Stephen Morse, Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, contact this Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Lawyer. He handles all types of bike accident, crash and wreck cases in Broward County, South Florida, and throughout Florida.
Bicycle crashes can be caused by all sorts of reasons. For one, bicycles can be hit by other vehicles. If you are a bicyclist hit by another vehicle, you may have a case against the driver of the other vehicle. Bicyclists have every right to the road as other vehicles. If you are hit by another vehicle while biking in a place where you are allowed to be, you can bring a case.
Sometimes both the bike rider and the driver of the vehicle that hit the bike will be at fault for the accident. In that case, Mr. Morse will argue that the vehicle driver had the “last clear chance” to avoid the accident. That is, it is usually much easier for the driver of a vehicle to avoid hitting a bicyclist than it is for the bicyclist to get out of the way of the oncoming vehicle.
Bicycle wrecks can also be caused by defects in the roadway. For example, bike crashes can be caused when a bicycle hits a pothole, divot, open drainage grate, open drainage plate, or other defect in the roadway. When this happens, you may have a case against whoever constructed or maintained the roadway. This would be known as a roadway construction case. Highways and roads in Florida are typically owned by governmental entities – for example, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), a specific county, or a specific city. However, oftentimes those governmental entitles hire private contractors to either construct or maintain their roadways. If a private contractor created, or allowed to remain, a defect in the roadway, your claim would be against the private contractor. In many ways, this would be preferable because then you would avoid the limitations of sovereign immunity.
In the State of Florida, governmental entities are protected by sovereign immunity. This means that, if you bring a case against a governmental entity, there will be various restrictions and limitations on your case. For example, if you pursue a case against a governmental entity in the State of Florida, you will only be able to recover up to $200,000. The only exception to this would be if you were able to pursue (and the Florida State Legislature passed) a “Claims Bill” allowing you to recover more than $200,000 in compensation, but this is not an easy process.
Additionally, if you pursue a sovereign immunity case against a governmental entity in the State of Florida, you will have to put the governmental entity on notice of the claim within three years. After you give this notice, you will have to wait six months before filing suit against the governmental entity (which must be done within four years). These limits may be different in the situation of a wrongful death case.
Moreover, when a contractor constructs a roadway for a governmental entity and a defect in the roadway ends up causing you injury, the contractor may raise a doctrine called the “Slavin Doctrine.” This indicates that, if the defect in the roadway was “patent” (i.e., open and obvious) to the governmental entity when the roadway was turned over to the governmental entity, then the contractor will not be responsible for it. The argument is that the governmental entity becomes responsible for the roadway once the roadway is turned over, and the governmental entity should have noticed and fixed the defect at that point.
On the other hand, if the dangerous condition was “latent” (i.e., not open and obvious), then the contractor will be responsible for it and the governmental entity will not.
Roadway construction cases can be based on defective or insufficient lighting; missing stop signs; and missing, broken or defective traffic lights. Roadway construction cases may also be based on improperly placed attenuators (also known as “crash cushions”), improperly placed traffic barrels, or debris from construction sites. Likewise, roadway construction cases may be based on improperly angled roads. Finally, roadway construction cases may be based on improper “maintenance of traffic” (MOT).
Bike crashes may also be caused by defective bicycle or bicycle parts. If this is the case, you may have a case against the manufacturer of your bike. This would be known as a bicycle products liability case.
If you sustain injuries in a bike crash occurring anywhere in Miami, West Palm Beach or anywhere in Florida, contact Stephen Morse at 954-560-3063 for a free, no obligation consultation. If you hire Mr. Morse to work on your case, there will be no charge to you at the onset of your case. Mr. Morse will not get paid unless and until you’ve been compensated for your harm.
Advice for Clients of Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Lawyer Stephen Morse
If you are injured in a bike wreck, one of the first things you should do is to preserve the bicycle. Don’t simply get rid of a badly damaged or mangled bike. The bicycle may be valuable evidence later in the case. For example, the bicycle may be evidence that the accident you were in was a bad one. Additionally, the bike may display markings that an accident occurred in a certain way due to a defect in the roadway (for example, due to a pothole, divot, open drainage grate, or open drainage plate). An expert called an “accident re-constructionist” may be able to evaluate the accident, the damage to the bicycle, and determine what caused the accident. If you get rid of the bike, you will lose this valuable evidence.
If you are riding a bicycle in the State of Florida, you should wear a helmet. Dangers to bicyclists are everywhere. However, if you’ve been injured in an accident and you weren’t wearing a helmet, this Broward County Bicycle Accident Lawyer can hire an expert called a “helmet expert” to analyze the accident and determine if a helmet would have made any difference in your injuries. In many cases, a helmet would not have done anything to prevent your injuries, and the helmet expert may be able to testify to this in court.
If you ride your bike at night, you should place lights on your bike. However, if you’ve been involved in a bike accident in the State of Florida and you did not have a bike light, this Broward County Bicycle Accident Attorney can hire an accident reconstructionist expert to analyze the accident and determine if the bike light would have done anything to prevent the crash (by alerting other drivers to the existence of the bicyclist, for example).
In the State of Florida, if you have automobile insurance and you are hit by a vehicle while riding a bicycle, you should be entitled to $10,000 of “personal injury protection” (PIP) coverage towards your medical bills and/or lost wages. The PIP coverage will pay up to 80% of your medical bills or lost wages. This is true as long as there was an automobile involved in the accident in some way, shape or form. If you were riding your bicycle and fell over after hitting a pothole, for example, you will not be entitled to PIP benefits because there was no automobile involved in the accident.
Pursue your Rights with a South Florida Bicycle Accident Attorney
All sorts of injuries can result from a bicycle crash. However, one of the most frequent is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is oftentimes due to the lack of helmet use. Whether they are wearing a helmet or not, bicyclists can sustain closed head injuries, brain bleeds, and brain damage. As a result, they can wind up living with conditions such as comas and vegetative states. They can also end up living with paralysis, paraplegia, and quadriplegia.
The statute of limitations for a bicycle wreck case in the State of Florida is four years, so time is of the essence for you to contact a South Florida Bicycle Accident Lawyer and begin your case.
Discuss your Options with a Broward County Bicycle Accident Law Firm
If you’ve been harmed due to a bicycle wreck occurring anywhere in Florida, contact Stephen Morse at 954-560-3063 for a free, no obligation consultation. Should you make the decision to retain Mr. Morse to represent you in your case, there will be no charge to you up front. That is, this Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Law Firm will not get paid until you’ve received compensation in your case – so there is no risk to you.