Tallahassee Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycle-Vehicle Collisions in Florida
Whether you ride a bicycle to work or school, take part in races, or simply enjoy biking for fun, you likely know the risks of sharing the road with cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the state is home to thousands of bike crashes every year. In 2020 alone, Florida saw 5,571 injuries and 161 deaths from bicycle-vehicle collisions, with 55 crashes and 52 injuries occurring right here in Leon County.
Sadly, these accidents often leave cyclists struggling with serious injuries. It can be incredibly difficult to get back on your feet after a collision with a large, heavy motor vehicle—but Shapiro Law Firm, P.A. is here to help. Based in Tallahassee, our bicycle accident attorney provides dedicated representation to injured cyclists throughout Leon County. With over 25 years of experience, Paul Shapiro has what it takes to go up against the insurance company and fight for the fair recovery you are owed.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
Because bicycle accidents often lead to catastrophic injuries, many cyclists require emergency medical attention at the scene. If you or anyone else appears significantly injured, call 911 and wait for paramedics to arrive.
Even if you do not need emergency treatment, be sure to see a doctor or health care professional as soon as possible after the accident. Often, the shock of the crash can mask the severity of your injuries, and you may not realize that you were injured for hours or even days afterward. However, early treatment is key in managing injuries and preventing further damage, so it is critical that you see a medical professional right away.
After ensuring you and anyone else who is injured has received proper medical attention, try to take the following steps:
- Exchange information with the other people involved in the crash, including the driver of the motor vehicle that hit you. Remain calm and avoid assigning or admitting fault. Do not attempt to negotiate with the driver involved. Instead, simply take down the other person’s name, address, phone number, and insurance information.
- Call the police and have them come out to the scene of the accident. In Florida, you are required to report any accident that results in bodily injury or death to the police. You are also required to report accidents involving drunk drivers, drivers who flee the scene of the accident, commercial vehicle operators, and property damage rendering a vehicle inoperable.
- Document the scene of the accident, as well as your injuries, by taking pictures on your smart phone (if possible) and/or writing down everything you can remember about the crash as soon as possible. If there were any witnesses who saw what happened, be sure to get their names and contact information, too.
- Preserve evidence from the crash, as this can go a long way in supporting your personal injury claim. You should keep the clothing you were wearing (even if it is torn or bloody) and avoid repairing your bicycle until you have spoken to a lawyer and/or the investigation is complete. If you must have your bike repaired, take photos and obtain a written report of the damage first.
- Avoid speaking to the driver’s insurance company. Their adjusters will likely contact you (or even visit you in person) within hours or days. They may offer a settlement to cover the cost of your medical expenses. However, you should not accept this settlement without first speaking to a lawyer. The insurance company is not on your side!
- Reach out to an attorney who can help you with your claim. Although you are not required by law to work with a personal injury lawyer to file a bicycle accident claim, an attorney can help guide you through this process and protect your rights when negotiating a fair settlement from the insurance company.
At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., we are prepared to assist you with every aspect of your claim. We understand the challenges you are facing, and we know how to help.
Who Is at Fault when a Car Hits a Bicyclist?
Because Florida is an at-fault state when it comes to motor vehicle collisions, blame is an important issue in bicycle-vehicle accident cases. An injured cyclist must prove that the driver (or another party) was at fault for the crash to recover compensation for their medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
So, who is at fault in a vehicle-bicycle accident?
The answer is that it depends on the various factors involved. Often, motorists are to blame. Those who drive while distracted, intoxicated, or simply act carelessly behind the wheel are considered negligent and, therefore, are liable for accidents they cause due to their negligent conduct.
However, in some cases, fault may be shared between multiple parties, including the cyclist. If the insurance company argues that you were partially to blame for the crash, this does not mean that you cannot still seek compensation. Under Florida’s pure comparative negligence rule, you can file a personal injury claim if you were partly to blame for the incident that caused your injuries, even if you were more at fault than the other person or party. However, if you are found partially to blame, the amount you can recover for your damages will be reduced by the same percentage of fault you are found to have. For example, if the insurance company argues that you were 75% at fault for the crash because you violated traffic laws, you would only be able to recover up to 25% of the total value of your claim.
Because of this, it is extremely important that you reach out to an experienced bicycle accident lawyer. Insurance companies often try to assign disproportionate blame to injured cyclists in an effort to avoid paying out claims. At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., our Tallahassee bicycle accident lawyer can stand up for you and fight for the full recovery you deserve.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
A serious bike crash can significantly affect your life, leaving you with severe injuries, disabilities, massive medical bills, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other hardships. At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., we understand what you have been through, and we are ready to help you meet the challenges that still lay ahead.
Our firm represents injured bicyclists, as well as the families of those wrongfully killed in bicycle-vehicle collisions, throughout Tallahassee, Leon County, and the surrounding areas. We provide our legal services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you owe us nothing unless/until we recover compensation for you.