Bicyclists and drivers are meant to share the road- unfortunately, accident are always a risk. Similar to motorcyclists, bike riders have almost no protection against a car crash. If a negligent driver runs you off the road, fails to yield or opens their doro in your bike lane, you have grounds for a lawsuit.
Our Tampa bicycle accident attorneys recently recovered $300,000 for a Tampa cyclist who fractured their leg after being hit by a car. Contact our office today to discuss the circumstances surrounding your bike accident and subsequent injuries and we’ll let you know how we may be of service.
Bicycle Accident Liability Basics
Many motorists don’t exhibit the proper consideration and caution around bicyclists, often following too closely, honking their horns, or passing within a foot or less of the bicycle. Impatient, distracted, and negligent drivers can cause severe and fatal injuries to unsuspecting bicyclists. Like other personal injury accidents, bicycle accident cases often involve legally defined negligence. To receive compensation for injuries after a bike accident, a plaintiff must prove three elements:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a standard of care. Every motorist on the roadway owes certain duties of care to other drivers and pedestrians on the roadway. These duties include driving responsibly, paying attention to the road, and making good decisions behind the wheel.
- The defendant breached his/her duty. Any act of negligence, carelessness, or recklessness behind the wheel that resulted in a bicycle accident is a breach of duty. Common breaches include texting and driving, failing to stop for bicycles in crosswalks, speeding, following too closely, driving under the influence, and turning left into bicycles.
- The breach caused the plaintiff’s harm. In a collision between a car and a bicyclist, damages are almost inevitable. However, the plaintiff with the help of their bike accident lawyer must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the injuries or property damage. If a tree limb fell on the bicyclist and the bicyclist fell in front of a car, for example, damages would likely not be the driver’s fault.
A bicyclist must have actual damages to sue a driver in the civil courts of Tampa Bay. Damages include physical injury, medical bills, expensive property damage, lost wages, or emotional distress. A bicyclist that did not sustain damages in an accident cannot sue the defendant, even if the defendant was responsible for the crash. It is worthwhile to contact a Tampa bicycle accident lawyer even if you legally share some of the fault. Even partial compensation can make a considerable dent in your medical expenses, property damage costs, emotional suffering, and lost wages.
How Much Is My Tampa Bicycle Accident Case Worth?
If you suffered an injury in a bike accident, you should discuss your case with the attorneys at Fiol Law Group. Fiol Law Group handles cases on a contingency fee basis, so we will not charge you anything unless we win your case and you receive a settlement or a judgment. We do not ask for any payment unless the courts award you fair compensation for your injuries, time away from work, or medical bills.
We believe it is important that all Florida citizens have a skilled, determined attorney at their side through difficult legal situations, regardless of economic status. We can also give you a free consultation, so you can get to know our attorneys and our firm with no obligation to choose us to represent you. Whether you need some legal advice, have some questions, or want representation, Fiol Law Group is here to help you, so that you can focus on recovery from this incident.
Why Hire Fiol Law Group?
Florida roads see thousands of bicycle accidents every year, with damage ranging anywhere from minor scrapes to deadly crashes. What seems like a casual bike ride could quickly turn into an event that changes your entire life. Bike accidents are shocking, scary incidents that can have deep and lasting impact on people’s lives. Damage can often extend far past just physical injury, leading to emotional and mental trauma as well. You need to work with a law firm that is going to give you the care and attention that you deserve and who understands how serious bicycle accidents can be.
The Fiol Law Group’s main priority is doing everything we can to help and support our clients. The founder of Fiol Law Group, Alex Fiol, was at one of the largest personal injury firms in Florida before branching off and starting Fiol Law Group. He has more than 20 years of legal experience and received an AV rating for exceptional legal ability and high ethical standards. As a smaller law firm, each case is important to us, and we can give each case we decide to take on more personal care because we don’t have to divide our attention among numerous clients.
We have four paralegals and three secretaries on our team. Our office has English and Spanish speakers, so we can help as many people as possible and will be able to cater to a wider base of Florida citizens. Our office in downtown Tampa is extremely easy to access – right near public transportation so you do not need to own a vehicle to reach us. It is also close to major area highways. We have free parking so you don’t need to worry about being charged exorbitant parking fees if you drive to come meet us.
Serving our clients is our number one priority. We do all that we can to make sure that our team is accessible to everyone. We have Fiol Law Group staff members available by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so you can get in touch with us whenever you need. Contact us today. If needed, we will travel to meet you wherever you are and can meet on evenings and weekends. At Fiol Law Group, we will do everything that we possibly can to make sure that every Florida citizen has easy access to compassionate, dedicated legal representation whenever they need it.
What are Florida’s Cyclist Laws?
There is a dangerous misconception in the Tampa Bay Area that bicyclists don’t share the same rights on the road as passenger vehicles. However, with the exception of major highways like the I-275, bicyclists are legally required to use the roads (no sidewalks) just as cars do.
In Florida, a bike rider must adhere to the same laws as a car and a driver. They also have the same rights. This includes riding in the same direction as traffic, stopping at all red lights and stop signs, and following every other law that cars have to follow.
Some laws specific to bicyclists include:
- No bicycle can carry more than one person unless it is a two-person bike.
- Every bike must have brakes strong enough for the cyclist to stop within 25 feet when they are going 10 miles per hour on flat, dry pavement.
- Any bicycle ridden between sunset and sunrise must have a white light on the front and a red light on the back. The front light must be visible from 500 feet while the rear light must be visible from 600 feet away. These lights can flash, if desired.
Over the years, Florida has updated laws to increase bicyclists safety. For example, if bicyclists fear a potentially unsafe situation if they stay in the bike lane, they can use the sidewalk to avoid harm.
Common Dangers for Bicyclists
Bicycle crashes and fatalities are unfortunately not uncommon. As of Feb. 12, 2018, Florida has reported 513 bicycle accidents with six fatalities, according to FIRES. Last year, the state reported 6,5000 bicycle crashes with 110 fatalities; Hillsborough County, home to Tampa, reported 469 crashes with 12 fatalities.
There are many situations that may lead to a bicycle accident. A common cause of Tampa bicycle crashes is from drivers failing to properly yield at intersections. Unfortunately, drivers often only look for other cars while bicyclists are much more likely to remain hidden in blind spots.
When a car wants to pass a cyclist on the road, Florida law dictates the driver must keep at least three feet between the car and the cyclist when passing. If the driver comes closer than that, it can be extremely dangerous for the cyclist. When a cyclist is afraid, he or she may struggle with the bike and fall – and that could lead to an extremely hazardous accident.
Drivers sometimes forget to signal, especially if there are no cars behind or around them. This can increase the chances of a collision with a bicyclist who doesn’t realize a car is planning to turn or if a car suddenly turns across the cyclist’s path.
Road maintenance can have a much stronger impact on cyclists than drivers. Potholes, debris, or uneven pavement are unlikely to affect the efficiency or safety of a car or truck. These can be dangerous situations for cyclists, however. Many bicycle accidents happen when a cyclist loses control because of poor road conditions. Because cyclists are in the middle of traffic, a fall could lead to a catastrophic collision with a car.
These are only a few examples; if you’ve been injured in a crash, contact our experienced Tampa bicycle accident lawyers for immediate legal advice and assistance. We will discuss your unique circumstances and injuries in a private, free consultation and determine if you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit and how much compensation we should fight for.
About Bicycle Accident Cases in Florida
Florida is a comparative fault state, meaning that both parties’ actions may be considered in determining fault. The juries will consider all of the evidence and assign percentages of fault to one or both parties. The courts will then award compensation based on each party’s percentage. For example, you were crossing an intersection on your bicycle illegally, but a driver that was intoxicated behind the wheel ran into you. In this case, the courts might assign you 10 percent of fault and the driver 90 percent. The courts would subtract your percentage of fault from the total award amount. Based on the example percentages, you would receive $45,000 of a $50,000 award.
Bicycle accidents are often the product of driver negligence. A Tampa bicycle accident attorney can investigate your case and give you an idea of your legal options and rights in the state of Florida.
Trust Fiol Law Group to help you file a claim against the responsible party if you suffered an injury in a bicycle accident. We offer free case consultations and handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning no attorney fees unless you win! Reach out to Fiol Law Group today via our online contact form or call our Tampa offices today.