Scores of riders have been injured in South Florida bicycle accidents in recent years. To offer up just a few examples:
–A 49-year-old bicyclist was killed after being struck by a pickup truck driver in the 1800 block of Northwest 31st Avenue in Lauderhill in November 2012. The driver was stopped by police several blocks away.
–A 24-year-old doctoral student with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit was arrested in November after he struck a bicyclist in Boca Raton before fleeing the scene. He left his bloodied car at a stop light before stumbling into a gas station parking lot, climbing into a stranger’s car and passing out. Police arrested him soon after. The cyclist died.
–A bicyclist from Fort Lauderdale was critically injured last December and recently died as a result of his injuries after he was struck by a driver on Northeast 18th Avenue. After driving for miles with the paralyzed cyclist on his back windshield, the driver dumped him behind a garbage bin. The driver was later arrested.
Many times, a driver flees from the scene of a crash, either because he or she is intoxicated, lacks insurance or is operating a vehicle on a suspended license. In cases where the driver doesn’t have insurance – or doesn’t have sufficient insurance to cover the full extent of the injuries sustained – bicyclists may have to rely on their own auto insurer for coverage.
Typically recovery can be made through a motorist’s uninsured/underinsured auto insurance policy (which cover you in the event you are struck by a driver without insurance) as well as medical payment insurance coverage, which will cover you for treatment deductibles and co-payments.
Even if you don’t have this coverage, you may still be able to collect.
If the driver has been caught, there is the possibility that you can pursue a lawsuit against his or her insurance company or against the at-fault motorist directly. In the event the driver is not insured or is not insured under a good plan, you will likely need to pursue compensation through your own insurance.
But even those cyclists who are appropriately covered should know that insurance companies are out for their own bottom line. A recent report by the American Association for Justice laid out a systematic approach employed by many insurance companies, wherein denials are routine, regardless of the veracity of the claim. Employees are even rewarded on the basis of how many claims they successfully deny.
Injured riders should turn to an injury lawyer experienced in handling these kinds of claims.
This should be done in addition to seeking immediate medical attention, filing a police report and notifying your own auto and health insurance companies that an accident has occurred. You will also want, if you are able, to identify any potential witnesses to what happened. This may become extremely valuable later when you take your claim to court.
Call Fort Lauderdale injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Good Samaritan helps find suspect in fatal Pompano hit-run, March 2, 2014, By Kate Jacobson, Sun Sentinel
More Blog Entries:
Better Focus on South Florida Cycling Safety Warranted, Feb. 5, 2014, Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Lawyer Blog