Miami Bicycle Accident Lawyers Fighting for the Rights of Injured Riders
Many people in the Miami area turn to bicycles as a healthy, inexpensive mode of transportation. Bikes can be a great way to get around while avoiding the congestion of the highways. However, bicycles come with their own hazards. Sadly, for many years, Florida has had one of the highest rates of bicycle accidents of any state in the U.S., and Florida bicycle accidents result in the deaths of over 100 riders annually.
If you have suffered serious injury from a bicycle crash caused by a defective bicycle or the negligent actions of another person, a bicycle accident lawyer from Galimidi Law can help you recover the damages you are entitled to. Dealing with insurance companies after an accident can be stressful and challenging, but we can remove that burden from your shoulders so that you can focus on healing. Contact our law firm today to learn more about your legal options for your bike accident claim: 305-692-0125.
What Rules Apply to Bicycle Riders in Florida?
Florida bicyclists should familiarize themselves with the rules of the road before they go out riding, especially in urban areas. Being aware of the law doesn’t necessarily protect you from others who are being irresponsible, but it allows you to easily identify the actions of other individuals that could make them liable if you are involved in a crash.
Some rules that bicyclists in Florida should know include:
- Bicycles are considered vehicles under state law: Bikers must follow the same rules and regulations as drivers of other vehicles, including following posted signs and signaling turns. Bikers are also subject to prohibitions about driving under the influence.
- Anyone under 16 must wear a helmet: The helmet should be fastened and fit well. While it is not required for adult riders, it is still recommended to wear a helmet to reduce potential crash injuries.
- Certain equipment is mandatory: If driving at night or dusk, riders must outfit their bikes with a white headlight and a red rear light or reflector to make them visible to traffic and pedestrians alike. The bike must also have brakes that can bring the rider to a stop within 25 feet when traveling at ten mph.
- Double ear headphones or earplugs are not allowed: The only exception is for devices that aid hearing. Single-ear headphones are acceptable.
- Cars must leave space while overtaking bicycles: A three-foot minimum distance should be kept while passing.
- Bikes must not impede traffic: Bikers should utilize bike lanes when available. When bike lanes are not present, they should ride as far right as possible. No more than two bikes can ride side-by-side on a roadway, and if they may disrupt traffic, they must ride a single file.
- Riding on sidewalks is allowed in many areas: Bicycles are generally allowed on sidewalks, although local laws may differ. Bikers must yield to pedestrians and ensure to warn individuals audibly before they overtake them.
How Do Bicycle Accidents Happen?
Not all bike accidents involve a motor vehicle, but the damage from a truck or car accident is usually much worse than other types of accidents due to the speed and forces involved. Bicycles are supposed to be afforded the same rights and care by their fellow travelers as other vehicles on the road. Sadly, this often does not happen because drivers are either unaware of these rules or choose not to follow them because they become impatient or frustrated at having to share the roadway. Some of the most dangerous risks to bicycle riders from other vehicles include:
- Distracted driving: Drivers are much less likely to notice bicyclists when texting, changing the radio station, eating, or performing any other task while driving.
- “Dooring”: When bicyclists are hugging the right side of the road to maintain a safe distance from traffic, they can easily be stuck and injured by a car door if vehicle passengers do not check their surroundings first.
- Failing to see riders: Drivers often forget to check for bicyclists when making turns, particularly right turns, which can lead to hitting a rider or having a rider run into the side of their vehicle. To improve visibility, brightly colored or reflective garments can be worn by riders.
- Tailgating or rear-ending: Impatient or aggressive drivers can cause a bicycle accident. These drivers may encroach upon a bicyclist’s space in an attempt to pass them or force them to the side of the roadway. If the car clips the bicycle, the rider can flip over the handlebars or fall off, suffering serious bicycle accident injuries. Bicyclists have the same rights as other vehicles on the road, and drivers must give them at least three feet of distance at all times.
- Operating a vehicle while fatigued or impaired by drugs or alcohol: A driver with slowed reflexes is much more likely to cause a bike accident.
What Injuries Can Bicycle Accident Victims Suffer?
A bicycle accident can lead to serious injuries for the rider because their body is so exposed, and they do not have the benefit of safety features to cushion them during a crash. Hitting motor vehicles, concrete, or pavement can be devastating, and recovery can take a long time. Bicycle accident victims may experience these consequences from their crash:
- Road rash (lacerations on the extremities caused by sliding across the pavement)
- Fractured and broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries, possibly leading to paralysis
- Head and skull injuries
- Lacerations and bruising
- Damage to internal organs
- Back and neck injuries
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Fatal injuries
Riders without helmets are much more likely to experience skull and brain injuries, including TBIs. Depending on their severity, a TBI may cause life-long issues, including memory issues, mood and personality changes, seizures, difficulty seeing, communication challenges, depression, and more. This is why many groups advocate for helmets to be worn by all cyclists.
Riders who do not wear helmets are still eligible to file a bike accident claim. However, the insurance company will likely argue that the lack of a helmet contributed to the severity of your head injuries, thereby making you partially at fault for your bicycle accident. We believe that regardless of whether you choose to wear a helmet or not, you always deserve to be safe while cycling. If a negligent motorist caused your bicycle accident, a Florida bicycle accident lawyer from Galimidi Law can help you recover fair compensation for your damages.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
The injuries caused by a bike accident can be severe and life-changing. You may find yourself unable to work and on the brink of a financial crisis due to lost wages and high medical bills. You could face months of painful physical therapy or even a lifetime of disability from a driver’s momentary careless action.
A personal injury lawsuit holds those responsible for your losses accountable for their actions. A bicycle accident attorney can help you file a personal injury claim that seeks to recover compensation for all the losses you have already suffered from your accident and any losses you may have in the future. The types of damages which may be awarded for a bicycle accident claim include:
- Economic damages: These damages are awarded to offset tangible financial losses resulting from the bicycle accident. This may include lost wages, emergency room bills, surgery and therapy expenses, loss of earning capacity, the cost to repair or replace personal property, and any other expenses.
- Non-economic damages: While it may seem difficult to put a dollar value on the less tangible emotional losses you suffered from the bicycle injury, your personal injury lawyers from Miami can also calculate these damages. They take into consideration the pain and suffering you’ve endured due to your injury and the mental anguish you’ve experienced.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages may be assessed if the defendant was found to be grossly negligent or willfully malicious in the actions which caused the injury. The defendant must have realized their actions could cause severe harm and have been recklessly indifferent to the victim’s well-being. This compensation is a punishment meant to dissuade others from committing the same act.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You With Your Bicycle Accident Case?
Every insurance company is a business. As such, they are concerned with making a profit, not providing victims with fair settlements for their bicycle accident claims. Without the backing of a skilled bicycle accident lawyer, the insurance company may try to convince you to take a much lower settlement than you deserve, or they may attempt to blame you for the accident to avoid paying.
The knowledgeable bicycle accident attorneys at Galimidi Law are here to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries. We will gather evidence to support your claim and will work to understand your unique situation following your injuries so that we can provide an accurate valuation of your losses. Contact our law firm today for a free case evaluation to learn how our personal injury lawyers can assist you!