William B. White, Esq.
Attorney & Counselor at Law
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Florida Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bike Accident Attorney Serving Cyclists from Palm Coast to Orlando
Accidents involving bicycles, especially when automobiles also are involved, can result in serious injuries and death. Sometimes bicyclists are to blame, but far more often it is the motorists that did not see or did not care about the bicyclist. As with other types of accidents, liability for bicycle accidents is based on negligence. Determining fault in negligence cases such as bicycle accidents can often be difficult, but an experienced accident attorney can help.
This is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I myself am a cyclist and spend many of my weekends riding the beautiful roads of Flagler, Volusia and St. Johns Counties. From the Bridge of Lions in St Augustine all the way down A1A to the Loop in Ormond Beach to Lehigh trail in Palm Coast and the many mountain bike trails like Mala Compra, our area is filled with beautiful bike paths making it a cyclists’ paradise. This paradise if frequently interrupted by devastating accidents with passenger vehicles.
As Florida cyclists know, an aggressive driver looking for parking or a distracted driver can cause a serious traffic collision. When these accidents happen the bicyclists falls on the losing side of the equation and can sustain severe and even fatal injuries. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you should not have to pay for a careless driver’s mistakes. In addition to the these “Accidents” there has been a rise in intentional aggressive attacks on cyclists. Even professional cyclists report being targeted by vengeful drivers during their road training. Don’t let careless and aggressive drivers off the hook when they injure cyclists. Contact me immediately to learn more about filing a claim for compensation.
Driver vs. Cyclist Negligence
Most accidents between a car and a bicycle are the result of negligence or recklessness. If a cyclist sues for injuries the court is likely to examine whether the driver's negligence caused the accident. In Florida,The court will also hear evidence about whether the cyclist's negligence caused or contributed to the accident.
Drivers may be found negligent if they are speeding, drifting into a bike lane, or otherwise failing to follow the rules of the road. Traffic violations are considered "negligence per se" and proving that a car was speeding, for example, would be enough to show negligence on the part of the driver. Evidence may come from eyewitnesses or evidence such as cameras or skid marks at the site of the accident.
Evidence of the cyclist's negligence may be introduced to show contributory or comparative negligence on their part, which would bar them from recovering damages. It may also be introduced where the cyclist caused injury to someone else. As with driver negligence, the bicyclist's failure to follow the rules of the road will typically prove negligence on their part.
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The Most Vulnerable - Child Bicyclists
Unfortunately, children are in the majority of auto accidents involving a bicyclist. Although drivers must always exercise reasonable care respecting others on the road, motorists have an increased duty of care toward children on bicycles. Children's standard of care when operating a bicycle is lower than that applied to adults in the same situation. This is especially the case when the driver knows or should reasonably expect that children may be present. If the driver sees children or is driving through a place frequented by children, such as a school, park, or residential neighborhood, they are expected to exercise "unusual care."
Not all accidents involving children will be found to be the fault of the driver; however the increased responsibility for the adult driver does effect what behavior might be considered negligent on their part. Some jurisdictions have even implemented a "tender years" doctrine that makes very young children incapable of contributory negligence because they are thought to be incapable of exercising care for their own safety or that of others. Other jurisdictions have a presumption that a child is incapable of contributory negligence until the mid-teens. In those states a driver may still prove that the bicyclist's negligence contributed to the accident, but must establish that the child was capable of exercising care for their own safety before they can do so.
In comparing the negligence of the parties it is important to remember the different standards applied to child bicyclists previously mentioned. A child who is too young to exercise caution will not be found negligent, since they are not held to the same standards of reasonableness as adults.
Florida Leads the Nation in Bicycle Fatalities
Fatalities among bicycle riders have increased even as the deadliest state, Florida, and others have expanded prevention efforts, according to a new report by a safety advocacy group.
Among statistics highlighted, 818 bicyclists died in 2015, the most recent year of available data.
That was more than a 12 percent increase over the previous year and the largest jump since the mid-1990s, according to “A Right to the Road: Understanding & Addressing Bicyclist Safety,” published by the Governors Highway Safety Association and funded by the State Farm insurance company.
Important Steps after a Bike Accident
GET THE DRIVER'S INSURANCE INFORMATION
Contact Your Insurance Company
Florida Law requires PIP (Personal Injury Protection) as a part of your automobile insurance coverage. If you have this coverage you can use this for your bicycle accident injures.It is crucial to let them know you will be making a claim. You may also be able to file a claim for any property damage under a homeowner policy.
Have your Attorney Contact the At-Fault Drivers Insurance
If there is one piece of advise I hope you take away from this webpage, it is this: Do not give a statement to the Drivers Insurance Company. There may be 1% of the time when that is appropriate but it is best to let an attorney decide when that is.
If there are witnesses politely ask them for their name and phone number. They may be hesitant to cooperate but let them know it is just as a precaution
Seek Medical Attention
I generally see two types of reactions to an accident. The first is when someone has a broken bone, an open wound or loses consciousness. In these cases an ambulance is usually called so medical help comes to the victim. The second scenario is when a victim has an accident but due to the shock and embarrassment they want to leave the area as quickly as possible. In these cases the person goes home and simply wants the incident to pass. Unfortunately, once the emotions and shock wear off, the pain arrives. Sometime it is hours later or the next morning. It is important to seek medical help as soon after your accident as possible because you cannot always determine the extent of your injury without a proper evaluation.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
I would be pleased to represent you in your bike accident claim. There are many important steps to take in the days immediately following the accident to protect your legal claim. Some of these important actions include examining the vehicles or location before any repairs or changes are made, preserving evidence and protecting your right to recover.