This article was written by our law firm partner, and Florida bicycle accident lawyer, Tim Nies.
There is no doubt that bicycling in Florida, while less expensive than driving and, to many, more fun than driving, there is equally no doubt that bicycling poses more dangers than driving. Cars, pickups, trucks, and buses are safer modes of transportation because the vehicles fully enclose their operators. Bicycle riders, on the other hand, may only have a helmet to help protect them. Any bicyclist injured in Florida due to the carelessness or recklessness of others should speak with an experienced Florida bicycle accident lawyer about legal options.
Florida Bicycle Laws
Under Florida’s bicycle laws, a bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and has all of the privileges, rights, and responsibilities on public roads (other than highways/expressways) that a motor vehicle operator does.
Florida Bicyclists may ride out of the bike lane in the travel lane for their own safety on narrow roads to avoid obstacles or pavement hazards, or to prepare for a left turn. A bicyclist in Florida may use the full lane even while traveling substantially below the speed of traffic if the lane is too narrow for both a car and a bicycle to share.
The problem in Florida is that while bicyclists may share the road with cars, trucks, and motorcycles, drivers of motor vehicles oftentimes do not respect these privileges of Florida’s bicyclists. How often do you see motorists crowding bicyclists out when they are operating on a road, which the bicyclists have an equal right to be on as a driver of a car? Contact a Florida bicycle accident lawyer for more information on Florida’s bicycle laws.
Proving Negligence in Florida Bicycle Crash Cases
Just because Florida bicyclists have an increased risk of injury than motor vehicles or motorcycle operators, does not mean that any motorist who strikes a bicyclist is at fault.
To hold a motorist financially liable for a Florida plaintiff’s injuries and losses, an experienced bicycle accident lawyer must establish that the motorist had a duty of care to the injured bicyclist, that the motorist breached that duty, that the car/truck/motorcycle operator caused the crash and that the crash resulted in the bicyclist sustaining damages.
What if a Motorist Leaves the Scene of a Bicycle?
All too often drivers who strike bicyclists leave the scene of the accident. If a motorist leaves the scene of an accident, you may be able to file a claim against your uninsured motorist policy for your car, even though you were not driving your car. Contact a Florida bicycle accident lawyer for more information to determine if your auto insurance policy may cover your injuries if the negligent driver fled the scene of the accident.
Recoverable Damages After a Florida Bicycle Crash
Recoverable damages for bicycle accidents in Florida, just like car accidents, usually fall into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages after a Florida bicycle accident center around expenses such as:
- Loss of wages, such as missing work while recovering, attending medical appointments, etc.
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses
In Florida, non-economic damages in bicycle accident cases include damages such as pain and suffering, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, mental anguish, permanent disability, scarring, and others.
Steps to Follow after a Florida Bicycle Accident
If you are involved in a bicycle crash, call 911 right away. If you are able to do so, safely, collect all evidence at the scene of the crash. Take photographs and videos using your mobile phone of the roadway, your bicycle, the motor vehicle involved in the bicycle accident, and your injuries.
If the negligent driver left the scene, write down the license plate number to provide the police. If anyone stopped to check up on you, ask them for their name and telephone number. Write down the license plate of the witness. Oftentimes, the only photographs or video that may be available to use at mediation or trial, after a crash, are the photographs taken at the scene of the crash. For example, at the time this article was written, the author used multiple photographs taken by the injured client’s husband at the scene. Without these photographs, the case would not have settled at the amount the case settled for. Make sure to send the photographs to your email, or text to another in case the photographs on your cellular are accidentally deleted.
Do not discard your bicycle after the crash.
After a Florida bicycle accident, a personal injury attorney can help fight for the compensation you deserve.
Talk to a Florida Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
Call the trial attorneys at Van Riper and Nies Attorneys, P.A., a Florida veteran-owned personal injury law firm, following a bicycle crash. Hiring an attorney early will help you hold the negligent motorist financially responsible for your harms and losses. If you were injured on a bicycle while working, you may also file a separate claim against the negligent driver, in addition to a workers’ compensation claim.
At Van Riper and Nies Attorneys, our Florida bicycle accident attorney, Tim Nies, a former insurance company trial attorney, and Christian Van Riper, a former prosecutor, will outwork the insurance company lawyers hired by the negligent driver’s insurance companies.
Call our trial attorneys at 772-283-8712 for our Stuart, Florida office, 561-948-5588 for our West Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and West Palm Beach offices, and 954-369-0776 for our Deerfield Beach personal injury law office. If you are injured and it is difficult for you to come in for a free consultation, do not worry, our attorneys will meet with you at our home. We will not send an assistant, paralegal, or an “investigator,” as many injury law firms do, to simply sign clients up. Be wary of those law firms. You will meet with our attorneys, Tim Nies or Christian Van Riper.
If you were injured overseas in a bicycle crash while working for an employer under a U.S. Government contract, contact our attorney, Tim Nies, a Defense Base Act lawyer.