Consult with a Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Lawyer if You’re Injured in an Accident
Bicycling is a popular activity in Fort Lauderdale. However, cyclists must share the road with various types of motor vehicles and they face a high risk of serious injuries and death if they are involved in a collision. Unfortunately, while it is true that injured bikers may be able to obtain compensation for their damages, insurance companies may resist payment. A Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer at the Maus Law Firm will work to obtain the compensation you need. If an automobile driver was at fault in your collision, our attorneys stand ready to prove your case either to an insurance company or in a court of law. Our lawyers can assess your case, protect your legal rights and work for your financial recovery.
How a Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Lawyer Will Evaluate Your Claim
At Maus Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorneys do things differently. We are committed to helping every bicyclist litigate their claims fully and we invest the necessary resources to do so. This is particularly relevant in bicycle accident disputes, where the plaintiff may have sustained catastrophic injuries that could have lifelong impacts without sufficient compensation.
For example, if you have been rendered permanently incapable of working due to the severity of the injuries sustained in a bicycle accident, those substantial, lifelong “lost wages” and “loss of future earning capacity” damages must be accounted for in your damage recovery. If you obtain less compensation than you need to cover all your costs, you could find yourself in dire financial straits later.
Curious about what compensation may be available in your lawsuit? We encourage you to contact our firm to speak directly with an experienced Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer about the underlying injury claims.
Why Choosing the Right Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Attorney to Represent You Matters
Under the law, injured bicyclists are able to obtain compensation for damages if they are injured in a car or other motor vehicle accident on the road. But insurance companies often resist payment, especially in cases where they allege bicyclist negligence.
It is important to understand that under Florida law, bicyclists are eligible to compensation for injuries and damages sustained in an accident even if they were partly to blame. That is why it is so important to work with a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer if you are injured in a South Florida bike accident.
At the Maus Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorneys understand that a bicyclist doesn’t have to have been perfect to collect money after an accident. We will assess the unique facts of your case, explain how the law can be applied to protect your legal rights, and work for your financial recovery.
Common Causes of Florida Bike Riding Accidents
Every bike accident is unique, partly because there are countless potential causes for such accidents. However, there are certain causes that tend to be more common in auto-bicycle collisions, including the following:
- Unsafe Driver Turns: The driver may make a right turn directly in front of the cyclist or make a left turn and fail to observe an oncoming cyclist.
- Vehicle Rear-ends: Cyclists often need to move to the left to pass around a parked vehicle or object in the bike lane. This can leave them vulnerable to a driver rear-ending them.
- Car Doors: Drivers or passengers in a vehicle may open their doors into the path of a passing bike rider. Referred to by bicyclists as getting “doored,” this is a common and dangerous occurrence.
- Inattentive, Distracted, Reckless or Negligent Driving: Sometimes drivers just are not paying attention and so fail to notice cyclists on the roadway. Other times, a driver may have been distracted by a cell phone, GPS or other device. Alternatively, an accident can be caused by a driver’s speeding or reckless driving, such as running a stop sign or red light.
- Intoxicated Driver: When drivers are under influence of drugs or alcohol, it is even harder for them to notice and properly share the road with bicyclists, often with tragic consequences.
- Roadway Defects and Other Hazards: Many cyclist injuries occur when hazardous roadway conditions — such as a fallen tree that a property owner failed to clear — block or hinder the cyclist’s path.
Calculating Compensation for Injured Florida Bicyclists
Florida is a comparative liability state, which means that fault for an accident can be divided between different parties on a percentage basis. The partially at-fault biker could have their damages reduced based on their percentage of liability. So, for example, if a cyclist were found to be 30 percent at fault for an accident and had $100,000 in damages, their award would be reduced by 30 percent to $70,000. This means that having a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer from the beginning will greatly increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation.
Simply put, every party involved in a bicycle accident — including the bicyclist themselves — is assigned a percentage of “fault” that they contributed.
For example, suppose that you are injured in a collision with two drivers, and your damages total $100,000. The court evaluates the evidence and determines that Driver A is 40 percent at-fault, Driver B is 40 percent at-fault, and you — the bicyclist — are 20 percent at-fault. Given these fault percentages, you would be entitled to an $80,000 recovery, with $40,000 coming from each defendant.
It’s worth noting that under the Florida doctrine of pure comparative liability, an injured plaintiff can still file a personal injury lawsuit and recover damages, even if they are 99 percent at-fault. Before you spend the money to litigate your claim, though, it is better to speak with an attorney first.
Compensation for South Florida Bike Accidents
Bicyclists can be seriously injured in auto-bicycle collisions. Unlike the occupant of a vehicle in car accidents, the biker has no frame, seatbelt or airbag to help protect from significant injuries. Even if the cyclist is wearing a helmet, that may be their only source of serious protection. It is therefore not surprising that bikers in accidents with motor vehicles often suffer traumatic injuries and even death. Concussions, road rash and bone fractures are just the beginning of the list of potential injuries for cyclists.
Fortunately, bicyclists may be able to recover compensation for their accident injuries when a vehicle driver was at fault. With the help of a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorney, compensation may be available for the following:
- Medical expenses (past, continuing and future)
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death damages (for the loved ones and family of the deceased victim)
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Bicycle Accident in Florida?
Depending on the circumstances involved, various parties can be liable for cyclists’ injuries. In order to determine who is liable in your case, your Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorney will need to conduct an investigation and examine all potential sources of financial compensation. These sources may include:
- The Driver’s Insurance Policy – If you were hit or forced off of the road by a negligent driver, the driver’s auto insurance policy should provide coverage for your injuries. By law, all Florida drivers are required to carry insurance, and auto insurance provides the same coverage to cyclists that it provides to other drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
- A Negligent Cyclist or Pedestrian – If you were involved in an accident involving another cyclist, or if a negligent pedestrian forced you into traffic or left you helpless to avoid a crash, then this individual may be liable for your losses. In many cases, insurance coverage will be available, and recovering your losses will be a matter of negotiating a settlement or taking the insurance company to trial.
- A State or Local Government Agency – Accidents involving defective road design, defective bike path design, and negligent road or bike path maintenance can give rise to claims against state or local government authorities. These cases are subject to special procedural requirements, and these requirements make it especially important for you to engage a lawyer as soon as possible.
- A Government Contractor – If the relevant state or local government agency hired a private contractor to build or maintain the road or bike path where you were injured, then this contractor could be liable for your injuries. Claims against contractors can involve various issues, and an experienced Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer will be able to determine if you have a claim you can file.
- Your Bicycle’s Manufacturer (or a Component or Helmet Manufacturer) – Bicycle and helmet defects can cause and contribute to serious accident-related injuries as well. If you crashed because of an issue with your bike or suffered a concussion or other traumatic brain injury (TBI) because your helmet was defective, then the manufacturer may be liable.
This list is not comprehensive, and it is important not to rule out any possible sources of financial compensation if you have been seriously injured. With decades of experience, Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer Joseph Maus can examine all of the factors involved in your crash and make sure the appropriate parties are held liable for your accident-related losses.
For Parents: Bicycle Accidents Involving Children
If your child was hit by a car or involved in another serious accident while riding his or her bicycle, your family may be entitled to financial compensation for your child’s medical expenses and other losses. Drivers in Florida owe a clear duty to watch out for children, and they must be especially careful in neighborhoods, school zones and other areas where children are likely to be present. Running stop signs, turning without looking and driving while distracted are all common factors in these accidents, and they are just a few examples of the numerous forms of negligence for which financial compensation is available under Florida law.
What Will My Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Lawyer Do for Me?
If you are injured in an auto-bicycle accident, an attorney can do the following for you:
- Accident Investigation: After interviewing you, your lawyer can investigate the accident completely. This could include investigating the scene of the accident, interviewing witnesses and obtaining police reports.
- Assess Fault: Based on the investigation of the facts, your attorney can determine if a vehicle driver is potentially at fault for your accident.
- Evaluate Sources of Compensation: Your bike accident lawyer will investigate any potential source of recovery for your injuries, including insurance coverage.
- Negotiate with Insurance Companies: An attorney can also take over all communications with insurance companies. He or she can negotiate with the insurance company regarding any potential settlement. It is common for these settlement negotiations to continue even after a lawsuit is filed. A settlement could be reached before, during or after trial.
- Litigation and Trial: If necessary, your personal injury lawyer can file a lawsuit, handle the litigation and even proceed to trial.
Speak to a Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Lawyer at the Maus Law Firm
If you are a bicyclist who has been injured in South Florida, speak with a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer at the Maus Law Firm. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today.