Most bicycle accidents cause injuries. In the first 11.5 months of 2023, there have been 7,158 bicycle accidents reported in the state of Florida. 6,727 (94%) of those involved injuries. In Duval County, the rate of injury was slightly higher (95%), with 282 bike crashes resulting in 268 injuries. 190 bicyclists were killed in traffic statewide, five of them in Duval County.
If you’ve been injured in a bike accident, you may be wondering whether you need a bicycle accident lawyer to get fair compensation from the responsible driver’s insurance company. For most injury victims, it’s best to consult a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. Here’s what you can expect when you hire a Jacksonville bicycle accident lawyer, and how having an attorney can benefit you.
What Does a Bicycle Injury Attorney Do?
You probably have a general idea of what a bicycle accident attorney does–but there’s much more involved than negotiating a settlement or trying your case before a Florida jury. Some of the first steps a Jacksonville bicycle accident lawyer will take include:
- Gathering evidence, such as witness statements and video from traffic cameras or other nearby sources
- Assessing the accident to determine whether there may be additional responsible parties
- Determining the amount of insurance available to compensate you for your injuries and other losses
- Interacting with the insurance company on your behalf, which can protect you from innocent mistakes damaging your claim
- Identifying and working with expert witnesses as necessary to reconstruct the accident, establish negligence, and establish the monetary value of your losses
- Negotiating for a favorable settlement
- If necessary, preparing your case for trial and arguing it to a Florida jury
One of the benefits of working with an experienced bike accident lawyer is that it takes everything listed above (and more) off your plate. When you’ve suffered a serious injury, the last thing you need is the stress of navigating insurance company pitfalls, managing paperwork, and trying to put together your own claim for damages. Letting your lawyer manage deadlines, talk to the insurance carrier, meet the technical requirements, and keep your case moving forward can take the pressure off and let you focus on your recovery. But having the right injury lawyer for your bike accident case has other benefits.
How Can a Bicycle Injury Lawyer Help?
Your bike accident case may seem simple and straightforward to you. If you were hit by a car while riding a bicycle, it may seem obvious to you that the driver is responsible. But, proving liability means demonstrating that the driver was negligent under Florida law. It may also mean refuting or minimizing claims that the bicyclist was negligent.
One reason the insurance carrier may claim the bicyclist was negligent and caused or helped cause the accident is alcohol. A significant minority of bicyclists killed in traffic were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. The other party may also claim the rider was negligent for a variety of other reasons, including inattention, riding in the wrong place, failure to yield, and even not wearing a bicycle helmet.
Your bike accident lawyer can help your case in many ways. Some of the most important include:
- An experienced local injury lawyer will be familiar with the insurance company’s tactics and what to expect from their attorneys, so they’re prepared to counter the insurer’s efforts to avoid payment or reduce your compensation
- Your lawyer can give you a realistic picture of what you may be able to expect, in both the legal proceedings and the types of damages you may be entitled to
- An attorney who routinely handles bicycle accident cases and other personal injury cases will understand what is required to establish that the driver who hit you was negligent, and to ensure that any negligent actions of yours that may have contributed to the accident aren’t blown out of proportion
- If you’re unrepresented, the insurance company will know that you are unlikely to go to trial and that you may not be fully aware of your rights, so they will likely try to get you to settle for less than your claim is worth
- If your injuries are serious, the insurance company may try to mislead you into an early settlement, so that you sign away your rights before you find out the full extent of your injuries and the associated costs
- The resources of an established personal injury law firm allow your lawyers to investigate your case in a way you might not be able to do on your own, and to make use of expert witnesses many injury victims don’t know how to find and can’t afford to retain
The process is more complex than most people realize, and requires strict compliance with deadlines, court filings in proper format, exchange of evidence with the other party, and more.
Talk to a Florida Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in a bike accident, the best time to talk to a lawyer is as soon as possible after the crash. Retaining an attorney right away has several advantages, including:
- The attorney will have a better chance of obtaining physical evidence, and will be able to speak with witnesses while their memories are fresh
- You won’t have to deal with the insurance company, which not only saves you time and headaches, but also will protect against missteps the insurer could use against you
- Delaying the start of your claim can also mean delaying the settlement or trial of your case, which can mean a longer wait for compensation
To learn more about how an experienced bicycle accident lawyer at Harrell & Harrell can help you fight for fair compensation after a bicycle accident injury, call us right now at (904) 251-1111 or fill out the contact form on this site. We also represent family members who have lost a loved one to a motor vehicle-bicycle collision.