The Sunshine State didn’t earn its nickname for no reason. With great weather comes great outdoor activities and biking is no exception. Every day hundreds of thousands of Floridians buckle their helmets and take to the streets. But what happens when a leisurely bike ride turns awry? If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, our Miami attorneys are armed with the knowledge and expertise to help you file a lawsuit and win.
Understanding Florida Bicycle Accidents
Cyclists have become very popular on Florida roads. Riding a bicycle can be a great way for you to work out and take in the beautiful Miami landscape. Florida law defines a bicycle as a vehicle and the cyclist as its driver. This means that they are subject to the same laws that regular motorists are.
Unfortunately, Miami roads aren’t fully designed to offer safety to cyclists since they have to share the same spaces with motorists. This increases the risk of bicycle accidents. The majority of accidents involving bicycles in the State of Florida are caused by distracted driving.
Even with the best safety equipment and experience, a bicyclist is no match for a motorcycle or automobile.
Biking is an excellent way to exercise, get endorphins, and avoid traffic, especially in Florida. Florida’s fantastic weather continues to attract more and more bikers to its roads, with the number of cyclists rising each year.
However, with more bicyclers comes more opportunities for accidents. This is likely why Florida has the highest rate of bicycling deaths in the United States, with an accident rate coming in at more than double the national average. With these statistics in mind, Florida bike accidents are widespread and can often result in serious injuries.
Whether by a bus, car, or truck, if your last bike ride ended in a collision, a bicycle accident attorney can help you secure compensation and set you on the road to recovery.
Jesse Soffer is a great accident and injury attorney. He help my family with our case and was always a phone call away with any updates or questions we had. Very professional we highly recommend him.
Common Causes Of Bicycle Accidents In Miami
Head and Brain Injuries
About 25 to 50% of bicyclists involved in an accident suffer a head injury. Whether you get a concussion, an intracranial hemorrhage, or a skull fracture, head and brain injuries can lead to lasting and serious repercussions or even death. This is why people advocate wearing a helmet while riding a bike.
Neck and Back Injuries
When you’re thrown off a bike, your neck and back are vulnerable to injury. Damage to your spine can cause chronic pain and loss of motor skills, disrupting your everyday life. What’s more, having spinal cord damage, a herniated disc, whiplash, and other injuries can cause stress and financial burdens.
From contusions and facial fractures to dental fractures, you face is at risk during a bike accident. These injuries can cause permanent scarring and chronic nerve pain.
Hip, Leg, Knee, and Foot Injuries
Your hips, legs, knees, and feet are exposed when riding a bicycle. This increases the chances of injury in a collision. From a hip fracture or torn ligament to a crushed ankle, these injuries can affect your movement. You may need costly surgeries, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and more to get back on your feet. This is why you should hire our bicycle accident lawyers in Miami to help you file a compensation claim.
Skin and Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries affect your skin, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Since your skin is the first line of defense, you may have scrapes, cuts, and bruises after a bicycle accident. Other soft tissue injuries include lacerations, muscle sprains, tendonitis, and more.
These are injuries to your internal organs or internal bleeding caused by penetrating trauma or blunt force trauma during a bicycle accident. Because internal injuries aren’t always noticeable, you should get medical treatment as soon as possible after an accident.Wrongful Death
Sometimes after a bike accident, cyclists may face severe injuries that lead to death. In this case, the family is left devastated. Our Miami bicycle accident attorney understands that proving fault is vital to obtaining compensation for the family of the wrongful death accident victim. That’s why we’ll work hard to get you justice.Motorist Negligence
Failure to follow road signs and rules can lead to life-threatening accidents. From motorists changing lanes without signaling to failing to check their side mirrors, there are many ways to get hit while riding your bike in Miami. When this happens, get in touch with our law firm for maximum compensation.Aggressive Driving
When motorists drive at high speeds, they can easily lose control and injure other road users like cyclists. Due to the force of impact during the collision, cyclists may suffer very serious injuries.
Drivers need to pay more attention to the roads to see less visible bicycles. Just two seconds of distraction is long enough to cause an accident. When they text, talk on the phone, or look at the GPS, they risk losing control while driving and can injure cyclists.
Alcohol and drug use is the leading cause of fatal bicycle accidents on Miami roads. Motorists impaired by alcohol or drugs have reduced vision, increasing the possibility of colliding with a bicycle.
Poor Road Engineering
Some Miami roads were not made with the cyclists in mind. This means the lanes are wider, speed limits are higher, and there aren’t enough bicycle lanes, putting the cyclist’s safety at risk. These poor road designs are a factor in many bicycle collisions.
Bicycles with faulty brakes or chains can make the rider lose control and get in the way of ongoing traffic. What’s more, a lack of indicating lights can confuse traffic and cause accidents. As a cyclist, you should check if a bicycle is in good shape before buying it and maintain it regularly.
Snow, rain, and fog are bad for both motorists and cyclists on the road. They compromise on visibility and control on the road, leading to severe collisions.
Unfortunately, the most common bike accidents are bike-vehicle crashes where those helming the vehicle are between 20 and 24 years old.
This statistic comes as a shock to many Floridians, who assume the aging population of snowbirds is to blame for road-related accidents. However, drivers older than 75 are less likely to be involved when cars and bikes collide.
Though accidents do assume a certain level of randomness, not all accidents are without cause. Negligent and distracted driving behaviors are most often to blame for severe bike collisions. Among the most common of these behaviors are:
- Failure of drivers to yield the right-of-way to cyclists
- Distracted driving habits such as texting or calling
- General careless driving
- Running stop signs
Common Types Of Bicycle Accidents In Florida
Right Cross Bike Accident
A right cross collision happens when a car pulls out from the right side of the driveway, street, or parking lot driveway and hits the cyclist. The motorist is often held liable for being inattentive or failing to follow road signs and rules. As a cyclist, you have the right of way in these cases since drivers need to always check twice before pulling out.You can help avoid a right cross bike accident by maximizing your visibility to motorists. This can include getting a headlight for your bike and wearing bright clothing. Also, you can ride further left in the lane.Left Cross Accident
In this accident, a left-turning vehicle fails to see or yield the right of way to a bicyclist who’s crossing the road. Since left turners must yield the right of way, the fault lies on the motorist when this type of collision occurs.Even if you have the right of way, you should still look both ways before crossing or use the middle lane at an intersection to avoid a collision.Right Hook Accident
As a cyclist, you can get into a right hook accident when you’re positioned on the right side of the road, and a vehicle makes a right turn into you. This may be due to the failure of the driver noticing you. You can avoid getting hurt by always being visible to the driver or moving farther left when you are riding.Rear End Collisions
Rear-end collisions are common mostly because of motorists not paying attention and the low visibility of the bicyclist. Sometimes motorists can follow your bicycle very closely and strike you from behind. These accidents are very dangerous for cyclists. Always make sure your rear light is functioning before hitting the road.Side Swipe Accidents
Side swiping occurs when the driver doesn’t give the bicyclist enough room while passing. As they overtake the bicycle, they may end up hitting it. To avoid sideswipes, avoid moving to the left and getting in the way of traffic.Dooring Accidents
A door prize collision occurs when a driver or passenger of a parked car exits without ensuring the area is free of traffic. Cyclists may have little to no time to react and collide, leading to serious injury. If you want to reduce the risks of this type of accident, ride farther left and look out for passengers sitting in their vehicles.
We Hold Careless Drivers Responsible
Whether you ride a bike every day on your way to work or only on the weekends for leisure or exercise, you’re likely aware of the dangers of sharing the road with motor vehicles. Bike accidents take nanoseconds to happen but can bring consequences that linger a lifetime; a distracted, aggressive, or careless driver can completely upend your life with just one wrong move.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicycle accidents are on the rise. In 2018 alone, there were 6,568 bicycle crashes in Florida. These accidents resulted in 148 deaths and 6,175 injuries, with Miami Dade being the most affected area. For the first quarter of 2019, preliminary data reported 1,695 bicycle accidents statewide with 40 fatalities from bicycle accidents and 1,588 injuries.
Who’s Liable When You Get Into A Bicycle Accident?
Not every street in Miami has a bike lane. This forces bicyclists to ride in traffic. Some motorists don’t favor sharing roads with cyclists. Their negligent behaviors, like failing to yield, can lead to serious accidents. Other negligent motorists may hit you when you’re riding in a bike lane. When these accidents happen, you have a right to seek compensation from the driver.Bike Manufacturer
A poorly designed bicycle or one with a defective part is not road-worthy and can cause accidents. If a faulty bike was the cause of your accident, you may seek damages for your injuries from the bike or part manufacturer.The State of Florida
If the state’s actions like poor road design or poor signage put you in danger, you can hold them accountable for your injuries. Our Miami bike accident attorneys can help you hold the government agency that oversees road maintenance and design liable.Negligent Cyclist
Traffic signs and rules do apply to cyclists. Like motorists, they need to follow these rules. The fault can shift to you as the cyclist if, in the event of the accident, you were not stopping through stop signs, riding on the wrong side of the street, or turning abruptly without a signal.
Know Your Rights As A Florida Cyclist
Under Florida law, bicyclists have “all the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle.” As always, there are exceptions, like regulations for riding with a young child and wearing a bicycle helmet if you are younger than 16.
However, as a cyclist, you are still generally entitled to your fair share of the road. As you know, bike riders are supposed to use the bike lane if they are traveling slower than the average speed of traffic. If no such lane is available, then you are required to ride as far to the right as possible.
But as you can imagine or may have unfortunately experienced, failure to yield right-of-way collisions can occur when distracted drivers make right turns across bike lanes and crash into cyclists who were doing their part to adhere to the law.
Most Florida drivers do not consider bicycle lanes as actual traffic lanes, but Florida law sets the precedent that there is no excuse for this kind of negligence.
I’ve Been In A Bicycle Accident, Now What?
Step 1: Seek Medical Attention
After a bicycle accident, call for medical help as soon as possible. The medical practitioners will ensure you are safe and help determine the severity of your bike accident injuries.Step 2: Gather Information
To get compensation, you need to prove damages caused by the bicycle accident. If you are in a position to take photos and talk to witnesses, you should do so. You can also file for a police report within 72 hours. It’ll come in handy when filing a claim with insurers.Step 3: Hire Our Bike Accident Attorney in Miami
After a bicycle accident, insurance companies will try to lower your claim. Without good legal representation, they can use your words against you to contest liability and succeed in lowering your claim. Hiring our award-winning bike accident lawyers in Miami can keep insurance adjusters at bay and get you the compensation you deserve without a trial.Step 4: Proper Representation During Trial
Sometimes pretrial negotiations won’t work, and we’ll need to take the case to court. Our experienced Miami bike accident attorney will represent you before the jury to get you the justice you deserve.Step 5: Get Maximum CompensationWe won’t stop representing you until you get your full compensation. Our bicycle accident attorneys in Miami will be with you every step of the way.Being involved in a bike crash is an unfamiliar and often terrifying experience. It’s hard to keep a clear head and reason, but you must try your hardest.Depending on the severity of your injuries, there might be little that you can do after being hit than wait to put yourself into the capable hands of an EMT.However, once you regain consciousness, there are steps you must take to ensure you get the help and information you’ll need to seek justice through compensation.
Call 911 Even If Injuries Are Not Severe
You may be tempted to downplay your injuries. If you’re full of adrenaline, it can be hard to tell what happened and what hurts. However, you or a witness must call 911. First responders will address your immediate health concerns and record the essential information you will need to file a lawsuit later.
Request An Accident Report From The Officer On The Scene Of The Accident
Even if the police arrive at the scene, they might not produce an accident report unless provoked. If you or your bike are damaged, firmly request the responding officer make an accident report. This report will play a pivotal role in any claim you file.
Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were involved in a bicycle accident in Miami, you must seek the help of an experienced bicycle accident attorney. We have a very successful team who will be able to represent you. Call The Soffer Firm at 305 417 9596 for a free, no-obligation consultation today.