Cycling is a common means of transportation in Miami-Dade County, especially in Hialeah. However, bicyclists are at a higher risk of injury from auto collisions and road hazards since their bodies are more exposed when riding a bicycle.
Nonetheless, if you are injured in a bicycle accident, you have options for seeking compensation. A Hialeah bicycle accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can advise you on the applicable legislation and assist you with the tasks and requirements for taking legal action.
Drivers and Bicyclists Both Have Responsibilities on the Road
Like in any other place, Hialeah motorists should drive responsibly to avoid putting others in danger, including cyclists. For example, Florida Statutes § 316.083 stipulates how to overtake and pass bicycles safely.
However, bicycles are considered vehicles in Florida, and riders are considered drivers. That means they must abide by state and local traffic laws and special cycling laws. For example, Florida Statutes § 316.2065 and the Miami-Dade County Code of Ordinances Section 30-263 state that cyclists must not ride more than two abreast when on roadways. They may disregard this rule only if they are on a dedicated bike path.
A Hialeah bicycle accident attorney can investigate your accident to determine how the driver violated the law. Then, we can help in proving their liability further. We can also check if you broke any traffic laws, as these can affect your settlement’s outcome.
Types of Damages to Pursue in Bicycle Accidents
Two categories of damages can be available to you when filing for compensation after your bicycle accident in Hialeah. These are:
- Economic damages cover the financial losses accrued from the bicycle accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and bike repairs.
- Non-economic damages pay for the pain and suffering caused by the bike accident, including trauma and disabilities. The more severe your injuries, the more compensation you are likely to receive.
Your attorney can help you calculate your economic damages by compiling all of your expenses. They could also provide a rough estimate of your non-economic damages by reviewing your injuries.
Keep in mind that sharing liability for the bicycle accident can reduce your recovery as per Florida Statutes § 768.81. For instance, if the other party is 60 percent liable for driving while drunk and you are 40 percent at fault for having insufficient lights on your bike, you would only recover 60 percent of your total damages.
Ways to Recover Damages After Your Bicycle Accident
Personal Coverage As Your Initial Option
Florida is a no-fault state, which means you must first utilize your personal injury protection, or PIP, insurance to cover your injury expenses. Since bicyclists are considered drivers, they must also carry the mandatory coverage, including PIP. The policy will kick in regardless of who is at fault for the bicycle accident. In addition, it will help shoulder your injury-related expenses like hospital bills, doctor’s appointments, and lost income.
However, PIP does not pay for your non-economic damages.
How to Qualify for Third-Party Actions
You might be able to file a third-party action if you were not one of the main parties involved in the accident. To be eligible for third-party claims or lawsuits, your health condition must comply with Florida Statutes § 627.737. You must have suffered serious injuries such as:
- Significant or permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of bodily functions
- Permanent medical condition
A loved one’s death in a bicycle accident would also qualify you for third-party actions.
If you only want to recover property damage expenses, you can file a property damage liability claim against the liable driver or party regardless of your injuries.
What to Do When Filing a Third-Party Insurance Claim or an Accident Lawsuit
You might consider filing a liability claim first if you qualify for third-party actions. However, Florida does not require drivers to have injury liability insurance. Therefore, you would have to check first with the at-fault motorist on whether they have this coverage or not.
A lawyer can advise you to file a lawsuit against the liable driver for reasons such as:
- The driver does not have injury liability coverage.
- The driver has injury liability insurance but harmed you on purpose — insurance companies typically do not accept intentional tort claims.
- They have the coverage, but the policy limits are not enough to fully compensate you.
A bicycle accident attorney can speak on your behalf when negotiating with the insurance provider for fairer settlement offers. If you decide to bring your case to court or settle it through arbitration, we can also represent you during the proceedings and private meetings.
Filing Deadlines in Hialeah Bicycle Accident Cases
The statute of limitations is one of the filing requirements that a bicycle accident lawyer can help you comply with. To avoid having your claim rejected by the court, you must adhere to the deadline. Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a) states that you have up to four years to file your case if you were injured. However, if you are filing for a deceased loved one, you would only have two years to submit the suit.
You could have tolling exceptions in your case that could extend your deadline. For instance, if the liable party leaves Florida or goes into hiding after the accident, the statute of limitations would not begin until they return to the state or get uncovered by the authorities. Another exception is if the bicycle accident victim is a child. In such situations, you would have seven years to file the case.
Get Help With Your Claim from a Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
If you want to get started with your bicycle accident action here in Hialeah, The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine are here to help. We have a Hialeah bicycle accident lawyer experienced with the laws of bicycle accidents to guide you throughout your claims or litigation process.
With over 15 years of experience, our legal team is ready to discuss your legal concerns anytime. You can call our office or message us online to request a free consultation.
We Can Help.