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Collision with a motor vehicle is the cause of more than 60% of bicycle related deaths. 22% to 47% of injured bicyclists suffer head injuries. Data from 2010 determined that fatal and non-fatal crash related injuries resulted in an inability to lead a productive life and lifetime medical costs in excess of $10 billion dollars.
Miami has a bicycle accident death rate of 5.6 per capita, ranking it as one of the top four most dangerous cities in Florida. If you are hurt in a bike accident in Miami you need an attorney who specializes in bicycle accident injury cases.
When You Are Hurt in a Miami Bike Accident
When a bike accident happens you need to take four steps to protect your medical needs and legal rights. At the accident scene, the first step is to get yourself to a safe location out of the street.
Once you are in a safe location call 911 for assistance and file a police report. If you receive medical treatment keep a copy of all records.
One of the most important steps is to call a Miami bike injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident. If you are unable to call because of serious injury, then that is the first call a family member should make on your behalf. The faster the attorney is on the case, the faster you will see the results of their work.
All Attorneys Are Not the Same
Injuries suffered in a bike accident are unique. You need to hire an attorney who specializes in this area. There are 11 million lawyers licensed in the United States. Make sure you choose the right one.
All attorneys in the United States have the same educational requirements. To become an attorney an individual must first obtain a four-year college degree. They must then pass three years of law school.
The education is not enough. Prior to being licensed the attorney must pass a bar exam in each state where they want to practice law. After passing the bar exam they must also undergo an ethics exam and background check.
Although the education is similar, attorneys generally select specific areas in which they practice. Each specialty has its own unique terminology and areas of law that vary from others. For these reasons you must know who to call if injured in a bike accident.
If you commit a crime you need a criminal attorney. An estate attorney can help prepare a will. If you are in a bike accident you need a Miami bike injury attorney.
How to Choose a Miami Bicycle Accident Attorney
Create a list of potential attorneys. This information is available on law firm websites, bar associations, and even a simple online search such as Miami bicycle attorney will have positive results. You can also ask people who have related businesses, such as bicycle shops, bike repair shops, and fellow bikers for recommendations.
Make sure the attorney specializes in the area of law you need. An attorney who does not have experience in law related to bicycle injuries cannot provide you with the representation you deserve.
Don’t be swayed by friends and family who say someone is a good attorney and pressure you to use someone who is not a specialist in bicycle accidents. Your medical and financial security is at stake. You need an attorney who knows and understands common bicycle injuries.
Schedule an interview with potential attorneys. Prepare a list of questions to take with you. In addition to your questions take any related documents such as the accident report, medical records, and medical prognosis with you. These will help the attorney to properly analyze your case.
Ask the attorney how long they have been practicing law and how much of their practice covers bicycle accidents. An attorney who does this type of case on a regular basis will be more up-to-date on current laws and how to get positive results.
Will the attorney you are speaking with be the primary person working on your case, or will there be other staff and attorneys handling your case? What is the best way to communicate with your attorney?
Visit the attorney’s website for information on their practice. Look for reviews or testimonials from former clients.
Make sure the attorney understands your problem. Do they demonstrate knowledge in the injuries you have suffered? Do they answer your questions completely? Do they volunteer information on what they can do to help you?
The attorney needs to be a good communicator and show interest in your needs and concerns. It is important you are comfortable with the attorney. It is easier to work with a professional whose personality is compatible with yours.
The attorney must also be respectful and able to work amicably with other professionals and witnesses involved in your case. They should be willing to work hard on your behalf while following the rules of ethics and law.
What Can the Attorney Do That I Can’t?
One misconception is that all you need to do after an accident is call your insurance company and everything will be fine. In a minor incident that may work, but you should always speak with a professional.
Insurance companies are in the business to make money. Getting them to pay out money on claims is never easy. The insurance company may not tell you everything you are entitled to receive. Even when the law is on your side, you may run into delays collecting benefits. That is where a Miami bicycle attorney makes a difference.
When you hire an attorney who specializes in bicycle injuries, they know the steps to make sure you receive all the compensation you are entitled to.
The bicycle attorney will know whether claims should be filed through yours or the driver’s insurance. They will know how to request PIP benefits to cover 80% of your accident-related medical expenses and 60% for lost wages.
The attorney will be able to analyze your medical records to determine if you meet the legal standards for serious injury under Florida law. Serious injury under the law falls under four categories:
- Permanent or significant scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent or significant loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
You may feel you meet these criteria, but a Miami bicycle attorney will take the steps necessary to determine your total loss and request compensation for those injuries.
Even if you are at fault in the accident, the attorney will help you recover from the other driver’s insurance under the comparative negligence rule.
Depending on the extent of your injuries and other factors, it may be necessary to sue the person who caused the accident or the insurance company. The attorney will know how to properly file the complaint, proceed through litigation, negotiate a possible resolution, and advise you on whether any offered settlement is reasonable or if you should proceed to trial.
Who to Call if Injured in a Bicycle Accident in Miami
When you are hurt in a bike accident in Miami you need an attorney who knows the laws and rights of cyclists. Maximize your recovery claims by calling a Miami bike attorney who is a lifetime Florida resident and cyclist. Visit the Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Vivo or call 561-665-1130.