Driving or riding in a car has become safer over the years due to vehicle, traffic, and road safety improvements. Yet, automobile-related bicycle accidents are a growing problem. Most cycling accidents result when motorists fail in their duty to share the road and can involve negligence in the form of:
- Unsafe lane changes
- Driver distraction
- Driver inattention
- Ignoring stop signs and traffic signals
- Failing to yield
- Driving under the influence
- Driving while fatigued
Drivers aren’t always the only ones at fault. Poor city planning, construction site errors, and faulty maintenance of private property contribute to more and more automobile-related cyclist injuries and deaths each year. Bicycle accidents can also be caused by other factors, including:
- Crumbling pavement
- Lack of sidewalks/crosswalks
- Unsafe intersections
- Debris from nearby construction
- Automobile defects
A cycling accident can leave you with serious or catastrophic injuries. These injuries can require a lengthy recovery time, during which you may be unable to work and earn the money you need to pay all of your bills. Personal injury law exists to protect your rights to pursue compensation for your losses when you have suffered harm due to another person’s carelessness.
Personal injury cases involving cyclists are usually complex. They require extensive knowledge of personal injury law, high-level investigative resources, and medical and engineering expertise. Injured cyclists may have to go up against drivers backed by powerful, billion-dollar insurance companies, massive construction companies, or sovereign government entities. These defendants have deep pockets and can afford prominent legal teams willing to do what it takes to avoid responsibility for their negligence.
Key Information to Know About Bicycle Accident Cases:
In order to win a personal injury lawsuit, an injured cyclist must prove three elements of negligence by the greater weight of the evidence.
- Defendant(s) breached the duty to exercise due care and precaution against injury
- That breach directly contributed to the injury
- The injured party suffered actual damages as a result of the breach
While these three elements may seem simple to prove in your specific situation, the real challenge comes when the defendants fight back or seek to leverage a superior financial position against an injured cyclist. This is why it is important that you choose a bicycle accident lawyer to represent you.
Security camera footage, photos, video, and eyewitness accounts of the accident will serve as evidence to help prove your case of negligence; however, insurance companies are experts at minimizing the amount that they must pay. A bicycle accident attorney is well-versed in the tactics used in order to maximize the fair compensation that you receive.
What to do if you are injured in a bicycle accident:
Step 1: Contact a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney Who Handles Injury Cases
Any cyclist who is injured should report the accident to the police, obtain a copy of the police report, and immediately consult with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney who specializes in bicycle accident law. The guidance of a lawyer is critical from the moment you are injured. Reporting your concerns to insurance representatives or others before speaking with an attorney can seriously jeopardize your level of financial compensation. Your lawyer is there to protect your rights and the success of your claim.
Step 2: The Attorney Will Gather Evidence
The investigation is best handled by a very competent attorney working with experienced investigators. Regardless, as soon as possible after your accident, you need to make sure that someone is gathering evidence about the circumstances of the accident and your injury. Write or verbally record everything you can recall about the incident, including anything that happened immediately before and immediately after the accident. You must not repair or alter the bicycle until your attorney’s forensic team can inspect it.
Obtain the names and phone numbers of all involved in the accident and any witnesses. Take pictures or video of your injuries, the accident scene, and all vehicles involved in the accident (including license plate numbers). Be sure to keep a log of any receipts or payments relating to medical costs. Likewise, keep copies of your employment hours worked before and after the injury and any changes in salary.
An experienced personal injury lawyer who specializes in cycling cases will have access to a skilled investigative team. These professionals will help gather security camera footage, defendant phone records, police reports, defendant blood alcohol content (BAC) test results, medical records, witness testimony, and other important components for your case.
Step 3: File a Lawsuit if Necessary
When a pedestrian or cyclist suffers “serious” injuries, Florida personal injury law allows injured persons more rights to recover fuller and fairer compensation. Under Fla. Stat. §627.737, a serious personal injury is any injury that results in:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
Our personal injury lawyers at Kelley | Uustal take cases on a contingency basis. This means we do not get paid unless and until you win your case.
Do you want to learn more or see if you have a case? Contact us here.