Florida Bicycle Accident Victim Options After Hit-and-Run

A bicyclist was killed in Coral Gables recently after being struck by a driver who then fled the scene. Authorities say it’s clear the driver likely knew he or she had hit someone because there is evidence the driver needed stop to remove the bicycle from underneath the vehicle before driving away.
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Just minutes after the crash, which occurred around 3 a.m., an officer spotted the victim. He stopped to render aid, but the cyclist was already deceased.

Using bits of the vehicle left at the scene, officers were able to determine the make, model and color of the vehicle, and from that information, were able to locate the vehicle in Miami. The car sustained heavy front-end damage consistent with the crash details, including a shattered from window. Still, no arrests have yet been made.

The cyclist was identified as an older male who did not appear to be a student or a part of the recreational bicycling community. He was found with a backpack and no identification.

Miami-Dade and Broward are consistently ranked among the worst metro areas in the country when it comes to bicycle fatality rates. In 2014, there were 15 bicyclists killed in Miami-Dade alone.

Florida ranks No. 1 in the country for having the most bicycle deaths each year – even more than California and Texas, which have avid bicycling communities and much higher populations.

A new law passed last year, the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, increases penalties for drivers who leave injured cyclists or pedestrians at the scene of a crash. The crime was boosted from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony, meaning there is a minimum mandatory four-year prison sentence for those convicted. The law was intended to bring the penalties in line with what one might receive for DUI manslaughter. The previous disparity in punishments between the two crimes had resulted in creating an incentive for drunk drivers to take off rather than stay and call for help.

Despite these measures, bicyclists continue to be injured and killed.

For them and their families, we seek justice and compensation. Of course, part of that is obtained through the criminal justice system, in which offenders are arrested and tried and if convicted, sentenced to prison and sometimes made to pay restitution. However, restitution isn’t the primary goal of criminal courts, and a prison sentence won’t pay a person’s medical bills or help feed their families while they are out-of-work.

That’s why speaking to an injury lawyer is imperative. Our experienced legal team routinely helps injured bicyclists and their families identify all potential options for compensation.

In hit-and-run cases, securing compensation can be a bit more challenging if the at-fault driver is never found. But it’s not impossible. Primarily, we will examine the auto insurance policy of the cyclist. Even though he or she wasn’t driving at the time of the accident, he or she may still be entitled to PIP coverage, as well as uninsured motorist benefits. These benefits cover the cost of injuries when the at-fault driver is either not insured or, in the case of a hit-and-run, not identified.

Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:
Hit-and-run crash kills bicyclist in Coral Gables, driver flees, March 26, 2015, By Jacqueline Salo, Suzy Mast and Jeffrey Pierre, The Miami Herald
More Blog Entries:
L.E. Myers Co. v. Young – Court Reverses $5M Wrongful Death Verdict, March 7, 2015, South Florida Bicycle Injury Lawyer Blog