JUPITER BICYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYERS
Jupiter, Florida, is the home to 60,802 people. It’s a relatively small city with mostly residential areas. Because the city is home to many families, there are often more cyclists on the roads.
Residential areas are often more dangerous for vulnerable road users, as drivers feel much more comfortable on neighborhood roads. They may be more likely to engage in distracting activities or drive home from an event or friend’s house while intoxicated.
HELPING INJURED VICTIMS OF BICYCLE ACCIDENTS
According to studies, nearly 104 million Americans ride bikes. Bicycling is a pastime that Americans love for recreation as well as being a great form of transportation. Bicycling allows people to exercise while being outdoors and enjoying the sunny Florida weather. Biking provides riders with a variety of riding options, whether they decide to ride a beach cruiser by the ocean, a mountain bike off road, or a road bike on the streets.
But what happens when something as innocent as biking turns into something deadly? Florida news has seen a wave of bicycling deaths recently, and according to AAA, Florida “leads the nation in bicycle fatalities.” The most recent studies show that Florida is responsible for roughly 16% of the nation’s deaths caused by bicycle accidents.
According to the CDC, Bicycle injuries account for bicyclists account for 2% of people who die in crashes that involve motor vehicles. Approximately 1,000 bicyclists die every year from accidents, and over 130,000 bicyclists are injured in crashes on our roads in the U.S. every year.
About 25% of fatal bicycle crashes occurred as a result of a motorist overtaking a bicyclist on roadways between intersections, according to the Nation Transportation Safety Bureau.
FLORIDA BICYCLE ACCIDENTS
In February 2020 alone, we saw two major deaths of bicycle accident victims in Florida. A young woman was killed while trying to cross U.S. Highway 441 at night, and a man was killed a few days later riding his bicycle at night. As the numbers of bicycle fatalities rack up, we have to ask ourselves, “What more can be done to better protect all those on the road?”
If you ride a bicycle regularly in Florida, you should be aware of the rights you have on the road in case you ever find yourself in the event of an accident.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON BICYCLE ACCIDENT INJURIES?
- Head injuries – These can occur even when a bicyclist wears a helmet. These injuries can include severe traumatic brain injuries to concussions. Facial injuries can include orbital fractures, broken teeth, jaw fractures, and eye or vision damage.
- Knee injuries – Bicyclists on road bikes often wear clip-on shoes that can increase the chances of straining or tearing an ACL, MCL, or meniscus when involved in an accident.
- Back and neck injuries – Spinal injuries can occur from the force of the whiplash associated with being in a bicycle accident.
- Broken bones – These injuries range from collarbones to hands and fingers, to arms and legs, and ankles and toes.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CAUSES OF BICYCLE ACCIDENTS?
Bicycle accidents are most frequently caused by driver negligence. All drivers on the road have a duty of care to uphold. This duty requires them to drive safely and not put anyone in harm’s way. When this duty is breached, it’s called negligence.
Negligent acts can include texting while driving, partaking in other distractions, driving under the influence, or rolling through a stop sign. Other common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Inexperienced drivers
- Speeding or aggressive driving
- Not properly maintaining your vehicle
- Not checking your blind spots
- Not using blinkers or following road signs
- Running stop signs and red lights
- Not keeping enough distance from cyclists
- And more
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’M THE VICTIM OF A BICYCLE ACCIDENT?
If you are a victim of a bicycle accident, you should contact a trusted lawyer today to start filing the claim you need. Directly following your accident, you should do the following:
- Seek emergency medical treatment. If you are directed to go to the hospital or if someone calls 911 on your behalf, go. Don’t stick around to complete the following steps. Your health is the number one priority.
- If you’re able to stay at the scene of the accident, you should contact the police if no one else has. Filing a police report is a great way to record the accident when it’s fresh in your brain.
- While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, you should take as many pictures, videos, and notes as you can. Take pictures of the car that hit you and its positioning. Take pictures of your bike and your injuries. Write down any notes that come to mind, such as your memory of the accident and how it occurred.
- Speak to any witnesses and get their contact information. Encourage them to stick around and speak to the police if possible.
- Take note of any potential security cameras. Your attorney may be able to recover this footage to strengthen your case.
- Once you’ve collected your own evidence and spoken to the police, you should receive medical treatment. Once you leave the scene, head directly to a hospital or emergency room for an exam. This is an important step that shouldn’t be skipped, even if you believe you aren’t injured.
- After you’ve received medical attention, you should contact KMW to speak about your accident claim. Do not speak with the insurance company or accept a settlement. Do not sign anything. Speaking with an attorney first can prevent you from accidentally damaging your claim.
WHAT COMPENSATION CAN I RECEIVE?
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, you likely have accumulated some debt from doctor visits, missed work, and more. We understand that receiving compensation is the main motivator behind hiring an attorney, so we’re here to ensure you get the most compensation possible.
You can receive compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to losses with a monetary value, while non-economic damages are the opposite.
Examples of common economic damages include:
- Doctor visits
- Surgery costs
- Ambulance rides
- Physical therapy
- Future medical treatment
- Past and future lost wages
Non-economic damages can be harder to nail down as they aren’t associated with a specific loss or bill. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of earning capacity.
These damages are calculated by looking at how much your life has changed because of the accident and resulting injuries. A more significant change to your quality of life will result in higher compensation for pain and suffering damages.
WHY CHOOSE KELLER, MELCHIORRE & WALSH TO REPRESENT YOUR JUPITER BICYCLE ACCIDENT CASE?
Choosing the right attorney to represent your case is important and can greatly affect the outcome of your claim. Choosing a settlement mill (a law firm that only cares about settling quickly) will result in a small payout that may not cover your damages. Choosing a high-quality law firm that cares about you, like KMW, is the best way to ensure you get the compensation that you deserve.
We have years of experience working on bicycle accident cases in Jupiter, Florida, and we’re ready to take on yours, too. With our local connections to medical facilities and police forces, we can get the documentation you need quickly.
We also frequently work with a list of trusted expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists and medical experts. With these resources, we can build a strong bicycle accident claim that the insurance company simply cannot deny.
WE GET RESULTS
We can talk a big game about our experience, but nothing speaks louder than our case results. In the past few years, we have received multiple million dollar+ settlements for our auto accident clients. In one instance, a client suffered from rare medical issues as a result of an accident. We had to put extra pressure on the insurance company to get the settlement that the client deserved.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, we’re here to help you. By putting your case in our hands, you can rest easy knowing you’re well taken care of.
CONTACT KMW TODAY
Contact us at Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh so that we can start the process of your legal recovery today. We can be reached by calling (561) 295-5825 or by contacting us online.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ARE HELMETS REALLY NECESSARY?
Studies show helmets decrease the risk of major head trauma or brain injury in a bicycle accident by almost 50%. There are plenty of reasons to wear a helmet, like:
- They provide protection to your face
- Every year, about 26,000 people experience brain injuries from bike accidents
- Bicycle injuries double the amount of football head injuries every year
- Your chances of being compensated for your injuries will be greater
At this point, wearing a helmet needs to become a natural habit. Pediatrician Dr. Jerri Rose explains, “It’s similar to wearing a seat belt. Wearing one doesn’t ensure that you’re not going to get in a car accident, but it lowers the risk of injury and of dying in a car accident.”
Unfortunately, people choose not to wear them because they don’t like the way they look or feel. However, your health should always take the lead over your personal preferences.
With such an alarming amount of people seeking medical assistance for bicycle accidents, it is scary that, on average, only a fourth of those victims had helmets on. The practice of riding a bicycle seems so innocent, but the statistics of accidents and trauma are not.
WHAT ARE SOME HELPFUL TIPS FOR SHARING THE ROAD?
- Follow all the same traffic rules as if you were driving a car. It is dangerous to navigate your bike in an unpredictable way because others will not be able to guess your next move.
- Signal every turn. Make sure your gestures are clear and noticeable.
- Do not go in between the middle of lanes. This increases the danger for everyone on the road.
- Stay alert and avoid distractions like cell phones and music. Loud headphones can keep you from hearing important noises around you.
- Expect the unexpected, and never assume you are seen. Wear reflective gear, put the reflective gear on your bike, and practice extreme caution at night and especially with rain.
WHAT ARE FLORIDA’S LAWS CONCERNING BICYCLISTS?
- Bicyclists should be on the right side of the road at all times
- Guard your bike with reflective lights
- When available, use the bike lane
- Anyone 16 or under must wear a helmet
- Keep 3 feet of space between every person on the road
- Bicyclists may ride on empty sidewalks but must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians
WHAT IF I AM INJURED WHILE RIDING IN A PELOTON? DO I HAVE A CASE AGAINST ANOTHER BICYCLIST IN THE PELOTON?
Riding in a peloton can be great for camaraderie while getting exercise outdoors. However, there are risks associated with riding in a peloton. In pelotons, the bicyclists ride extremely close together.
As a result of their close proximity, when one rider in the peloton falls, it can create a chain reaction causing several riders to crash. Due to these risks, there are safety rules and etiquette that should be followed by the riders in the peloton.
Some of this etiquette includes riders of the peloton being vocal out hazards, never overlapping wheels, and using hand signals to turn or change lanes. When this etiquette is either unknown by novel riders or not followed, the consequences can be disastrous.
We have handled cases against other cyclists who, through their negligence, have caused an accident resulting in an injury to another bicyclist. It takes an experienced bicycle accident attorney to handle a peloton accident claim. Witnesses to the accident, including other members of the peloton, have to be interviewed to determine the cause and at-fault party of the accident.
WHAT IF I’M IN A BICYCLE ACCIDENT WITH ANOTHER BICYCLE?
The bicyclist who was not at fault would have a claim against the at-fault bicyclist. In this scenario, the personal liability coverage of the homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for the at-fault bicyclist would usually cover the damages or injuries.
DO I HAVE A CASE AGAINST A PERSON IF THEY DID NOT TOUCH ME BUT CAUSED MY BICYCLE TO CRASH?
Yes. Unfortunately, this is a common situation in bicycle accidents. However, just because there was no direct contact between parties of the accident does not mean that the at-fault party cannot be held liable.
This is usually the case when a car cuts off a bicycle, and the cyclist must brake abruptly or swerve off of the roadway in an attempt to avoid a direct collision. An experienced trial attorney will take all the steps necessary to determine what the motorist was doing at the time of the accident. A skilled attorney will determine if the driver was distracted by their cell phone or by some other means.
DOES MY AUTO INSURANCE COVER ME IF I AM INVOLVED IN A BICYCLE ACCIDENT?
Your auto insurance does not provide coverage if you are on a bicycle when you are involved in a crash with a vehicle. However, you would be able to make a claim against the at-fault vehicle and their auto insurance for the accident.
DOES A CAR HAVE TO STAY 3 FEET AWAY FROM A BICYCLE ON THE ROAD?
Florida Statute 316.083 states that when a driver of a vehicle passes a bicycle that is not in a separated bicycle lane, they must pass the bicycle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet. As stated above, 25% of fatal bicycle accidents occur when a motorist overtakes a bicycle on the road. This law was meant to protect bicyclists on the road but is regularly either unknown or not followed by drivers that are in a hurry.
CAN I SUE A PEDESTRIAN IF THEY CAUSE A BICYCLE ACCIDENT?
Yes, you do have a claim against a pedestrian who causes a bicycle accident resulting in damage or injury. Pedestrian and bicycle accidents are common when a pedestrian goes into a bike lane or simply gets too close to a bicyclist. When a pedestrian is at fault for causing a bicycle accident, the pedestrian’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will usually cover the bicyclist’s injuries and damage.