If you’re involved in a bicycle accident, the last thing you want to hear is that you were at fault. It’s difficult to imagine how a cyclist could possibly be the one who causes a collision with a car or SUV. However, our bike accident attorneys in Hollywood hear it often enough to know that it’s a possibility.
Here, we’ll discuss how this can happen. We will also explain what happens to your damages if this is the case.
How Could a Cyclist Possibly Be at Fault in a Bicycle Accident?
It may be hard to imagine how you could be at fault for your bicycle accident. Just the fact that a car is so much bigger than a bicycle. Not only that, but a bicycle rider doesn’t engage with the flow of traffic. They typically ride on a bike path or along the side of the road.
However, there are times when the other driver can prove that you had some responsibility for the crash. We’ll look at some scenarios below where there’s a chance you can be held partially responsible for your injuries.
The Other Driver May Argue That You Rode into Heavy Traffic
One of the things you could do that would make you partly at fault for your accident is driving into heavy traffic. If you’re riding your bicycle on a busy city street, you’ll likely be sharing it with tons of cars, trucks, and SUVs.
Like it or not, bicycle riders are held to the same standards when it comes to the rules of the road. As cited in Florida Statute 316.2065(1), cyclists have the same rights and duties as other motorists.
You must drive in the same direction as the other vehicles. You also have to obey stop signs, red lights, and other traffic rules.
If you drive out in the middle of traffic, the defendant will likely be able to prove that you were partially at fault.
The Defendant’s Attorney May Claim That You Weren’t Wearing a Helmet
Technically, Florida law doesn’t require you to wear a bicycle helmet unless you’re under the age of 16. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be held partly at fault for not wearing one.
All plaintiffs in a civil case are required to do their best to mitigate damages. This just means that you need to do whatever you can to prevent injury. If you choose not to wear a helmet and end up with head injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, you can be found partially liable.
Did You Use Proper Hand Signals Prior to the Collision?
If the defendant’s attorney can prove that you weren’t using proper hand signals at the time of the crash, you may be found to be partially at fault.
For example, if you plan on making a left-hand turn at a red light but don’t put your hand signal up, oncoming motorists won’t know you’re turning.
If an opposing vehicle ends up hitting you, they’ll still be found liable. However, their liability may be reduced by your portion of fault.
Your Bike Accident Attorney in Hollywood Will Submit Evidence Showing That the Driver Was Responsible
Regardless of what claims the defendant’s lawyer makes, your Hollywood motorcycle accident lawyer will still try to prove your case. Their goal is to make sure you get enough compensation so that you’re made whole.
Your bike accident attorney in Hollywood will have to submit evidence to demonstrate that the other driver was primarily at fault for the crash. This may include some or all of the following:
- Witness statements
- Intersection cameras
- The driver’s own statement
- The police report
- Accident reconstructionists
Every case is different so the type of evidence used in your case may be different from another victim’s evidence. Your Hollywood bicycle accident lawyer will gather whatever evidence they can and submit it to the insurance adjuster.
Can Your Hollywood Bicycle Accident Lawyer Still Get You Damages?
The good news is that your Hollywood bicycle accident lawyer can still get you damages, even if you’re partially at fault. That’s because Florida follows something called the pure comparative negligence rule.
According to Florida Statute 768.81(3), anybody can demand damages, even if they’re more than 50% at fault. Most states only allowed a plaintiff to recover damages if they are less than 50% at fault.
What this means is that, technically, even if you’re primarily at fault for your bike accident, you can sue the other driver. However, keep in mind, if you’re the one who’s primarily at fault, the other party will probably sue you.
Florida Follows the Pure Comparative Fault Rule
The way the pure comparative fault rule works is rather simple. As briefly stated above, you can sue someone even if you’re more than 50% at fault. For example, if you were 80-90% responsible for the crash, you can sue the other driver.
The rule also states that your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. This means that somebody who is 20% at fault will see their $100,000 demand be reduced to $80,000.
There Is a Good Chance Your Bike Accident Attorney in Hollywood Will Settle Your Case
One thing our bike accident attorneys in Hollywood tell their clients is that it may not matter if they were partly at fault. Most of the cases we handle settle at some point. The odds of you recovering 100% of your damages are quite low.
If you initially sued the other driver for $300,000, you would likely settle for somewhere between $200,000 and $225,000. The difference between your settlement amount and your initial demand can make up for your being partly at fault.
Call Our Office and Schedule Your Free, Initial Consultation
The main reason bike accident victims hire an attorney is because they want compensation for their injuries. It’s hard to imagine that someone riding a bicycle could ever be responsible when a car hits a bike. However, it does happen. Your Hollywood bicycle accident lawyer will work hard to make sure you still get the compensation you deserve.
We suggest that you contact our office as soon as possible after your accident. Schedule your free, initial consultation right over the phone or through our website. This gives you a chance to talk with a skilled bike accident attorney in Hollywood and ask any questions you may have. It also allows your lawyer to review your claim and determine how best to proceed.