A 2017 report released by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) revealed that 503 bicyclists died in crashes from 2011 through 2014. During the same time, bicyclists reported 22,385 injuries. For children and adults alike, riding a bike is a favorite pastime, especially in sunny Florida. Yet, safety is a real concern. According to the FDOT, bicyclists were at fault for accidents about 30 percent of the time, while motor vehicle drivers were at fault more than 45 percent of the time.
If you spend some of your free time cycling in Florida, you need to take special care to follow the traffic laws, wear a helmet, and stay attentive. If you have sustained an injury on your bike because of someone else’s negligence or bad driving, it can be important to call an attorney as soon as possible. If you are in the Boca Raton area, call the skilled bicycle accident lawyers at Sibley Dolman at (561) 220-4963 for a free consultation.
Sibley Dolman’s Results in Bicycle Accident Cases
The lawyers at Sibley Dolman have extensive experience negotiating settlements and litigating personal injury cases, including those that involve injuries from bicycle accidents. The amounts we have recovered on behalf of clients in recent matters have ranged from $300,000 to more than $3,000,000. These are only examples of past results and do not suggest that your outcome will be the same. Each individual situation differs; there is no guarantee of results in a particular case, but Sibley Dolman will work to make sure you get the best possible outcome for your situation.
What Injuries Can People Incur in Bicycle Accidents?
Bike accidents can lead to a wide array of injuries depending on how fast one was riding and if the accident included a motor vehicle. The lack of bodily protection on a bike often leads to some of the most severe injuries. Here are some of the most common injuries:
- Broken bones
- Scrapes, cuts, and road rash
- Head and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries and injuries to the skull
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Dislocated joints
Who Can Be at Fault?
Florida is a no-fault insurance state in which those who operate a motor vehicle must have personal injury protection (PIP) that covers drivers for their own injuries in an accident regardless of fault. Cyclists who also happen to own operate motor vehicles are also covered by their own PIP insurance in an accident with a motor vehicle. When a cyclist does not carry PIP insurance, the cyclist’s health insurance may pay for some of his injuries.
Regardless of whether a cyclist carries PIP insurance, in the case of a serious injury such as an amputation, severe scarring, or death, under Florida law the cyclist or her survivors may be able to hold an at-fault party liable for the injuries or death suffered in a bicycle accident. Those at-fault parties may include the driver of a car that collided with the cyclist, the manufacturer of the cyclist’s bike, or parties responsible for maintaining the road surface where the accident occurred.
What Kind of Damages Might I Recover After a Bicycle Accident Injury?
When a cyclist carries PIP insurance as described above, a bicyclist may file an insurance claim for medical expenses, lost wages, and replacement services such domestic help or lawn care up to the policy limit. However, there are caveats. Under Florida’s “no-fault” insurance law, Insurance companies need only cover 80 percent of medical costs including ambulance, hospitalization, surgery, radiology, dental, and rehabilitative services. PIP insurance also only needs to cover 60 percent of lost wages.
If a cyclist does not have insurance, he may file a claim under the responsible driver’s uninsured motorist clause to recover a portion of damages, if the driver carries that coverage. In the event of a severe, life-altering injury, a cyclist may file a lawsuit against the driver for additional damages, which may include:
- Medical costs not covered by insurance
- Lost wages not covered by insurance
- Lost future wages referred to as lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
What Ways Do Liable Parties Try to Get out of Paying for the Damages They Caused?
Those who are liable will go out of their way to get out of paying for the damages they caused. Insurance companies will downplay your injuries and make you fight for every penny of your claim. Cyclists are required to follow traffic laws to the same extent as a driver. In the event that you file a suit, the defendant will do everything possible to shift blame by saying that you weren’t following the laws of the road. They may also try to claim that you were inattentive or that you caused the accident.
If your child was hit by the driver of a motor vehicle while riding a bike, shifting the blame doesn’t work. Florida law protects children from age 4 to 14 as being incapable of negligence, so they cannot contribute to the cause of an accident. Adults who drive cars are expected to watch for children especially near schools and in residential areas. Regardless of the situation, bike accidents are complex cases because of no-fault insurance laws and an unfortunate bias against bicyclists in some places. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the process and make sure those who are liable pay for the damages they caused.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost Me?
Most law firms offer a free consultation. This gives you the opportunity to discuss the merits of your case with an experienced bike accident lawyer. If the lawyer decides to take your case, the lawyer may agree to represent you on a “contingent fee” basis in which you lawyer will recover legal costs only from any settlement or award. In that arrangement, you and your lawyer will have to agree whether you will pay all, some, or none of the court and other administrative costs associated with pursuing your case.
Even when being safe and wearing a helmet, bike accidents may lead to life-altering injuries because bicyclists’ bodies have no protection when they are struck by a vehicle. The low limits of PIP insurance often leave victims with unpaid medical expenses and a whole other host of financial issues. By hiring a skilled attorney, you can focus on your recovery and rehabilitation while your lawyer deals with details of a lawsuit. If you or one of your loved ones has been injured in a bike accident in the Boca Raton area, call (561) 220-4963 to schedule a free consultation with one of the experienced bicycle accident attorneys at Sibley Dolman.
Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP
2101 NW Corporate Boulevard, Suite 410
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
What Our Clients Have to Say:
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