Were you injured in a bicycle accident in Florida?
Here’s what you need to know
Getting injured in a bicycle accident can be a very challenging and overwhelming experience. That’s why it’s so important to have experienced legal representation on your side. At Winegar Law, our team of bicycle accident attorneys has the knowledge and skills to help you get the compensation you deserve.
What to do immediately after a Florida bicycle accident
- Assess your injuries. If you are seriously injured, call 911 immediately. If you are not seriously injured, you should still seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Contact the police and file a report. The police report will be important for your insurance claim.
- Exchange information: Get details of the other driver involved in the accident. This includes their name, address, insurance information, and driver’s license number.
- Take pictures: Capture images of the accident scene, including the condition and position of the bicycle and the other vehicle involved.
- Get witness statements if possible.
What to do in the days and weeks after the accident
- Keep track of all of your medical expenses.
- Doctor’s visits
- Hospital stays
- Prescriptions & over-the-counter medications
- Physical therapy
- Transportation costs (to and from medical appointments)
- Document any lost wages or other financial losses.
- Lost wages and income
Paystubs, tax returns, employment records, etc.
- Future earnings
If injuries involve long-term disability consult financial experts to estimate future income losses.
- Injury-related childcare
If unable to care for your children due to sustained injuries
- Bicycle damage and repair costs
- Lost wages and income
Additional tips to help you recover damages in a Florida bicycle accident case
- Do not admit fault to the other driver or their insurance company.
- Keep the details low profile. If you intend to recover compensation for the bike accident, don’t broadcast them on social media or other public forums.
- Be polite and cooperative, but do not sign anything without first speaking to an attorney.
Should you contact your insurance company or a bicycle accident lawyer first?
Obtaining legal representation from an experienced Florida bicycle accident lawyer is the best place to start. If you contact your insurance company without representation, you leave yourself open to potential legal pitfalls like:
- Being pressured into accepting a settlement that is less than what you deserve.
- Insurance companies may not be familiar with all of the laws that apply to your case.
- Insurance companies are not obligated to fight for your interests if the at-fault party’s insurance company denies the claim.
Most Common causes of bicycle accidents in Florida
Although not every bike accident involves collisions with motor vehicles like cars, trucks or motorcycles, a large percentage do. When automobiles are involved, its not uncommon to cite: Failure to yield, running red lights / stop signs or distracted driving.
Some other causes for a Florida bicycle accident include:
Unsafe Passing: When drivers pass cyclists too closely or recklessly, they can cause accidents. Florida law requires drivers to give at least three feet of clearance when passing a cyclist.
Dooring: When a motorist or passenger opens a car door without looking first. This can result in a cyclist colliding with the open door.
Driveway and Parking Lots: When drivers reverse from driveways or parking spaces without checking for approaching cyclists.
Impaired Driving: Drunk or drugged driving can impair a driver’s judgment and reaction time, increasing the risk of accidents involving cyclists.
Right Hooks and Left Crosses: Improper turns. A “right hook” occurs when a vehicle turning right collides with a cyclist going straight, and a “left hook” involves a vehicle crossing the path of an oncoming cyclist..
Lack of Visibility: Cyclists can be difficult to see, especially at night or in low-light conditions. Without proper lighting and reflective gear, cyclists may not be visible to drivers.
No Bicycle Lanes or Infrastructure: The absence of dedicated bike lanes or inadequate cycling infrastructure can force cyclists to share the road with motor vehicles, increasing the risk of accidents.
Inadequate Education: Lack of awareness and education about bicycle safety for both cyclists and motorists can contribute to accidents. Promoting safe practices and awareness campaigns can help mitigate this issue.
Poor Road Conditions: Potholes, debris, uneven road surfaces, and inadequate road maintenance can pose hazards to cyclists and lead to accidents.
Construction: Construction zones can create hazards for cyclists, including uneven surfaces, detours, and traffic pattern changes. If your bicycle accident was due to a poorly maintained area or infrastructure, you might be eligible for a premises liability lawsuit.
Where do most Florida bicycle accidents occur?
According to an article posted on WFLA News Channel 8, Florida leads the nation for bicycle fatalities. Data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), suggests were 7,237 bicycle accidents reported throughout Florida in 2022. Of those accidents, 6,756 resulted in injuries and 214 were fatal
The FLHSMV also reported that the following counties had the highest number of bicycle accidents in the year 2022:
Miami-Dade: 757 accidents – Miami, Hialeah, Miami Gardens)
Broward: 602 accidents – Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood
Pinellas: 518 accidents – St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo
Hillsborough: 472 accidents – Tampa, Brandon, Riverview
Palm Beach: 373 accidents – West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach
The FLHSMV attributed an above average number of bicycle accidents in Florida to a number of factors, including:
- Increased popularity of bicycling
- Inadequate infrastructure for cyclists
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield the right of way to cyclists
Common Bicycle Accident Locations in Florida:
Major Public Roads: High speeds and traffic density on major public roads can pose risks to cyclists, even in designated bike lanes.
Residential Areas: Near neighborhoods, drivers may fail to check for cyclists before reversing in or out of driveways.
City Hubs: Downtown areas and the densest parts of cities have the highest volume of cyclists and vehicles sharing the road. Only 25% of fatalities
Intersections: While a large share of traffic injuries occur at intersections, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents and pedestrian accidents, surprisingly a report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that 63% of bicycle accident fatalities do not occur at intersections.
When it comes to intersections, there is a distinction between signalized and unsignalized.
The most recent data shown at The Federal Highway Administration shows that fatalities at unsignalized intersections is more than double that of signalized ones.
Unsignalized Intersection Traffic Fatalities: 7,089
- Stop signs
- Yield signs
- No control measures
Signalized Intersection (Traffic Light) Traffic Fatalities: 3,537
- Red light running
- Failure to Yield
- Speeding / Lane changing
FHWA aims to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries, particularly for Florida pedestrians and bicyclists by using the Safe System approach, which includes measures to lower vehicle speeds, separate road users, and reduce conflicts.
Most common injuries from Florida bike accidents
Head Injuries: Such as concussions or more severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
Fractures: Broken bones, especially in the arms, legs, and wrists.
Road Rash: Abrasions and skin injuries from sliding on the road.
Sprains and Strains: Injuries to muscles and ligaments, often in the neck, back, or extremities.
Cuts and Bruises: Minor injuries like cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
Internal Injuries: Damage to internal organs from the impact.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Injuries to the back or neck that can result in paralysis.
Facial Injuries: Including dental and facial fractures or injurie.
How Winegar Law can help prove your Florida bicycle accident case
The initial step is to prove the other side was negligent. Motorists must follow Florida’s traffic laws and exercise reasonable caution. If it can be found your accident was due to the negligence of a driver, the next step is proving it.
Proving negligence in a Florida bicycle accident lawsuit or settlement
- Phone records: May prove texting or talking while driving
- Witness Account: Statements from eyewitnesses at the scene
- Traffic Camera footage: (if available) red-light running, failing to yield, reckless driving
- Police Reports: Detailed account by law enforcement
Linking Injuries and income loss to the accident
- Medical Records: Document your injuries, treatment, and recovery process.
- Medical Bills: Expenses related to medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care.
- Wage Loss Documentation: Use pay stubs or tax returns to demonstrate income loss due to the injuries.
- Expert Testimonies: Medical professionals, accident reconstruction experts.
Comparative negligence considerations
Assess whether you, as the cyclist, may have contributed to the accident (e.g., not obeying traffic signals). Even if you were partially at fault, Florida law provides a way to seek compensation but the amount awarded will be affected by the percentage of fault assigned to your role in the accident.
Legal Entitlement to Compensation:
Regardless of where your bike accident occurred, you may be entitled to compensation under Florida law. The bicycle accident attorneys at Winegar Law are here to assist you in recovering from your injuries. Even if you weren’t directly hit, but reckless driving caused you to swerve causing injuries and bike damage, you could still have a case.
How to get started and what to expect during your free consultation
The first step is to simply reach out. We understand this is a challenging time, and we’re here to offer support and clarity.
During your initial consultation:
- You can share your account of the car accident, detailing the events and any injuries you sustained.
- Our experienced attorneys will listen attentively, assess the potential strength of your case, and provide an initial evaluation.
- We will explain your legal rights and the options available to you based on the specifics of your situation.
- You’ll have an opportunity to ask questions and address any concerns you may have regarding your case.