The Florida Bicycle Accident Guide was created by McKenzie Law Firm to help residents obtain the financial compensation they deserve after suffering from another’s negligence.
If you have been seriously injured in a bicycle accident, you may have a lot of questions. It is frightening to be involved in an accident on your bike, and you can be potentially left with permanent injuries. We want to express our deepest sympathies that you have had to go through this. Our Florida bicycle accident lawyer is here to help you through this difficult time. We will work to get you the best possible results from the insurance company that represents the liable party who hit you. After you read a little bit about your case, please do not hesitate to call our office today to set up your free consultation.
Bicycle Accident Statute of Limitations
When you are thinking about pursuing compensation, you need to know a few things. The one thing that you should keep in mind is how much time you are permitted when filing a lawsuit. Every state is different and they can even vary case to case in some personal injury cases. With a Florida bicycle accident case, you get four years from the date of your accident to bring your claim or have it settled in civil court. We highly suggest that you contact a lawyer right away so that you are not under a tighter deadline than what you have to be on. It is important that you do this because if you go over the statute of limitations you will no longer be eligible to receive compensation.
How Florida Bicycle Accident Compensation Works
If you were partially at fault for an accident, Florida allows for a lot of wiggle room when it comes to getting compensation. You can be up to 99 percent at fault for an accident and still receive compensation. Your award, however, will be reduced by however much you have been found at fault. It is important that you understand where this compensation comes from. Your compensation comes from the insurance company of the liable party in your bicycle accident and can include compensation for things such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
We do our very best to keep you from getting pinned for any of the blame, but in instances where someone is at fault, they will have their award reduced regardless of how badly injured they are. For example, if someone was riding their bike on the street and had to turn, but maybe did not use an arm to signal their turn, and someone who was blowing a stop sign hit them, that bicyclist may still have some fault in the accident. Let’s say they are deemed ten percent at fault and were awarded $100,000 for their injuries and damages. They would have that award reduced to $90,000 to account for their role in causing the accident.
Do Not Talk to the Liable Party’s Insurance Company
Typically with any personal injury case, you will receive a universal piece of advice from just about every lawyer—do not talk to the insurance company that represents the person who hit you on your bike. They will almost definitely be reaching out to you very shortly after you are hurt. This may be while you’re still in the hospital and on pain medication. They know this is a vulnerable time for you, regardless if you have been prescribed pain medication or not. They will take advantage of the fact that you are probably overwhelmed at this moment and that you may not have a clear idea of what happened in your accident. They may ask you for a recorded statement. Anything you say will be used in their case against you. If you say something wrong, it can hurt your case. It can be something as simple as you being polite. If they ask how you are, and you politely respond, “I’m okay. How are you?” they could claim that you do not have severe injuries because you said you are okay. That is the kind of thing that we aim to avoid having happen to you.
Frequently Asked Bicycle Accident Questions
How Do I Pick the Right Lawyer?
There are three important things to keep in mind. Number one is experience in that area. Every state, including Florida, has different laws that govern bicyclists in particular that are different from motor vehicles. You need an attorney who knows what those bicycle laws are and how those bicycle laws apply so that they can understand the particular circumstances in which a recovery can or cannot be made or watch out for certain pitfalls that may exist only in bicycle cases.
For instance, there’s something in many states called the Idaho stop that allows a particular bicyclist to not come to a complete stop at a red light or not to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Unfortunately, we do not have that in Florida. In Florida, by law, you must come to a complete stop at stop signs and a complete stop at red lights. This can affect an injury claim, depending on what has happened in the circumstances of the case.
Only someone with experience in that area would know to ask some questions like that. That way you can ensure you can maximize any potential recovery you may be entitled to if you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident. You also need to have a lawyer who has a particular focus on that. Again, it’s likely that they will have to know certain particular issues like Idaho stops are not allowed in Florida that will affect the potential recovery for someone’s case.
The third and most important thing you need to ask is if that attorney a trial attorney, which is very important. A trial attorney is going to be known to insurance companies who would likely represent whoever has hit you on the bicycle or hit a person on a bicycle. That insurance company is going to know that the lawyer that has been selected is a trial attorney. They keep information on these attorneys, and they know which ones to take seriously because they take cases to trial and which ones they can take a little less seriously. It’s an important decision to make.
You only get one opportunity to bring one of these kinds of cases to a lawyer. You want someone who is going to take your case the distance to maximize the potential recovery that you may have. That’s why we think it’s important when choosing a lawyer that you look for one that has experience, a particular focus in an area like bicycle accidents, as well as experience as a trial attorney, and one that’s willing to go the distance for their clients in order to maximize their recovery.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid Making?
One of the most common mistakes we see people make is a disposal of the bike. They think it’s a piece of junk after the accident has happened, and they get rid of it before they’ve talked to a lawyer. That bike is a key piece of evidence in the case. It can determine if there’s disputed liability.
Depending on the way in which the bicycle has been wrecked, we can tell who is at fault based on how it’s damaged. It’s very imperative that you keep that piece of evidence. That’s also part of the other mistake that ties in with another mistake, which is not hiring an attorney soon enough. It’s an attorney who has specific experience in bicycle accident cases. Only an attorney may know how to collect evidence, and that’s why it’s imperative that you contact an attorney as quickly as possible.
The second most common mistake we see is that, even though medical treatment has been prescribed for someone, they may just delay going to the doctor and delay getting the treatment that the doctor has said they need to get. This is not good for them, and this is not good for their case. That’s why it’s imperative that you go get treatment that is prescribed by your doctor in the time they’ve told you to do it.
What If I Am At Fault?
We need to know all the facts and circumstances of your case to determine if you have a case. Even if you think you may have been to blame, you legally may not have been at fault at all. You need to hire an attorney to take a look at that case for you to determine whether or not you have any fault.
In Florida, we also have comparative fault here, which means that even if you are partially at fault, that doesn’t mean that you don’t necessarily have a case. Florida recognizes that you can collect a percentage of an award based on their percent of fault. Our jury and trial system is well equipped to make those determinations.
What it boils down to is you need to speak to a lawyer, because under certain circumstances, even when you think you may be partially at fault, you may not be at fault at all. Also, if you are partially at fault, there still may be the potential to make a recovery on your behalf.
How Much is My Case Worth?
We have to wait until we know what the full extent of your damages are before we can determine the value of your case. Damages means the injuries that you’ve received. Injuries doesn’t just mean physical injuries. It means mental and emotional injuries as well as inconveniences in your life that have occurred as a result of your injuries.
Until we know the full extent of those injuries and the full extent of how your life has been affected by what has happened to you, we cannot determine a proper value of your claim. That takes you going to your doctor and going through all the medical treatment that you need to receive so that we know what your past, present, and future medical damages are going to be and put a number on that. Then we’re also going to need to know how your life has been affected, how your work been affected, etc.
For each one of those, we’ll be able to put a number on that. It takes time to understand and know what the full extent of those will be. At the appropriate time when we determine what we think is the best period of time to know that information, we’ll discuss the valuation with you and move forward with your case at that point.
Should I Give a Recorded Statement?
The insurance adjuster for the car that hit you is not working for you. They’re working for their client who is the insured, and they’re working for themselves. What that means is that they’re looking out for their interests, not your interests. The person that you’ve hired to help you with your case is your attorney. Your attorney’s job is to work in your best interest. If anyone needs to speak to the insurance company, it’s your attorney. It also should be your attorney first who determines if and what circumstances you should speak to the insurance company.
There are certain circumstances in which you are going to be required to speak to someone, but you need your attorney to represent your interests to ensure everything occurs in the manner it’s supposed to occur and under the circumstances it should occur.
How Long Will This Case Take?
The reason I can’t tell you how long your case is going to be right away is because your case is individual. It’s just as individual as you are. What that means is the injuries you’ve suffered are individual to you. The manner in which you will recover from that injury is individual to you. The way in which you may respond to surgical procedures or treatments is individual to you. All of those things can affect the time in which your case can get resolved. I simply can’t tell you based on the circumstances when you come into our office when a case is going to get resolved.
Additionally, there are other people involved in the process that will determine when a case can or cannot get resolved. We have no control over those people. Those people are people like insurance adjusters, defendants in the case, juries, and judges.
Every human being involved in the process can affects when and if a case can or cannot get resolved. Simply based on the circumstances of any individual case, we can’t tell you when it will get resolved. What we can tell you is here at McKenzie Law Firm we will process and prosecute your case as best we can and as quickly as we can, considering the needs and circumstances of your case in order to ensure we reach the maximum recovery possible for you. That’s highly individualized as to each particular case, and your case is different than every other case we’ve ever handled.
That’s why it’s important that you make sure you choose an attorney who understands a particular individual’s needs in circumstances of your case.
Contact Our Florida Bicycle Accident Lawyers Today
We are here to guide you through your bicycle accident case so that it is as successful as it can be. You are a priority to us and we want to make sure that you are treated with urgency and expertise. Our Florida bicycle accident lawyer is here to help you get through this difficult time, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that your case is strong going up against the insurance company so that it is successful in the end. If you want a successful bicycle accident case, please call our office today to set up your free initial case review with our Florida bicycle accident lawyer and see what we can do for you.