Who Is Liable for Your Bicycle Accident? Are You at Fault?

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Fort Lauderdale is a beautiful place to bike. Its coastal location offers especially peaceful views and many people enjoy biking along the beach. If you have concerns about getting in an accident on the roads, bike paths are a safe option for exploring the city.

Bicycle accidents, however, can lead to catastrophic injuries. If you or a loved suffers an injury after a bicycle accident in Fort Lauderdale, an attorney can help you understand who is liable for the incident. Generally, accidents involving a car and bicycle are the fault of the vehicle, but if the bicyclist is partly responsible, he or she may still receive compensation for injuries or lost time from work.

Examples of Bicyclists’ Negligence in a Collision

Cyclists and drivers must follow the same traffic laws. Just because a bicycle is smaller and generally lower-impact does not mean that bicyclists do not have the duty to drive safely. If the cyclist was the one breaking the rules and biking irresponsibly, he or she could be liable for the accident.

An example of a cyclist being negligent would be riding the wrong way on a one-way street. Because bicycles are smaller, and cars can often easily pass them, cyclists sometimes think they are freer to go in whatever direction they want. If an accident happens because a biker is going the wrong direction, it is likely to make the cyclist liable.

Another rule that cyclists often break is stopping completely at stop signs. Again, bicyclists are required to follow the same rules as all other vehicles. Cyclists can see and hear traffic better than drivers in cars and may feel safe drifting through stop signs without fully stopping. The law, however, is that they must come to a full stop.

Another example of cyclist negligence is turning abruptly into traffic. If a cyclist disregards the rules of the road and does not wait for the proper time to turn onto a street, the cyclist could be liable for the accident.

Can I Still Win Compensation If I Was Partly at Fault?

Florida follows a comparative negligence rule, which means that a case may not end in one party being 100% at fault and the other awarded the full amount and assigned no fault. If you win the lawsuit, your reward will be reduced by how much you were at fault. For example, if the court determined that the accident was 15% your fault, your award would be 15% less that the full amount.

The comparative negligence rule tends to lead Florida courts to being much more fluid with decisions. Both parties can be at fault and you can still win compensation. It is up to the judge or the jury to decide how much each person is at fault.

There are two versions of the comparative negligence rule. Florida has the pure comparative negligence rule in place, which ensures that there will be compensation awarded, no matter what the percentage of fault is. For the other type of comparative negligence, modified comparative negligence, the plaintiff can only be awarded compensation if they are less than 50% responsible for the accident. Modified comparative negligence is a more common method.

It is best to discuss your specific case with your attorney. They can give you a general idea of how much you were at fault and how much your award could be.

When to Talk With a Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Attorney

If you were involved in an accident and need advice about liability or representation for a lawsuit, call a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident attorney with knowledge of bike and traffic laws in the city.