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 a Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer at Dolman Law Group at (561) 220-4963 for a free consultation.
Dolman Law Group’s Results in Bicycle Accident Cases
The lawyers at Dolman Law Group 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 Dolman Law Group 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
- Facial injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Third-degree burns
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
These are only a few of the more common types of injuries bicycle accident victims sustain. If you suffered another type of injury that is not listed above, you may still have the right to financial compensation. Do not hesitate to contact our office to find out what legal options may be available to you.
Boca Raton Bicycle Accident Lawyer Near Me 833-552-7274
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 and 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 the 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 their 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.
For a free legal consultation with a bicycle accidents lawyer serving Boca Raton, call 833-552-7274
Florida Shared Liability Laws
It is also important to keep in mind that bicyclists could share liability for causing their injuries. When a biker fails to use the appropriate roadways, follow traffic laws, or otherwise take steps to protect their own safety, the defense can argue that they are partially at fault for their injuries. When this happens, under Florida shared liability laws, you can still collect compensation for your damages.
Under Florida Statute § 768.81, the state follows a pure comparative negligence system. When you are partially to blame for your injuries, you can expect your injury settlement to be reduced by your portion of liability. For example, if you failed to operate your bicycle using the bike lane when you were suddenly struck by a distracted driver, the judge might find you 25% at fault for your injuries. If you were awarded a sum of $100,000, you would only be able to collect $75,000 due to the state’s shared liability laws.
Since sharing fault can have such a dramatic impact on the outcome of your case, it is imperative that you get an experienced bicycle accident attorney advocating for your rights.
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 as 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, they 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
In 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 not pay 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 your 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.
How Long do You Have to Decide If You Want to Pursue Your Case?
Although filing a lawsuit or insurance claim may be the furthest thing from your mind, it is important that you start thinking about taking legal action as soon as possible following your bicycle accident. Evidence to support your case may be considered time sensitive.
The statute of limitations only allows for a maximum of four years under Florida Statute § 95.11. While four years may sound like more than enough time to get your lawsuit filed, the longer you wait to get an attorney on your case, the more difficult it will be to gather the evidence needed to prove viability based on a preponderance of the evidence.
If your lawsuit is not filed before the statute of limitations expires in your case, and you attempt to file your lawsuit at a later date, the judge presiding will have no other choice but to grant the defendant’s motion to dismiss. You can avoid running into a devastating complication like this by getting an experienced attorney to fight for your right to maximum compensation.
Get Help from a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Boca Raton
Even while being safe and wearing a helmet, bike accidents can 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 host of financial issues.
By hiring a skilled attorney, you can focus on your recovery and rehabilitation while your lawyer deals with the details of a lawsuit. If you or a loved one 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 Boca Raton bicycle accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
301 Yamato Road, Suite 1240
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
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