Anyone who has ridden a bicycle in or around Fort Lauderdale may already know that the city is not optimized for cycling, and is in fact entirely designed for the benefit of motor vehicles. While there are a variety of safety designs and mechanisms in place across the city—a significant improvement from years past—there is always the threat of being hurt in a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident that can make an otherwise enjoyable ride stressful and tense. Oftentimes, drivers may not even realize that there are bike lanes, sidepaths, or shared lanes that they must obey, and this confusion can lead to accidents that typically are far more dangerous for the cyclist than the driver or their passengers.
If you have been in a bicycle accident in Fort Lauderdale, FL that someone else caused, then it is important for you to understand your rights and options as a victim of a personal injury. The team at Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC is available at your earliest convenience for a free initial consultation where we can discuss the specifics of your accident, and give you a better idea of the type of legal support that we offer. You do not deserve to be shouldered with the financial burden of someone else’s recklessness or negligence.
Contact Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC For a Free Consultation Today
The sooner you contact our firm, the sooner you will be able to focus on recovering from your injuries with the peace of mind that there is a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer working hard to fight for the justice that you are entitled to. Personal injury claims can be complex and overwhelming, especially for the inexperienced or injured, which is why partnering with a lawyer throughout the insurance claims process is one of the best ways to improve your chances of getting a fair settlement that will keep you from bearing any financial responsibility of this accident and the resulting damages.
Read more below to get a better idea of why working with a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyer is in your best interest – both for your sanity and your financial award – and contact us as soon as possible so that we can begin building a comprehensive case immediately. You do not deserve to suffer from the financial consequences of an accident that you did not cause, and we will bring the fight straight to the insurance company to make sure that you get a fair settlement and can move on with your life after this terrible experience.
Seeking Compensation After a Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident
After an accident with a motorist, you will need to file a claim with their insurance company in order to get compensated for things like damage to your bicycle and other personal property, as well as any personal injury damages that you suffer. For those who are unfamiliar with personal injury cases, it can be confusing to work directly with the insurance company since you may not be certain of what you are actually owed, and how to go about getting it. This is why it is so important to partner with an attorney in Florida before even making contact with the insurance company so that you can have an experienced legal representative starting from day one.
As soon as you contact the insurance company, a claims adjuster will be assigned to your case who will go through all of the details of your injuries in order to reach a final calculation of the money that you are entitled to. You may need to see a Florida doctor in order to prove the extent of your injuries and will have to provide things like income statements and medical bills in order to prove the damages that you are claiming, after which point the agent will return to you with a settlement offer. Sounds simple, right?
Insurance Companies Pay As Little As Possible For Any Given Claim
When a claims adjuster is working on Florida bicycle accidents, they look for every possible reason to limit the amount of money that the insurance company ultimately pays to the victim. This is done by taking advantage of a victim’s inexperience with the insurance company, the stress that they are suffering as their medical bills and lost wages continue to mount, and picking apart innocuous statements made by the victim for ways to justify limiting the final award.
When you are working with an attorney after a Fort Lauderdale FL bicycle accident, they can handle all of these communications for you so that you can focus on your recovery. In addition to the stress relief, you can be confident that a bar-certified Florida attorney is submitting all information and statements to the insurance company through the filter of their years of experience, meaning that you will not need to worry about innocent statements coming back to haunt you during the settlement negotiation process.
Determining Fault After a Florida Bicycle Accident
One of the first things that must be resolved in order to seek compensation of any sort is to determine how the accident happened, and therefore who is at fault for the crash and liable for the damages caused. In some instances, such as an accident with a drunk driver or where there are many eyewitnesses to corroborate your own claims, this process may be extremely straightforward. However, there are many other times where the cause of the accident may be more nuanced, and your lawyer will need to work through a range of details in order to reach an agreement with the insurance company about fault.
Florida uses a rule known as pure comparative negligence with personal injury cases, including bicycle accidents, which allows for a victim to accept partial responsibility for an accident and still be entitled to compensation. The victim’s final award is simply reduced by the percent that they are at fault. If you believe that you may have contributed to the accident, though, DO NOT say this at the scene of the accident, to the driver, or to the insurance company. You should first have this discussion with your lawyer, who can then take this information forward with them in their work with the insurance adjuster.
Calculating Damages After a Florida Bicycle Accident
Once the matter of fault has been resolved, the most important question to answer is that of damages: how much is the victim owed for their injuries? Once your attorney initiates the claim with the insurance company, they will set out to perform their own investigation during this time, and when the insurance company makes their initial settlement offer you will be shocked at the difference between their offer and your lawyer’s figures. This is, again, because insurance companies focus almost solely on paying as little as possible for any given claim.
Your lawyer will then need to go through a series of negotiations in the hopes of reaching an out-of-court settlement, but if they are unsuccessful then the next option may be to file a lawsuit with the Florida courts. There is a four-year statute of limitations under Florida Statute § 95.11(3)(a), after which time you will be unable to take any legal action against the driver or their insurance company.
Types of Damages
Personal injury damages are divided into two distinct types of compensatory damages: economic, and non-economic. Each seeks compensation for real damages that you have suffered as a victim, but are extremely different in nature.
Economic damages are the most obvious and simple to calculate since they seek compensation for any damage that has a measurable dollar value associated with it. This includes medical treatment costs for your injuries, lost wages, and other impacts to your earnings, as well as a range of additional costs and economic losses that an accident typically causes. If you hire someone to perform services that you would have otherwise done on your own if not for your injuries, you can also seek compensation for these.
Your lawyer will go through all of your potential damages during their investigation so that they can develop a comprehensive list of damages, their costs, and whether or not they are ongoing so that they can seek fair compensation on your behalf. Many damages may continue to impact your life for years to come, such as if your injuries limit your ability to continue to work in your former capacity, and must be accounted for.
Non-economic damages are more complicated to calculate, but they are just as important. They include things like the pain and suffering you have endured from your injuries, as well as any emotional impacts that you must endure such as depression, anxiety, or loss of enjoyment. Serious bicycle accidents are traumatic experiences for the victim, and these intangible impacts are just as important to be compensated as missed time at work.
As you can imagine, calculating non-economic damages in Fort Lauderdale is much more complicated than something like the medical costs for injuries after bicycle accidents, but your attorney will be able to employ a range of tools in order to seek the maximum amount of money that you deserve for your suffering.