Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

The pleasant South Florida weather means it is possible to head out for a bike ride any time of year, but data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are cause for alarm. Key statistics include:

  • There were 783 bicycle riders killed in the US in 2017. Of these, 125 victims were involved in incidents that occurred in Florida.
  • In the majority of fatal bicycle accidents, the victim was killed because a driver failed to yield right of way to the bicycle rider.

Miami Reporter & Photographer Escape Injury After Bicycle-Vehicle Accident

News anchor Johnny Archer and photojournalist Shane Walker were cycling on Key Biscayne when they were struck by a vehicle. The pair were near 180 Crandon Blvd around 10:30 a.m., on the island off of downtown Miami, when the accident occurred. The driver stayed at the scene of the accident and the Key Biscayne Fire Rescue responded. The frightening incident turned out well for the cyclists. Both Archer and Walker were treated at the scene and chose not to go to the hospital.

Unfortunately, not as many cyclists and pedestrians are as lucky. Many pedestrian and cyclists are injured or killed in Florida when struck by vehicles. If you were injured in a bicycle-vehicle accident, or you lost a loved one when they were hit by a car, do not hesitate to contact a Miami bicycle accident lawyer at Gerson & Schwartz P.A. (877) 475-2905.

Bicycle injuries are common across the world, and despite regulations and rules regarding bike safety, it does not appear that accidents have lessened. A recent case in Ireland is an example of how a cyclist can fight for his or her rights and obtain the compensation deserved following an accident. While not all cyclists have a case, if a bicycle accident was caused by another motorist, it may be wise to consider some type of personal injury lawsuit. This could help cover medical fees along with any other expenses related to the accident.

If you or a loved one have experienced a personal injury related to a biking accident, you may wish to seek an attorney that will help you obtain the compensation you deserve. The Miami personal injury lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, PA provides a FREE initial consultation to discuss your case. Simply call (305) 371-6000 or toll free at (877)-475-2905. You can also contact us online at info@gslawusa.com.

Injured Cyclist Awarded Over $33,000

With the spring and summer months quickly approaching, we can all expect to be spending more time outdoors. For some people, this means engaging in more outdoor activities such as bicycling. Accompanied with the increase in bicycling comes an increase in injuries. As a matter of fact, the state of Florida is the most lethal in the nation for bicyclists. In Florida on March 24, officers responded to a call pertaining to a traffic crash involving a Ford F-150 truck and a bicyclist. The truck driver was traveling east on Lafayette Street. The bicyclist was entering the roadway from the south side of Lafayette Street. The bicyclist tried to cross north.  Unfortunately, the bicyclist, instead, traveled into the path of the oncoming truck. They collided and the bicyclist was thrown off of his bike. He was later pronounced dead. Again, bicyclist fatalities, occurring in Florida, are not uncommon. During last year, alone, more than 120 people killed while riding bicycles.

If you or your loved one was injured, or even killed, while riding a bicycle, and the accident was the fault of another person, it is imperative that you hire an attorney for your case. Doing so will help ensure that you are adequately compensated for your injury and loss. Luckily, the experienced Miami personal injury lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz PA are here to help! We know the law and will aggressively fight to protect your rights! We continue our more than 43-year tradition of representing injury victims and their families throughout Miami Dade, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Gables, and other areas of South Florida.   

The Lawsuit

We discuss causation (sometimes called proximate cause) often in this blog, and for good reason. It’s usually the most difficult part of an injury lawsuit to prove, and defendants often challenge proximate cause vigorously at trial. Additionally, the concept of causation is often so vague that different courts may appear to rule differently in every factual scenario.

What is Proximate Cause?

Just as it sounds, proximate cause asks whether the defendant’s negligence actually caused the injury. By way of example, assume a car rear-ends a vehicle driven by a person with a heart condition. Two days later, that person dies of a heart attack. Did the accident cause the death, or the heart condition?

Over the last year, our Miami personal injury lawyers have discussed the dangers associated with bicycling in Florida. Last September, 24-year-old bicyclist Jacob Landis was severely injured after being struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bicycle in the final leg of a cross-country cycling trip in Polk County, Florida. In October, a young couple, Rob Lemon and Hilary Michalak, died after being struck by a motorist while riding their tandem bike on the Memorial Causeway in Clearwater, Florida.

Florida a Dangerous Place for Cyclists

According to report by the NHTSA found that Florida’s bicyclist fatality rate consistently exceeded that of the rest of the United States and often ranked highest among the states. In 2011, Florida bicycle fatality rates were almost triple the national average, and, between 2010 and 2011, the bicycle fatality rate increased from 0.40 fatalities per 100,000 persons, to 0.63. In the same year, Florida made up only six percent of the U.S. population in 2011, but accounted for 17.4 percent of all U.S. bicycle fatalities.

Late last year, our Miami bicycle accident attorneys kept a close watch on the development of new legislation, entitled the “Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act,” that, if passed, would increase the minimum jail sentences for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident. Specifically, the measure would allow prison sentences of up to three years for an accident resulting in injury, seven years for serious bodily injury, and ten years for a hit-and-run resulting in death.

A recent brutal hit and run accident in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has emphasized the continuing need for such harsher penalties. In December, motorist Axel Inostroza, struck 53-year-old bicyclist Craig Camlin near the 5200 block of Northeast 18th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. The force of collision caused Camlin to become wedged on the rear window of the vehicle, as Inostroza drove on for two more miles. Eventually, Inostroza dumped Camlin’s body behind a trash bin near his home in Pompano Beach.

Several hours after the accident, a landscaping crew discovered Camlin, who was rushed to a local hospital and listed in critical condition with a broken spine and other injuries. As for Inostroza, he took his car to a local body shop and then went home to take a nap. Inostroza later admitted to investigators to his involvement in the crash and confessed that he had been drinking before the accident.

Last month, 24-year-old Jacob Landis, of Annapolis, Maryland, was severely injured after being struck by a hit-and-run driver in a bicycle accident in Florida in the final leg of a cross-country cycling trip to raise money for deaf individuals. Our personal injury lawyers in Miami, Florida are all too familiar with these and many other unfortunate accidents cases over the years.

Landis was knocked unconscious at approximately 10:00 pm on September 21, 2013, after being hit by the mirror of a passing tractor-trailer on US Highway 27 southbound in Polk County, Florida. Landis was accompanied by his riding partner and cousin, Jack Riddle, who witnessed the incident. Landis was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for a concussion, multiple fractures and various lacerations. The truck that struck Landis did not stop after the crash, and, according to the local sheriff’s office, it was possible the driver of the truck didn’t realize he had hit the bicyclist.

At the time of the accident, Landis had been cycling for several months and rode almost 11,000 miles to 29 of the 30 Major League Baseball stadiums in the U.S., raising $140,000 help the hearing impaired get fitted for cochlear implants.

Early this month, a young couple, Rob Lemon, 25, and Hilary Michalak, 25, were struck by a motorist while riding their tandem bike on the Memorial Causeway in Clearwater, Florida. According to reports, the force of the impact shattered the bike and threw the pair over 50 feet. Although both individuals were wearing helmets, Lemon later died at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa and Michalak fell into in a coma.

The vehicle that struck Lemon and Michalak did not stop, however, two days after the incident, Christopher Patrick Weed, 29, of Clearwater, came forward and admitted he may have been involved. According to police, Weed claimed that he had blacked out on the way home from and didn’t remember hitting anyone.Upon seeing news coverage of the incident, Weed went to police, who later discovered Weed’s vehicle had a missing windshield and damage to the front end. Weed was arrested on two felony charges of leaving the scene of a crash.

According to those close to the victims, both were aware of the danger posed by bicycling on Florida’s roadways. Both Lemon and Michalak always wore helmets and usually rode their bike on trails to avoid the dangers posed by traffic. Lemon also wore an anklet engraved with his father’s name and phone number so that he could be identified and family contacted if he was ever seriously injured.

Florida legislators are considering measures that would repeal Florida’s No Fault Benefits, also referred to as Personal Injury Protection. Under the current law, Florida drivers are required to carry up to a total of $10,0000 in coverage. The benefits pays an insured’s medical bills and expenses regardless of fault. Currently, the PIP covers up to 80% up to $10,0000 of medical bills and hospital related expenses and up to 60% of wage loss. Once the 10,0000 has been exhausted, accident victims must find other sources such as making a claim against the at fault party. Of course, that assumes the driver of the other vehicle also has coverage for bodily injury. In Florida, unlike many other states, bodily injury coverage is not legally required. Just recently, Florida’s PIP laws were changed. Prior to January 1, 2013, there were not as many limitations on personal injury benefits such as who can claim them and under what circumstances. Now, the PIP laws require that injury victims seek medical attention within 14 days of an accident to receive maximum benefits. Other changes to the law require the diagnosis by a medical doctor that an accident victim sustained an “emergency medical condition”, among others. The new laws also placed limitations on the types of medical providers that could get paid under PIP. The law now excludes massage therapists and acupuncture all together. The changes, of course were the direct result of insurance companies claiming that the system was being taken advantage of by medical providers and others in car accidents. Attorney referral services and other marketing companies that advertise for car accidents have also been under scrutiny by the Florida Bar. The “savings” argument was that the changes in Florida PIP laws would allow for future lower insurance premiums for all, and that savings would then be passed on to Florida consumers drivers. Of course, that logic and reasoning is now being questioned. In the midst of the new “Affordable Healthcare Act” ready to take effect, law makers are beginning to wonder if personal injury protection benefits will be necessary. Most states, require motor vehicle operators to carry bodily injury insurance. If PIP is repealed in Florida, Florida law would likely require all vehicle owners to carry bodily injury protection as well. Miami, Florida injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, PA believe changes to existing Florida No Fault Laws are a good thing. Since bodily injury coverage is not required in Florida, many accident victims are left with little legal recourse if there is no insurance coverage available. The latest news is that the Florida Senate is considering a bill and other law makers are considering other legislation to address the issue. The bill that is in the works, would repeal Florida’s No Fault Benefits. It appears that it may have a chance of being passed by both the house and senate as it appears it has gained much public attention and support.

Continue reading