The CDC report reflected that Florida has the highest rate of bicycling fatalities of any state in the US, with 0.57 deaths annually per 100,000 residents. This is more than double the national rate of 0.23 deaths per 100,000 residents in the other 49 states across the nation.
If you are a cyclist in Florida, you might want to take a minute and review your safe cycling practices. Nationally, Florida ranks first in bicycle fatalities at 5.7 per million. On average, the state sees 110 cyclist deaths annually. The national average is only 2.3 deaths per million.
The bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and the bicyclist is a driver. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws as the drivers of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night, yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway and yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.
HLH attorneys handling our clients injuries resulting from bike accidents work around the clock like we do with our car accident clients to ensure that our clients are fully and fairly compensated. Bike accidents are handled on a contingency basis- just like auto accident. What this means is, we don’t get paid unless our client gets paid.
Check list of things to review if you or someone you know is hit by a car while riding there bike in the state of Florida:
- Was anyone hurt? If so, try to take any preventative steps to any further injury; call 911 and seek medical attention immediately.
- To prevent further injury, try to ensure that everyone is safe form any possible dangers- so if you are in the road or the middle of traffic, try to get to the side of the road as quickly and safely as possible, as long as it is safe to move the injured person. Alternatively, try to put of flares or warning devices to notify oncoming drivers of the accident scene.
- If possible, call the policy so that an accident report can be generated.
- Gather and exchange information with the driver of the car: minimally driver’s licenses and insurance cards, phone numbers. Write down anything that the other driver says- especially if the driver admits to being at fault for the accident. If there are any bystanders that witnessed the accident, try to get their information. For bikers, we recommend keeping a container attached to your bike with paper and pen or use your phone to take necessary notes at the scene of the accident.
- Take pictures of the damage to the car, bicycle and location of the accident with your cell phone, or if you don’t have a cell phone ask someone that has a cell phone to email you the pictures that they take for you. You should ask your lawyer whether the damaged bicycle should be repaired or preserved as evidence. Damage to your bicycle may need to be documented by a repair shop. Save all damaged items you were wearing, such as helmet, gloves, clothing, backpacks, etc. Make sure the evidence is well photographed and preserved.
- Consult with a personal injury lawyer. If you’ve been injured, never forget that the claims adjuster’s goal is to pay you as little as possible to settle your bodily injury claim. Some may even tell you that you don’t need a lawyer. The adjuster knows that when you deal with the company directly, without a lawyer, you are at a disadvantage. Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you speak with an adjuster or sign any forms.
- Get medical treatment for your injuries immediately. Do not decline an ambulance or emergency treatment. Obtaining medical treatment immediately after a trauma is important for your health and wellbeing.
- Notify your own auto insurance company that you were injured. You should have your attorney present for this statement.
- Do NOT settle your claim until you know the full extent of your injuries. Many insurance companies will try to settle your claim prematurely. What that means is they will try to offer the injured bicyclist money in the beginning and the injured person is not made aware that this may bar their rights from any further recovery. How can an injured person know the extent of their injury’s mere days after an accident? They can’t, and the insurance companies should not take advantage of the situation, but in many instances they do, because it save the company money. Please do not fall for this trap!
- Know your rights, the best way to do this is to meet with an attorney that specializes in Personal Injury Accidents. Most law firms, including HLH Law Group, will offer a FREE Consultation- which means the meeting is complimentary to answer your questions and explain your rights. Here at HLH Law Group, one of our law partners, Melissa or Catherine will always meet you personally rather than just a paralegal or secretary. You will receive the benefit of their legal expertise and have time to ask all your questions, free of charge. Even when you retain us to handle your accident claims, we do not receive any money at that time. We only get paid our contingency rate if we are successful in getting you money for your injuries.
- If you are injured in a car, bike, motorcycle, truck, pedestrian or slip and fall accident, call HLH Law Group today for all your legal needs. (239) 232-5050. The women owners of HLH Law Group, Melissa Brady Hemmert and Catherine Little-Hunt are licensed in the states of Florida, New Jersey and Ohio. The are here for your in your time of need.
Here are some of the common mistake’s drivers make that cause collisions with cyclists:
• Drinking and driving • Speeding • Running red lights or stop signs • Disregarding or turning across bike lanes • Making improper lane changes • Failing to yield the right of way in a crosswalk; driving onto a sidewalk • Impatience with the slower speed of a bicycle • Distracted driving Distractions come in many forms. People eat while driving, turn to speak to someone else in the car, change the radio station, or focus on the map directions on their phones or GPS. A growing cause of driver distraction that has been the subject of legislation in many states is cell phone use while driving, and even worse, texting! Drivers dialing cell phones are reportedly four to six times more likely to be involved in a crash, while texting drivers increase that risk by twenty-three times.
The insurance company or a jury will look closely the actions of the driver and the cyclist in deciding who was at fault. Fault or liability for an accident can be entirely on the driver, entirely on the cyclist, or partly on each. Cyclists want to make sure they can minimize any argument that may be presented suggesting that they were partly at fault in the accident. The state of Florida is a Pure Comparative state. What that means is, if for example the value of a cyclist’s injury after an accident is $100,000, but the cyclist is found to be thirty percent at fault in causing the accident, the value of the case would be reduced by thirty percent, making the injured cyclist’s recover $70,000 in our example. Most crashes have a combination of causes. An experienced bicycle accident attorney will be able to identify the strongest arguments to prove the driver’s fault and emphasis that the driver is all or the most culpable for the happenings of the car crash. In some instances, we will work with accident reconstruction experts and/or other experts to show what the driver caused the accident.