A Boca Raton Bicycle Accident Lawyer Fighting for You
All drivers are obligated by Florida law to have insurance coverage in the event of an accident. While bicyclists are not obligated to carry insurance, you can pursue a claim against the other driver’s insurance if they injure you in an accident caused by their negligence. If you need help, contact a Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer for help with your claim.
The insurance claim process can be difficult to navigate, however. You will essentially need to prove that the driver was negligent and the extent of your injuries and other losses. Perhaps predictably, the insurance company will try to pay as little on your claim as possible, and will therefore try to use your own actions and statements against you. To get the compensation you need to get back on your feet, the best thing you can do is work with a Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer.
Damages Your Boca Raton Bicycle Accident Lawyer Will Pursue
It is no secret that bicyclists are incredibly vulnerable in the event of an accident, especially when they are struck by a car. Their only source of protection may be their helmet, and even then, you are still likely to suffer catastrophic injuries such as broken bones, severe abrasions, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. Your injuries may require extensive medical treatment and leave you disabled, unable to work, and unable to enjoy your daily life.
You deserve to be made whole. A Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation you need to make a full recovery including the following:
- Your current and future medical bills, especially any copays, deductibles, or other expenses that aren’t covered by insurance
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy expenses
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Your pain and suffering
Tragically, some accidents result in death for the bicyclist. As a result, the bicyclist’s family may be entitled to wrongful death damages.
Unfortunately, many bicyclists settle their claims for far less than they are worth simply because they don’t understand the value of their claim. This means that they are at a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with the insurance company. A Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer can level the playing field and help you get the compensation you deserve.
How Fault Can Affect Your Bike Accident Claim
One of the most common defenses we see in bicycle accident cases is when the driver claims that the bicyclist was negligent. Perhaps they ran a stop sign, entered an intersection without looking, or were riding on the wrong side of the street. Whether or not this is true, it is important to emphasize that you may be entitled to compensation even if your own negligence contributed to the accident.
Florida follows what is referred to as the “pure comparative negligence” rule. Under this rule, an injury victim can still pursue compensation even if they are partially at fault for the accident through their own negligence. In fact, the victim can still pursue a claim even if the accident was mostly caused by their own negligence.
The rule works by establishing how much each party’s negligence contributed to the accident and then reducing the claimant’s damages accordingly. For example, let’s say a bicyclist runs a stop sign and is struck by a vehicle that was speeding and also ran a stop sign. It is determined that the bicyclist’s negligence contributed 30% to causing the accident. If they are then awarded $500,000 in damages, it will then be reduced by 30% or $150,000. As a result, the injured bicyclist will receive $350,000 in compensation.
It is easy enough for the driver to claim that you were partially to blame for your injuries. It is much harder to actually prove it, however. A Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer can guard against these claims and ensure that you get all of the compensation that you deserve.
Understanding Florida’s Bicycle Laws
Understanding how Florida law applies to your case is important when it comes to evaluating your claim. If you were not following the law at the time the accident occurred, it could affect the amount of compensation you are entitled to recover. The following is a basic overview of some of the common laws in Florida that can affect your claim:
- Bicycles are considered “vehicles” and riders are considered “drivers” under the law, meaning that bicyclists are expected to follow all traffic laws
- Bicyclists must obey are traffic signals, controls, and signs
- Bicyclists must use the bike lane when one is provided
- Bicyclists can ride on the sidewalk, provided that they obey the “rights of duties” that apply to pedestrians
- Bicyclists under the age of 16 must wear a helmet
- When riding between sunset and sunrise, bikes must be equipped with lights: a white light on the front visible up to 500 feet and a red light visible up to 600 feet on the rear
There may also be local ordinances in addition to state law that apply to your case. Florida’s bicycle laws can be complex and it isn’t always clear how they apply to your case. Insurance companies will often misinterpret them in order to avoid paying claims. An experienced Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer will understand how these laws apply to your case and be able to protect the value of your claim.
Other Parties Who May Be at Fault in a Bicycle Accident
While most bicycle accidents are caused by negligent motorists, there may be other parties at fault for your injuries. For example:
- A pedestrian may be partially liable for forcing you out into traffic or knocking you to the ground.
- State or local government agencies may be held liable for unsafe road or bike lane design or negligent maintenance.
- Road construction companies that may be at fault for unsafe road conditions due to shoddy construction or by failing to provide appropriate signage and alternate routes for the construction zone.
- You may have a claim against your bicycle, component, or helmet manufacturer if your injuries were the result of the defective design or manufacture of your bike, its parts, or your helmet.
Identifying the correct party responsible for your accident is critical to the success of your claim. A Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer can make sure that all of the appropriate parties are held accountable.
A Boca Raton Bicycle Accident Lawyer Handling All Types of Bicycle Accident Cases
We have a proven track record of helping injured bicyclists get fair compensation for their injuries that are caused by someone else’s negligence. While the most serious bicycle accidents are typically caused by motorists, we handle those as well as accidents where other parties may be to blame.
Accidents Caused by Road Debris and Other Maintenance-Related Issues
Trash, gravel, and other debris can cause a bicycle rider to crash and fall into traffic. Failure to trim vegetation can cause the rider to swerve into traffic and get struck by a car. Broken, crumbling asphalt can cause the same result. If you were injured in a bicycle accident due to poor road maintenance, you may be able to pursue a claim against the government. These claims can be quite difficult to pursue, but an experienced Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer can help you navigate the process.
Accidents Caused by Poor Road or Bike Lane Design
An increase in bike lanes and other bicycle-friendly infrastructure helps keep bicyclists safe, but unfortunately, many bike lanes and other features are poorly designed. Common design defects include bike lanes that abruptly end, bridges that are slippery when wet, and bike lanes that do not have adequate drainage. Cyclists who are injured due to poor road or bike lane design may be able to pursue a claim against the responsible parties, including the design or engineering firms. A Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer from our firm can review your case and determine whether you have a claim.
In a “dooring” accident, a bicycle rider riding on the right side of the lane approaches a parked car from the rear. As they are alongside a parked car, a person inside the car opens their door into the path of the oncoming bicycle. Without enough time to stop, the rider may have to either swerve out into traffic, where they may be struck by another vehicle, or collide with the vehicle door. In some cases, the person in the car will knock the rider to the ground and into the travel lane. Dooring accidents are very common in suburban and urban environments and are among the most dangerous types of bicycle accidents. Riders who are injured in dooring accidents may have a claim against the person who doored them as well as any other motorists who may have struck them. A Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you need to make a full recovery.
Right Hook Accidents
These accidents occur when a motorist makes a right turn in front of a bicycle rider and the rider cannot stop in time to avoid an accident. While it is very common for the driver to be unaware that the cyclist was there, these accidents are often the result of the driver’s misjudgment of how fast the rider was traveling. The rider typically collides with the passenger-side front fender, causing them to be thrown up onto the hood and windshield of the vehicle before being thrown into the roadway.
Left Hook Accidents
Very serious accidents can occur when a driver makes a left turn across the path of a bicycle rider. Again, these are typically due to the driver being unaware that the bicycle rider was there or misjudging their speed. The rider may collide with the driver-side front fender, or the driver may strike the rider with the front of their car. In either scenario, the bicycle rider typically suffers very serious injuries.
Whether you were injured in a right hook or left hook accident, a Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer can help you get fair compensation to treat your injuries.
Passing Too Closely
Cyclists are entitled to three feet of clearance when being passed by a motor vehicle. Not only does this create a safe buffer between the bicycle and the vehicle, but it allows the cyclist to maneuver debris and road hazards such as potholes. Drivers who pass too closely to bicycle riders can prevent them from avoiding hazards or even sideswiping them. Drivers will try to claim that the rider crashed on their own, but a Boca Raton accident lawyer will be able to prove that they were responsible.
These occur when a driver strikes a bicyclist from behind, and often because the driver was not paying attention. They can occur when the cyclist is stopped at an intersection or while they are traveling since they move slower than other traffic. In a rear-end accident, the rider can be violently thrown to the ground and risk being run over by the car that struck them.
Lane Changing Accidents
Sideswipe or lane change accidents are typically the result of when a motorist fails to see a cyclist in an adjacent lane. The side of the vehicle strikes the cyclist and knocks them to the ground, and often into the curb.
How a Boca Raton Bicycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Bicycle accident cases involve proving that the driver or other party was negligent in some way. The fact that you were struck by a car and injured is not sufficient to prove your case. Instead, you must be able to identify the cause of the accident and specifically how the other party failed to take due care to avoid an accident.
In addition to being able to prove that the other party was at fault, you will need to be able to prove your losses. This includes your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. After that, you need to begin the process of trying to get fair compensation so that you can get the treatment you need and put your bicycle accident behind you.
When you work with a Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer from The Grife Law Firm, you can rest assured that we will take the following steps:
- We will thoroughly investigate the accident. We will obtain a copy of the accident report, obtain statements from witnesses, and do whatever it takes to establish the critical facts in order to identify the cause of the accident.
- We will help you get the treatment you need. We can refer you to any specialists you may need and work with your healthcare providers in billing for their services.
- We can deal with the insurance companies. Whether talking to the driver’s insurance company or your health insurance company, we can handle all of the phone calls, emails, and other correspondence.
- We will calculate your damages. Understanding what your claim may be worth is vital information that you need to decide how to proceed with your case. We will calculate the total value of your claim based on your current and future medical bills, your lost income, your pain and suffering, and any other losses you may have suffered as a result of your bicycle accident.
- We will gather the evidence. Whether submitting your claim to the insurance company or preparing for trial, gathering the evidence you need to support your case is a labor-intensive process. From compiling your bills and documentation of lost income to obtaining traffic camera footage, we know how to get the evidence you need to build your case.
- We will negotiate your settlement. Most personal injury cases, including those involving bicycle accidents, are settled out of court. In addition to submitting a well-documented claim, you need an experienced negotiator who knows how to leverage your evidence into a settlement that is fair.
- Or we will file a lawsuit on your behalf. Sometimes, your best option for getting the compensation you deserve is to go to court. Unfortunately, the legal process is very difficult for non-lawyers, and a simple mistake can jeopardize your claim. As seasoned litigators, we know how to effectively navigate the legal system in order to maximize your chances of recovery.
In short, we can handle every step of the process from start to finish. We help you understand your options and get you the information you need to make an informed decision. If you are an injured cyclist, a Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer from our firm can be your advocate and your ally.
Bicycle Accidents Result in Very Serious Injuries
Because the rider is so exposed and wearing only a helmet for safety protection, the injuries that can result from a bicycle accident can easily range from mild to catastrophic. We have helped our clients get fair compensation for all types of injuries, including the following:
- Road rash
- Scrapes, lacerations, and contusions
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and concussions
- Paralysis and Spinal cord injuries
- Bone fractures
- Joint injuries and dislocations
- Torn or strained tendons, ligaments, and muscles
- Facial injuries
- Neck injuries
- Internal organ damage
Except for more minor injuries, many injuries sustained in bicycle accidents require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. The cost of your recovery may be exorbitant. You may be unable to work and pay your bills or take care of those you love. Perhaps even worse, your accident may leave you disfigured or permanently disabled. A Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you need to rebuild your life.
Florida Bicycle Accident Statistics
Most people do not realize how common bicycle accidents are, but studies have shown that Florida has the highest number of fatal bicycle accidents in the country. Statistics compiled by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) illustrate the hazards cyclists face:
- In 2022, there were 7,253 total bicycle accidents across the state of Florida in 2022. Of these, there were 220 fatal bicycle accidents and 6,763 bicycle accidents that resulted in injuries. During the same time period, there were 486 total bicycle accidents in Palm Beach County alone, including 14 fatal accidents and 445 accidents that resulted in injuries.
- Statewide, bicycle accident statistics for 2023 appear to be tracking with 2022. Through the beginning of November, there have been 6,805 total bicycle accidents state-wide. This includes 181 fatal accidents and 6,392 accidents resulting in injuries. There has been an increase in Palm Beach County, however – there have been 580 total bicycle accidents, including 11 fatal accidents and 555 accidents that resulted in injuries. While there are 3 fewer fatalities so far, the number of accidents and the number of injuries have exceeded those statistics for 2022.
The key takeaways may be obvious but deserve our attention. Cycling on the road is an inherently dangerous activity. In the event of an accident, you have a very high likelihood of being seriously injured or even killed. People who are injured in bicycle accidents typically face extensive losses and have a long road to recovery. You are not just a statistic. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, a Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you need to make a full recovery.
Safety Tips from a Boca Raton Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Fortunately, there are many things that bicyclists can do to reduce their chances of an accident and protect themselves in the event of an accident.
- Obey traffic laws, signs, and signals. Traffic laws apply to and protect all road users, including bicyclists. Obeying the rules of the road, signs, and signals reduces your chances of being struck by a motor vehicle.
- Ride defensively. Always remember that most drivers are not looking for bicyclists. Make eye contact with drivers before entering the intersection to make sure they see you. Be prepared to stop or take other measures to avoid accidents. Be aware of unsafe situations. Alert motorists to your intentions by using hand signals.
- Take the lane. Bicyclists are allowed to use the whole lane if the lane is not wide enough to be safely used by both a bicyclist and a motor vehicle. By moving to the middle of the lane, you discourage drivers from trying to squeeze by you and then push you off the road.
- Plan your route. While localities are making an effort to improve cycling infrastructure, the reality is that some roads are simply unsafe for bicycles. Planning ahead can keep you off dangerous roadways. There are numerous apps available that have “heat maps” that show routes preferred by other cyclists, helping you avoid unsafe roads.
- Watch out for road hazards. Even if you are riding on the shoulder, watch out for debris, potholes, and other hazards that would require you to swerve into traffic in order to avoid the hazard.
- Wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet could make the difference between a full recovery and a life-changing brain injury or death. Bicycle helmets consist primarily of styrofoam and are designed to absorb the impact of a crash. Helmets should, therefore, be replaced after minor crashes, even if there are no signs of damage. They should also be replaced every few years as they will lose their structural integrity over time due to weathering, UV light, and pollution. You should wear one that fits well and is made specifically for use while riding a bicycle. Riders should also consider purchasing a helmet with MIPS technology (Multi-directional Impact System) which protects against rotational trauma to the head and brain.
- Lights and reflectors. This is an obvious concern while riding at dusk or at night. At a minimum, bicycles should be equipped with reflectors on the wheels, pedals, handlebars, and seatposts. However, there are a number of inexpensive lighting options available on the market – bright headlights that have various settings including a strobe option. BIcyclists can also purchase tail lights with various blinking patterns. Some bicyclists choose to use both head and tail lights during daylight hours for increased visibility.
- Wear the right clothing. The clothing you wear can also make a difference. Reflective clothing can increase your visibility at night. Bright, “hi-viz” clothing can also make you more visible during the day. Gloves can protect your hands in the event of a crash. Bicyclists should also wear closed-toe shoes and a shirt to minimize other injuries.
While you can protect yourself, the unfortunate reality is that you cannot control the actions of others. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, a Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer from The Grife Law Firm can help you get the compensation you need to put your accident behind you.
A Boca Raton Bicycle Accident Lawyer Helping You Overcome a Permanent Disability
Bicyclists typically suffer catastrophic injuries when they are struck by a motor vehicle. Injuries such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries can obviously result in permanent, total disabilities. Other less severe injuries, however, can also result in partial disabilities that are permanent. Whether you are facing a partial or total disability, a permanent disability can change your life in the following ways:
- It can impact your ability to earn a living. Paralysis or brain damage may mean never being able to work again. Partial disabilities may mean that you cannot work in your chosen profession or require you to work fewer hours or at lower-paying jobs.
- You may require ongoing medical care. Severe disabilities may require extensive medical treatment both now and well into the future. Pain management, corrective surgeries, and other procedures are common for those with severe disabilities. People who suffer serious permanent disabilities also face an increased risk of complications, infections, and other related health issues.
- You may face additional expenses. Your disability may require in-home care, additional transportation costs, or accessibility modifications to your home.
- It can impact your mental health. It can be very difficult to come to terms with a permanent disability. You may be unable to care for yourself or your family as you had planned. You may be unable to engage in hobbies that you previously enjoyed such as cycling. Depression and severe anxiety are common. If you are facing a permanent disability, your mental health may require professional treatment.
The challenge is that it can be difficult to know which of these challenges you may be facing immediately after your accident. That is why you need a Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer to protect your rights while you figure out the extent of your injuries and what impact they will have on your future. From there, your lawyer can fight for the compensation you will need to rebuild your life and get back to as close to normal as possible.
A Boca Raton Bicycle Accident Lawyer Working with Families Who Have Lost a Loved One in a Bicycle Accident
Tragically, many bicycle accidents result in the death of the cyclist. This can leave a tremendous burden on those who are left behind, from lost income to loss of companionship. If you have lost a loved one in a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Unfortunately, wrongful death cases are complex and can be very difficult for non-lawyers to pursue. Under Florida law, wrongful death claims can only be pursued by the personal representative of the victim’s estate. The personal representative is the person named in the will who is responsible for administering the estate. If your loved one passed without a will, this is another challenge that will need to be overcome.
To be clear, none of the challenges associated with wrongful death cases are impossible if you know what to do. Non-lawyers should be aware that mistakes and delays can jeopardize your case. The best way to protect your rights is to work with a Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer who knows how to handle wrongful death claims. They will know what steps need to be taken to pursue your claim. And once the procedural challenges are overcome, they can then gather the evidence you need to prove the other party’s negligence so that your family can get the compensation you deserve.
What To Do if You Are in a Bicycle Accident
The moments following your accident can be incredibly confusing, but taking the right steps can set you up for success if you decide to pursue a claim. To the extent that you are able, you should take the following steps immediately after your accident:
- Call 911 so that the police and EMTs are dispatched. The EMTs can provide medical help and transport you to the hospital if needed. The police can secure the scene and redirect traffic to keep you safe. In addition, they can prepare an accident report that can be used to establish important facts if you need to pursue a claim later on.
- Take your time to assess your injuries. Do not rush to get up. Remain seated or lie down and try to remain calm. Allow yourself to be examined by the EMTs when they arrive. Do not hesitate to have the ambulance take you to the emergency room if you think you need to go.
- Get the name, contact number, and insurance information of the driver that hit you. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Take pictures of the scene of the accident and any injuries you have suffered. The more pictures you take, the better.
Regardless of whether you are taken to the hospital, you should get a thorough medical examination as soon as possible. And if you have been seriously injured, you should contact a Boca Raton bicycle accident lawyer to discuss your options.
Turn To A Boca Raton Bicycle Accident Attorney At The Grife Law Firm
We are standing by to answer your questions and help you get the information you need to move forward with enacting your rights after a bicycle accident. There is no risk in contacting us online or by calling our law firm at 855-998-0770 to learn more.
We offer Free Consultations
Our Team is Spanish Speaking
Call Anytime, Available 24/7/365
Same Day Communication