The Florida Bicycle Accident Guide was created by Paul Boone Law to help residents who have been injured in a bicycle accident obtain maximum compensation for their claim.
The Very First Thing You Should Do After Your Accident
We urge victims of bicycle accidents to get immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical attention. We understand that you have a life and priorities that you feel you need to take care of, but nothing is more important than your health in this moment following a bicycle accident. Not only are you going to be getting the treatment that you need that could potentially prevent permanent damage to your body but you’re also helping your own claim down the line. When you get to maximum medical recovery, your Jacksonville bicycle accident lawyer will know what the value of your claim is and will be able to better defend your case to get the justice that you are entitled to.
The People Involved in a Bicycle Accident Claim
There are four parties involved in any given bicycle accident claim. There can be more, depending on how the accident happened. Here is a breakdown of who is involved in a case and why.
You as the injured victim would be known as the plaintiff. You are the party who was harmed through no fault of your own or little fault of your own. You are seeking justice in the form of compensation.
The person who harmed you is called the liable party. Of course, in a bicycle accident, that person could be someone who was driving their vehicle or riding on a motorcycle or driving a truck. There are many reasons why someone might cause an accident and hit a bicycle, making them the liable party.
Here are several examples of scenarios that could render someone a liable party:
- Someone was driving down the street distracted by their cell phone, either texting or calling or watching some things on their screen.
- A driver was speeding excessively and could not stop on time to preserve harm to the bicyclist.
- Someone did not yield or stop completely or obey traffic lights causing a collision with a bicycle.
The liable party’s insurance company will be financially responsible for your compensation. That insurance company is the third party involved in your case. They are likely going to be your biggest obstacle because they like to save themselves money instead of fully unfairly compensating victims of accidents that their insured caused.
Your Jacksonville bicycle accident lawyer is going to be the fourth party involved in your claim and their job is to use their prowess and knowledge to get you the justice that you deserve in the fullest and fairest amount.
How a Bicycle Accident Claim is Valued
Think about how your life has changed after your bicycle accident. There are a lot of factors that go into that. For example, your main form of transportation may have been your bicycle and if it got ruined in the accident you are no longer able to take yourself places the way you used to. That could be a big deal for you. You also may not be able to be physical in the way that you used to be, if your injuries are severe. Sometimes, people are left with permanent damages and can no longer work or enjoy life like they used to, as well.
There are two types of damages that factor into how you are compensated for your bicycle accident. The first type of damage is called your economic damages. The second is called your non-economic damages.
Economic damages can be described as the things that cost you money after having been involved in this bicycle accident. Simply speaking, any money that you spent after having been involved in this bicycle accident due to the fact that you were harmed is an economic damage. For instance, if you went on an ambulance and went to the emergency room those fees would be economic damages. If you required further treatment and medication and physical therapy, those are also economic damages. If you are going to need medical treatment for the rest of your life, that is included in your economic damages. Lastly, if you missed work and lost wages or will not be able to return to work, that lost income is also your economic damages.
When you look at a non-economic damage, it is every way this bicycle accident has impacted your life. It’s a little harder to pin down because no one knows the cost of the pain and suffering you entered after being hit by a car on your bicycle. No one can say it costs a certain amount to have a decrease in your quality of life. Your Jacksonville bicycle accident lawyer has been through enough of these cases to know that your non-economic damages can sometimes be worth more than some of your economic damages. Especially for someone who is going to be affected by this bicycle accident for the rest of their life, non-economic damage is extremely important and should not be undermined by the insurance company. Our job is to fight for your rights to full and fair compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
Bicycle Accident Case Value
Sooner or later in the life of a case, we talk about the value range of a case. That doesn’t come early in the case. Many times, clients ask about it in the initial conference. The truth is we cannot know that early on.
A lot goes into valuing a case: the nature of your injuries, the seriousness of your injuries, whether you’re going to have permanent problems that affect your ability to get through a day, whether you have outstanding medical bills, and lost time and wages from work. All of those things factor into the value of the case. The liability, too, matters, i.e. whether it’s the automobile driver’s fault or whether you share fault. All of those things factor into the value of your case.
If you’ve been hurt while riding a bicycle and a car hit you in Nassau County or Duval County, call us. We’ll sit down and we’ll talk about your case. We’ll figure out how best to help you.
Bicycle Accident Case Timeline
Clients ask often how long their case is going to last. That’s a fair question. Typically, a bicycle-automobile case that occurs in Northeast Florida, Duval County, or Nassau County, will take 9 to 14 months. If we have to file a lawsuit, you can probably add a year to that estimate. The court system has gotten clogged again and it’s taking a long time to get to trial in cases.
The main thing we always impress upon the client is that this isn’t going to be over in a couple of weeks or four to six weeks; it’s going to take time. Setting that expectation is very important and allows the client to focus on what really is the most important thing for him or her— getting well. Do the things your doctor is telling you, be compliant. That will maximize your chances of recovering.
If you’ve been hit by a car while on a bicycle, call us. We can help navigate you through the waters and map out a plan for your case.
Common Mistakes in a Bicycle Accident Case
There are some common mistakes that clients make; not intentional, but mistakes nonetheless. The first one is they don’t get medical care. Whether they’re embarrassed by what happened or they don’t think that they are that badly hurt, they don’t go. It’s not for days or maybe even weeks when things start to hurt, the pain starts to come, that they go. They lose a golden opportunity to get help immediately, which will maximize their chances of recovery from this bad event.
Typically, bicyclists will have more often than not nowadays helmets, but the helmets are not going to keep a traumatic brain injury from happening. If someone’s ejected off a bicycle, more than likely, they’re going to hit their head on something. Those symptoms that come from a traumatic brain injury don’t necessarily show up, manifest themselves early on, but they do show up on diagnostic testing and provide a baseline that will help in the development of the brain injury case if it’s there. That’s the first thing.
The second mistake clients make is they don’t get ahold of a lawyer immediately. Oftentimes, evidence like damaged bicycles get disposed of very quickly. People forget or don’t think that it’s important in terms of their case. By the time they get to a lawyer, and the lawyer asks after the bicycle, it’s gone.
Particularly, up here in Nassau County, we have heavy road construction on a lot of our roads as well as in Duval County in the Jacksonville area. Not getting out to a lawyer quickly means circumstances can change. Construction areas change. We lose the ability to go out and take photographs of those areas.
If you’ve been hurt while on a bicycle, call us early on in your case. We’ll sit down and we’ll talk about things. We’ll do those things necessary to enhance the value of your case and increase your chances of making a good recovery.
Bicycle Accident Insurance Investigation
We sometimes get questions about whether it’s a good idea to talk to the insurance company when there’s been a bicycle accident. The answer is yes and no. With regard to your own insurance, if you have it, the answer is yes. You have a responsibility to cooperate with your insurance company. You do want to cooperate because they’re the ones who are going to pay towards your medical bills and perhaps pay towards some of your lost wages.
If they want a statement, give a statement. They will send you paperwork either online or through the mail. Fill it out, give it back to them. That will keep the process intact for your benefits with your own insurance company.
Beyond that though, the answer is no. The insurance company for the driver of the car who hit you has got that person’s interest at heart and not yours. Anything they try to attempt to get from you is for their driver or owner’s benefit, not yours. You are on their field, not your own. You are outmatched. It doesn’t matter how smart you are; you are outmatched.
We always tell clients that if the insurance company tries to call them, they should give them our contact information. At that point, it is illegal for them to talk to you. They’ll call us. We’ll get the information going to and from our office in an appropriate way.
If you have this kind of situation, call us today. We’ll talk about it and we’ll see how best we can help you.
Partial Fault in a Bicycle Accident Case
There’s a concept in the state of Florida that lots of people are not aware of. It’s called comparative negligence. Many times, I have clients come into the office, particularly in bicycle versus automobile cases in which they were riding their bicycle and got hit by a car. These clients may believe they are partially at fault. Do they still have a case?
They may think they don’t have a case because they didn’t come to a complete stop at the stop sign, or they drove in front of a car, for example, but that’s not necessarily the case. Florida has what is known as comparative negligence.
The way it works is this: If you get involved in an accident while riding a bicycle and a car hits you and it turns out that both of you share responsibility, when we go to court on your case, the jury will be asked to apportion the responsibility.
For example, let’s say that you’re on a bicycle up here in Nassau County. You get hit by a car. We go to court. The jury says your injuries are worth $100,000.
The jury also says that you were 50% responsible and the driver of the car is 50% responsible. What will happen at that point is the judge will reduce your $100,000 to $50,000 to account for your 50% responsibility. Just because you may be somewhat at fault does not eliminate the claim.
If you have that situation, don’t hesitate to call us. Our practice serves the Northeast Florida, Nassau County, and Duval County areas. We’ll sit down, we’ll go over those things, and we’ll see how best we can approach your case.
Bicycle Accidents From a Pothole
Cases come to us under a myriad of different fact patterns. One of them is a bicyclist who gets hurt when one of the wheels of his bicycle hits a pothole. He gets ejected, goes over the handlebars, and crashes to the ground.
In this scenario, does the bicyclist have a case? The cyclist might think it’s his own fault. That’s not necessarily the case, however.
Roadways are subject to maintenance by sometimes more than one agency or entity. They are charged with the responsibility of maintaining roadways in a reasonably safe condition. Potholes are not a reasonably safe condition. Those should be maintained. Roadways are one area where people travel a lot. Responsibility to maintain those roadways is constant.
If you have a case in Nassau County or Duval County where you have ridden your bicycle and you hit a pothole and got hurt, call us. We’ll sit down; we’ll talk about it. We’ll figure out how we can help you.
Auto Insurance for a Bicycle Accident Injury
A common question we get involves whether auto insurance covers someone hurt on a bicycle. The answer is maybe— it can. That’s why you need to contact a lawyer early on because these are questions that have to be resolved and answered.
We have 14 days from the day of the accident to seek medical care and have that insurance, if it’s in place, pay for it. These are questions that are good questions to ask. That’s why you call somebody like our bicycle accident attorney, who has been in practice 38 years in the Northeast Florida area.
If you have that situation, call us. We’ll sit down; we’ll go over it. We’ll share with you the experience of our decades in practice. We’ll figure out a plan that helps you best.
How Bicycle Accident Cases and Car Accident Cases Differ
People sometimes ask what’s different between a bicycle accident claim and a car accident case. There are differences. One of the major differences is the level of injury that is not apparent.
On a bicycle, even though people are wearing those helmets, they’re not helmets that are going to prevent brain injury. Many times, someone will crack their head. They get ejected off the bicycle. They don’t realize how badly hurt they are in terms of a traumatic brain injury. That happens more often than in the auto cases from a medical standpoint. Getting involved early will help get the client to the appropriate healthcare provider so that your brain injury can be treated.
If you’ve been hurt on a bicycle in Nassau County, Duval County, or the surrounding areas, call us. We’ll sit down and see how best we can help you.
Choosing The Right Bicycle Accident Lawyer
How can you pick the right lawyer in a bicycle-automobile accident here in Nassau County? What we tell people is ask the lawyer what kind of experience he has, whether his practice is predominately personal injury work, or whether he does a little bit of this, a little bit of that. No lawyer can do everything anymore. That day has long since passed.
Our practice is almost exclusively personal injury work. Particularly with bicycle-automobile cases, you need someone who’s had experience. We just completed a case where a man was hit by a car while crossing an intersection on a bicycle. It requires some different knowledge and abilities, which our bicycle accident attorney had. We were able to help this man to a successful resolution of his case.
Experience counts. If you have a bicycle-automobile case where you’ve been hit while on a bicycle, call us right away. We’ll sit down, talk about it, and see how best we can help you.
Call Our Florida Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
Were you or a loved one seriously injured by an automobile while out on a ride and have questions about bicycle accident case value? Contact experienced Florida bicycle accident lawyer at Paul Boone Law today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
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