Bicycle Accident Attorney in Pembroke Pines, FL
The Pembroke Pines bicycle injury attorneys of Garner Injury Law have comprehensive experience and a successful track record when representing the interests of those injured by negligent motorists or due to poorly maintained roads. If you suffered an injury in a bike accident, contact us to review your legal options and learn more about how we can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.
Helping Victims Of Florida Bicycle Accidents
Maybe it’s the weather. Or the fact that bicycling is a healthy form of exercise. Or that gas is expensive. Whatever the reason, many people ride bicycles in Florida. Unfortunately, given our number of cyclists and how some people who live in or visit Florida drive, we have led the nation in the number of people killed in bicycle accidents every year since 2001. In 2022 alone, 125 bicyclists were killed in Florida, and thousands more were severely injured.
Many factors contribute to accidents between cyclists and automobiles, trucks, buses, and other vehicles. These accidents quite often result from negligence on the part of the driver, not the cyclist. Some of the most common errors made by drivers include the following:
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Failure to provide ample room for the bike when passing
- Failure to see a cyclist at an intersection
- Making a right or left turn into the path of a cyclist
Bicyclist Responsibilities & Rights
In Florida, bicycles are legally defined as vehicles. This means bicyclists have the same rights to use the roadways but must also obey the laws that pertain to other cars. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with traffic flow, using lights at night, and yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway.
In short, bicyclists and motorists are expected to share the road in Florida. Of course, this is easier said than done, as many severe injuries and deaths among Florida bicyclists attest. What follows is an introduction to the responsibilities and rights of bicyclists in Florida.
Let’s begin with some basic Florida bicyclist responsibilities:
- A bicyclist must obey all traffic controls and signals
- A bicyclist must use a fixed, regular seat for riding
- No bicycle may be used to carry more people than intended by the bike’s design and equipment
- While riding, at least one hand must be kept on the handlebars
- A bicycle must be equipped with a brake capable of stopping within 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour
- Parents and guardians must not knowingly allow a child or minor to violate these rules
While violating these rules does not necessarily mean you cannot obtain money for injuries suffered in an accident, following them could well prevent injuries in the future.
Here are some of the Florida laws about bicyclists’ rights concerning other vehicles.
Staying to the right. State Law stipulates that you must ride as far to the right as practicable, not as far right as possible. By practicable, the law means what can be done within the means and circumstances present. A cyclist should maintain no less than 2 feet of clearance from the edge of usable pavement, and has every right to do so. This gives the bicyclist room to maneuver around obstructions and to be easily seen by crossing traffic.
Narrow roadways. When a lane is too little for a bicycle and a car to share safely, the cyclist is entitled to the use of the entire lane. Within this lane, the cyclist usually rides on the right half to facilitate visibility for overtaking motorists but should ride far enough left to discourage motorists from trying to squeeze past the lane. Unfortunately, although the law uses the term substandard to describe a lane that is not wide enough for bicyclists and motorists to share safely, narrow lane widths make up most of our roads.
Intersections. A cyclist has every right to ride through an intersection in a lane that serves thru traffic and right turns. The bicyclist should ride in the center or left half of the lane to avoid one of the most common collisions. However, cyclists should never ride straight in a lane marked exclusively for right turns—one marked or signed with the word ONLY. This leaves the cyclist extremely vulnerable to serious injury.
One-way streets. A bicyclist riding on a one-way street with two or more traffic lanes has the right to use the left lane.
Paved shoulders. When a curb is not present, cyclists are not required to ride on paved shoulders. A cyclist operating on the shoulder is vulnerable to common crossing collisions where many streets and driveways are present.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
Obviously, when a bicycle collides with a car or truck that weighs 2,000 pounds or more, the odds of avoiding serious injury are not in the bicyclist’s favor. Severe lacerations, broken bones, concussion, head and spinal trauma, paralysis, and other severe injuries are common. Injuries of this nature typically require expensive, ongoing medical treatment. The costs associated with caring for and treating such injuries often prove financially catastrophic to the victim and his or her family. Several injuries can result from a bicycle accident, including:
Head injuries are common in bicycle accidents, ranging from minor concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries.
Facial injuries such as lacerations, fractures, and dental injuries can occur due to impact on the ground or other objects.
Whiplash, a common neck injury, can occur when the head is suddenly jerked forward and backward, causing strain or sprain to the neck muscles or ligaments.
Spinal injuries can occur due to direct impact or a fall from a bicycle. These injuries can range from minor strains to more severe injuries, such as herniated discs or spinal cord damage.
Broken bones are a common injury in bicycle accidents and can occur in any body part. The most common bones broken in bicycle accidents are the collarbone, wrist, and ankle.
Abrasions and Lacerations
Abrasions and lacerations are common injuries in bicycle accidents and can occur when the skin comes into contact with the ground or other objects.
Internal injuries such as organ damage or internal bleeding can occur due to the force of impact in a bicycle accident.
It is essential to seek medical attention after a bicycle accident, even if you do not feel any immediate pain or discomfort. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent but can become more severe if left untreated.
What To Do After A Bike Accident
One minute you’re pedaling along, enjoying the ride; next, you’re sprawled out on the pavement, possibly injured, most certainly confused. It’s not easy to think straight at a time like this, but trying and remaining calm is essential. In addition, to maximize the chances of obtaining compensation for your injuries, it is necessary to take several steps immediately. These include:
- Contacting the police immediately and insisting that the responding officer file an accident report. If the officer will not file a report, it is critical to file one within 72 hours after the accident.
- Seeking immediate medical care for any injuries. You must do this right away. The longer you wait, the easier it is for opposing attorneys to imply that your injuries were not the result of the bicycle accident.
- Obtaining as much information as possible about the driver who injured you, such as the person’s name, insurance company, phone number, address, license plate number, and other information you can gather.
- Asking witnesses for their contact information
- Using your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene, damages to your bike and the other vehicle, and any physical injuries
Additionally, you should contact experienced Florida bicycle accident lawyer Erika Garnes before you talk to the insurance company representing the driver who injured you. No matter how sympathetic this person may seem, he or she is not your friend and is only interested in minimizing the amount of money you deserve.
Why Hire Garnes Injury Law After My Bicycle Accident?
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, you do not have to cope with the medical costs and other consequences alone. Florida bicycle injury lawyer, Erika Garnes, can help you obtain the money you need and deserve to cover current and future medical treatments, medications, lost wages, and more. Garnes Injury Law can file claims on your behalf against the vehicle’s driver, his or her insurer, and third parties whose negligence may have contributed to the accident. In addition, if a family member has been killed in a bicycle accident, Erika Garnes can help you obtain money for wrongful death and other damages.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Who can I obtain damages from if I’ve been injured in a bicycle accident?
There are many possibilities, depending on your particular situation. These include the negligent driver of the other vehicle, his or her insurance companies, and third parties who may have contributed to the cause of the accident.
Who or what is considered a “third party” to the injury?
This could include the manufacturer and retailer of your bike, the city, county or state responsible for maintaining roads and other public property, and owners and insurers of private property.
What are the damages that I might be able to obtain?
You may be able to obtain money for medical injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Compensation for injuries can include expenses related to hospitalization, multiple surgeries, medications, physician’s visits, ongoing physical therapy, and more. In addition, you can obtain money for psychological problems, such as depression or anxiety. Your spouse may also have a case for consortion, that is, the loss of full enjoyment of life with one’s spouse.
If a family member or friend was killed on a bicycle, is there a way to obtain compensation?
Yes. You can seek money for “wrongful death” from the driver who killed your family member and his or her insurance company. Compensation for wrongful death can include all of the above medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages, loss of future wages, and more, as well as consortion.
Can I still receive some money if I am partially at fault for the accident?
Yes, you can still obtain cash for your injuries. However, it may be reduced by the “percentage of your fault for the accident.” For example, if you are awarded $200,000 for your injuries but were 10 percent at fault for the accident, you would receive $180,000.
Should I contact an attorney to help me?
It is a good idea to seek the advice of an experienced injury attorney. Here are just a few of the reasons:
- It is incredibly complicated to obtain money for personal injuries involving bicycles
- Your chances of receiving good medical care and treatment for your injuries will be vastly improved by hiring an experienced injury attorney.
- The counsel and aggressive representation of an experienced injury attorney can help protect you against receiving an inadequate or unfair settlement.
I’ve been contacted by a representative from the other driver’s insurance company… what should I do?
To put it bluntly, don’t tell them anything about the accident. The person who calls you from the insurance company is only interested in minimizing the money you receive. This person is not your friend, no matter how sympathetic he or she may seem. The call is about maximizing the insurance company’s profits… at your expense. Before talking to any insurance agent, insurance adjuster, or attorney representing the person who injured you, contact Florida bicycle injury attorneys at Garnes Injury Law at (954) 905-2683.