Southern Florida serves as a popular wintertime vacation destination for many northerners, with year-round sunny weather and warm temperatures. Consequently, biking season lasts all year in North Miami Beach. However, negligent motor vehicle drivers sometimes spoil the fun when they operate their vehicles carelessly and recklessly. When that happens, serious accidents can take place and injuries can result. If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a bicycle accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence on a roadway, you may be eligible to recover monetary compensation for all of your injuries and damages. The North Miami Beach bicycle accident attorneys at Sibley Dolman know how difficult it is to negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. They can advocate on your behalf and fight for your right to monetary compensation.
Florida Bicycle Laws
As with motor vehicle drivers, Florida law also imposes restrictions and regulations on individuals who operate their bicycles on roadways within the state. Some of the most important Florida bicycle laws include:
All bicycle operators younger than 16 must wear helmets while riding bicycles. However, an injured bicyclist’s failure to wear a helmet cannot be construed as negligence or contributory negligence under the circumstances.
All bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road as motor vehicle drivers, and the same traffic laws that apply to motor vehicles also apply to bicycles.
All bicyclists must operate their bicycles in a designated bike lane if one is available.
Motor Vehicle Drivers Cause Bicycle Accidents
When motor vehicle drivers operate their vehicles in a careless or reckless manner, they can collide with bicycles and bring about serious accidents and injuries. These accidents can also take place when motor vehicle drivers fail to appreciate that bicycles are slow-moving vehicles and fail to share the road with them. Motor vehicle driver negligence may include distracted driving (for example, improper cell phone use or texting while driving), disregarding traffic laws and regulations, or failing to yield the right-of-way to a cyclist when required.
“Dooring” accidents are also common causes of bicycle accidents. Dooring takes place when the driver or passenger of a parked car fails to notice a bicyclist and suddenly opens the car door in the cyclist’s path. This negligent action on the part of the motor vehicle operator or passenger may cause the cyclist to fall from the bike, violently striking the ground and sustaining serious injuries. A North Miami Beach bicycle accident attorney can help you pursue compensation from negligent motor vehicle drivers and owners.
Bicycle Accidents and Visibility
Much like with motorcycles, bicycles suffer from a severe lack of visibility when motor vehicle drivers are concerned. It is because of this that bicyclists have such a high risk of colliding with motor vehicles. This is made even worse when bicyclists ride in the evening when there is even less light for bicyclist visibility. It is because of this lack of visibility that bicyclists should invest in ways to increase their visibility. Simple things a bicyclist can do is put reflectors on their bicycle or reflective tape on the bike or even on their clothing. Lights on the bicycle are even better options since it removes the need for an outside light source to increase visibility at night.
Products Liability in Bicycle Accidents
Sometimes, bicycle accidents take place through no fault of the bicycle operator or other motor vehicle driver. In some cases, these accidents occur due to improperly manufactured or distributed bicycles or bicycle parts. Defective bicycle parts may include handlebars, seats, tires, and pedals. When a defective bicycle or bicycle part is placed into the stream of commerce, then the bicycle or parts manufacturer or distributor may be deemed strictly liable or negligent for any damages that result in injured consumers. A bicycle accident attorney can help you pursue a products liability claim against a product manufacturer or distributor.
What You Should do After Suffering a Bicycle Accident Injury
The aftermath of a bicycle accident is a crucial period of time where the actions you take can determine the outcome of a potential bicycle accident injury claim or lawsuit. Following a bicycle accident, the first and foremost priority should be the preservation of your health. That means getting yourself out of immediate danger and them seeking medical assistance as soon as possible. Even if an accident does not seem particularly bad, you could still have sustained injuries that won’t display symptoms immediately. Not only is this important for your health but failing to seek immediate medical attention after a bicycle accident does not look good to the insurance company if one files a bicycle accident injury claim. The insurance company may try to discredit the validity of your injury by reasoning that if you didn’t need immediate medical attention then it must not be very severe.
Speak to Law Enforcement About the Accident
The police can be a great help in the aftermath of a bicycle accident. It is their job to provide any emergency assistance that they can when someone is in an accident and to document the accident in a police report. This documentation can be very useful since the police are fairly credible in terms of their documentation of accidents which can cover a number of details. When speaking to the police in a statement, be concise, to the point, and simply state the facts with no conjecture or opinions of your own.
Avoid Mentioning the Accident on Social Media
Whatever you say on social media can potentially be used against you. Insurance companies try to gather all the information possible on claimants and this includes information on social media. Insurance companies can twist statements that you make on social media to discredit your claim and do not need any more insight into your life other than what is pertinent to a claim. There are many people that make the mistake of posting pictures of themselves engaging in recreational activities on social media after suffering an injury. The insurance company may see this and reason that if you are well enough to engage in these activities then you must not be very injured.
Recovering Damages in Bicycle Accident Cases
In Florida, generally speaking, accident victims can only pursue a claim or lawsuit against an at-fault motor vehicle driver if they sustain permanent injuries or non-permanent injuries where their medical treatments and lost wages exceed $10,000. For an injured cyclist to recover compensation for injuries and damages sustained in an accident, he or she must show that the motor vehicle driver failed to act reasonably under the circumstances and that as a result, the injured cyclist sustained serious injuries and damages.
Serious and potentially permanent injuries sustained in south Florida bicycle accident cases may include fractures, concussions and other traumatic brain injuries, serious soft tissue injuries, permanent scars and, in the worst cases, death. After proving negligence on the part of the at-fault motor vehicle driver or owner, the injured cyclist may recover compensation for all related medical bills and expenses (including those for medical treatment, physical therapy, surgeries, and other medical procedures), lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, lost earning capacity (in cases involving permanent damages), and lost spousal support. A bicycle accident attorney can advocate for you every step of the way and help you obtain all of the damages to which you are entitled.
Wrongful Death Cases
In bicycle accident cases where the accident victim dies as a result of someone else’s negligence, the deceased’s survivors may open an estate on behalf of the decedent bicyclist. The survivors will need to appoint a personal representative who can administer the estate. After opening an estate and appointing a personal representative, the personal representative may bring a claim for wrongful death and recover compensation on behalf of the estate.
Contact a North Miami Beach Bicycle Accident Attorney Today for a Free Legal Consultation and Case Evaluation
Motor vehicle drivers who operate their vehicles carelessly and recklessly pose a risk to everyone else on the road—and in particular, innocent pedestrians and bicyclists. Moreover, bicycle manufacturers and parts manufacturers who place defective products into the stream of commerce significantly increase the likelihood of bicycle accidents and injuries on Florida roadways. The North Miami Beach bicycle accident attorneys at Sibley Dolman have the legal knowledge and experience to negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company on your behalf. If the insurance company contests liability or otherwise refuses to offer a favorable settlement for your case, our attorneys are not afraid to litigate your case by filing a legal complaint, or by taking your case all the way to trial, if necessary. To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a bicycle accident attorney, please call us at (305)-676-8154 or contact us online.
1820 NE 163rd St #306,
North Miami Beach, FL 33162