Cycling in Florida is enormous. People have many different reasons for cycling, from transport to reducing their carbon footprint, sport, and recreation.
The more people that cycle, the more accidents will happen.
Florida is famous for the number of people that cycle regularly.
Florida is also famous for the high incidence of bicycle accidents and fatalities, so there is some risk that goes with the activity.
In 2019 there were 119 female cyclists killed on Florida roads compared to 718 males in the same year.
The point is that there are many accidents, and when cyclists and vehicles collide, it’s not often the cyclists that win.
The result of this is a large number of personal injury claims.
So if you live in Florida and you cycle, be aware that there is a risk.
Let’s take a look at your options if you are involved in an accident with a vehicle, what you should and shouldn’t do, and the process that would need to be followed to pursue a personal injury claim.
Get ready, get set …….. go!
The Accident scene – what to do and what not to do
The first thing to do is to assess that everyone is ok physically. Call 911 and get them to dispatch an emergency response unit and the police.
If you need medical attention, then that is your first priority.
If possible, get the other driver’s complete contact and insurance details. Write these down or capture them on your cell phone.
Take pictures of the scene from as many angles as possible.
Make your statement to the police being careful not to admit liability. Do not lie, but do not admit liability – your lawyer will decide what should be admitted, if anything.
Ask the police for a copy of the police report.
Record any injuries you may have.
Go to the hospital after the accident for a complete check-up. Sometimes injuries only become apparent once the adrenaline has worn off.
Post-accident scenario – what now
You are likely to be approached by the insurance companies within a day or two of the accident. If you have not yet appointed an attorney, explain to the insurance company that you are currently securing the services of an attorney, and your attorney will be in touch.
Keep track of all of your medical bills and file them all safely in an ordered fashion.
Go and see a law firm or two so you can appoint a legal representative as soon as possible. The sooner, the better.
Appoint an attorney
Generally, a cycling accident will involve pretty serious injuries, especially if the cyclist was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
Cyclists do not wear much protective clothing, and when skin meets the tarmac, it is not a fair competition.
Broken bones are common, as are fractures that may protrude through the skin.
Medical costs can soar quickly and can project well into the future.
If you believe you may be faced with big medical bills and financial loss, check out the Miami personal injury lawyers at Sofferfirm.com for a free consultation and case analysis.
They will listen to your account of the accident, do their own investigation after looking at all of the evidence, and advise you whether you have a worthwhile claim or not.
You will probably start to worry about legal costs, which seem only to add to your already mounting medical expenses.
That is where contingency fees come in.
What are contingency fees?
Assuming your lawyer is prepared to take on your case, they may offer to take the case on what is called a “contingency basis.”
They will fund the expenses of your case all the way to the end, including the trial. The firm will not expect any payment from you along the way.
At the end of the case, assuming they win an award for you, the law firm will deduct all expenses incurred and any legal fees they have charged from the award and pay you the difference.
But what if they lose, I hear you ask in exasperated tones? If they fail, they have to bear the trial costs, and you walk away without an award and without the stress of having lost, plus facing a legal bill.
Typically your lawyer will only take on the case if they believe there is a good chance of winning. This is because they don’t want to risk losing all of their fees and expenses.
In addition, the law firm will stay enthusiastic and dedicated to your case as it is in their interest to see it to completion so that they can get paid.
How is the contingency fee calculated?
Your lawyer will propose that they work for a percentage of your final award.
This is often between three and five percent of the award.
The terms of the contingency agreement should be agreed in advance and reduced to writing. The percentage may be slightly negotiable.
What you can expect from a legal perspective
Once you have appointed a lawyer, you can expect the lawyer to take care of all legal aspects of the case, leaving you free to concentrate on recovery.
All communication with the insurance companies will be handled by your lawyer.
Your lawyer will take on the responsibility of all negotiations and the gathering of all the evidence necessary to prove your claim.
Importantly, your lawyer will be there to answer any questions you may have at any point in time.
You can expect your lawyer to push for a decent settlement on your behalf. If these negotiations fail, your lawyer will start getting evidence prepared for trial.
Should your matter go to trial, you can expect the entire proceeding to be lengthened significantly, in which case you should steel yourself for the long haul.
How to deal with the insurance company
It is best to allow your lawyer to handle all communications with the insurance company. This is because the insurance company representatives are incentivized to secure the lowest possible settlement payout as they work for the company chasing profits.
Insurance companies have used unscrupulous tactics to effect lower settlement payouts.
Simply palm all communications to your lawyer. They will be used to deal with the tactics employed by insurance companies.
Concentrate on healing up
Your job is to concentrate on getting well and having your health restored. You can add value by keeping careful records of all your medical bills as well as a record of your recovery.
Pain and suffering may become part of your claim. You need to prove pain and suffering, so keeping a meticulous record can benefit you should the matter go to trial.
Work with your attorney
Your claim is essentially teamwork between you and your law firm.
You can facilitate the process by doing your best to work with your lawyer.
If you must provide any documentation, provide it promptly to your lawyer.
Delays tend to compound issues, and you want your matter to be settled as quickly as possible.
Personal injury claims are a lot more common than people think. After a song and a dance, most claims are settled by the insurance companies.
It is always wise to perform that song and dance with a lawyer at your side – even better, let the lawyer do the singing and dancing to win the maximum award.
The bottom line is – let the experts handle the matter for you. The payoff will be in the amount of the award.