Fort Lauderdale is a booming bicycle hot spot, where tourists and residents seize on the chance to soak in the sun with leisurely rides or rigorous workouts. But you should know: Florida has consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous places for bicyclists in the U.S.
At The Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorneys are committed to fighting for compensation by those affected by careless drivers, manufacturers, repair shops and rental companies. In some cases, poor road design plays a role, and government is responsible for the failure to address known hazards.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 150 bicyclists died in Florida in a single year, comprising 5 percent of the total motor vehicle deaths. The rate of bicycle deaths here is 7.4 for every 1 million people – higher than anywhere else in the country.
Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports that just in Broward County alone in a single recent year, there were 759 reported bicycle accidents and 13 fatalities. The year before, there had been 816 crashes and 14 deaths. The five-year average was 820 crashes and an average of 14 deaths.
The City of Fort Lauderdale reports:
Most bicycle crashes in the city occur September through April.
- Friday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. is the most dangerous.
- 1 in 41 bicycle accidents results in death, compared to 1 in 304 car accidents.
- Between 2009 and 2014, the city saw 14 bicycle accident deaths and 568 injuries.
The city announced commitment to a Vision Zero plan, which uses better education, enforcement and engineering, with the goal of eliminating bicycle accident deaths (as well as other traffic fatalities), and creating streets that are fully-connected and multi-modal to improve safety for all road users by 2035.
It’s a worthy goal, but a lofty one. In the meantime, our injury lawyers are committed to helping bicycle accident victims who have had their lives upended by a collision with a car or a crash on a defective bike.Types of Bicycle Injuries
Bicycle injuries are less carefully tracked then deaths, and not all are reported.
However, the NHTSA opines 45,000 bicyclists were injured in a single year recently. Given that Florida accounts for a disproportionate number of bike accident fatalities (18 percent of the national total) we can presume the same is true for injuries.
Research published in the journal American Family Physician shows bicyclists are more prone to certain traumatic injuries than others. Those include:
- Head injuries. Skull fractures, concussions, brain contusions and intracranial hemorrhages are all too common.
- Face/ eye injuries. Facial fractures, dental fractures and corneal injuries are common when bicyclists fly over the handle bars and strike the concrete face-first.
- Musculoskeletal injuries. Broken bones (particularly to the extremities) as well as dislocations and strains are far too common.
- Chest injuries . Rib fractures and lung punctures are common.
- Abdominal injuries. Ruptures to the spleen, pancreas, liver and bowels can occur, particularly when a rider is run over in addition to being struck.
- Skin and soft tissue injuries. Road rash is common, as are lacerations and bruising.
These injuries can cost you many thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages and ongoing treatments. If someone you love died in a bicycle accident, you may have counted on their income to make ends meet – and now they’re gone. You have the right to explore your legal options for compensation.Compensation for Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accidents
When it comes to winning compensation – whether via a pre-trial settlement or injury trial – the first thing that must be established is who was at-fault.
The report of the responding officer and traffic investigators will be important, though it’s not necessarily the be-all-end-all. This is why it’s important to contact an injury attorney as soon as possible after a bicycle accident because key evidence – i.e., physical evidence, witness statements, photographs, etc. – may only be available for a short window of time. Knowing what to look for to help bolster your case often requires a well-resourced and experienced law firm.
In examining fault, we will look at potentially negligent parties. These are persons who:
- Had a duty to you to use reasonable care;
- Breached that duty;
- You suffered injuries as a result.
From there, we will examine possible defendants. These could include:
- Driver of the car/ truck/ bus. If you do not have your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, you may be entitled to the driver’s. If your injuries are serious and PIP isn’t enough to cover your damages, you may step outside of the no-fault system and file a lawsuit.
- Employer of driver (if he/ she was acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the crash). This is achieved usually with an assertion of vicarious liability via the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, or Latin for, “let the master answer.”
- Owner of the vehicle, if different than driver. Florida law considers motor vehicles dangerous instrumentalities, and therefore vehicle owners can be liable when their vehicle injuries someone – even if they were not driving.
- Bar/ restaurant owner. This would be applicable if you were struck by an underage or drunk driver, in which case Florida’s dram shop law would apply.
If you are struck in a hit-and-run and the driver is not identified, you will likely want to explore your own uninsured motorist coverage (which you can use even though you weren’t in a motor vehicle at the time of the crash). If the driver was identified and insured but didn’t carry enough insurance to cover your damages, we could look at underinsured motorist coverage, which can help close the gap.
These are just a few examples. To get a full understanding of the legal options available in your bicycle accident case, contact the Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyers at our injury law firm.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm by calling (954) 761-4011 or toll-free at (888) ANSARA-8.