West Palm Beach’s downtown district and palm-lined streets along the Intercoastal Waterway are ideal places for bicycle rides, whether you’re commuting for work or riding for pleasure. But these rides can get hazardous when cycles share the road with motor vehicles. Last year, there were 6,399 bicycle crashes in Florida, resulting in 5,574 injuries and 169 deaths.
If you suffered injuries in a bike crash in West Palm Beach, you may recover compensation for your medical bills and other losses. Contact the West Palm Beach bicycle accident lawyers at Kaiser Romanello, P.A., for your free consultation to hear your legal options.
Why Choose Kaiser Romanello, P.A., West Palm Beach Accident Lawyers, for Your Bicycle Accident Claim?
When you need a compassionate, experienced, and relentless advocate on your side, turn to Kaiser Romanello, P.A. Our personal injury lawyers have represented countless clients in their accident claims and recovered millions of dollars on their behalf. We are prepared to help you secure the compensation and peace of mind you deserve.
Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor to this beautiful Florida city, we are here to provide you with the legal guidance and support you need during this challenging time. Contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation.
Florida Bicycle Accident Laws
Bicycle laws in Florida are designed to keep bicyclists and motorists safe.
Here is a summary of the most important bicycle laws in Florida:
- Bicycles are legally defined as vehicles and cyclists have many of the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers. This means that bicyclists must obey all traffic laws, including stopping at stop signs and red lights, signaling turns, and yielding to pedestrians.
- Bicyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic, except when turning left or preparing to turn left.
- Bicyclists must ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, unless overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction, preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway, or riding on a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes.
- Bicyclists may not ride more than two abreast, except on a bicycle path.
- Bicyclists must use a white headlight and a red tail light at night.
- Bicyclists under the age of 16 must wear a helmet.
In addition to these general laws:
- Bicyclists may not ride on sidewalks unless there is no bicycle lane or the sidewalk is too narrow to accommodate both pedestrians and bicyclists safely.
- Bicyclists may not ride while intoxicated.
- Bicyclists may not carry more persons on their bicycle than the number for which it is designed or equipped.
Motorists also have a responsibility to share the road safely with bicyclists. Here are a few tips for motorists:
- Give bicyclists at least three feet of passing distance.
- Slow down and yield to bicyclists when turning.
- Be aware of bicyclists in your blind spots before changing lanes.
- Stop for bicyclists at crosswalks.
- Do not open or leave any car doors in moving traffic for longer than necessary to load or unload passengers, and not without first checking that it is reasonably safe.
Do I Have a Bicycle Accident Case?
To succeed in a bicycle accident case, you must show that the driver of the vehicle acted negligently, causing the accident that injured you.
To do that, you must establish the four elements of negligence:
- Duty of care: The defendant must have owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. This means that the defendant had a legal obligation to act reasonably and avoid harming the plaintiff. For example, a motorist owes a duty of care to bicyclists on the road.
- Breach of duty: The defendant must have breached the duty of care. This means that the defendant failed to act reasonably, and their actions fell below the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the same situation. For example, a motorist breaches their duty of care to a bicyclist by failing to yield at a crosswalk or driving too close to the bicyclist.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty must have caused the plaintiff’s injuries. This means that the plaintiff’s injuries would not have occurred if the defendant had acted reasonably. For instance, a motorist’s breach of duty caused the bicyclist’s injuries by hitting the bicyclist with their car.
- Damages: The plaintiff must have suffered damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, and other types of damages, depending on the severity of the accident injuries.
Who May Be Responsible for Your Bicycle Accident Injuries?
Liability in a bicycle accident case can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the accident. In some cases, you may seek compensation for your injuries from more than one party. Here are some potential parties who you may hold liable in a bicycle accident case:
Motor Vehicle Operators
If a motor vehicle collides with a bicyclist and the driver of the motor vehicle is at fault, you can hold them liable for the accident. Common causes of liability include distracted driving, speeding, running a red light, or failing to yield to the bicyclist’s right of way.
If a poorly maintained road or infrastructure is a contributing factor to the accident, you can hold the government entity responsible for maintaining that road or infrastructure liable. Some examples of road or infrastructure hazards that may contribute to a car accident include potholes, lack of proper signage, or inadequate bike lanes.
If a defect in the bicycle or its components, such as the brakes, tires, or frame, contributed to the accident, you can hold the manufacturer or distributor of the defective product liable for the injuries. These cases usually fall under product liability laws.
If the accident occurs on private property, like in a parking lot, and it can be shown that the property owner’s negligence contributed to the accident, you can hold the property owner liable. Examples of property owner negligence may include inadequate lighting or failure to maintain the premises.
Other Bicyclists or Pedestrians
In multi-party accidents involving multiple bicyclists, pedestrians, or other individuals, the parties involved may share liability based on their respective contributions to the accident.
In some cases you can hold third parties, such as businesses or employers, liable if they contributed to the accident, such as an employer requiring an employee to ride a bicycle for work-related purposes.
Who Pays for Bike Accident Injuries?
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, you shouldn’t have to pay the medical bills. But who pays for your injuries? Here’s a look at who may cover your medical expenses and other damages after a bike accident:
Your Health Insurance
In many cases, you may turn to your health insurance provider to pay for your medical bills. But your policy may not cover all your medical bills and you’ll probably need to pay a hefty deductible. You also won’t receive compensation for any loss of income if your injuries prevented you from working as you recovered.
Your PIP Car Insurance
Florida follows a no-fault system when it comes to car insurance. That means, if you are injured in a car accident, you would seek coverage for your medical bills and lost wages through your own car insurance regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
Florida requires all motorists to carry at least $10,000 per accident in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which typically covers the policyholder and their passengers’ medical expenses and lost wages up to their policy limits.
So, if you are riding your bike and are hit by a car, you can file a claim against your own PIP insurance for coverage of your initial medical expenses and lost income even though you weren’t driving your car at the time of your accident.
Unfortunately, PIP coverage only pays 80 percent of your crash-related medical expenses up to your policy limits. If you have the minimum coverage, that’s only $8,000, which isn’t much, especially if you sustained serious injuries. You may need to file a bicycle accident claim against the at-fault driver’s car insurance.
The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance
Florida law allows accident victims to file claims against the at-fault driver if their medical bills for reasonable treatment exceed their policy limits.
They can also file a claim against the other party if their injuries are significant and considered permanent, which Florida law defines as:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
Accident victims whose bicycle injuries meet the state’s “permanent injury” criteria can also seek compensation for pain and suffering damages.
Your UM/UIM Insurance
Florida requires all drivers to carry car insurance, but that doesn’t mean all motorists on the road comply. If an uninsured driver struck you while you rode your bike — or if your medical bills exceed the other driver’s policy limits — you can also make a claim against your Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance if you purchased it.
Third-Party Insurance Claims
In some cases, you may be able to bring a claim against other parties who may have contributed to your bicycle accident. For instance, if a pothole on a poorly maintained road caused you to swerve into oncoming traffic and collide with a car, you may bring a claim against the government agency charged with maintaining the road.
How Can a West Palm Beach Bicycle Accident Lawyer Help with My Bike Accident Claim?
Hiring a lawyer for your bicycle accident claim can significantly improve your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your injuries and losses. They have the knowledge and experience to help you build a strong case and protect your rights throughout the legal process. Here are some ways a bicycle accident lawyer from Kaiser Romanello, P.A., can help you with your claim:
Our lawyers have handled hundreds of personal injury cases, including bicycle accidents. They have a deep understanding of the relevant laws and regulations. They can help you navigate the legal process effectively.
Our lawyers will thoroughly investigate the accident, gathering evidence such as accident reports, witness statements, and medical records. They may also work with accident reconstruction experts to determine liability.
Assessment of Damages
Your lawyer can help you assess the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. They will ensure you seek compensation for all relevant losses.
Many personal injury cases are settled through negotiations with insurance companies. Our lawyers are skilled negotiators who can help you secure a fair settlement. They understand the tactics that insurance companies use to minimize payouts.
If necessary, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf, meeting all legal documents and procedural requirements. They will represent you in court and advocate for your rights.
Our lawyers can assess liability by reviewing the circumstances of the accident. They can help establish fault, whether it’s the driver of a motor vehicle, a government entity responsible for road maintenance, or another party.
Statute of Limitations
Our lawyers will ensure that your claim is filed within the statute of limitations, which is the legal timeframe for initiating a lawsuit. Missing this deadline could result in the court dismissing your case.
If the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured, your lawyer can navigate your own insurance policies, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, to seek compensation.
Mediation and Arbitration
In some cases, your lawyer may recommend alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or arbitration to reach a settlement without going to court.
Your lawyer will advocate for you throughout the entire process, protecting your rights, gathering evidence, and representing your interests.
Support and Guidance
Your lawyer can provide support and guidance, helping you make informed decisions and reducing the physically and emotionally taxing stress associated with the legal process.
Our personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, so they only get paid if you win your case. This can make legal representation more accessible to those with limited financial resources.
Contact a West Palm Beach Bicycle Accident Lawyer at Kaiser Romanello, P.A., Today
At Kaiser Romanello, P.A., we understand that a bicycle accident can be life-altering. In the picturesque surroundings of West Palm Beach, where cyclists and motorists share the roads, accidents can happen, leaving riders facing physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial burdens.
Our dedicated team of experienced bicycle accident attorneys is here to help you navigate the complex legal terrain that follows a bicycle accident. We are committed to being your unwavering advocates in seeking justice and ensuring your rights are protected.
Contact us today at (844) 877-8679 or through our online form for your free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case and explore your options.