Bicycle Accident Attorney in Boca Raton, Florida
Probably the best way to enjoy Florida's glorious weather and see the sights is to ride a bicycle around town. Both long-time residents and tourists who've just landed in the Sunshine State are out and about on two wheels. We can't blame them. Florida is one of the most popular states for cyclists, and we expect its popularity to remain high. Riding a bicycle isn't without risk, however. And when a cyclist collides with a motor vehicle, they can suffer horrifying injuries. Goldblatt Law has assisted many cyclists over the years in bringing personal injury lawsuits or insurance claims. We understand this process inside and out and will do everything possible to get you the compensation you deserve. Call (561) 868-2000 for a free consultation about your bicycle accident claim.
What Causes Bicycle Accidents In Florida?
Do Bicycle Accidents Cause Serious Injuries?
When Can I Receive Compensation For A Bicycle Accident?
When Can I Sue A Driver For My Accident?
How Do I Prove Fault?
How Much Compensation Can I Receive For A Florida Bicycle Accident?
Can I Receive Compensation If I Was Partly At Fault?
Can I Receive Punitive Damages For My Accident?
Other Than A Driver, Who Else Can I Sue?
What Should I Do After A Bicycle Accident?
Should I Give A Statement To The Insurance Companies?
Can I Receive Compensation If I Wasn't Wearing A Helmet?
Are There Benefits To Hiring A Florida Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
How Many Bicycle Accidents Take Place Each Year In Florida?
How Can I Reduce My Odds Of A Bicycle Accident?
Should I Settle Or Go To Trial?
Can I Post About My Accident On Social Media?
The Attorney To Call After A Florida Bicycle Accident
What Causes Bicycle Accidents in Florida?
There are many causes of bike accidents in our experience. Many accidents are caused by negligent drivers who are not careful. Some common reasons include:
Distracted driving. A motorist might be looking at a phone, playing with the controls, eating, or talking to a child. They certainly are not focused on the road and, consequently, collide with a cyclist.
Open doors. Many cyclists are "doored" when an occupant of a car parked near the shoulder opens a door without checking behind. A cyclist riding close to the shoulder can hit the open door.
Driving too fast for conditions. A speeding driver won't be able to stop in time and can easily collide with a cyclist.
Failure to yield. Many motorists don't think they need to yield to cyclists but instead pull out in front of them.
Driver fatigue. A tired driver will have slower reflexes and possibly not see as well. They can easily clip a cyclist, sometimes because they fall asleep.
Impaired driving. Impaired drivers cannot operate a vehicle like they normally would, so they are more likely to get into crashes.
Sometimes, the condition of the road or weather contributes to a crash. For example, a giant pothole in the street could upend a cyclist. Ice, rainwater, and debris can make riding difficult.
Do Bicycle Accidents Cause Serious Injuries?
Yes. Cyclists don't have any protective barrier between them and a vehicle that strikes them. A cyclist forced from the road could also hit parked cars, fire hydrants, or telephone poles. They can also skid along the road.
Some of the worst injuries include:
Head and brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, skull fractures, and intracranial hemorrhage.
Neck injuries, such as cervical fractures and pinched nerves.
Internal organ injuries affect the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver.
Back injuries, such as rib fractures, herniated discs, spinal column injuries, and more.
Cuts and lacerations, including road rash and other abrasions.
Fractures on any bone of the body.
Nerve damage, including "biker's arm," when a cyclist lands and injures the nerves in their shoulder and arm.
These are only some of the most common bicycle accident injuries.
When Can I Receive Compensation for a Bicycle Accident?
If you suffered injuries in a crash, you should be able to make a claim for compensation. Florida requires that people who own a car have personal injury protection coverage, called PIP.
The great thing about these benefits is that they are no fault. If you are hurt in an accident, you can immediately make a claim for compensation. Florida requires that motorists have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP, and you can use the money to cover medical care and lost wages.
PIP insurance also covers a bike accident. Even if you don't have a car, you might be covered under a family member's PIP policy.
If someone else is at fault for your accident, you might be able to sue them in court.
When Can I Sue a Driver for My Accident?
If the driver was negligent, you could bring a lawsuit. Negligence simply means:
The driver owed you a duty of care.
The driver didn't fulfill their duty of care.
The driver's lack of care injured you.
You suffered damages as a result.
Motorists on the road owe cyclists around them a duty of care, and they can fail to drive safely for many of the reasons listed above if you're hurt. As a result, you can sue.
Another term for negligence is "fault." It means basically the same thing. A negligent motorist is at least partially at fault for your crash.
How Do I Prove Fault?
You can rely on many pieces of evidence to prove a driver breached their duty of care to you. With bicycle accidents, eyewitness testimony is often key. You can certainly tell your attorney what happened. Other witnesses can back up your story that the driver cut you off or clipped you carelessly.
Other evidence might include a dash cam or surveillance video. A nearby car's dash cam could have recorded the accident, or a nearby business had surveillance video which captured what happened.
Physical evidence can include where your bicycle ended up, as well as any skid marks on the road and the damaged bicycle itself. This is why photographing the accident scene is so important.
If you were hit by a car, the car driver is almost always at fault. There are some situations where a cyclist can contribute to an accident—such as pulling out directly in front of a car. But motorists are usually liable.
How Much Compensation Can I Receive For A Florida Bicycle Accident?
It depends on the facts. If you are 100% at fault, you will be limited to your PIP benefits. However, if a driver shares some fault, you can probably seek money for:
Lost wages (past and future)
Medical care (past and future)
Pain and suffering
Damage to your bike and other property
The amount you receive will depend on certain factors, like the amount of medical care you need and how much you make for a salary. Other factors include the severity of your injuries or pain, as well as your prognosis.
Can I Receive Compensation if I Was Partly at Fault?
Yes—provided you weren't 100% at fault. Florida law recognizes that fault can be shared. And you can seek compensation even if you were negligent yourself.
However, there's a catch—your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault. So, someone who is 40% at fault will receive 40% less than if they were blameless. And someone 75% at fault will receive 75% less.
At Goldblatt Law, we understand how important comparative fault is in these types of cases. We marshal all facts to show your own negligence was minimal and that a motorist or other party bears the brunt of the blame.
Can I Receive Punitive Damages for My Accident?
Not usually. Punitive damages are not available for a run-of-the-mill bicycle accident. However, you might qualify under Florida law if:
The driver intentionally hit you
The driver was grossly negligent
The driver ignored an obvious risk of causing serious injury
In these situations, the driver isn't merely careless. Instead, he or she has committed dangerous acts society wants to discourage. Punitive damages might be available in those cases to act as a deterrent.
The goal of punitive damages is to punish egregious conduct. We will analyze whether you can qualify for them.
Other than a Driver, Who Else Can I Sue?
It depends on the facts of your case:
If you rented a bicycle, you could sue the rental company if negligent repairs caused your crash. Imagine the brakes fail because the rental company didn't replace them once they had become worn.
If your bicycle was defective, we might sue the bike manufacturer. Thousands of bicycles are recalled every year for defects.
If you were hurt by a dangerous road, we might sue the entity responsible for it. This could be the city or state or, if the road is private, the owner.
We fully analyze all the facts to identify all possible liable parties.
What Should I Do After a Bicycle Accident?
We strongly recommend that you:
Avoid moving your bicycle.
Take a picture of your bicycle and the car involved in the crash. If a pothole or other road defect upended you, get a picture also.
Call the police to come to the accident scene and write a police report.
Talk to witnesses and get their contact information, like their phone number.
Get the driver's insurance information, along with personal information (name, address, phone number, license, and registration number).
Some motorists will hit the gas after striking you. That's sad, but it's the reality in Florida. Try to record as much information as you can, including the make and model of the car, as well as the direction it fled in. If possible, memorize as much of the license plate as you can and share this information with the police.
Should I Give a Statement to the Insurance Companies?
We recommend waiting until you hire a lawyer. Of course, at some point, you'll need to tell your version of events. But a lawyer can help clear up confusion or ask an insurance adjuster to rephrase a question.
Remember, Florida recognizes comparative fault. If you make some admission that suggests you are partly to blame, you'll receive less compensation. Some insurance adjusters are digging for information—that's why they want a recorded statement. Delay until you hire a Florida bicycle accident lawyer.
Can I Receive Compensation if I Wasn't Wearing a Helmet?
Yes. Helmets definitely reduce the risk of a serious head injury, and they are required for cyclists under 16. But you can still bring a legal claim even if you weren't wearing a helmet.
Are There Benefits to Hiring a Florida Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
Yes. Although you aren't required to hire a Florida bicycle accident attorney, we provide many benefits.
For example, we can ensure you get the evidence you need to bring an accident claim. To hold someone legally liable, you need evidence they were at fault for your crash (at least partially). If a distracted driver hits you, we might subpoena his cell phone records to show he was texting and driving. Or we can interview witnesses to figure out what happened.
We can also negotiate with the defendant's insurance company. Adjusters have developed tricks over the years for limiting payments. We know all the tricks and will use our experience to your benefit.
Another advantage is that we are comfortable in court. Not all cases can settle, and we aren't afraid to file a lawsuit and litigate when necessary.
How Many Bicycle Accidents Take Place Each Year in Florida?
Florida collects these statistics. According to the state's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida has seen the following bicycle accidents:
2021: 6,401 accidents, 199 fatalities, and 5,956 injuries
2020: 5,952 accidents, 169 fatalities, and 5,574 injuries
2019: 6,664 accidents, 156 fatalities, and 6,229 injuries
These numbers are uncomfortably high and don't seem to be improving.
How Can I Reduce My Odds of a Bicycle Accident?
There are some simple steps cyclists can take:
Get your bicycle maintained. Replace worn brakes and flat tires. If the bicycle is too old, replace it.
Wear a helmet while riding. The law requires that children under 16 wear one, but all riders would benefit from strapping one on.
Ride carefully around traffic. Pay attention to your surroundings and never assume a driver will stop.
Ride with traffic and to the right of the lane. It's riskier to ride against traffic.
Follow the rules of the road. Cyclists also must obey traffic signals. You can't weave in and out of traffic because it's convenient or roll through a stop sign.
Use a lamp after dark so motorists can see you. Also, think of putting reflective tape on your bike, jacket, or helmet.
Pay attention to parked cars and anticipate that an occupant might suddenly open a door.
If there is a dedicated bicycle lane, use that.
If you follow these commonsense principles, you can dramatically reduce the odds of an accident.
Should I Settle or Go to Trial?
This isn't an "either-or" situation. Most cases settle, and we try to get a fair settlement. The advantages are obvious—you get money faster with a settlement and avoid the uncertainty of a trial.
Nevertheless, not all defendants want to offer fair compensation. They might insist you are 100% to blame for the wreck, or they don't believe you are really in pain. When a settlement isn't possible, we might have no choice but to sue.
Can I Post About My Accident on Social Media?
No! That is one of the worst mistakes accident victims make. By posting, you might reveal something—even accidentally—that the other side uses against you. Even pictures showing you traveled to Texas for a family member's wedding might serve as evidence that you aren't really injured. We strongly recommend never posting anything about your accident on social media.
Further, you should set profiles to private and stop accepting friends. Also, check if people are tagging you in their pictures. Set your privacy settings to prevent that, or remove the tags.
The Attorney to Call After a Florida Bicycle Accident
Goldblatt Law has helped countless accident victims suffering from serious injuries over the years. Our experience in personal injury is impressive. We can help accident victims get the money they need to finally move on with their lives.
To find out more, call us today at (561) 868-2000, or contact us online. We offer a free, confidential consultation.