Bicycle Accident Injury Lawyer
In this article, we’ll break down:
- Most common causes of bicycle accidents
- Proving driver negligence after a bicycle accident
- Comparative negligence in bicycle accident cases
- Why hire a bicycle accident lawyer in Florida?
- Proving the automobile driver is the at-fault party
- What to look for when hiring a Florida bicycle accident lawyer
You’ve heard the term ‘share the road.’ It isn’t just a courtesy expected of drivers and bicyclists. It’s the law. Bicyclists in Florida have the same legal rights as drivers and are allowed to take up their fair portion of the road. And both have a duty of care to the other to operate safely.
A driver who doesn’t show care to a cyclist may be infringing on that cyclist’s rights.
Unfortunately, cases of motorists failing to share the road and putting cyclists in harm’s way happen every day. If you’re hurt in a bicycle accident in Florida, you may need to file a lawsuit against the driver to recover the compensation you need to make you whole again.
The Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Florida’s warm weather and bright sunshine attract bike riders all up and down the state. As a result, our state also sees the largest number of bicycle accidents than just about any other. Drivers have an obligation to not act in a negligent manner to reduce the likelihood of injuring a bicyclist while riding down the road.
Common signs of negligent drivers:
- Texting or talking on the phone
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive or careless driving
- Failing to stop or yield for cyclists and other cars
- Failing to check blind spots
How Do You Prove Driver Negligence After a Bicycle Accident?
If you were injured in a bicycle accident caused by an automobile driver, you must prove negligence, meaning you’ll need to prove that the driver breached his or her duty of care and that breach caused the accident that led to your injuries.
Many people injured in bicycle accidents assume that because they’re the victim and have visible injuries that driver negligence is obvious and assumed. But proving negligence requires evidence. You’ll need to show that the driver ran a red light, for example, or changed lanes without checking their blind spot. Depending on where the accident occurs, proving negligence isn’t necessarily easy.
Here are a few common ways we suggest to gather evidence to help you prove driver negligence.
Collect Witness Statements
Witness statements are extremely valuable evidence when you capture them immediately following the accident. Bystanders who saw the accident unfold – and the actions the driver took right before the collision – are third-party accounts that can back up your version of what took place.
Get statements quickly and make sure they’re detailed. Ask each witness if they noticed any signs of distracted or aggressive driving, or if they noticed the driver ignoring road signs or other motorists. Also make sure to write down each witness’ full name, address, and phone number for follow-up conversations.
Take notes of your experience before, during, and after the accident. As time passes, your memory of the accident will lose some of its focus, so document your statement as soon as possible. Note what you observed about the driver’s actions that proved to you the driver was driving irresponsibly. Note where you were at the time of the accident and any details that demonstrate you were showing care to the vehicles around you. Also, be sure to give an accurate account of the event and your injuries to any police or rescue personnel and to any medical provider who may have treated you. Make sure you tell the truth about any pre-existing injuries.
Snap Photos from the Scene
Having photographic evidence to back up your witnesses’ statements and your account of what took place gives you a stronger case for proving driver negligence. Take photos of:
- Your injuries
- Condition of your bike
- Condition of the car or cars involved
- Road where the accident took place
- Any hazardous weather – if it was raining when the accident occurred, photograph the wet road
- Location of witnesses and bystanders at the time of the accident
- Anything else that can prove the driver acted negligently
Ask for Security Camera Footage
If you’re injured in the middle of a busy intersection or in front of a business, ask nearby business owners for video footage from their security cameras. As the victim, they may be willing to provide you with the video evidence that could definitively show driver negligence and help prove your case.
READ MORE: Bicycle Accident: Request for Production of Documents
Gathering this information will go a long way to being able to recover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other expense caused by the accident.
What if You Had Some Responsibility in Causing the Accident?
Not every accident case is black and white with one party fully to blame. In many cases, the cyclist may be partially at fault even though the driver is largely responsible. This is known as comparative negligence, also called contributory negligence.
If the judge or jury finds you, the cyclist, partly at fault for the accident, you’ll likely receive a smaller portion of the damages in your claim. If you believe that you and the driver both contributed to the accident, you should still move ahead and file a claim against the driver. In Florida, an injured accident victim can recover damages regardless of fault, though it may only be a portion of your damages.
Quick Tip: Here’s one way to prove an automobile driver was the at-fault party in a bicycle accident – Florida Statute 316.2065 states:
(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter…
Why Hire a Bicycle Accident Lawyer to Represent You?
A personal injury lawyer familiar with bicycle accident cases maybe your strongest advocate as you prepare to file your accident claim against a negligent driver. Because the burden of proof is on you, the victim, to prove negligence, a lawyer can help you gather admissible evidence to support your case. Your lawyer can also make sure the evidence and your medical records and bills are presented in a way to the driver’s insurance company that increases the likelihood of a fair and just settlement.
Your lawyer will also negotiate settlement amounts with your insurance companies, including your own health insurance company, as well as any medical providers, including chiropractors, surgeons, rehab facilities, etc., in a way that is organized and likely to lead to a fair and just settlement.
Call Alan Sackrin Today to Get a Free Case Evaluation
Talk with a personal injury lawyer who has years of experience handling bicycle accident cases, and one who has spent 38 years evaluating accident facts, applying the law, and effectively asking juries to render a favorable verdict.
Alan Sackrin offers a free initial consultation (over the phone or in-person) to answer your questions. When you’re ready to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case, give Alan a call at 945-458-8655.