Who’s At Fault for My Bicycle Accident?

By Osborne & Francis
October 25, 2023

If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, placing blame is probably on your mind. It’s natural to want to find someone to blame—and, in this case, necessary. By determining who’s at fault for your accident, you’re determining who to sue for your damages. But how is fault determined, and how much compensation will they owe you?

What is Fault?

The term “fault” simply means that a person is legally to blame for the accident. Fault is different from negligence and liability, but the terms may be used interchangeably in some cases. While fault refers to legal blame, negligence is a theory that must be proved before someone can be held responsible. 

Liability simply means that the person is legally responsible for the harm that you suffered because of their negligence. To prove fault, you’ll need to prove all four steps of negligence. 

  • Duty of Care: The party owed you a duty of care. When a driver gets behind the wheel of their vehicle, they owe everyone this duty. It’s the duty to drive safely and refrain from dangerous behaviors. 
  • Breach of Duty: The act that they engaged in breached the duty that they owed you. For example, they were speeding or texting while driving. 
  • Causation: Because of the breach, an accident occurred. 
  • Damages: Because of the accident, you suffered actual damages such as medical bills or pain and suffering. 

What Caused Your Bicycle Accident?

In the United States, there are approximately 130,000 bicycle accidents that result in injury per year and 1,000 that result in death. The CDC predicts that $23 billion is paid out to victims each year in health care, lost work, and lost quality of life compensation. 

The same study suggests that most bicycle accident deaths occur in urban areas away from intersections, where vehicles are driven at higher speeds. They also note that approximately a third of accidents that result in a bicyclist’s death involve intoxication. 

Other common causes of bicycle accidents include:

  • Cellphone usage and other distractions
  • Speeding
  • Road rage
  • Inexperience
  • Lack of awareness
  • Running a red light or stop sign 
  • Not looking before changing lanes or merging
  • Fatigue or exhausted driving
  • Not following the rules of the road
  • Not sharing the road

Evidence Used to Prove Fault

To build a strong bicycle accident case, you’ll need to gather evidence that proves all four steps of negligence. Your attorney will conduct their own investigation, gathering evidence as they do so. However, there’s some evidence that you can gather yourself, starting at the scene of the accident. 

Personal Evidence

At the scene of the accident, it’s important to take as many pictures and videos as possible. Take images of your bicycle, injuries, and the surrounding area. You should also capture images of the at-fault party’s vehicle. While the accident is fresh in your brain, you should also write down or record a personal statement. This is a great way to prevent the loss of specific details that could later help to win your case. 

Third-Party Photographic Evidence

Other parties may also capture vital evidence for your claim. This includes footage from witnesses, security cameras, and dashcams. This type of evidence may need to be requested by your attorney, especially if it’s a business-owned camera. 

The Police Report

At the scene of the accident, you should always opt to file a police report. A police report is a vital piece of evidence that details the investigating officer’s initial thoughts. The police report may also include photos and witness statements. A police report written in your favor is a powerful tool that is difficult for insurance companies to dispute. 

Eyewitness Statements

At the scene, you should also gather the contact information for any eyewitnesses. You should encourage them to stick around to speak with the investigating police officer, as well. 

Expert Witness Testimonies

In some cases, your attorney will hire an expert witness to strengthen your claim. Expert witnesses must meet a certain set of criteria, such as time in their field. Expert witnesses may include:

  • Medical professionals
  • Accident reconstruction specialists
  • Economists 
  • Mental health specialists

Who Will Pay for Your Damages?

Florida is a no-fault state. That means that no matter who’s at fault for the accident, you can receive compensation for your damages. However, if your coverage doesn’t cover your damages, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party’s insurance company to receive further compensation. 

If you don’t have auto insurance, you won’t receive compensation from no-fault and will have to sue the at-fault party directly. 

In that case, their insurance company will pay for your remaining damages in the form of a settlement offer. With the right bicycle accident attorney, you’ll receive full and fair compensation. 

How Much Compensation Will You Receive? 

The amount of compensation that you receive depends on a variety of factors, such as the severity of your injuries and your total damages. In the legal field, “damages” refers to any loss that you experience as a direct result of the accident and your injuries. 

Damages can be monetary or not and include the following:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Permanent injury and disability 

Your total damages are calculated by adding up all monetary damages (like medical bills and lost wages) and then calculating your other damages. Non-economic damages like pain and suffering are calculated by looking at the overall change to your quality of life. By working with an experienced attorney, you can get an accurate picture of the total damages you’ll be compensated for. 

When to Speak with an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, it’s time to speak with an experienced attorney about your case. By working with an attorney from the get-go, you can prevent unnecessary damage to your claim and ensure that you get the most compensation possible for your damages. To learn more about our team and to schedule a free consultation, please contact us online or at (561) 293-2600

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