Bicycle Accident Attorney
Were you hurt in a bicycle accident in Fort Lauderdale? Was someone else to blame? If so, you could face expensive medical bills, lost wages from time missed at work, and considerable pain and suffering from the injuries themselves.
At Phillips | Tadros, P.A., our Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys want to help you get the compensation you need for the harm you suffered through no fault of your own. Contact us today for a free case review with a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer.
What Kinds of Compensation Can You Recover for a Bicycle Accident?
If you ride a bike but also own a motor vehicle in the state of Florida, you should have certain minimum amounts of insurance coverage as required by law. Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means that crash victims typically rely on their own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy for initial coverage after an accident.
PIP is a type of no-fault insurance that covers your expenses when you get hurt in a car accident, even if you are not in your own vehicle when the crash occurs. So, if you carry the state-required $10,000 in PIP coverage, you should be eligible for compensation any time you sustain car accident injuries while riding your bike. Your PIP should cover:
- 80 percent of reasonable and necessary medical costs you incur due to the crash.
- 60 percent of your lost wages if you miss work due to accident-related injuries.
If your crash-related expenses exceed the limits of your PIP policy or you do not have PIP coverage because you have no car, you might be eligible for compensation from other sources. For instance, if the driver who hit you is at fault and you sustained severe injuries in the crash, you could file a third-party claim against the driver.
While you must prove that the driver’s actions contributed to the bike accident before you can recover money, third-party injury claims offer more types and larger compensation amounts. A successful third-party bicycle accident claim against a negligent driver could compensate you for:
- The full value of any medical expenses you incur due to the bike accident.
- Incidental, out-of-pocket expenses, such as mileage costs for medical travel.
- The full value of any lost wages you incur due to missed time at work.
- The projected value of lost earning capacity, if you suffer permanent impairments.
- The value of subjective losses like pain, suffering, and reduced quality of life.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Fort Lauderdale
While bicycle vs. motor vehicle accidents occur less frequently than other types of traffic accidents, they tend to be particularly catastrophic. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), someone is hurt or killed in 96 percent of bicycle accidents statewide.
Florida state law defines bicycles as vehicles and holds that cyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicle operators. However, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) also recognizes that bicycles have vulnerabilities that other vehicles do not.
For example, bicyclists do not have steel enclosures, safety restraints, or airbags to protect them from the worst of a crash like motor vehicle occupants do. As a result, cyclists are entitled to a certain level of care and consideration from motorists. FDOT requires drivers to be extra cautious when driving near bicycles and give cyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing.
Despite these legal and ethical obligations, many drivers behave carelessly or recklessly around cyclists, leading to collisions caused by:
- Distracted driving, such as driving while texting or talking on the phone
- Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or prescription medications
- Driving while fatigued
- Failure to yield the right of way or leave enough distance when passing
- Running red lights or stop signs or ignoring cyclists at intersections
- Exceeding posted speed limits or driving too fast for conditions
- Failing to monitor blind spots or following too closely for conditions
- Attempting to overtake and turn in front of cyclists instead of waiting
- Engaging in lane weaving, unsafe passing, or improper turn maneuvers
- Failing or refusing to obey traffic signs, signals, devices, or officers
- Opening vehicle doors into the paths of oncoming cyclists without looking
Of course, motorists are not always to blame for collisions with cyclists. Other parties who could be liable include:
- Other road users
- Manufacturers of defective car parts
- Local governments that failed to properly design or maintain roadways
In addition, a bicyclist could be at fault themselves if they violated traffic laws or contributed to the accident in some other way.
A knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorney can review your situation and identify all parties who may be at fault for your injuries.