Car accidents occur every day in the state of Florida and in Miami specifically. In fact the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) has indicated that an estimated 41,337 car crashes occurred in Broward County alone in 2017, and these accidents resulted in 225 fatalities and over 24 thousand injuries. While being in any car accident can be a traumatic event, car accidents involving cyclists tend to be more serious than a car accident involving two vehicles, because bicyclists are more likely to sustain serious injuries in a car accident than motorist are due to the limited amount of protection a bicyclist has from the impact of a vehicle.
As such, you would think that motorists would exercise a high degree of caution when a bicyclist is on the road, but this is not the case in many instances. In fact, many drivers in the state of Florida do just the opposite. In 2017, there were 6,675 bicycle accidents in Florida, and these accidents resulted in an estimated 6,263 injuries. This means that the majority of the bicycle accidents that occured in our state resulted in someone sustaining injuries. In other words, if you have been involved in a bicycle accident in the state of Florida, you will almost inevitably sustain some type of injury. As such, if you have been involved in bicycle accident, you should always speak with a bicycle accident attorney in Miami who can explain your legal rights and inform you of any legal remedies that are available to you.
What to do after being Involved in a Bicycle Accident in Miami
Most accident victims that have been involved in a bicycle accident are in shock after the accident occurs, and this feeling is natural. However, once you have calmed down, there are certain things you should always do at the scene of the accident to preserve and document evidence that may only be available at the accident scene.
- Get to a Safe Place: Bicycle accidents can occur anywhere and at anytime. So, after an accident occurs, get away from the road immediately. This will allow you to sit down, gather your thoughts, and concentrate on what you should do next.
- Contact the Police: Regardless of whether you believe you are injured or not, you should always contact the police. Often, bicyclists don’t realize the full extent of their injuries until a few days after the accident has occurred. Moreover, the police will document and keep a record of critical pieces of information such as how the accident occured, the driver’s insurance information, an initial determination of fault, etc. This information can later be used by your bicycle accident attorney to determine the strength of your claim.
- Document everything: While you are at the scene of the accident, you need to document everything as extensively as possible. Take pictures of the accident scene, the vehicle, your injuries, and collect the contact information for any and all people who witnessed the accident occur. If you were wearing a helmet camera at the time of the accident, make sure you preserve any video footage you have of how, when, and where the accident occured.
- Get evaluated by a doctor: You should always get evaluated by a doctor after being involved in a bicycle accident. If needed, get medical attention from the paramedics at the accident scene. This ultimately serves a dual purpose. On the one hand, you need to make sure you aren’t seriously injured. According to the Center for Disease Control, there were an estimated 467,000 bicycle-related injuries in 2015. So, in most cases, bicycle accidents victims will sustain some type of injury that should be evaluated by a doctor. On the other hand, you need to document the extent of your injuries both after the accident and during the course of the recovery process. This information will be used by your bicycle accident attorney later to demonstrate the severity of your injuries and the impact these injuries had and will have on your life.
- Speak with a Bicycle Accident Attorney: Regardless of how serious or minor a bicycle accident may be, you should always contact a bicycle accident attorney in Miami who can explain your legal rights and whether or not you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. After a bicycle accident occurs, the other driver’s insurance company will immediately begin building a defense to either diminish the value of your claim or completely absolve the driver from any liability, but your bicycle accident attorney will take steps to protect your financial interests and strengthen your claim.
Bicycle Accident Laws in Miami, FL
Pursuant to Fla.Stat.§316.2065(1), bicyclists are required to obey all of the same traffic laws that a normal driver would with a few exceptions, but bicyclists are also afforded all of the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle operator. This aspect of Florida law is important, because it gives vehicle operators a very specific argument against bicyclists involved in a car accident.
Understanding Comparative Negligence Laws in Florida
Most motorists will try to argue that it was the bicyclists, not the driver, who is either partially or completely responsible for having caused the accident to occur, and if this is done successfully, the value of your claim could be significantly diminished or completely ruined under Florida’s comparative negligence statute, which states that the value of the damages in a negligence action, which in this case is the car accident, is proportionally diminished by the percentage of fault assigned to a plaintiff at trial. This means that if you are found to have been 50% responsible for a car accident, than the amount of any economic and non-economic monetary damages you are awarded will be reduced by 50%. Moreover, this particular statute demonstrates why hiring an effective bicycle accident attorney is such an important aspect in insuring the success of your claim, because failing to do so could result in you making a mistake that could damage your ability to seek compensation for your injuries.
Connect with a Bicycle Accident Attorney in Miami
Have you been involved in a bicycle accident? 1800-Injured is a medical and lawyer referral service that connects accident victims with bicycle accident attorneys in the Miami area. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, call 1800-Injured today to speak with a bicycle accident attorney near you.