Have you been in a bicycle accident in Florida? Were you injured? If so, you may be considering hiring an accident attorney to start a civil suit against the person or entity responsible for the incident. But will your case be easy to win, or will it be more trouble than it's worth to get a monetary award from a bicycle-related injury? It all depends on the circumstances of your case. Only your accident attorney can let you know with certainty what kind of odds you are facing in terms of winning. That is why it is so important to contact an attorney as soon as you are able after your injury.
While individual circumstances play a large role in how easy or hard your case will be to win, there are a few guidelines you can use to give you an idea before you hire a personal injury attorney. Here's what you need to know.
Were You Hit By a Car Whose Driver Was Not Following Bicycle-Related Traffic Laws?
In Florida, a three foot gap must be left between a car and a bicyclist when the car is passing the bicyclist, according to Avvo.com. If a driver does not follow the three foot rule and hits you, causing injury, your case will be pretty clear cut in your favor.
The only problem you may run into in this instance is proving the driver broke the three foot rule. If there are witnesses that can attest to the rule being broken, your case will probably be quite easy to win. A lack of witnesses means it's your word against the driver's.
Sometimes, a forensic analysis of the car and your bicycle can determine how close the car was to you when it veered over and hit you. However, this is an in-depth procedure that will probably only be done in cases of a very serious injury.
If your injury is not serious, you and your attorney will have to convince the judge that you are the one telling the truth. Your attorney will help you with this, but it may be a more difficult case to win.
Were You Following All of Florida's Bicycle Laws?
Florida's bicycle laws are pretty basic. When you are on a bicycle on the street, you must follow all of the same laws as cars do when they are on the street. If you are riding on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk, you become a pedestrian in the eyes of the law, and must follow all laws that apply to pedestrian travel. If you are age 16 or under, you must wear a helmet when riding your bicycle.
If you were following all applicable laws when your accident occurred, and there are witnesses or video camera images to prove it, your case will be a clear one in your favor. It gets more complicated if you were breaking a law when the accident occurred, especially if a car or another bicycle hit you.
For example, if you were hit by a car on your bike while riding after dark, that would seem to be the car driver's fault. However, if you didn't have a reflector light on your bicycle, as required by law, then part of the blame falls on you. You may still get a settlement, but it may be reduced by the percentage of the accident the judge determines was due to you not following Florida's bicycle laws.
In most cases, you deserve to be compensated if you are injured by someone else while on your bicycle in Florida. Proving someone else was at fault may be an issue, unless you ride wearing a camera that records everything. If you weren't following applicable bicycle laws, it could also complicate your case.
If you were injured while on your bicycle in Florida, the best thing to do is to always talk to an attorney before filing a case in court. An attorney will let you know if the potential monetary reward is worth it, and if your case will be a difficult or easy one to win. Then, you can make a decision on whether to file a personal injury lawsuit or leave it alone. Click here for more information.