Bicyclists can sustain serious injuries if they are hit by a car or truck or fall somehow. If that happens, it is in the rider’s best interest to promptly contact a bicycle accident lawyer in Stuart to schedule a meeting with a skilled lawyer who can work to achieve maximum compensation for medical and other expenses incurred.
Bicyclists can only recover the full value of their losses in personal injury cases if they do not share any of the blame for the accident, so they must ride on strong legal grounds.
It is not uncommon to see a bicyclist riding on the wrong side of the street facing oncoming traffic. That is against Florida law and the rider likely will not receive total compensation if they are hit by a car or truck. The reason for that is Florida’s negligence law. Such laws can be best explained using a Stuart personal injury lawyer.
Negligence and Bicyclists
Florida has adopted the modified comparative negligence standard, which reduces compensation by the percentage of fault in causing the bicycle accident, up to 50%. If they are found to be 51% or more at fault for the accident, they are barred from recovery entirely.
For example, a bicyclist riding on the wrong side of the street is hit by a car turning right. Both share a percentage of fault, but the bicyclist is in violation of the law and the motorist, not looking for bicycles, also has fault. In that case, the bicyclist may bear a larger percentage of fault. Under the law, a party that is 70 percent at fault will be barred from recovery entirely.
If the bicyclist was on the correct side of the street and hit by a right-turning car, they could collect 100 percent of awarded damages. Such damages can be best pursued using a Stuart bicycle accident attorney.
Bicycle accident injuries can range from bruises to catastrophic injuries.
Negligence has four elements and each of them must be proven in order to collect damages. These elements are:
- Duty of care: Everyone under the law has an obligation to not cause harm to another person
- Breach: An act is performed that causes harm is defined as a breach of duty of care
- Causation: The breached act caused an injury or property damage. The law also allows for approximate cause, which is unforeseen injury or damage related to the breached act
- Damages: The breached act caused actual injury or damage
In some cases, comparative negligence can be defended, such as proving that the defendant did not have a legal duty of care toward the plaintiff. An individual can determine liability through the use of a Stuart bicycle accident lawyer.
Rules of the Road
Bicyclists have the same rules to follow as motor vehicle drivers but Florida Bicycle Statutes (Title XXIII, Ch. 316.2065) are specific to bicycle riders, including:
- Cyclists on one-way streets must stay near the left-hand curb
- One single seat bicycle, only one rider, except riders may securely attach a backpack, sling or trailer when transporting a child younger than 4 years old or fewer than 40 pounds
- Riders 16 years or younger musts wear helmets that meet federal standards of safety
- Riding two abreast is illegal except on bike paths
- Sidewalk riding is legal but riders must give the right of way to pedestrians and audibly tell pedestrians they are about to be overtaken
- School crossing guards can issue citations to bicycle riders
Contacting an Attorney
If you or a loved one are involved in a bicycle accident you can learn how strong of a case you have by contacting a Stuart bicycle accident lawyer. A lawyer can explain the various aspects of the applicable law and provide the options that are available to you.
Your bicycle accident lawyer in Stuart can conduct an independent investigation of the accident and prepare your case for trial, if necessary. Many personal injury lawsuits claiming damages are settled out of court between you and the negligent party.
In that situation, your dedicated lawyer can negotiate with the insurance carrier to win the compensation which you are entitled.