The weather and the sights in West Palm Beach make for a great bike ride, which is a healthy and enjoyable way to get around town, get exercise, or just get some fresh air. Unfortunately, biking around West Palm Beach isn’t the safest activity in our town, and the statistics surrounding bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents in West Palm Beach are alarming. On average, one pedestrian and one cyclist is struck in West Palm Beach every day, keeping with historic trends of South Florida being the most dangerous area in the country for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcycle riders alike.
The reasons for South Florida being so dangerous for those who choose to travel using alternate transportation methods are numerous, and many advocacy groups over the years have done their own extensive research to try to understand what it is about this area that leads to these accidents, and there are many. South Florida is specifically designed for motor vehicles, and even when there are considerations for pedestrians and cyclists, such as marked bike lanes, sidewalks, and raised footpaths over highways, the fact remains that when a city is not designed expressly for pedestrians, accidents will always be a reality.
Hire a Bicycle Attorney in West Palm Beach As Soon As Possible
After an accident, you have a lot of decisions to make in a short period of time. Most importantly, you need to decide how you will prioritize your health, but you will also need to make decisions about whether or not you are able to return to work, the way you plan to handle your insurance claim, the level of medical care you are going to seek, and whether or not you are going to hire a lawyer.
Finding a lawyer is not a necessity after an accident, and in fact can be quite complicated, which is why many people, unfortunately, choose to file their insurance claims on their own. 1-800-Injured can connect you with an attorney who is ready and willing to take your case so that you can save time and effort while taking steps that will be able to maximize your chances of a positive outcome. 1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. Instead of spending your time and effort reaching out to countless law firms in West Palm Beach to find an attorney to help you, let us make the connection for you.
Read more below about bicycle accidents in West Palm Beach, and contact 1-800-Injured today to get connected with an attorney as soon as possible.
Assigning Fault After a Bicycle Accident in West Palm Beach
After any accident, one of the first steps is to determine who is responsible for the crash so that the victim can file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company. In some cases, this can be a very easy process, especially when the responsible party admits fault right from the start and accepts total liability. However, this is not always the case, and even in situations where it seems very straightforward about who caused the crash, you may be surprised to encounter serious resistance from their insurance company.
Always Call the Police
In order to clearly determine who is at fault—or if there are multiple responsible parties, how much each is at fault—there are a variety of methods that you and your attorney will use. The first step is to complete an accident report, which means that you MUST call 911 so that the police will be dispatched and can complete an accident report. In the accident report, the officer will include eyewitness statements, your statement, the driver’s statement, and their own opinion as to what happened. This report will also include contact information for eyewitnesses so that you can seek further clarification if necessary. If you do not call the police, the driver may change their story once you contact their insurance company, and it becomes your word against theirs.
Pure Comparative Negligence in Florida
Finding fault is obviously important, but reaching an agreement on the levels of fault is equally important. Florida uses a rule known as pure comparative negligence, which allows for the victim to admit to partial responsibility for an accident but still be entitled to compensation. If you are found to be 25% responsible for an accident, and your damages are calculated to be $100,00, then your final settlement or award will be reduced by 25% for a final payment of $75,000.
Pure comparative negligence is an important and helpful tool for victims, but it is important to stay vigilant about the insurance company’s use of this rule. Insurance companies have spent decades fine-tuning their abilities to limit the amount that claimants ultimately receive for personal injury settlements, and attempting to inflate your percentage of responsibility is a highly effective way to save money. Your attorney will make sure that you are not held responsible for any more than is fair.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bike Accidents in West Palm Beach
The following questions and answers are meant to provide you with a general idea of your own situation, but are not intended to be taken as legal advice. The only way to get a specific understanding of your own case is to work directly with an attorney who can go through all of the unique details and provide you with a comprehensive and unique answer.
Do I need to hire an attorney after a bike accident in West Palm Beach?
There is no law that compels you to hire an attorney after any sort of personal injury, but doing so can give you the space and peace of mind that you need to focus on your recovery, while also increasing your chances of getting the money that you rightfully deserve. Trying to take on the insurance company by yourself, especially while you are attempting to recover from injuries, can be overwhelming, but when your lawyer is handling the process for you, your priority can be your own personal needs.
Our advice is to hire an attorney BEFORE you file your claim with the insurance company. From the moment you make your first contact with the insurance company, they will spring into action to find every possible reason to limit your settlement, and your attorney will be able to fight back from day one.
Should I accept the insurance company’s settlement offer after my bike accident?
Insurance claims are complicated, and it is important that you recognize how motivated the insurance company is to pay you less than what you deserve. When claimants are not represented by lawyers, insurance companies will make it extremely difficult to even initiate negotiations and will use aggressive tactics to force a low settlement.
Before signing anything or accepting an offer from an insurance company, it is very important that you consult with an attorney who can give you a better understanding of how they would help you move forward. If you have suffered from injuries, it is almost certain that the insurance company is offering you far less than what you are entitled to, and what an attorney will fight to get you.
Will I need to file a lawsuit to get the money I deserve after a bike accident?
Many personal injury claims are settled before ever being filed with the courts, and even after a lawsuit is filed there is a good chance that the case will be settled during pre-trial negotiations. However, this is not a guarantee that your case will be settled before taking it to the Florida courts. You should partner with an attorney as early as possible so that they can keep you informed of what to expect in both the short-term and long-term as they work to build a strong argument for your claim.