In Miami, where the weather is beautiful year-round, outdoor recreation like bicycle riding is a popular activity. Unfortunately, bicycle accidents often result in severe, life-threatening injuries, or in some cases death. Cyclists toe the line between being pedestrians and being drivers of motor vehicles. They have most of the same rights to use roadways as drivers do, which makes them physically vulnerable in the event of a collision.
You could be the most seasoned cyclist who follows all the rules of the road and still end up being a victim of a tragic accident. When drivers on the road get distracted, speed, or simply misread signals, chaos can ensue. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, do not wait any longer to consult with a Miami bicycle accident lawyer. The financial, physical and emotional losses that follow an accident can be devastating. Put your trust in a personal injury lawyer who can fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Do I Need to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney if I Was Involved in a Bicycle Accident?
Whether you will need a personal injury will really depend on whether you were injured. If you were lucky enough to walk away from the accident unscathed, there is not much an accident attorney can do to help you. However, if you sustained injuries that require medical treatment a good attorney will get you to the best doctors available, manage your medical bills, and work to obtain a great settlement or verdict in your case.
If you were injured as the result of a bicycle accident in Florida, it is in your best interests to consult with a personal injury attorney with experience representing bicyclists. Most personal injury attorneys in Florida, including our firm, work on a contingency fee basis and offer free case evaluations. This means that you will not need to pay any attorney fees out of your pocket. Our fees are collected after the case is resolved and only if we make a successful recovery.
What if the Accident Was My Fault?
Florida is a comparative fault state. This means that each party is responsible for their contribution to the accident. It is very rare for a bicycle rider to be found 100% at fault for causing an accident, but it does happen. Due to the severity of injuries bike riders often sustain, it is quite common for bike accident victims to obtain very large settlements and verdicts for accidents that were mostly their own fault.
Let’s look at an example to see how comparative fault works in Florida:
A car with a green light crashes into a bike a rider that was making a right turn at a red light. The witnesses at the scene explain that the cyclist made a right turn at the red light and that the car had the right of way. Although it is legal to make a right turn on red in Florida, the police officer issues a citation to the bike rider for causing the accident.
The bike rider sustained severe injuries including a fractured left femur and a closed head traumatic brain injury. The bike rider retains a personal injury attorney who obtains video footage of the crash. The attorney hires an accident reconstructionist expert to determine how fast the car was traveling at the time of the crash. The expert determines that the car was traveling 44 mph at the time of impact. The speed limit where the crash occurred was was 30 mph at the time of the accident.
The case proceeds to trial and the jury reaches a verdict of 3 million dollars for the bike rider. The jury further finds that the bike rider was 80% at fault and that the driver was 20% of fault for causing the accident. The total award for the bike rider is reduced by 80% due to the comparative negligence. In this example, the cyclist’s judgment amounts to a total of $600,000.00 or 20% of 3 million dollars.
Florida Bike Accident Statistics
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (FLHSMV) tracks data on all types of accidents including bicycle accidents. In 2019, the most recent year with complete data, there were 6,664 bicycle crashes in the state of Florida. Of the 6,664 accidents, 5,455 of the accidents resulted in injuries, 774 resulted in serious injuries, and 156 accidents resulted in death.
Although wearing a helmet is not required for adults to ride a bicycle or motorcycle in the state of Florida, it is statistically the difference between life or death. Of the 156 individuals who died in bicycle accidents in 2019, 137 were not wearing a helmet. This means that 88% of all bicycle riders who died as the result of a bicycle accident in 2019 were not wearing a helmet.
Miami Bicycle Accident Statistics
Of the 6,664 reported bicycle crashes in Florida in 2019, 828 occurred in Miami-Dade County. This means that 12.4% of all bicycle accidents in Florida in 2019 occurred in Miami-Dade County. This high number is due to the popularity of road biking in several high traffic South Florida areas including Key Biscayne, Aventura, Coral Gables, Brickell, Miami Beach, and Homestead. Of the 828 accidents in Miami-Dade County, 772 of the accidents resulted in injuries and 16 accidents resulted in death.
What Should I Do if I Was Involved in a Bicycle Accident in Miami?
The moments following a bicycle accident can be very hectic. However, these are some tried and proven steps that you should keep in mind if you are an avid bike rider in Florida:
Step 1: Remove yourself and your bicycle from the roadway so that you are safe from any oncoming traffic.
Step 2: Call 911 to report the accident. Make sure to notify the dispatcher of any injuries that may require hospitalization so that an ambulance is dispatched to the scene.
Step 3: If you have not already been transported to the emergency room, remain at the scene of the accident until law enforcement arrives.
Step 4: While waiting for law enforcement to arrive, collect the names and phone numbers of any person who witnessed the crash. These witnesses will help law enforcement, the insurance companies, and your attorney understand who caused the crash and how it occurred.
Step 5: Capture photographs and videos of the scene of the accident and the vehicles involved using your cellular telephone.
Step 6: Obtain a copy of the driver exchange of information from the police officer at the scene of the crash. This document contains the other parties’ names, insurance information, and vehicle information. Your attorney can use the information contained in this document to report the accident to the insurance companies involved. If you are unable to obtain the driver exchange of information, you or your attorney will be able to obtain the information from police crash report once it is made available.
Step 7: Seek medical attention if you did not require an ambulance to transport you to the emergency room but are still experiencing pain.
Step 8: If you sustained injuries in an accident that was not your fault and you plan to hire a personal injury attorney, do not provide a recorded statement to any person or insurance company. Your attorney will handle all communications on your behalf.
Step 9: Avoid posting anything about the accident on social media.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
There a number of factors that could cause a bicycle crash. When a roadway is occupied by motor vehicles with an immense amount of horsepower and speed and bicycles that travel solely by way of human strength, a lot can go wrong. Some of the most common cause of bicycle accidents are:
- Intersection or lane merging
- Inattentive driving
- Fixed objects
- Driver opens door in bicyclist’s path
- Failure to stop at red lights and stop signs
- Uneven roadways
- Inclement weather conditions
- Failure to use turn signals
- Misreading signals
- Road conditions
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Illegal substances
- Prescription drugs
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
There are certainly many other factors that can cause an accident to take place. It only takes one of the above factors to exist in order for a catastrophic accident to occur. Even when bicyclists wear helmets, they are still at risk for serious injury or death. Motor vehicle drivers have the safeguards of seatbelts as well as front and side airbags to protect them if they crash. What may be an injury-free minor fender bender for a car or truck, can be catastrophic for a bike rider involved in a car accident. Bicyclists do not have any substantial protection to shield them from the road or from cars, trucks and motorcycles. Some of the most common injuries associated with bicycle crashes include:
- Dental and jaw injuries
- Broken bones
- Head trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
- Ruptured disc or disc bulge
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Neck injuries
Compensation for Bicycle Accident Injuries in Miami, Florida
Due to the severity of injuries caused by bicycle collisions, many victims require long term care and rehabilitation for months and even years after a collision takes place. With this type of specialized care comes an influx of medical bills that can amount to thousands of dollars. A skilled bicycle accident attorney can soften the blow that comes with this type of accident by helping a victim recover damages.
There are two types of compensation that a bicycle accident victim can receive in a personal injury cause of action: compensatory and punitive. The purpose of compensatory damages is to make the plaintiff “whole.” Compensatory damages are divided into two subcategories: monetary and nonmonetary. Monetary damages include:
- Present and future lost earnings
- Present and future medical care
- Household services
- Property damages
- Wrongful death damages
Nonmonetary damages are more difficult to calculate but they are nevertheless still recoverable. Nonmonetary damages include:
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the court finds that a defendant’s actions were particularly egregious or outrageous. This occurs most frequently in situations where the at-fault driver was operating their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The purpose of punitive damages is to make an example out of the defendant in an effort to deter people from committing similar acts in the future. Many states put a cap on the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded in a personal injury cause of action. In the State of Florida, an injured party can collect up to three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded or $500,000, whichever is greater.
Florida Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents
The state of Florida has a four year statute of limitations for personal injury causes of action. This means that an injured person has four years from the date of the accident to file a claim in court. Florida has a two year statute of limitations for wrongful death causes of action. Thus, a victim’s family has two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death claim.
Miami, FL Bike Accident Attorney Offering Free Consultations
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, call a personal injury attorney right away. A skilled and experienced personal injury attorney can help guide you through the litigation process and get you back on your feet again. Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA takes pride in providing high quality legal services to victims and their families. Call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA today at (305) 694-2676 to schedule a free case evaluation with a Miami bicycle accident attorney who can help.