Guy Who Causes Accident Still Collects Money

Attorney Daniel VillalobosAuthor: Attorney Daniel Villalobos

Our Client Gets Into An Accident While Riding His Bicycle

Our client, a middle aged man, was riding his bicycle on a hot Florida day. As he was riding his bicycle he stopped paying attention to the traffic control devices on the roadway. He accidentally crossed a street against the red light and was struck by a vehicle driving in oncoming traffic and had a green light. Several witnesses corroborated the light sequence of the traffic light and confirmed that our client did in fact cause the accident. Our client suffered serious injuries requiring a trip to the hospital. Not knowing what to do, our client called the Fort Lauderdale Automobile and Bicycle Accident Attorneys Dell and Schaefer. Our firm researched into the case and determined that even though our client was the cause of the accident, the driver of the car also shared part of the blame since he should have seen our client crossing over two lanes of traffic and should have attempted to avoid the accident. We pulled a Florida Statute named after the common law “Last Clear Chance Doctrine.” Under this statute any person who has the last clear chance to avoid an accident must do so even if the circumstances leading up to the accident were of no fault of his or her own. We felt strongly that this doctrine applied to this case. We reasoned that since the driver made no effort to avoid the accident when he had the last clear chance to do so, that the driver also should pay our client for his injuries.

Dell and Schaefer Negotiate A Settlement

Immediately after receiving the medical records, our firm filed a bodily injury demand against State Farm Insurance Company. Our firm sought monetary compensation for bodily injury, aggravation of a preexisting injury, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, disability, mental anguish, property damage (to the bicycle), past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and impairment of ability to earn future wages. State Farm originally denied the claim. After receiving the denial letter, our firm demonstrated to State Farm Florida’s adherence to the common law “Last Clear Chance Doctrine.” We reconstructed the accident and presented it to State Farm showing them that our client crossed over two lanes of traffic before being struck by their insured. We argued that any reasonably prudent driver would have seen a large object coming from a perpendicular direction and that same reasonably prudent driver would have stopped the car, or simply slowed down or swerved out of the way of the accident. After a lengthy negotiation, State Farm agreed with our position and offered us $25,000 to settle the claim. Our client was absolutely thrilled that our firm did not waiver in our resolve to get the best recovery we could for our client—even though he was at fault for the accident.

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