as a result of another party's negligence, including those injured in bicycle accidents. We are committed to getting the best outcome we can for our clients has resulted in the recovery of millions of dollars in settlements and court-awarded damages. Recent cases include more than $3 million and almost $2 million for truck accidents, $1.5 million for a back and spinal cord injury from a car accident, $1 million for a shoulder injury and back injury after an auto accident, and $1 million for the wrongful death of a man in a rideshare accidents. These results are only examples and do not guarantee outcomes in any particular case; however, the dedicated bicycle accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA will diligently pursue the best outcome for your individual situation.
Florida Bicycle LawsFlorida legally classifies bicycles as vehicles, and bicycle operators must follow the same traffic laws and regulations as any other driver, as well as those specific to bicycles. This means cyclists must obey traffic lights and signals, just like any other driver on the road. Cyclists also have the same rights on the road as other drivers. The following are some of Florida's laws specific to bicycles and bicyclists:
Florida Bicycle Regulations
- Bicyclists must obey all traffic signs and signals.
- Bicycles must have a fixed seat on which to ride.
- Cyclists cannot carry passengers beyond the number for which their bike is designed.
- Cyclists cannot ride hands-free; they must keep at least one hand on the handlebars when riding.
- Parents cannot allow their children to violate any of these rules.
- All bicycles must have brakes allowing riders to stop within 25 feet when traveling at 10 mph on clean, dry pavement.
Riding in Crosswalks
- Riding a bicycle in a crosswalk or on a sidewalk gives the cyclist the same rights and duties as pedestrians.
- Riding a bicycle in a crosswalk or on a sidewalk requires cyclists to yield to pedestrians and provide an audible signal when passing, whether the cyclist uses their voice or some other signal like a horn or bell.
- When riding after sunset and before sunrise, cyclists must have a headlight on the front of their bike which allows oncoming traffic to see them from 500 feet away.
- Cyclists riding at night must also have a red reflector on the rear of their bike and a red tail light visible to traffic from 600 feet behind the bicycle.
Riding on the Road
- When cyclists are riding slower than other traffic, they must ride as close as possible to the edge of the road on the right side. Exceptions include passing, making a left turn, avoiding road hazards, or narrow roads which don't allow a car and a bicycle to safely share a lane.
- When riding on a one-way road, a cyclist should ride as close to the left side of the road as possible.
- When riding with a group, cyclists cannot ride more than two-by-two unless they are on a path designated exclusively for bicycles. Riding two-by-two cannot interfere with traffic.
Making Left Turns
- Cyclists who are sharing the road with motorists can use the full lane when making a left turn. They must scan, signal, and obey traffic signs and signals before proceeding.
- Cyclists may also hug the right side of a lane and turn close to the edge of the roadway, as long as they obey traffic control signs and signals.
- Cyclists must let others know their intentions to turn within the last 100 feet before the turn. The signal need not be continuous if the bicyclist needs both hands to control their bicycle while turning.
- Bicyclists can signal a right turn by extending their left hand upward or their right arm outward from the bike.
Florida PIP Insurance and Bike AccidentsFlorida's no fault insurance laws extend to bicyclists. Florida residents who register a motor vehicle must have $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage. This coverage also kicks in if the policyholder or their child is injured in a bike accident, regardless of who is at fault. An injured person must report a bike accident to their PIP carrier as soon as possible. The insurance company will pay 80 percent of medical expenses and 60 percent of lost wages up to the limit on the policy. Once a policyholder has exceeded their policy limits, they can file a personal injury suit to seek compensation beyond what their PIP coverage pays out. If a bicyclist does not own a motor vehicle and sustains injuries in a bicycle accident, they have to shoulder the burden of all of their economic and non-economic losses, unless they hire an experienced bicycle accident lawyer to help them seek compensation in civil court.
Seeking Compensation After a Bike Accident in DunedinFlorida law entitles people injured by a negligent driver in a bicycle accident to seek compensation for their injuries and related expenses. If your attorney successfully negotiates a settlement or a court rules in your favor, you might recover money for the following damages:
- Medical costs including ambulance services, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, follow up visits, X-rays, surgery, and prescription medications
- Future medical costs if a bicycle accident causes a permanent injury or a catastrophic injury requiring extensive recovery and/or multiple corrective surgeries
- Rehabilitative costs including physical therapist visits and assistive devices like crutches, wheelchairs, and artificial limbs
- Lost wages for time away from work due to injuries, hospitalization, and recovery
- Lost future wages when a permanent disability prohibits an injured victim from returning to their job or forces a career change
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of a family relationship due to injuries sustained in the accident
- Other non-economic damages
- Punitive damages in cases where the other party caused an intentional injury or engaged in egregious negligent behavior
Steps After a Bicycle AccidentThe success of a personal injury lawsuit hinges on taking all the right steps after being involved in a bicycle accident. If you are involved in a bicycle accident, here are some immediate steps you can take that might increase your odds of prevailing in a lawsuit:
- Go to the doctor ASAP. If you were lucky enough to avoid an ambulance ride after your bike accident, you still need to head to the emergency room or urgent care and get checked out by a physician. Some injuries, especially head injuries, may not present symptoms for hours, days, or weeks. Visiting a doctor provides medical documentation for your injuries and proof to insurance companies and the defense that the bicycle accident led to your injuries.
- Gather information. If you are physically able, get as much information at the scene of the accident as possible. This includes getting the name, address, and insurance information of the driver or drivers involved in the accident. You should also gather contact information for any eyewitnesses. Record the time, location, and weather conditions, as well as the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle that struck you. It's likely all of this information will be in a police report, but it's best to make sure you also have it yourself to avoid errors.
- Take photos. Use your cell phone to take pictures of any damage, hazards, and visible injuries. Once cleaning crews show up, crucial evidence might get swept away. You can also take photos of license plates or any other thing you think might be useful for your insurance company and lawyer.
- Contact an attorney. Accidents involving bicycles and automobiles might be complex and include multiple insurance carriers. A reputable bike accident lawyer can investigate your accident, and build a strong case against those who might be liable for any injuries you suffered.
Comparative Negligence in Florida Bicycle AccidentsFlorida courts apply a comparative negligence rule in the majority of personal injury cases. This rule requires courts to assess the extent to which the victim is also at fault for an accident and accompanying injuries. If the court determines that the other parties in the case were negligent in causing the accident and owe the victim damages, they will then reduce the victim's award based on the victim's percentage of fault in the accident. For example, say a driver strikes a bicyclist and injures him in a crosswalk. Cyclists are considered pedestrians in a crosswalk, and drivers are supposed to yield to pedestrians, so the court will likely find that the driver was negligent. Yet, the cyclist was not following traffic signals and crossed at the wrong time, so the court will also likely find the cyclist is 25 percent at fault for the accident. In this example, if the cyclist sued for $1,000,000, he can only collect 75 percent of that amount, or $750,000, from the driver under Florida law. Comparative negligence gives the defense the incentive to shift the blame to the victim to avoid making large payouts.
Protecting Yourself When Insurance Companies Deny ClaimsBeing involved with a bicycle accident necessarily involves dealing with your insurance company regardless of whether or not you file a personal injury suit. Insurance companies, even your own carrier, do not like paying out large claims. It's common for insurance carriers to deny claims for a variety of reasons, which include:
- Technical reasons, such as administrative errors or filing the claim too late
- Deciding your injuries weren't a result of the accident
- Determining that your injuries are not as severe as you reported